Bishopscourt Blog- with Cregor Elliott.

June 14, 2014 by Cregor Elliott  

Fresh off the plane from Spain I was picked up in the truck on Friday afternoon for the long enough drive to Bishopscourt. I had a good feed at lunchtime as I figured there would be limited options for eating once we crossed the border,

Holstein and O'Brien slug it out for ITCC honours.

Holstein and O’Brien slug it out for ITCC honours.

plus the fact I had very little sterling didn’t help matters. The journey took four hours including an all important break for coffee along the way and we parked up beside the pitlane once we arrived. The lads started to get the awning up and the cars out of the truck, once that was done they went for a walk of the track but I stayed in the paddock. We had a few beers when everything was done before heading into the bar once it started raining.

I slept till well late on Saturday morning as there were long untimed sessions for the racers seeing as cars only race there once a year. Sourcing a breakfast soda from the cantina I drag myself away from the Mediterranean diet and down it with a nice cup of coffee. The track only has two food stalls but they are high caliber, one with real americaina….. result.

Qualifying began after lunch but with heavy extremely showers soaking the track I elected to remain in the paddock and under shelter. I split my time between the Leastone awning where there’s a fair bit of slagging going on and Leo’s camper van where Jen has a lovely selection of food. There are a few races listed for the end of the day so I head out to catch the Vees

Cassidy and Heyer going at it in Pre '55s

Cassidy and Heyer going at it in Pre ’55s

just as the clouds burst. I take up my spot at the last hairpin with the rain coming from behind me to keep the lenses dry. I have my rain jacket but am soaked within seconds anyway. The race starts and by the time the cars get to myself the field has been decimated by incidents. Dan Polley is out in front but the race is stopped and racing abandoned for the day. Scurrying back to the paddock I see the sun coming out again… Typical. I stop in with the Newsomes where the onboards of Furlong and Macaulay are being reviewed, and it’s obvious to all present why the race had to be stopped. A good decision by the officials who stuck to the Safety First principal. The damage at Leastone and Avanti is considerable and I can see my dinner is under jeopardy.

Thankfully as the teams get to work with repairs Brendan who was up to 3rd place in the race decides he needs to eat too. We get a lift from Gerry and the Keogh girls to Ardglass for food and wifi. We’ve no sterling but Brendan buys some from the barman and before long were stuck into fish pies and skulling pints. He even does a guitar solo for the locals when the band arrives. Springy picks us up and drops us to the bunker at the track where there’s a large crowd in and we have a few more. The rum is out.  I visited an awning for a nightcap before retiring to my pod.

The Saturday races are run on Sunday morning so it’s an early start and while not too bad I’ve felt better. The track isn’t great for photos but I head up the middle to get turn one and the chicane on the back straight. The Vee race is run in the dry and easily won by Macaulay but after a great early battle with Furlong and Grogan. I head back to the paddock and once again get the breakfast of champions. Leo sees me with it and tells me that I’d ordered a healthy breakfast from Jen. It certainly sounds like something I would say but I’ve no  recollection

Fitzpatrick's SEAT leads a squabbling ITCC pack.

Fitzpatrick’s SEAT leads a squabbling ITCC pack.

of the conversation…sorry Jen. Black clouds are looming so I grab the rain gear and cross the track to head for turn 2 to catch the Honda Cup, and  ITCC races, the heavens open as I make my way down there soaking me again. There’s a delay as a problem with the timing has arisen giving ma a chance to warm up and the rain to stop before racing resumes. I notice in the paddock that there’s a lot of GoPros with dirty lenses after the rain so I do a good deed and clean those that I come across. People are wandering around with their phones in the air trying desperately to get a signal on the phone but the track is a communication blackspot and few succeed. I didn’t even bother myself.

 

The afternoon is spent at the last corner. There’s a nasty incident in the Pre55 race. The

The aftermath of Kevin McBride's nasty crash in the Pre 55s. Luckily he was ok.

The aftermath of Kevin McBride’s nasty crash in the Pre 55s. Luckily he was ok.

leaders are heading for the flag but come across a couple of cars ahead on the straight, they split either side of them but the Lancia in 2nd hits the pitwall as he tries to squeeze past. The car lands on it’s roof after flipping in the air and slides down the track actually taking the win. Thankfully the driver is fine but the car wrecked, an interesting way to cross the line I must say. During the delay I take off my boots to try and dry my socks in the sun with limited success There are no further major incidents and the rest of the races go off without a hitch with some good close racing. I hang on for the ITCC prizegiving and then get a lift home with them making the obligatory stop in Burger King en-route where the heat finally returns to me. Fair play to the Leinster Motor Club who got all the races run despite a catalog of delays that were beyong their control. here’s hoping the meeting goes ahead again next year.

Cregor


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