Formula Ford has always been popular in Ireland. Traditionally, it allowed young drivers to cut their teeth in single seaters, and then, if they were good enough, to cross the Irish Sea in search of bigger scalps. Michael Roe, Bernard Devaney, Derek Daly, Martin Donnelly all travelled this road with great success- probably starting the saying that if you can win at Mondello, you can win anywhere in the world.
In the late 90’s, with the Formula Ford class still using the trusty Kent 1600cc engine, the first of many moves to replace it was announced. With big support from Ford, and using their latest Zetec engine, Formula Ford Zetec was born. The history books might show that the engines were too heavy, mounted too high in cars (initially at least) and that the Formula didn’t last- unlike its predecessor, still going strong, across the water at least. Zetec was introduced in Ireland, with strong support from Ford of Ireland and ran for a number of years with great success. This is from the Leinster Trophy in 1999, as single seater stalwart Paul Dagg tries to clinch the title in front of the TV cameras…. Great to see Alan Ring and Paul Dagg still rallying and racing respectively- some 16 years later!
Image from Con Connolly.