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Siltex Safety Fiesta Zetec Championship Boasts Strong Grids for ICCR Opener

It seems like only yesterday that the 2022 ICCR season ended and all of a sudden it’s time to go racing once again at Mondello Park.  Digital Motorsports remain onboard as title sponsor of the ICCR and happily, the Beacon Hospital has once again backed the live stream coverage of the events for 2023.

Biggest grid of the weekend will be the Siltex Safety Fiesta Zetecs, with alomst 40 drivers registered for the 2023 Championship and over 30 entered for this weekend. There is a mix of hugely experienced multiple champions and raw novices driving the 1250cc machines and as a result, we can expect hectic battles all the way down the grid.  Keith Dawson is the 2022 Champion and is back to defend his hard won title in his A1 Tiles and Bathrooms car. A former Global GT and Stryker Champion, he will surely be buoyed by his title win, and keen to repeat the feat in 2023. He won’t have it easy though, as former Champion Michael Barrable is also back, with a fully rebuilt car, and is in determined form following a successful recent test. Andy Kavanagh’s milesPLUS car is never far from the front and towards the end of last year, the former Vee driver showed great pace, we can expect him to be a challenger too.

Mick Kehoe’s immaculate car has been fully rebuilt over the winter and a little birdie tells me that both he, and his car, have been on a diet over the winter months, so keep an eye out for him. Another former Champion is Phil “Flawless” Lawless and he is also back for more this season. If his comittments running other cars don’t get in the way, we should see him right at the front, few know Mondello Park better than him!  After a tough 2022 season, Ian Fishbourne could be forgiven for throwing his hat at it, but is back, and more determined than ever. Happy that he has traced the mechanical problems that stymied him last year, his immaculate Fish Graphics car should be a title contender this time round. Rookie Champion James Byrne ran right at the front towards the end of last year in his Dentmagic car and he steps up to the main Championship this time round- he could be an outside bet for a win or two. Similarly, Brazilian driver Eduardo Gonzaga, the only driver apart from Byrne to take a Rookie win last year, is keen to step up and has been spotted receiving some tips from newly named Aston Martin GT Academy driver Alex Denning at Mondello recently. Alan Dawson was also a frontrunner last year and is back for more in 2023.  David Maguire (Jnr) was a podium finisher in the ST class last year and for 2023, he has purchased one of the immaculate LOH Motorsport Zetecs- he definitely won’t be out to make up numbers, and if he can master the dark art of hussling one of the Zetec powered tin tops around Mondello, could be a dark horse. Another next generation saloon racer is Sean McGovern. On occasional appearances last year, his Medical Banks car showed great pace and he won’t have got any slower over the winter break. Garret Burke takes over brother Ulick’s Tyre Brigade machine, while there is talk of Ulick appearing in Keith Rabbitt’s race winning Wrapco machine too! As if this wasn’t enough, there is talk of a late entry this week from NI Champion Derek Graham. Derek is no stranger to Mondello Park, as he has great success in Punto 1400s and Punto Abarths back in the day. Derek has always been accompanied at race meetings by father Aubrey, but in recent years, he has been joined on the Fiesta grids by the next generation, his son Michael, who will hopefully also visit Mondello in 2023.

Others back for another go include a host of female racers. Emma Dempsey has done plenty of work on her Graeme Colfer Autos machine over the winter, Laura Hannon, whose Digital Motorsports car has been fettled by Ulick Burke over the last few months, Kelsey Kirby, who was a front running Rookie in 2023 and Chloe Kellett, who progressed well on her few previous appearances. Novice Hanna Celsie also joins the series in her ex Keith Lenihan/Phil Lawless Formula Woman machine.Hopefully we will also see the Shakey Bills/Dundalk FC car of Aimee Woods join the grid during the season too.

The Siltex Safety Fiestas race twice on Sunday afternoon at Mondello Park, with both rounds being livestreamed, thanks to the Beacon Hospital. You can watch the action on the ICCR Facebook Page or on their YouTube channel.

West Dublin based safety and branded clothing specialist Siltex Safety stays onboard for their third season as title sponsor for the budget tin top series, and as a result have become a major supplier, not just to Mondello Park, but to many of the teams in the paddock- and their businesses. Owner Neil Murphy, pictured above right, with Mondello Park MD Roddy Greene is a former racer and a huge enthusiast and is very much in evidence in the paddock at each meeting.

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