Kirkistown Race Circuit Northern Ireland

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Although the Kirkistown circuit is owned and maintained by the 500MRCI, whose main activities are car and kart racing, there are lots of other things taking place at the track on a regular basis.

Championship Sprints are organised by the club on three occasions per year with Larne Motor Club and the Ulster Automobile Club also organising one event each, towards the end of the season.

The UAC also runs the New Year Stages rally in January at the circuit and North Armagh Motor Club run the opening round of the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship in February.

Naturally, being a racing circuit, Kirkistown is regularly used by teams and individuals for the testing of cars, karts and motorbikes. This usually takes place during weekdays, rather than weekends.

Car track days run from February to November. The main provider of these is Trackskills although the Lotus Club of Ireland, The Porsche Club and the Armagh Motor Association also run one or two.

There are usually three big motorcycle race meetings every year. These are hosted by the Belfast & District Motor Club. Their Easter Monday meeting generally has huge crowds, depending on the weather.

Motorcycle track days are catered for by ML Events and run at least once a month, from March to October.

Kirkistown Race School

Kirkistown Race School was created, following the closure of Eddie Irvine’s Race School Ireland at the end of 2017, for the purpose of conducting race licence courses on behalf of the Motorsport UK, the governing body of UK motorsport.

As a member of ARDS – the Association of Racing Driver Schools – Kirkistown Race School will carry out licence courses and assessments on behalf of the MSUK in Northern Ireland.

In order to obtain a Race Licence, a driver must first get a Race Starter Pack from Motorsport UK. This contains a numbered application form, a ‘Go Racing’ DVD containing essential information and guidance notes for completing the form, and can be obtained through the Motorsport UK website - www.msauk.org.

Once he or she has completed the form, the next stage involves doing a test comprising some practical circuit driving - in a normal road car - and a written examination to make sure that he or she is competent behind the wheel, knows the basic rules of racing, and would not therefore be a danger to him/herself or other competitors. To arrange the test contact Kirkistown Race School at 028 42771325 or by e-mail at: info@kirkistown.com.

Kirkistown Race School’s instructor/examiners are Donal O’Neill and Richard Young and both have a wealth of experience. Donal is a former motor cycle racer and driver in Formula Vee, Formula Ford and Formule Libre. He currently races a SEAT Cupra in Kirkistown’s Libre Saloon Championship.

Richard is a three-times Irish Hill Climb Champion who has also raced a wide variety of cars including Porsche 911, FF1600 and FF2000 single seaters, and test-driven an even wider variety including F3000 and Formula One!

Both have more than 10 years experience of conducting ARDS licence tests on behalf of Race School Ireland.

On the motorcycle front, Woolsey Coulter, on sporadic occasions, brings his Advanced Rider Training Academy to Kirkistown.

The Northern Ireland Duathlon organisation run duathlons at the circuit on a very regular basis.

What is a duathlon? Well, at Kirkistown, the competitors run for two miles, followed by a ten mile cycle before a further two mile run, all within the confines of the track.

The age range seems to be from ten to seventy. There are some top class athletes, who put up marvellous times but there are also family groups who are just out to improve their fitness in a safe, friendly and well-organised environment.

The profit from entry fees goes to purchasing tandems for the Belfast Tandem Cycling Group who assist disabled athletes to get into cycling.

Throughout the Summer months the North Down Cycling Club run Closed Circuit cycle races at Kirkistown on various Wednesday evenings.

The circuit is also used from time to time by Peninsula Healthy Living for 'fun runs', one of which took place last year - with much hilarity – in the dark!

And there are some one off events that visit the circuit from time to time, including a schools-based race for electric cars run in June by the Green Power Education Trust, a tractor run with over two hundred tractors, various running races and the Rusty Nuts Rally, a charity event for cars costing less than £500!