A day of highs and lows for Colin Turkington in the penultimate meeting of the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone.
The Portadown driver qualified his Ebay BMW fourth fastest and in the opening races he scored a fourth and a fifth placing which left him going into the final race on the National Circuit second in the championship to Andrew Jordan; thirty eight points adrift. The two opening races going the way of Jason Plato and MG.
The final race had Matt Neal (Honda) and Turkington on the front row both with soft tyres fitted and as expected Turkington made the better start to lead the pack which he did for several laps finally dropping back into the jaws of his rivals as Gordon Shedden shot to the front with his works Honda.
Then disaster for Turkington, broken rear suspension and the BMW crawled crab-like and into retirement as Shedden took the flag.
The Ulsterman is now back in fourth place in the race for the championship with only three races remaining at Brands Hatch on Sunday 13 October.
Nothing it seems short of a miracle can see him take the title and Jordan is looking more and more like becoming the champion of 2013.
Meanwhile, the Martin Donnelly Trophy attracted the cream of Irish Formula Ford with the generous support of Ards Borough Council to Kirkistown on Saturday for the eighth running of the event which has been described as the Grand Prix event of Formula Ford racing.
The 500MRCI wisely staged the event at the final meeting of the season with both Formula Ford Championships sorted, the climax of a season which can only be described as vintage.
Two heats, a Last Chance race and the final itself the ingredients for close racing in ideal conditions and in qualifying Kevin O’Hara in the Motorsport Ireland Van Diemen gave an indication of what was to come by posting the fastest ever Formula Ford lap at the venue in qualifying.
Heat one with O’Hara on pole and Noel Dunne alongside and it was Dunne with the early advantage, but soon O’Hara took command and the battle for first was between O’Hara, Dunne and Jonny McMullan and the dash to the line saw them finish in that order.
There was disappointment for Noel Robinson a former double winner of the event, out after three laps, engine problem with his Van Diemen.
Heat two was a much more frantic affair with Ivor McCullough on pole, the reigning Northern Ireland Formula Ford Champion and a double winner of this trophy and alongside another former winner of the Martin Donnelly Trophy Neville Smyth, who was complaining of lack of speed on the straights.
Within seconds of the start and exiting Debitors Birmingham based John Ferguson’s Ray was hurtled into the air and several rolls, luckily he walked away from the carnage, but his challenge was over.
Immediately red flags appeared around the circuit and a restart with McCullough leading from Niall Murray and gradually as the laps unfolded McCullough eased his Van Diemen clear of Murray and the pursuing pack. The focus then turned to the battle for second with Murray coming under the close attention of Smyth who despite that lack of power was able to find a way past to capture second.
The Last Chance race went the way of Ryan Campbell and the final itself Ivor McCullough and O’Hara occupied the front row, O’Hara had the edge on McCullough who retired on lap 15. O’Hara broke away leaving McMullan and Murray to dispute the runner up slot and it was McMullan who edged out Murray by one third of a second.
The support programme saw wins for Sean Newsome and Kevin Grogan in Formula Vee while in Roadsports the spoils were shared by Jim Larkham and Stephen Donnelly.
Jim Hutchinson rolled out his RSR Escort to win the first Saloon/GT race with David Beatty the victor in the second in his Ginetta.
James Turkington continued his tally of unbroken wins in the Ford Fiesta race.