Emma is top of the class
This year has certainly been a stop start one for Motorsport and Larne Motor Club. However, the SW Adair Northern Ireland Sprint Championship managed to get the wheels turning once again after Motorsport gained the green light. The championship was able to get two rounds underway before the Coronavirus pandemic put the brakes on Motorsport and normal life. After the recommencing of Motorsport the championship was geared up for a further five rounds with Larne Motor Club the hosts of the final round at Kirkistown. Sadly, in October the regulations changed and Motorsport once again halted, meaning the final two planned rounds were affected.
Larne Motor Club member Emma Campbell was a regular 2020 competitor and appeared in every round. Emma scored consistently throughout the championship as she challenged for the class 9A title. Emma also found herself in a keenly contested battle with Sheryl McBride for the newly announced Heaslip Ladies Challenge Trophy.
After the first round at Nutts Corner, Emma found herself only one point behind Sheryl, but after the third round at Kirkistown Emma had steered her yellow Peugeot 106 to the top of class 9A standings and also a two point lead over Sheryl in the Ladies Challenge. Round four of the championship returned to Nutts Corner once again, this time double points were available. Emma had a fantastic drive to finish runner up in the class. Emma took home a valuable eight points in the championship and protected her lead over Sheryl.
As everyone headed to Kirkistown for round five, nobody knew what was to come in the following weeks would mean that this was the fifth and final round of the championship. Motorsport once again was halted by the pandemic battle and the final two rounds had to be postponed.
Emma finished the event in fourth place in her class which was enough to secure a fantastic first place for overall 2020 Class 9A win, a superb achievement by Emma and the little yellow 106. Unfortunately, Emma had to settle for the runner up spot in the Heaslip Ladies Challenge Trophy as Sheryl found three more points than Emma to take the top spot by a solitary point. This was a fantastic battle between the ladies for the title and I’m sure they’re looking forward to the 2021 season for another close battle.
Emma is relatively new to Motorsport having first competed in the 2019 SW Adair NI Sprint Championship without any previous Motorsport experience, so to have achieved a Class Win and runner up in Heaslip Ladies Challenge Trophy in her second season was commendable.
I asked Emma what she enjoyed about the Championship.
“ There is always a great atmosphere in the paddock on race day as everyone gets there cars prepped for the days racing, the smell of petrol, oil and burning rubber is toxic but helps to focus the mind for racing. You get to know many of the competitors now that I am in my second season; they are all so friendly and always offering helpful advice to me the novice! It is always a great day’s craic and you feel like part of a big motorsport family. Thanks must go to Jimmy Heaslip (Clover Hill Farm) for sponsoring the 2020 Heaslip Ladies Challenge Trophy as this gave us lady competitors another competition award to focus upon within the overall NI Sprint Championship. Congratulations most go to Sheryl for winning this Trophy. We need to advertise for more Lady Competitors as we are underrepresented in motorsport. Overall it is just great to get out on track and enjoy the days racing, recommended therapy for any petrol head!”
What did you find frustrating about the 2020 season?
“No Prizes for guessing the answer to this question. Covid-19 has had a big impact to all our lives and I suppose it will be some time before we see a normality and freedom we were used to. I was looking forward to the 2020 season to build on my experience of the 2019 Sprint championship and to put into practice the advice I had received from experienced fellow competitors, and to see how far I could push myself and my 106. Unfortunately the racing season was a stop start affair and shorter than normal but we were fortunate compared to other motorsport disciplines to have been able to complete a Championship term. Roll on 2021.“
What are your 2021 Plans?
“ Patsy (Many competitors seem to name their cars, I’m no different and there is a story behind this I’ll share sometime) is the name of my little yellow Peugeot 106. We’ll she is getting on a bit and is now 25years old and needs a little bit of attention. The plan is, funds dictating, to have some work completed over the next few months by my regular mechanic at McKay Motorsport to keep her in running order so that I am able to compete in the 2021 NI Sprint championship. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for all of us and some normality returns for all of society and all Motorsport disciplines.”