Published Wednesday, 04 April 2012
The weekend as a whole marks the start of the short circuit season and would be motorcycling's answer to rallying's Circuit of Ireland.
The weekend's races give the public a rare chance to see the stars of road racing do battle against the short circuit specialists, before the two separate into their own disciplines.
"Easter Monday" is run and promoted by The Belfast and District Motor Club, which was formed in 1906 and has long been dedicated to running motorcycle events ever since.
This has included trials at the Lead Mines near Newtownards and their very own road race the 'Carrowdore 100' which first ran in 1927 and continued in one form or another until 2000.
The B and D is still the only club to be associated with "Easter Monday" and is now the club's big weekend of the year having run the race meeting since 1956 and always at Kirkistown.
From a personal perspective one of my first memories of Irish motorsport was attending these races, as my girlfriend was the club's assistant competition secretary and lap scorer.
I have been involved in marshalling motorsport events for a great number of years prior to my own involvement but it was my first experience in getting involved with the behind the scenes work that needs to be done by the volunteer club officials.
Actually seeing the riders out on track on race day could be seen as the "icing on the cake" after work that goes on for months before hand and then the club's committee still has the worry whether the spectators will turn out on the day and make the whole exercise viable.
Abiding memories of these times would be having to get up at the scrake of dawn to arrive at Kirkistown and help sign the riders on.
This was no mean feat having to take unpaid fees, check licences and give-out wrist bands whilst still being bleary eyed.
Then the afternoon was taken up with starting and lap scoring the races, basically an attack on the senses with an element of nervousness all at the same time.
If the weather is kind on Monday the circuit will become a scene of intense rapid fire action with 150+ riders negotiating themselves through 8 or 9 minutes of qualifying and then racing over 15 minutes or 10 laps for a top 3 place with a slice of the prize fund at the end of the rainbow.
The blue ribboned races of the day will be rounds 4, 5 of the Irish Superbike Championship and will see the likesof Cameron Donald, William Dunlop and Ryan Farquhar going wheel to wheel.
The winner of the 2nd race will get the added bonus of being awarded The Mayors Trophy, which was raised by Ards Borough Council to mark the club's centenary in 2006.
This table of events makes up the program for Monday
(2 Championship Races per Class)
A. Moto 3 (inc.125GP)
B. Moto 450
D. Supersport 400
F. Supersport / Junior Superstock
G. Irish Superbikes/Superstock (600/1010 Excluding 250cc GP Machines)
H. Supercup (all1010cc Clubman)
I. SidecarAdmission will be £10 per person with children under 12 getting in free (when accompanied by an adult)
Practice to get underway at 9.00am with the first race scheduled to start at 1pm.
Images courtesy of Derek Wilson Photography
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