KIRKISTOWN: 500MRCI BY RICHARD YOUNG

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

The fledg­ling Ir­ish Leg­ends series may not, as yet, have very many cars, but on their first visit to Kirkistown they made a strong, and hope­fully last­ing, im­pres­sion.

And they made his­tory too, pro­vid­ing the first-ever elec­tron­i­cally proven dead heat in the cir­cuit’s 63 years of ex­is­tence in the sec­ond of their three races.

The first of these fea­tured Paul O’brien and English vis­i­tor James Hol­man get­ting up close and per­sonal with Ivor Green­wood and Des Fo­ley in a scrap that lasted the full eight laps, peak­ing at the Hair­pin on the fi­nal tour when all four ap­peared to be on course for vic­tory.

It was O’brien who got it though, with Hol­man, Green­wood and Fo­ley in very close at­ten­dance. Less than half a sec­ond cov­ered them all as they crossed the line.

Race two was even closer. O’brien and Hol­man were in the lead­ing bunch as be­fore, but this time Niki Mered­ith, who had started from the back row in race one, was there as well, and the fi­nal lap scrap was be­tween Mered­ith and Hol­man, who passed the flag ab­so­lutely to­gether, with O’brien in close at­ten­dance.

Green­wood fin­ished fourth this time, but that was a bet­ter re­sult than he achieved in race three when a heavy ac­ci­dent ex­it­ing the Hair­pin on lap two ended his day pre­ma­turely. The race was red-flagged, and at the restart it was O’brien who got ahead to win from Hol­man by the com­par­a­tively huge mar­gin of 1.4 sec­onds, with Fo­ley third.

Ear­lier, the first of two Sa­loon/gt affairs proved equally ex­cit­ing, although rather smaller, with only six cars lin­ing up for the start. Chris South­cott’s in­de­cently rapid MG Mid­get led ini­tially, but re­tired af­ter six laps, leav­ing An­drew Arm­strong’s BMW M3 in com­mand fol­lowed by Ralph Jess in his M3 BMW Com­pact. Jess, how­ever, had plans, and closed Arm­strong down, while Stephen Traub’s Honda In­te­gra moved in on the pair of them for a grand­stand fin­ish.

Over the fi­nal two laps all three man­aged to lead, and en­ter­ing the Hair­pin for the fi­nal time it looked very much as though Arm­strong was go­ing to make it ahead of Traub. How­ever, a very brave move by Jess round the out­side helped him squeak past to win by 0.141s.

By com­par­i­son, race two was al­most tame, Arm­strong beat­ing Traub to the line by 1.9s while Jess, who had planned a re­peat re­sult, found him­self side­lined with the gear lever in his hand but no longer at­tached to the car. Donal O’neill thus brought his SEAT Cupra home in third place.

Jim Larkham took a brace of Road­sports wins in his Rad­i­cal ahead of the Crossles of John Ben­son and Paul Conn. The pair re­versed or­der in the sec­ond race as did the bat­tling 1-Litre Class B cars of Paul Thomp­son (Striker) and Mark Fran­cis (Lo­cost).

Noel Robin­son (Van Diemen JL012K) was the day’s other dou­ble win­ner, with two FF1600 vic­to­ries giv­ing him a use­ful lead in the North­ern Ire­land Cham­pi­onship. Alan David­son chased him hard in race one, although a buzzed en­gine left him with bent valves. A quick re­pair helped him try again in race two be­fore his Mon­di­ale jammed it­self in third gear. He still man­aged to place fourth, how­ever, be­hind the Rey­nards of Ryan and Henry Camp­bell.

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