It is that time of the year again. That’s right, The Fiesta 6 Hour race is upon us. A great concept, always so much fun and this year, there are a few changes.
Thankfully the proposed class for the 2.0ST cars did not happen- this would have ruined the concept of the whole event. To the guy who suggested it, off you go to sit on the bold step! For the past number of weeks, Zetec Fiestas have been dragged out of garages, hedges and other resting places. Donedeal has been stripped bare of all but the extremely overpriced and if I have had one “Any Zetec Fiestas about?” message, I have had twenty!!
As ever, the entry list looks impressive, with lots of big names included. Blackchurch are back with their 2016 winning team of “Kevtec” Doran, Shane McFadden and Sean Lillis. According to social media, they have fitted 4 engines in the last week in search of power- no doubt they will find it. They will be keen to show that 2016 was no fluke and should not be far away come 6pm Saturday.
Arch rivals Murray Motorsport feature heavily as ever, with former single seater hotshoe Michael Devanney joining John Denning, Michael Cullen and ST Champion Dave Maguire with a combo that will not be easily beaten.
Kellett Motorsport have made quite a name for themselves on both sides of the Irish sea in recent years and they also have a strong lineup with William Kellett, his multiple title winning father Alistair, UK champion John Cooper and former Global and Stryker champion Keith Dawson.
The Naas Court Hotel team should be a contender too with Erik Holstein teaming up with double BTCC Production Champion James Kaye and former Punto Champion Michael Leonard Jnr in a former title winning car prepared by Phil Wright. Barry Rabbitt is quick in anything he drives and he is entered in his recently rebuilt ex Blackchurch machine with two title winners alongside him- ITCC Champ Shane Rabbitt and former Punto Champ Richard Kearney.
Mulready Racing are probably worth a punt too as Thomas Mulready has twice been on pole in the car and he is joined by two of the quickest Fiesta pilots around in Owen Purcell and Ulick Burke- all are capable of challenging the big names.
Team Digital Gasoline comprises car owner Colin Lewis, who will literally be just off the plane from a business visit to China, as well as Murphy Prototypes’ young driver pairing of Nicole Drought and Sean Doyle. Their pit crew also includes George Karellas, well known for his SOUP-Classic Motoring YouTube videos, so there should be some good footage from him too! Patch Tyre Equipment are also entered, unsurprisingly, as Brian Matthews and his beloved “Arthur the Fiesta” enter every race, trackday and Rallycross at the Kildare venue! His team mates are RTE’s John Kenny, Bob Bryan and Rallycrosser “VW Vinny” O’Rourke. Mondello of course enter their own team, the Mondello Mafia. Running at number one, the team comprises of Bossman Roddy Greene, Fiesta Champion Phil Lawless, Chief Instructor Ken Elliott and Ian Beatty.
LOH Motorsport were bang on the pace last year so keep an eye out for single seater stars Kevin O’Hara, Dan Polley and former Fiesta exponent Ronan McHale. LOH Motorsport rarely leave anything to chance when running Vees and FF1600s, so don’t expect it to be any different in Fiestas. Former double Irish Supercar Champion Johnny Whelan teams up with son Robert and fellow Supercar Champ Jonny Taylor to form TWR Racing (Taylor Whelan Racing, Racing?!). If they can dispense with Johnny’s mad theories, they also could spring a surprise here!
Sounds competitive, doesn’t it? Well I am not finished yet. Team Barrable is another one to keep an eye on. The father and two sons have won many races and championships between them and their ex Sean Lillis Fiesta should be as good as any so Michael, Rob and newly crowned Supercar Champion Peter will surely feature at the sharp end!
Vertical Racing have also entered, led by 2017 Formula Sheane Champion David Parks, with versatile brother Robbie, Sheane Scholarship winner Leslie Shaw and head of the MI Race Committee (do not run into him) Trevor Gray alongside! Local team MTR comprises Lloyd Murphy, brother Damien and renowned tin top expert Brendan “BT” Travers- watch out for them if the rain comes- all three are wet weather experts. Other teams include G Sport, which comprises of some extremely experienced tin top pilots- Noel Greene, Nigel Pratt, Michael O’Dwyer and Liam Denning. ITCC frontrunner Keith Campbell teams up with Colm and McCloughry, while former Fiesta Junior Champion Jack Byrne has Ginetta Junior expert Cameron Fenton , Jimmy Kilbride and Future Classic winner David Hammond on his team. Archer Motorsport pairing of Andy Kavanagh and Fergal Collins have taken on former Vee lap record holder Denis Conheady, Mark Meehahan has purchased the ex Trevor Farrar car and he joins Stryker Champion Alan Auerbach, Shane Murphy and Graham McDonnell- another quartet worth keeping an eye on.
Last year of course, a massive engine blow up left an oil slick at turn two, sending cars off in all directions and ultimately causing a race stopping shunt- as you can see from the video below!
As ever, Motorsport.ie will be reporting during the race with the inimitable Cregor Elliott broadcasting live for us for the duration, both from commentary and the pitllane. You can listen to him HERE