Sunday 2 December 2012

Race - Make my Year

Joe, Ciaran and Ryan
He’s no rally driver but he’s been mentioned in this naturally aspirated diary of drivel in the past simply because he’s a Scot doing well in the world of motorised sport. I’m talking about Ryan Dalziel who flew in from the Yeeoonited States of Americky last week to present the prizes at this weekend's West of Scotland Kart Club annual awards in Bellshill, the fifth city of Lanarkshire.

That in itself marks Ryan out as helluva nice chap, but what he did for 16 year old Ciaran Hegarty went beyond the bounds of niceness. Last year Ciaran won the Junior Kart Championship and went on to win the Formula Blue Club Championship, the Summerlee Open and came out on top in the Overall Senior Club Championship this year. He is now planning an assault on the Super1 series next year.

The World Endurance LMP 2 endurance champion then stunned the youngster with an invitation to join him and the Starworks Motorsport team at Daytona next month.

Ryan has arranged flights, rental car, hotel  and race tickets for the Grand-Am Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in January.

Ciaran and his dad Joe, from Johnstone in Renfrewshire, will stay in the same hotel as the Starworks Motorsport team and get exclusive access to the crew and pitlane during the race weekend.

Ryan said: “It is especially for kids aged 16 and under and I hope it will give them a different view of racing away from the Formula One angle. Every kid, including myself, wants to be in F1 when they grow up, but this will hopefully show that there is more to motor racing.”

“They will have full access. We will give them Starworks shirts and we want them to feel part of the team for the whole weekend. I feel it is important that we do it right and make them feel welcome – and that is what we will do.”

“This is something that I have always felt was important. Scotland has produced some amazing talents over the years and one thing my dad always taught me was to give something back and not to forget when you came from. The timing was right for me to be able to make this possible.”

“I am coming off a very successful year and I felt good enough to stand up and offer this. I have wanted to do it for years, and hopefully I will be able to continue to offer it in the years to come.”

“It is difficult to follow what goes on in Scotland when you are in America, but I asked a lot of people and the name everyone came up with was Ciaran’s.”

“I had met Ciaran last year and he is really good kid with a great dad. There are a lot of kids with similar racing credentials, but his relationship with his dad reminded me a lot of how it was with my dad when we were coming through the ranks. That was a huge part of it.”

“Ciaran’s results speak for themselves. He had an incredible year, so he was the perfect choice. I will do my best to introduce him to some teams and give him the opportunity to speak to a lot of people.”

 Ciaran said:  “I was lost for words when I found out. It is an amazing opportunity and I can’t thank Ryan enough. I have only ever been to a Formula One race before and we didn’t get anywhere near the cars – so it will be fantastic to be into the garage, speak to the team and watch Ryan and the other drivers close up.”

“We have never been to America before, let alone Daytona, so it is going to be a dream trip. I have seen Le Mans on TV and those guys do a full F1 season in one weekend – that is the ultimate in car racing.”

Joe added: “It still hasn’t really sunk in. To get something like this is just stunning. We have only seen it on TV so to be down there and smelling the petrol and soaking up the atmosphere will be unreal. I think it will take a while before we come back down to earth.”

“It is an amazing way to start the year. We met Ryan last year as well and he always has so much time for you. He doesn’t just stop for a picture – he actually talks to you. But this is another level. This is a phenomenal gesture by Ryan and we just want to say a massive thank you.” 

Now, all we need is a few more top stars to help out tomorrow's top talent!

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