Trackskills started organising and running track days for cars, at Kirkistown Racing Circuit, in 2000.
One of the things that we have noticed, over the years, is how particular cars come in and out of vogue at our events. In the early years it was Mazda MX5s. Then it was Westfields. A few years later Renault Clios were the car to have and then the MX5’s made a comeback, along-side the Clios.
The latest trend seems to be the Renault Megane.
In the first session of our season opening event on Sunday 5th February, we had five Meganes. Crawford Ewing Senior, and Junior, now have an RS model each. David Stanford has an R26, while Phil Marks and Philip Hughes each have the 225 model. Each car ran quickly and reliably all day.
Another car that was in the first session was the VW Golf driven by Connor Rice. It, too, ran well all day.
Brothers, Darren and Craig Gilmore, were giving their Mini’s a dust down. They are planning on competing in the new Kirkistown Mini class in the race meetings at Kirkistown this year. These cars are a bundle of fun and should provide fairly cheap racing.
David McMinn was also giving his Seat Ibiza race car a run out, prior to the racing season. With the cobwebs well blown off, he will be worth watching in the Saloon class in 2023.
Paul Larkham is the latest Larkham to go racing. Having driven at our track days in the past, he brought his Kirkistown Fiesta out to play and was lapping on the pace all day. You can watch him in the Fiesta class on race days.
Andrew Greenaway was in a Civic Type R, which may have been David McMinn’s old one. He went well consistently.
Being anonymous can be good at a track day. It means you have just been getting on with it, having fun and not having any dramas. That is exactly what Andrew McFrederick did all day in his Clio 182 Cup machine.
Jim Kennedy has just acquired a fully sorted Mazda MX5 from Gregory McMillen. It is too high a spec for the Modi-5-Cup series in which he competes, but he wanted to have a run out before removing some of the go-faster goodies. His son, Rob, may be racing it this year and if so, he will be hard to beat.
Philip Clarke was also out in the first session in his quick Nova. More of him later!
The second session was only for new drivers. The most unfortunate man of the day was Phil Quayle, whose MX5 spat all the diff oil out, via a damaged seal, during his first two laps. He was red flagged by the marshals and, not being able to carry out sufficient repairs, could take no further part in the day.
George Jenkins was not a whole lot better. While his rapid Audi RS6 went really well, it ate its front left tyre. End of fun for that car, although George did have some further outings in the Gilmore Mini’s. Wesley Lindsay, Adam Gowan and Aaron Vance had great fun in their Clio’s. Young Finn Blaine drove his rally Micra very well all day.
Brian Crawford’s new Vortex looks beautiful and goes as well as it looks. He headed the third group, which included the GM3 of John Lyttle and Raymond Grimes. This writer nearly went head over heels while giving Raymond a push start, later in the day. It wasn’t Raymond’s good looks. It was just that the car took off all of a sudden and if it hadn’t been for medic, Philip Brooks, I would have face planted!
Andrew Hall’s unusual looking Civic CRX was quick and reliable and it was good to see Gavin Stanfield’s fast Impreza sticking the pace for the whole event.
Unusually, Jason Pollock’s Caterham 7 gave him problems and he had to go home early. This may be Jason’s last appearance for a while, as a new baby is imminent, and he has to pretend to be an adult for a few months!
Father and son, Richard and Ritchie O’Mahony brought their RSR Escort out to play. This machine is gorgeous looking and really quick. Watch out for it at sprints this year and maybe, just maybe, it might appear in the GT class at a Kirkistown race meeting!
Oh yes! The Nova. Well, as all experienced track day drivers know, Kirkistown is home to a breed of little Gremlins, whose only purpose is to feed on brake pads. Now, Philip, who drives the Nova, knows this. In fact, he bought a brand new set of pads before the weekend and set them on his bench to take with him. Unfortunately, when he and the Nova got to Kirkistown, the pads were still on the bench! It only took a session and a half for the Gremlins to do their business and the Nova was back on the trailer for home.
Thank you to all who came and a special thanks to the marshals and medics, who always do a sterling job. The next Trackskills event is on Sunday 12th March and you can book on www.trackskills.com.
These events are perfect for an enthusiast that wants to stretch the legs of their pride and joy within the law and with safety at the forefront.
Come down and see an event, get a chat with other petrolheads and maybe later in the year you could take part yourself.
All remaining dates for 2023 are as follows:
- 12th March
- 16th April
- 14th May
- 11th June
- 9th July
- 13th August
- 10th September
- 8th October
- 5th November.
Words: DONAL O’NEILL | 500 MRCI Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY