15 Jun BEHIND THE SCENES: SHORT CIRCUIT
Short Circuit racing is one of Killarney’s best kept secrets; it’s not only entry-level budget racing at its best, it also provides some of the closest and most exciting racing you’ll ever see, in an arena format that gives you a view of almost the entire circuit from anywhere on the stands.
The Short Circuit at Killarney is derived from the Half-Main circuit of the 1990s, and was created by building a very short link from the straight between Rose Foundation Corner Sweep and Car Care Clinic Sweep to a point just after the apex of KFM Corner.
Thus the short circuit comprises – in its simplest form – Rose Foundation Corner, the link, the exit from KFM Corner and G-Energy Corner. Add to that a tricky infield section in the original Oval Track pits and short dirt sections (using elements of Killarney’s world-renowned Rallycross circuit) for Motard races, as well as the fact that the circuit can be raced in either direction, and the possibilities are almost limitless.
The inspiration for a racing format at Killarney that would not include the two long straights came from Formula M, a racing class for small single-seater racing cars powered by motorcycle engines. It was soon adopted by the lightweight motorcycle classes that previously shared the ‘K’ circuit with the karting fraternity, to become a superb arena for up-and-coming young riders.
This is where you go to see tomorrow’s champions in action. It’s all about racing, rather than winning at all costs – and if you don’t know the difference, these kids will teach you, as competitors who are arch-rivals on the track pitch in to help get a damaged machine ready for the next race.
It’s a family-orientated environment, with ‘pocket bike’ MiniGP and Mini Motard classes for riders from as young as five years old. Riders from 11 years old are eligible for the one-make CBR150 class, provided they have some previous racing experience.
This class is also open to adults, however, and includes a number of stalwarts who choose Short Circuit racing for its friendly atmosphere and affordability. Where else can you see 12-year-olds racing against (and often beating) riders who are eligible for pensioners’ cards?
The Super Single category caters for single-cylinder motorcycles in three classes up to 500cc, but the real ‘big dogs’ of the Short Circuit are the Supermotards – 450cc enduro bikes running on 17 inch road wheels – delivering spectacular performance and superb racing.
The Formula M crew who started it all are still going strong, with screaming 400cc and 600cc four-cylinder motorcycle engines providing a spine-tingling soundtrack for their racing, and there is even a growing class for 125cc Superkarts.
Each quick-fire 10 lap race is over in less than 10 minutes and the action is non-stop, with each category racing three times in a typical race-day programme. The pits are kid-friendly and are always open to spectators; competitors and crews welcome visitors to this, Killarney’s most underrated racing discipline.