As I normally do on the Sunday evening of a race meeting, I had a pint with a few motorsport heads to discuss the day’s events. We certainly had plenty to talk about this time. What a great day- we had it all. Wonderful weather, quick novices, close hard racing and a bit of panel bashing to keep the bloodthirsty TV viewers entertained.
Social media was buzzing all day- especially after Brian Hearty pushed his stricken Formula Sheane to the line to claim the final point. If anyone doubted how much he wants championship number 11, just have a look at the below clip! Brian is a great competitor and it’s great to have someone like him in a competitive single seater class. Much like Vivion Daly back in the day- you know if anyone manages to beat him- they have gotta be good!
I was delighted to see the Blackchurchmotors.ie Fiestas filling the grids once again. All we need now is for the midfield mentallers to watch the Barrable/Fitzgerald battle on Mondello TV and learn how it is done! It is still a great entry saloon car series for those who want to go racing and Phil Lawless even had his old car for sale in the paddock- for just €2500! He also rents them out for just €500 a meeting- sure what are you waiting for?! Remember, there is a 6 hour Endurance Race for these at the end of the year and you can be sure that when you and your three mates want to buy one in the weeks coming up to that one, you won’t buy one for €2,500!
The MicksGarage ITCC gave us great entertainment, although I am sure Eoghan Fogarty might not agree. There was a bit too much contact and it is never nice when we see a heavy hit as everyone on the grid has probably already made sacrifices just to be there. I believe wrists were slapped afterwards though so hopefully we won’t see another day like that for a while. I hear on the grapevine that Steven Maher is selling the ex Dave O’Brien M3 too, which is a shame if it is true, as it would be great to see the M3s take on the SEATS- and Bishopscourt might just be the place for it to happen. Maybe Dave might buy it back?! Kevin Doran no doubt earned himself even more fans on Sunday as he single handedly took on the SEATS in his diminutive Civic. I hear the car is not as badly damaged as first thought so hopefully it will be back on the grid for Bishopscourt. Great to see the Production class numbers growing too- I am a fan of that class, having raced in it before and believe it is a perfect transition class for Fiesta drivers looking to go a bit quicker. Some back wing on Ian O’Driscoll’s Civic wasn’t there? It might look like a park bench but he blitzed the opposition- I wonder if the others might sprout similar ones before the next round?!
The Formula Vees always give great entertainment but as an ex Vee racer myself I often wonder where all the
cars are gone. Back when I raced (I know, I know, I sound like Uncle Albert from Only Fools and Horses!) there were about 50 Vees at some race meetings. They can’t have vapourised, so they much be sitting around somewhere gathering dust. The wonderful thing about the class is that you buy a cheap starter car do the Finol Star of tomorrow series and then, if you want to, get a Doherty or Heavey (or similar, before someone rings me!) engine and maybe a gearbox build and you will pretty much have a front running car. They are still relatively cheap to run and don’t depreciate as the chassis designs have not changed much in a decade. I hear a third member of the O’Hara clan may be joining the class soon in Kevin’s lap record holding Leastone. I can’t reveal who it is cos she would kill me but we have never seen a slow O’Hara so some of the novices may need to pull their socks up!
Future Classics continue to impress and isn’t it great to see so many different cars battling together on track. Unfortunately I am old enough to remember most of those cars racing in Production Saloons when they were new. (Abstract thought- I wonder if Ian Thornton has ever heard of Larry Mooney?) Sophie Byrne, or Austen-Byrne as she is now entered, must be wondering when her luck will change, having broken the barrier by a fraction in round one and spun on oil last week- her day will come no doubt. What impressed me was that, despite all the small talk about the barrier time from the detractors- the order and the close racing was pretty similar when the timing system failed last weekend!
I won’t be able to make it to Kirkistown on Saturday but it looks like a great meeting. Plenty of FF1600 entries so no doubt there will be a big slipstreaming battle for the win in that one! Ginetta Junior Ireland also make their first trip north of the border On current form it will be hard to see anyone getting near Jordan Dempsey. He was clearly quicker than the rest at the first Mondello meeting- we haven’t seen that since Niall Murray won the first championship a few years back. No doubt James Roe et al will have been working hard to close the gap though and happily they will be joined by a few newcomers on the grid too. William Quinn from Lisburn, Megan Campbell from Downpatrick and Cameron Fenton from Greystones. Cameron is the son of former Formula Vee and HRCA competitor Willie. This, added to the four newcomers ( Daragh Denning, Morgan Quinn and the Harron twins Samuel and William) should boost the grids greatly for the Junior class. The ASK Supercars make their second appearance of the year on Saturday too and they will be all out to end Sean Doyle’s unbeaten run. They will have to get up early to get that done, although Peter Barrable wasn’t too far back last time out. Former Fiesta racer and Rallycrosser Graeme Colfer is also due to join the grid soon too!
Bishopscourt is coming up soon too and it is one everyone is looking forward to. The ex airfield circuit is fast and flowing and the fact that so many Mondello classes travel up make it something of a holiday weekend for everyone. Unfortunately it clashes with another extremely exciting event, the first ever Rallycross at the Tynagh Karting circuit in Tynagh, out West! Colin Dowling and his crew have been working really hard on this one and it is very important for Rallycross in Ireland that it is a successful venture.
I mentioned it on air but I’ll say it again here- the Mondello TV team did a superb job on Sunday. Martin Cavanagh and team were in Lydden Hill on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and travelled though the night to get to Mondello and set up for our coverage. The coverage is getting better each time and I am delighted to be involved. The coverage of Motor racing these days is unbelievable, helped by live streaming and of course social media. It’s great to see so many photographers attending race meetings too. one tip though, if you are going to use their images, especially on social media- ask them and credit them- it’s only fair.
Motorsport.ie is going really well lately and the feedback is excellent, so people seem to be enjoying it. If you have any news- please do send it in though- firstname.lastname@example.org Even if it is just a one liner, you changed your car, got a sponsor, or got an engine built. It’s great to get full articles or blogs but even the smaller stuff gives me information for my own pieces and helps for commentary too!
In other news, I have been working on a new Motoring TV programme with the guys in Frame It Productions and having great fun doing so. It will only be half serious, but will have a motorsport element to it too, which is exciting. I have been doing some work with Jake Byrne too and he has received backing from Punchestown Festival for his FF1600 campaign. We have some other innovative plans too, which we hope to announce soon.
Until next time,