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New Championship, New Possibilities- with Sophie Byrne

2015- new year, new championship, new possibilities, new chance- that is a chance to do better than last years’ championship and make a fresh start. Clean slate and all that….

Fortunately it is nearly time to clean the cobwebs of the ‘aul Fiesta XR2 and have another go in the Future Classics class. When I first got the Fiesta, Jake gave it a quick drive around Mondello and said she was grand, she’ll do. However it quickly came to light that the brakes were faulty when put under racing pressure. We started with the normal things, must have bled them a hundred times….up, down, up, down… but it became apparent that the brakes were adamant that they weren’t changing anytime soon. After a few months and a few successful races with no brakes I got the chance to race in Silverstone in my Fiesta, and so off we went in the big white truck. I was slightly more worried than usual having no brakes because Silverstone is much quicker than Mondello so if I needed my brakes the need would be much greater. It was strange actually because we were sitting around the Fiesta the night before the race and Dad

Take that cup of tea off the roof and we are ready to qualify at Silverstone!
Take that cup of tea off the roof and we are ready to qualify at Silverstone!

was trying to sort Jakes car out for tomorrow and I said to Mum, ‘how the hell are we going to fix this car?’ It so happened that Mr. Kessie was in Silverstone at the same time as he was transporting cars. Dad had ordered in new callipers for the Fiesta and Mr. Kessie insisted that he would only advise me on how to change the even though I didn’t have the foggiest idea…. and so with the help of Mum and the advisory role of Mr.Kessie I changed them… best as I could without much intervention……and they were fixed.

Race day however was not to be expected- it was lashing rain, so badly that I actually couldn’t see in front of me. I was just looking for the red along the rumble strip to guess where to break. I qualified fourth (a Lamborghini Gallardo was on pole!), however it was a handicapped race and whatever way they worked it out I only finished eleventh even though I was fifth quickest overall in the race. All in all it was a fantastic experience- the aquaplaning along the back straight included!

2015 is what I’m really interested in to be honest. The Fiesta has finally gotten into shape and is ready to go, and now with the brakes working it’s going to be an even bigger challenge to remain within the time barrier. I love the idea of the time barrier, I think it’s really a fantastic feature to the race and the class but I can’t deny that a few un-lady-like words slipped out of my mouth after breaking the barrier….twice….in my second ever race……even though I finished third, I really didn’t.

On the up-side I finished the last race of the season in second so I’m feeling positive about the 2015 championship. I have high hopes, but with an even quicker car, a big group of men ready to beat me and a time barrier to remain within, I have never been more excited and ready for a new season to hurry up and get going!! I may have a mentioned it a few times last year to the guys to maybe venture up to Kirkistown for a race or two because, who doesn’t like Kirkistown- the atmosphere is epic, the track is quick and sharp and the future classics need to go and have a nosey….but we’ll just have to wait and see what comes of that idea! I know I wrote a blog for my debut in the Future Classics Class, and am not too sure if I said this and am repeating myself, but I had this image in my head that I wasn’t going to like the class or the car and am slightly tentative about trying anything new in racing. I don’t always have that attitude so many do of ‘let’s jump in the car and see what happens’, but I have never misjudged racing so much in my life! I may be the youngest in the class, and in my last race where I finished second against Brendan Travers, he got out of his car after the race, opened my door for me and shook my hand and said, ‘Well done ya young one, great drive.’ The kindness and clean driving and banter and craic had on and off the track speaks for itself, and I consider myself lucky to be racing in the class with a group of great lads. Let’s bring on the 2015 championship, let’s get racing!! 🙂



Images from James Foley & Gillian Austen.

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