I was approached by Mondello Park a few months back about the possibility of my company running and promoting the Fiesta Zetec and ST Championships.
Whilst I liked the idea of the promotion, the actually running of a class is generally very little fun and is generally peppered with debates and drama. Having commentated on both classes, I was fully aware that, especially in the Zetec class, some cars, to put it politely, were perhaps more equal than others. With this in mind, I set out a few things we would have to review, should I decide to take on the task.
As I currently do some promotional work for Mondello anyway, I also had an involvement in the recent 6 Hour race and, with the support of Mondello management, we decided to start clamping down at this event. We armed the scrutineers with brand new standard Ford wishbones and shocks, for comparative purposes, and a number of cars were found to have issues, in fact one team was delighted to be allowed to use the control shocks in the race itself, even though they were relegated to the back of the grid.
The thorny issue of technical eligibility has always been a talking point in the Zetec class, with over 20 cars being caught in the first year of the series. Subsequently though, checks have not been as regular with the result that even a casual spectator can see the differences in cars- not something that we want in a one make class.
At the Leinster Trophy meeting the top three cars in the championship were sealed comprehensively and subsequently stripped and inspected. One of these three, car 21 of Mark Johnston, was found not to comply with the regulations and he was subsequently excluded from the meeting, earning him a 60 point penalty in the championship.
In 2019, we will strive to have more PR, possibly more TV coverage- but most importantly, the sealing of cars and technical checks will continue. Also, the concept of having to read the small print at the bottom of a Motorsport Ireland bulletin to hear about any indiscretions is gone- any technical issues discovered will be included in the subsequent press release.
All going well, the dragsters and low, heavily cambered machines will be a thing of the past and we can get back to close, inexpensive club racing which, after all, is why the class was first introduced. In short, if you want to go motor racing, buy a Zetec now, before they go up in price! If you already have one, and intend racing it in 2019, then read the technical regulations carefully!
Official Press Release pertaining to Car 21 below:
Following a decision by Motorsport Ireland the final positions in the 2018 Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta Zetec Championship have been amended. The decision arises from technical checks carried out on car number 21, driven by Mark Johnston, following the Leinster Motor Club event at Mondello Park on September 15th.
Following a technical inspection after rounds 11 and 12 of the championship, the engine of car number 21 was found to contravene regulation 6.5, which governs the maximum compression ratio for engines used in the Fiesta Zetec Championship. The stewards of the event have therefore disqualified Mark Johnston from rounds 11 and 12 and applied the maximum penalties allowed as set out in section 3.4 of the Fiesta Zetec Championship Sporting Regulations;
20 points deducted for disqualification from round 11 as well as loss of all points scored in round 11.
20 points deducted for disqualification from round 12 as well as loss of all points scored in round 12.
20 points deducted, as a 10 place grid penalty for a round subsequent to the disqualification can not be applied retrospectively.
The deduction of a total of sixty championship points drops Mark Johnston from second to eight in the final standings.
The application of the above penalty moves William Kellett into second place in the championship. The promotion of Kellett improves what was already a fantastic debut season in the Fiesta Zetec class for the eighteen year old, which saw him make great progress. The Kells driver ran at the front right from the off and picked up six podiums, including three runner-up positions in the second half of the season.
Kilcullen’s Darren Lawlor also moves up a place in the final standings, to third, equaling his 2017 result.