Kevin O’Hara may not have raced many times in 2015 but he more than made up for that by dominating the Martin Donnelly Trophy race for Formula Ford 1600 at Kirkistown supported by Ards & North Down Borough Council.
After a lengthy lay off from this class of racing, he was immediately back on the pace topping the charts in qualifying and in the first heat he held off the recently crowned Avon Formula Ford Champion Jonny McMullan and at the flag O’Hara was five seconds clear of McMullan. Tom O’Connor brought his Van Diemen into third place.
Heat two was a more frantic affair which saw the Northern Ireland Formula Ford Champion Jake Byrne take the honours in his Van Diemen from last years victor Alan Davidson in a Mondiale and Johnnie Mulholland completing the top three in his Van Diemen.
The final saw twenty three cars form up on the grid with O’Hara on pole and right away the battle commenced between himself and McMullan. Within a few laps the pair had broken clear of the pack and try as he did McMullan could not get the measure of O’Hara, who crossed the finish line just short of five seconds ahead, to add to his 2013 win in this event. Byrne recovered to finish third with Davidson fourth, having gone wide at Colonial One early in the race and joined midfield and staged his comeback. Noel Robinson a previous two time winner of the event went off in his heat and as result had a lowly grid place for the final and he fought his way through to finish eventually fifth, having got up to third place at one point and O’Connor rounded off the top six.
Other highlights of the meeting held in ideal conditions, James Turkington at the wheel of a SEAT clinched the Kirkistown based Saloon series and established a new class record in the process, while Richard Livingston had sealed the Fiesta Championship even before the meeting got under way.
Other race wins went the way of Jim Larkham who had two wins in Roadsports, Paul Monahan a double winner in the Saloon/GT encounters and there were Formula Vee victories for Paula Moore and Dan Polley.
Martin Donnelly Trophy Formula Ford 1600:
1. Kevin O’Hara (Van Diemen RF01) 21 laps in 21m 32.48s (88.44mph); 2 Jonny McMullan (Van Diemen LA10) + 4.74s; 3 Jake Byrne (Ray GR13); 4 Alan Davidson (Mondiale M89S); 5 Noel Robinson (Van Diemen JL012K); 6 Tom O’Connor (Van Diemen RF90). P. O’Hara. FL: O’Hara 1m 00.78s (89.55mph).
Heat 1: 1 O’Hara 13 laps in 13m 22.60s (88.16mph); 2 McMullan +5.28s; 3 O’Connor; 4 Mike Todd (Mondiale M84S); 5 David Parks (Swift SC94); 6 Paul McMorran (Crossle 32F). P O’Hara. FL: O’Hara 1m 00.85s (89.44mph).
Heat 2: 1 Byrne 13 laps in 13m 31.48s (87.20mph); 2 Davidson +4.38s; 3 Johnnie Mulholland (Van Diemen RF91); 4 Andrew Noble (Van Diemen JL012K); 5 Ryan Campbell (Reynard FF89); 6 Niall Murray (Van Diemen RF99). P: Byrne. FL: Byrne 1m 01.05s (89.16mph).
Ford Fiestas. Race 1: 1 Brendan Fitzgerald 12 laps in 16m 06.48s (67.58mph); 2 Jonny Forsythe + 0.49s; 3 Ben McCully; 4 Michael Fitzgerald; 5 Richard Livingston; 6 Adrian Finnegan. P: Forsythe. FL: Brendan Fitzgerald 1m 16.42s (71.23mph).
Race 2. 1 Brendan Fitzgerald 13 laps in 16m 53.48s (69.82mph); 2 Forsythe +4.03s; 3 Livingston; 4 McCully; 5 Eorann O’Neill; 6 Lewis Dunlop. P: McCully. FL: Brendan Fitzgerald 1m 16.21s (71.42mph).
Saloons/GTs race 1. 1 Paul Monahan (Ginetta G55) 16 laps in 16m 29.54s (88.01mph); 2 John McLoughlin (Ginetta G50) + 17.05s; 3 Niall Murray (SEAT Leon); 4 John Farrelly (SEAT Leon); 5 Michael Cullen (SEAT Leon); 6 James Turkington (SEAT Leon).P: Monahan. FL: Monahan 1m 00.32s (90.24mph). new Saloon record Turkington 1m 00.85s).
race 2. 1 Monahan 16 laps in 16m 30.78s (87.90mph); 2 McLoughlin +24.59s; 3 Murray; 4 Rod McGovern (SEAT Leon); 5 Barry English (SEAT Leon); 6 Farrelly. P: Monahan. FL: Monahan 1m 00.62s (89.80mph).
Roadsports race 1. 1 Jim Larkham (Radical PR06) 16 laps in 16m 57.94s (85.55mph); 2 John Benson (Crossle 37S) + 0.50s; 3 Graham Moore (GMS Honda); 4 Mark Francis (GMS Honda); 5 Paul Conn (Crossle 47S); 6 John McCandless (Crossle 47S). P: Larkham. FL: Larkham 1m 02.32s (87.34mph). race 2 1 Larkham 16 laps in 16m 36.55s (87.39mph); 2 Conn +4.24s; 3 Benson; 4 Moore; 5 Francis; 6 Paul Thompson (Stryker). P: Larkham. FL: Larkham 1m 01.09s (89.09mph)
Formula Vee race 1 1 Paula Moore (Leastone JH004) 12 laps in 13m 50.27s (78.67mph); 2 Gavin Buckley (Sheane FV99) + 0.77s; 3 Shane McBride (Sheane FV94); 4 Anthony Cross (Sheane FV10); 5 Justin Costello (Leastone JH002); 6 Brendan O’Brien (Leastone JH002). FL: Moore 1m 07.23s (80.96mph).
race 2 1 Dan Polley (Sheane FV00) 15 laps in 16m 42.95s (81.41mph); 2 Kevin Grogan (Leastone JH002) + 0.11s; 3 David Kelly (Sheane FV02); 4 Jimmy Furlong (Sheane FV94); 5 Stephen Morrin (Leatone JH004); 6 Ray Moore (Leastone JH004). P: Polley. FL: Grogan 1m 05.56s (83.03mph).