Belfast Telegraph

Bishopscourt upgrade bridges a 40-year gap

By Sammy Hamill

It once staged car race meetings on a regular basis and even hosted the important Leinster Trophy meeting back in 1967 when John Watson won and posted the first 100mph lap.

But for almost 40 years cars have not been allowed to race on the Bishopscourt circuit in Co Down. The track, constructed around the former World War Two airfield near Downpatrick, did not meet safety regulations even though it has often been the venue for rallies, sprints and motorbike races.

This weekend, however, racing cars are back following upgrades to the track and the granting of a licence by the UK Motor Sports Association.

And it is the Leinster Club who have led the move back to Bishopscourt with a two-day meeting, which has been arranged in collaboration with the British Automobile Racing Club.

“We have been working with the circuit’s owners for the past 12 months and thankfully the work has paid off,” said Leinster MC’s Mark Kelly.

“It has been a massive undertaking but we have had great support from the vast majority of the Irish championship classes and have an entry of over 100 cars.”

The meeting will feature Formula Ford, Formula Sheane, Formula Vee, Fiat Arbaths and Unos, Strykers, Irish touring cars and Formula Libre in a packed programme which is scheduled to include 26 races over the two days.

Competitors will have had no opportunity to test on the circuit and will go straight into qualifying tomorrow morning (10am).

“None of us really knows what to expect as we have never raced there before and there has been no testing,” said multi-Formula Vee champion Ray Moore.

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