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Friday, 19 April 2019

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Ballykelly 2014 race report

Ballykelly 2014 race report

Firstly on behalf of the BLSA we would like to thank  the office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister for the use of the Airfield at Ballykelly as it is one of the  best venues anywhere in Europe.

Entries for the event were disappointing with only 8 entries on each day, but the host of the event Blokart Fun and Blokart World were not to be daunted and decided to go ahead with the event anyway.

We had a practice day on the Friday from 12.00 noon in steady north easterly 23mph winds with most using 3m sails.  After a great practice day on the tarmac, we headed for a meal at the local Indian Restaurant for some good food and a beer.

Saturday forecast was for 14 to 18mph winds  and 14 degrees air temperature and we weren't disappointed and racing soon got underway.  Due to the low entry numbers, we decided to run with production class only and prizes for 1st, 2nd  and 3rd  overall.

Race officer for the event was Jo Letters assisted by Martin McNeill on the flags.  We managed to get 7 races in on the Saturday on a triangular course with some very close racing from our usual suspects Martin Letters, Donnny MacFarlane, Alan Watson.  Martin Letters put in a couple of good races in a shadow kart with his daughter Aimee making her debut on board and she thoroughly enjoyed it with the blokart grin very visible.  We also had a new comer to the racing scene Brian Hayes who turned out to be a bit of a tarmac tactition, Dylan Letters was on a mission and from race one and throughout the day managed to stay in the top 3places using a 3m sail while most of us were using 4m sails.

After  race 4 we had lunch provided by Tommy’s Chippy and after lunch we decided to have a guided safari around the many runways  on the perimeter of the airfield with some of the marshalls joining in for the 3 mile trip accompanied by the event support vehicle.  On return to the race base and the marshalls back on station, it was time to get back to the racing with a further 3 races before the end of day one.

Saturday evening meal was at the Drummond Hotel  in Ballykelly, where we met up for some drinks at the bar before the meal at 7.45pm.

All agreed a start time of 11.00 am on the Sunday morning with most arriving in good time as some tyre changes were needed  with some tyres down to the inner tube.  Donny gave a full demo of how to do a tyre change , no tools required and with the course set it was time to go racing again.  Sunday morning winds were still NE but had dropped overnight to about 12 to 14mph, so all got the 5.5m sails rigged and the racing got under way for Day 2.

Unfortunately Alan was unable to stay for the Sunday racing, but we were joined by Vincent Clarke who put in some good results with a couple of 3rd and forth places.

We had 4 races on the Sunday with Dylan, Donny and Martin still dominating the top 3 positions, the course had to be moved a couple of times due to wind shifts with a variety of options used.  A full days racing took place as on the NOR, although not as many as the Saturday due to the lighter winds.

Thanks to the marshals Sue, Elieen and Tracy for their help.

The event was sponsored by Letters Plumbing & Heating who provided the prizes and gave all the competitors and marshals a gift of a Bushmills Whiskey glass and a small miniature bottle of whiskey as a momentum of their trip to Ballykelly.  I should point out that Dylan did not get the bottle of whiskey, he was presented with a bottle of red grape sloer, so the child protection policy is intact.

Thanks to George from Blokart Fun for securing the venue and organising the food.

Congratulations to Dylan, Donny and Martin on their podium positions and big thank you to all who took part and to those that helped out.

Cheers for now from all at Team Ireland.

Results:

Heavyweight Production Points Position
Pat Letters 46 1 (on countbacks)
Brian Hayes 46 2
Graham Dalzell 48 3
George Brein 67 4
Allan Watson 70 5
Lightweight Production Points Position
Dylan Letters 8 1
Martin Letters 15 2
Donny Macfarlane 18 3