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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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The Kames circuit is a unique place to race

ROUND five of the TJ Services Northern Speed Championship took place at Kames on Sunday under the capable organisation of Wigton Motor Club.

The Kames complex is almost unique in the UK, in that it was designed, built and owned by a local motor club.

As well as sprints and rallies it gets used for track days, autotests and demonstration events and has even been used by the Ford WRC team for setting up their cars.

The weather during the morning meant damp conditions but no less than two practice runs and two timed runs were packed in before lunch and the track dried for the second batch of runs which saw all the fastest runs. Each of the runs was over the usual three laps.

The battle in the classics class was intense with Colin Sutherland’s Spitfire beating Robert MacGillivray MG B V8 by half a second for the top spot.

The road car classes were merged but it was the smallest engined car, the Peugeot 205R of David Wiggins that came out on top beating Chris Harris’s Lotus and Paul Rigg’s MG F.

Kevin Hamilton got his MX5 Mazda into fourth ahead of David Exton who survived a trip into the Paddock Bend gravel in his Toyota.

Stephen Palmer suffered from a lack of grip in the Honda but was just a fraction ahead of Dennis Hope’s MG F on the final run.

The modified road cars and rally cars saw John Willis in his MG Metro finish some 10 seconds up on Peter Keen’s VW Golf with Mike Franey, in the same car, third.

Class M2 for the kit cars was hugely competitive with Locost of Malcolm Mackay, The Westfield Megabusa of Chris Boyd covered by less than a second, with the MK Indy of Matthew Dixon third.

Melvyn Hartley and Terry Coleman were next up with just 0.14 of a second separating them.

Then came Harry Moody (Westfield), Darren Coleman (Striker) and the interesting four-wheel drive Inara of Mark Purdham. Another newcomer was David Jackson with his self built Jackson F27.

Amongst the racing cars Drew Dawson set the pace in the morning wet runs but was called home so Colin Birkbeck took a very good FTD in his OMS on his final run to finish ahead of Angus Buchan’s Radical who slipped past Drew’s best time.

There are two days of action at Kames this weekend as the British Sprint Championship heads north to meet the Scottish Sprint Championship and it’s the Inter Association Sprint Championship event. Both days have a full 100-car entry.

At this time of the year, some people find that holidays get in the way of motorsport but others manage to combine the two along with their long-suffering families.

There are quite a number of events like last weekend’s Silverstone Classic Festival that can be made into part of a holiday.

Increasingly competitors are heading abroad to do events. Many rallies, races and speed events across the channel cost considerably less than events at home.

I know a number of drivers who live in southern England who find it cheaper to race abroad than to head north to circuits like Croft and Knockhill while there are several dozen rally crews further south who complete almost exclusively abroad.

Sadly for us we have to add a day on at each end of the trip just to get to and from the south coast.

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