Belfast speed festival brings Formula One to Ulster
The unforgettable spectacle of Jarno Trullt blasting a 1999 Jordan-Mugen Honda Formula One car up Prince of Wales Drive to Stormont, seat of Government in Northern Ireland, during the Belfast City Millennium Motorsport Festival stirred thousands of fans who lined the course. Alan Tyndall's remarkable event, run on August 28 in aid of the Ulster Cancer Foundation, will never be repeated.
Trulli, who had an early bath in the previous day's Belgian Grand Prix, and Jaguar's Eddie Irvine flew in from Spa for the festivities. Locally-born Irvine drove a Jaguar D up the hill, while Sir Stirling Moss took a replica C-type up, reflecting his second successive Tourist Trophy win at Dundrod in 1951.
Five time Grand Prix winner John Watson, driving the stunning Jordan 191, and Irvine led the seven-strong band of Ireland's GP drivers. Derek Daly flew in from his race school in the USA to demonstrate Richard Eyre's Williams FWO8C-08, a fine doughnut in the start area suggesting that he enjoyed it. Kenneth Acheson found a RAM 01 rather better than it was in 1983. David Kennedy delighted in John Fenning's Wolf WR2 (a sister car to that which he raced in the '79 Aurora British F1 series), tended by its original crew chief Roy Topp. Martin Donnelly flung the ex-Mario Andretti JPS Lotus 79-3 to the top with abandon, and Damien Magee experienced Cosworth DFV power for the first time in 24 years in an F3000 Reynard 88D. Even the shrill note of the Jordan VIO was eclipsed by a BRM V16. Not seen in Ireland since Fangio contested the Ulster Trophy at Dundrod in '52, Tom Wheatcroft's car was at its deafening best as it screamed to the summit in Rick Hall's hands.
Rally aces led by An Vatanen, Jimmy McRae (in the Vauxhall Chevette HSR in which he won the first of seven Circuits of Ireland in 1980) and Louise Aitken-Walker joined Ronnie Adams, who led the Irish Jaguar team to victory in the 1957 Monte Carlo event, and '64 winner Paddy Hopkirk. Fifteen-times World Motor Cycling champion Giacomo Agostini (MV Agusta) and Ulster's current 500cc star Jeremy McWilliams (Aprilia) headed a two-wheeled tribute to local legend Joey Dunlop, who was killed in July. MP