Sixth Round Post Race Report - Day 1, Kirkistown
Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Kevin Mills Racing's Michael Eastwell Storms to Victory on His Return to the National FF1600
2018 Championship runner up, Michael Eastwell, kept his cool in a frantic race one at Kirkistown to take victory in his first race of the 2019 season.
A close battle for pole position promised an exciting race with Cliff Dempsey Racing’s Jonathan Browne topping the qualifying sheets after trading fastest laps with local driver, William Herron.
Off the line Browne made a good get away to hold the lead, but behind him Herron lost out to another local, Ivor McCullough, who moved up to second from fourth on the grid. Unfortunately, the two then had a coming together at Colonial which saw McCullough retire to the pits and Herron drop down to 11th.
It would be a memorable race for Herron who was later involved in an incident and argument with former F4 racer Jamie Sharp which saw them both invited to the Clerk of the Course’s office after the race with Herron receiving a fine and points on his licence.
It was a busy evening for the Clerk, but everything else was adjudged a racing incident with no further action taken.
At the front B-M Racing’s Rory Smith had moved ahead of Browne with Eastwell now up to third. A clash between Smith and Browne saw Smith retire and Browne drop down the order allowing Eastwell to capitalise to take the lead which he would hold,s despite almost constant pressure from championship leader, Ross Martin.
Martin had a disappointing qualifying to start fifth on the grid but clearly found extra pace in the race to take second on the podium and fastest lap, which sees him pull out a bigger gap in the championship ahead of his closest rival Spike Kohlbecker.
Kohlbecker had a messy first lap, dropping to ninth. However, he held his nerve to finish fifth thanks to several passes and other’s people’s incidents.
His Cliff Dempsey teammate and polesitter, Jonathan Browne dropped down to fifth after failing to pass Smith for the lead but made his way back up to finish third place. However, he is hoping for more in the remaining two races.
Border Reiver’s driver, Jamie Thorburn had his best result for the season, finishing fourth. He will also be pleased to have been right in the battle for the podium positions having started ninth on the grid.
The third Cliff Dempsey car of James Clarke had another lively racet having run as high as second and looking for his first win of the year. He and Martin were nose-to-tail lap after lap and eventually contact was made dropping Clarke to sixth which he held on to despite damage to his Ray car.
Former Ginetta Jr racer, Morgan Quinn, was back on his home turf and finished in seventh to extend his lead in the Rookie Class just ahead of Kevin Mills Racing’s Michael MacPherson
John Svensson finished ninth overall, scoring valuable Club Championship points in his close battle with Team Dolan’s Adam Quartermaine who is missing the Kirkistown event.
The final classified place went to the fourth and only local driver to finish, Allan McBurney in his Van Diemen.
Eastwell (NP), Martin (NP), Browne (NP), Thorburn (NP), Kohlbecker (NP), Clarke (NP), Quinn (NP/R), MacPherson (NP), Svensson (C), McBurney (C - Guest)
Fastest Lap: Martin (NP), (C),
DNF: Davidson (NP - Guest), Sharp (NP), Herron (NP - Guest), Smith (NP), McCullough (NP - Guest)
NP =National Pro, C = Clubman’s Class, R = Rookie
Photo courtesy of Bourne Photographic