Paul O’Brien (#1) and Geoff Richardson (#23) fought tooth and nail all day long at a sunny Kirkistown on the 21st of April as the Irish Legends championship got underway for 2018
The spirit of the Legends family was in full force as Richardson suffered a differential failure in morning practice, with fellow competitors getting stuck in to get his car ready for the opening race.
Race 1 turned into 2 separate races, O’Brien and Richardson duelling it out for victory, whilst behind there was a 4 car battle for 3rd between Ivor Greenwood (#37), Johnny Taylor (#10), Ian Conroy (#29) and Greg Richardson (#24). Both groups were locked in battle all the way to the flag, with O’Brien taking the victory by a mere 0.022 seconds with Richardson alongside him at the line. Ivor the driver took 3rd just 0.3 of a sec ahead of Greg, with Johnny another tenth behind in 5th. Conroy slipped back to 6th with problems with his brakes. Gordon Brown (#16) rounded out the finishers as Colm O’Sullivan (#44) suffered a half shaft failure.
The reverse grid race 2 saw action aplenty, with the entire field having great battles. Conroy led the early exchanges, whilst O’Brien – who came from last on the grid – eventually worked his way through to lead at the halfway distance. Geoff Richardson begun to hunt his prey and closed in, and on the last corner of the last lap he took advantage of a small clutch problem which meant O’Brien selected neutral for the tight hairpin and went wide, allowing him to nip by and take his maiden Legends victory in only his 5th race start. The fast finishing machine of Conroy just missed out on pipping O’Brien by 0.04. Behind the battle for 4th was just as tense as Taylor clinched the spot from Greg Richardson by 2/10ths of a second with an ever improving Brown only a couple of seconds back. O’Sullivan recorded his first finish with 7th, and a respectable turn of speed to boot which shows promise for later in the season.
The final race was to decide who was going to top the podium for round 1, and the two protagonists O’Brien and Richardson quickly worked their way to the front, with Paul just keeping Geoff at arms length. Conroy was 3rd, ahead of an exciting 4 car battle for 4th. Conroy then began to bridge the gap, closing up to the leaders with searing pace, breaking the lap record in the process setting a time of 1.07.101. Onto the last tour he pulled up on to the back of Richardson bump drafting him up towards the final corner trying to push past O’Brien. Conroy then looked for the audacious move around the outside which didn’t come off, and the ordered stayed the same to line, which not only Paul clinched the win but the round victory too. The battle for 4th was equally as ferocious with Greenwood coming out on top ahead of Taylor, Greg Richardson and Brown – who smashed his personal best lap time in the process. The luckless O’Sullivan had a diff problem on the last lap to put him out of the running.
Overall weekend results from round one at Kirkistown Circuit :
The next round for the Irish Legends takes place at Anglesey Circuit in Wales on May 26th and 27th.
Images from Legendsnation.com/Leslie McMullan