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Le Mans racer Boyd takes to the Cultra hills

 

By Sammy Hamill

Home appearances by leading Ulster drivers like Kris Meeke, Charlie Eastwood and Wayne Boyd are rare; these days, they are found competing on a global stage.

But on Saturday, former British Formula Ford champion Boyd will follow in the slipstream of Meeke and Eastwood by taking part in the Cultra hill climb near Holywood.

Boyd, now driving for the Anglo-American United Autosports team in the European Le Mans prototype series, will swap his 420-horsepower Ligier-Nissan V8 for an historic Crossle 47S sports racer to do demonstration runs up the hill which is within the grounds of the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.

The 47S will join several other historic Crossles at the event which celebrates 60 years of the cars designed and built by the late John Crossle at Rory's Wood, just up the road from Cultra.

The majority of them were Formula Fords and the hill climb promoters - the Northern Ireland Thoroughbred Sports Car Club - will use the 50th anniversary of their continuing popularity as their theme for the event.

Among the cars taking part will be the original Crossle 16F which was driven to victory in the inaugural European Formula Ford championship by Scot Gerry Birrell.

It will be among 12 Crossles featuring in the Cultra finale on Saturday, a Formula Ford Shootout for a specially commissioned 'In Memory of John Crossle' Trophy.

For certain, Boyd would, if allowed, be itching to take part as he was Britain's top Formula Ford driver in his early days, winner of the British Championship in 2008, twice winner of the Brands Hatch Festival as well as the Walter Hayes Trophy.

But his commitments to the United Autosports team mean that he will have to be content with demonstrating the 47S Crossle.

Although Cultra is not part of the Northern Ireland Hill Climb Championship, all the leading contenders will be there including reigning champion and current leader of the series Chris Houston.

Meanwhile, three of Boyd's contemporaries in sports car racing are in action at Zolder in Belgium this weekend in a round of Blancpain European GT3 sprint series.

Jonny Kane and Andrew Watson are part of the Strakka McLaren team and Steven Kane leads the Bentley challenge.

Belfast Telegraph

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