Motormouth’s Mutterings- Mondello Park June Meeting
The Motor racing season is now in full swing and the last June meeting was an absolute cracker. Jonathan Fildes and Dave O’Brien both did late deals to join the SEAT Supercup Ireland grid, Fildes in with Murray Motorsport and O’Brien in the car usually driven by SWR’s John Farrelly. Both were highly impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them on the grid for the year, which would be a great boost for the class. Fildes managed to pip Rob Butler for pole and led until he slid wide at Paddock mid race. A subsequent safety car period closed the pack up and having retaken second from Niall Quinn, Fildes charged up to challenge Butler at the final corner- an impressive class debut. In race two, with the grids reversed, series leader Erik Holstein sat on pole but when I interviewed him on the grid he wasn’t confident. Electrical issues had plagued him in qualifying and race one and he was expecting to struggle. His fears were unfounded however, and he went on to take a strong win in the Eniscorthy Motor Company/Motorsport.ie machine- although Dave O’Brien, who had not even tested before the event, used his fresh tyres to charge up to second and close Holstein down in the final laps.
Dan Polley took a straightforward win in race two in the E Fox Engineers Vee opener but it wall all action in race two. Colm Blackburn made a superb start to displace both poleman Polley and Kevin Grogan by turn two. An early safety car intervention bunched them all up and once the pack was released, Polley was immediately on the attack. Revelling in the wet conditions, Polley snatched the lead on the run up to Lola corner with Grogan capitalising to also move past Blackburn. Not to be denied, Blackburn retook second with a brave move round the outside of turn two. In what was one of the best Vee races in recent times, the trio battled all the way to the flag with Grogan repelling a last corner attack from Polley and Blackburn right there too.
Peter Barrable dominated the Tool Dynamics Supercar opener, as polesitter Andy O’Brien fell back, having gambled on wet tyres. Josh Moffett was second with Graeme Colfer just holding off the charging Bob Cameron for third. In race two, Moffett got to the head of the field, with Barrable and O’Brien right with him too. Alan Dawson, in his newly rebuilt SWR machine was keeping the trio in check too in fourth. As O’Brien fought back he tried a run around the outside of Barrable at Mobil and the pair came together at turn two, with both impacting heavily with the barriers and taking no further part in proceedings. This should have left Moffett free to cruise home, but a last lap challenge from Dawson kept him honest! Bob Cameron charged up the grid in both races to gather enough points to top the points table when the erstwhile leaders clashed.
Grzegorz Kalinecki continued his domination of the Teng Tools ITCC series. With Dean Reilly’s super quick Civic expiring early on and Kevin Doran and Ciaran Timmons not out, the sportchip.ie driver disposed of the fast starting Shane Rabbitt, whose spectacular RX-7 subsequently expired in flames mid race, and eased away from the pack with Keith Campbell impressing in second on his return to the class in his Honda powered Corrado. Ian O’Driscoll took production honours from Jay O’Reilly and David Cassidy. In race two, despite a reverse grid and Campbell’s best efforts, Kalinecki took the lead early on and pulled away as he pleased to take the double. Campbell was second again with Eddie Kinirons the only other Super Touring finisher. In Production, Robert Doherty took advantage of a reverse grid and a fantastic scrap with Nicole Drought, Jay O’Reilly and Ian O’Driscoll to take the win. Drought had looked set for second but contact sent her spinning on the final tour, with O’Driscoll almost snatching the lead from Doherty in the final corners.
Sean Lillis led the Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta pack away but left the door wide open at turn three for the ever opportunistic Kev Doran to fire it down the inside. Having only got a few flying laps in qualifying after the gear linkage came adrift, the former ITCC star began to ease away. Unfortunately though, a broken exhaust led to him inadvertantly buzzing the engine and he pulled off the track on the run up to Lola corner. This left Lillis back in the lead with Ulick Burke and Steven Kirwan in pursuit. Burke shook off Kirwan by mid race and gradually chipped away at Lillis’ lead. The former Zetec Fiesta champion remained unrattled though to take the flag for his debut ST win. In race two, with Doran unable to start, Burke led away but was shadowed by Lillis and when he missed a gear on the way out of 7B, he was by for the double win in the EARS/Blackchurch machine.
Rallycrosser Patrick Donohue blitzed the pack in micksgarage.com Future Classics but unfortunately for him also blitzed the barrier time on a number of occasions dropping him down the order. Robbie Parks kept both Donohoe and the barrier time in sight for the duration and took the honours, with Aidan Byrne next up in the Chevette and Timmy Duggan completing the podium in his SEAT Ibiza.
Scottish series visitor John Paterson took the first Legends race despite the best efforts of local drivers Niki Meredith and Paul O’Brien. Meredith redressed the balance with a home win in race two and repeated it in race three, despite the best attentions of brother in law James Holman. Holman reversed the order in the fourth race, by a similarly small margin, whilst Patterson took anotheri mpressive win in race five, with Meredith and Holman right on his bumper. In the final race of the weekend, Paul O’Brien took a great win from Patterson and Holman in what was a great weekend’s racing for the Legends.
Mondello Park’s Phil Lawless took another pair of wins in the Procraft Tools Zetec Fiestas, but as ever, he had to work for both. team mate Darren Lawlor challenged hard in race two, even briefly snatching the lead before the series leader resumed his normal position at the head of the closely fought pack.
Even Bernard Foley’s MGBGT V8 was not enough to hold Jackie Cochrane’s Tiger from rumbling its way to another two HRCA wins, the Tiger remaining unbeaten thus far in 2016. Alan Watkins was again the man to beat in the Irish Sportscar Championship, with the evergreen Des Bruton following him home in both races. Kevin Sheane was back on form in Formula Sheane taking two strong wins with Robbie Allen, Brian Hearty and Dave Parks battling in his wake. These results vaulted Sheane up to second in the series standings, just three points adrift of Hearty, who is chasing an incredible 11th championship this year!
It’s all action again this weekend with the Formula Vee Festival and pretty much all of the classes will be out racing. Just €10 per car at the gate, face painting, BBQs and a charity auction on Saturday night in the Bar with all proceeds going to the Laura Lynn foundation.
All images from Michael Chester.