Sunday, 25 July 2021

Philip Sheane takes win number two in Formula Sheane Championship

Philip Sheane, Sheane, on his way to winning the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

With only a week between rounds four and five it was a busy week for Formula Sheane competitors to get their cars ready for the fifth and sixth rounds of the championship. This would see them cross the border for the first time to Kirkistown Racing Circuit in county Down just outside the small seaside village of Kircubbin located on the shores of Strangford Lough. Winner of the last two rounds Enda O'Connor would not be out this time but back after missing last weeks races was Richard Kearney. Sadly Paul McLoughlin was also unable to start still having problems with his engine after it blew in practice the previous weekend. 

Philip Sheane, Sheane, on his way to pole position for the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

It would be between Richard Kearney, Derek Roddy and Philip Sheane but with the long straights and high speeds of Kirkistown reliability would also play a key role. Like in Mondello Park qualifying is as critical in Kirkistown although the tow would play a part on the straights here as it is hard to overtake if the guy in front defends well. If Kearney had any luck, he used it up in round one when he limped home to take a podium after a rose joint failed. Ever since then it has all been bad and this round again was no exception. Illness forced him out last week and after qualifying this time out he again had to withdraw after his clutch gave up on him. A gutted Kearney explained, " The clutch began to slip at the start of qualifying and it got worse so there is no point in going out. I'm just sick, we have a spare but even if we got it changed, I don't know if there is any other damage done." 

Philip Sheane, Sheane, leads Derek Roddy during the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

It was Philip Sheane who took pole position after only arriving at the track that morning after a 4am start from his home in Balinroe. A great achievement as it was his first time racing this car at the track and with no testing it shows the talent that the Wicklow man has. Derek Roddy who has been chipping away in the last couple of rounds lined up alongside him. 

Philip Sheane, Sheane, on his way to winning the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

As the lights went out Sheane powered away and easily lead the field into turn one. Roddy made a poor start and was lucky not to drop down the field but held on to stay in second as the exited turn two. Sheane had already opened a gap of over a second with his driving pinpoint accurate. It looked to be set to grow further as by lap three it was up to two seconds. Roddy however began to get his act in line and put in the times having the gap to the leader setting the fastest lap of 1.01.870 seconds in the process.

Derek Roddy, Sheane, on his way to second place during the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

It all came undone a couple of laps later as Roddy outbraked himself going into the hairpin at the end of the back straight. This gave Sheane the breathing room he needed. Try as he might Roddy could not get the lost time back. It was a case of reeling of the final laps to bring the car home and take the win. This Sheane duly did and deservedly so, with a clean precise display of driving.  Behind the first two , rookie Chris Dunne stayed out of trouble and drove superbly to take his fist ever podium in single seater racing. His times improved as the race went on and as the Kirkistown circuit is new to him he pulled clear of his rivals in the scholarship class of Riche Adams and Tom Foley. To add to the result Dunne now leads the  scholarship championship. A mistake on lap three saw round one podium finisher Mark Keenan drop to sixth but a race long battle with Richie Adams and Tom Foley saw them swap places during the race but Keenan's experience won out as he came home in fourth. 

Chris Dunne, Sheane, on his way to third place during the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

A relieved as much as excited Sheane spoke of his win after the race, " I'm glad to get the win it wasn't as easy as it looked as Derek was catching me after the first few laps then the gap went up again so I'm guessing he made a mistake somewhere. It's nice to get the win as we only came up this morning and got no testing in yesterday as it was a last minute decision to come due to work commitments".    

Richie Adams, Sheane, leads Mark Keenan, Sheane, during the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Tom Foley, Sheane, leads Mark Keenan, Sheane, during the fifth round of the Formula Sheane Chamopnship. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Kircubbin, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.


National Podium from left, Derek Roddy,2nd, Philip Sheane 1st, and Chris Dunne.3rd. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Scholarship Podium from left, Derek Roddy,2nd, Philip Sheane 1st, and Chris Dunne.3rd. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Results:

National Championship

1st Philip Sheane

2nd Derek Roddy

3rd Mark Keenan

Scholarship Class

1st Chris Dunne

2nd Tom Foley

3rd Richie Adams                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

O' Connor Does The Double

Enda O'Connor on his way to winning round four of the Formula Sheane Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

With no sign of the temperatures reducing ahead of round four. The drivers had more than that to worry about as they had to find an answer in stopping Enda O'Connor from taking a clean sweep of pole, two wins and fastest lap over the weekend. Some adjustments were going to be made by Philip Sheane who didn't show the pace he had in the opening two rounds of the season. " Im going to make a couple of adjustments as the front left brake kept locking up on me in the previous race so hopefully it will be better for this one" said Philip ahead of round four. 

Philip SHeane on his way to second place during four of the Formula Sheane Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Again O'Connor was on pole ahead of Derek Roddy. Again it was O'Connor who got the better start off the line and lead into turn one. Roddy tucked in behind and set out to keep O'Connor honest and not let him break away. Easier said than done when you have a hard charger like Philip Sheane behind you. It was like so many other races gone before where a driver has to balance his attack and his defence at the same time. The leader didn't have to worry with a clear road ahead O'Connor got his head down and began to open a gap like he did in round three. Sheane knew he could not afford to let his fellow county man get to far ahead. 

Derek Roddy on his way to third place during round four of the Formula Sheane Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

By lap two he made his move and got by Roddy, who it has to be said was driving very well and putting in the times. Sheane began to close in, his car clearly handling better this time out. Behind the front three again Mark Keenan and Chris Dunne had their own battle with Keenan getting by on lap two but having to defend for the rest of the race. While the international track layout provides more overtaking opportunities it does tend to spread the car out and any slight mistake makes it hard for the driver to get it back. While his initial attack drew O'Connor back towards him Sheane ran out of steam and could not get close enough to really pressure the Brittas Bay man. O'Connor maintained his gap and the 2015 champion in the end won convincingly by 2.6 seconds. However he just missed out on a full clean sweep as Roddy took fastest lap on the penultimate lap. 

Derek Roddy on his way to third place during round four of the Formula Sheane Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Speaking with Enda after the race he was delighted to win after only jumping into the car on the friday test day before the race." Yes the race went very well for me and got out into the lead at the start as in round three and maintained the gap to Philip and Derek behind me. The track conditions were much better for that race and the car ran faultlessly. I have to thank Brendan for giving me the chance to use it this weekend although he has no excuses now when he gets back into it!" 

Enda O'Connor on his way to winning round four of the Formula Sheane Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Would the fact that winning two races in a row since his last one off drive at last September's Leinster Trophy meeting entice him out again this year? 

" No I can't commit to a season I just have too much on at work and helping to run the class also. Plus if I went out the other lads would be giving out about not getting a win for themselves!" Weather or not he does or does not come out again this year he showed the rest a clean pair of heels in rounds there and four of this years series.

Another happy man was Derek Roddy who got two podiums to get his championship right on track and showed a great turn of pace by taking fasted lap in race two. " I am delighted how this weekend went after the disasters of rounds one and two. Two podiums and a fastest lap makes the hard work put in worth while and plus I couldn't let Enda get too big a head!" 

 

Monday, 19 July 2021

Classy Cross Notches Up Another win

Anthony Cross holds his trophy after winning round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

For round four and second race of the weekend in the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship current champion Anthony Cross lined up on pole position ahead of Jordan Kelly who was eager to make it a double. The weather did not get any cooler so it was more of the same as the previous race in terms of tyre and engine management as well as coping with the heat. Cross actually had a cold shower in between races to try and help himself cope with the very hot conditions. 

Jordan Kelly, Sheane, leads the field into turn one during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

As the lights went out though it was Cross who was caught napping as Kelly made a fantastic start and got the jump and lead as they went under bridge let alone the first corner! Tim Murray also made a good start and joined in third but Gavin Buckley was right behind and looking to move up and join the front to before they broke away. Kelly by the end of lap one had a two car length lead over Cross but cross in turn had a five car length gap over Tim Murray in third. Jack Byrne had now moved up to fourth and being full in Murray's mirrors meant he had to defend which caused them both to fall back from Kelly and Cross up front. The same happened to Buckley as he now had to defend from Trevor Delaney which in turn caused the first six cars spread out into three groups of two. 

Jordan Kelly, Sheane, leads Anthony Cross, Sheane, during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Cross was now much closer but seemed happy to follow Kelly for a few laps and see where he was quick. In doing that though it shields the cool air getting to the engine so he didn't want to stay behind for long if he could help it and he duly took the lead on lap 3. Byrne had now moved up to third demoting Murray to fourth but tightening up that group to a four car train. By the start of lap four Byrne found himself down in sixth and it was anyone's for the final podium spot. Up Front Cross now had to defend and put up with the pressure of leading the hard charging Kelly. This one was shaping up to be a Formula Vee classic. Kelly tried everything to get back into the lead inside, outside but it didn't work and Cross just soaked up the pressure as he always does, maybe the cold shower worked after all. Then just as the race was coming to a climax a plug lead came off Kelly's car with two laps to go. 

Anthony Cross, Sheane, leads Jordan Kelly, Sheane, during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.

A disaster for the Donegal man who did not deserve that bad luck after driving so well. It certain made life a lot easier for Cross who only had to keep going to take another win a build on his championship lead. Behind him Buckley and Murray now were battling for second place and swapped place several times in the last few laps with Cross cruised home to win yet again in Mondello, another strong performance and showing how staying out of trouble early on in races pays dividends by the end. Buckley came home in second to make up for race one and Murray took third.

Anthony Cross, Sheane, leads Jordan Kelly, Sheane, during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Photo: Barry Cregg.


It didn't fail to deliver in action but it was a case of what might have been if Kelly stayed going. In saying that Cross did have the race under control and looked like having something in the bag if it came to it. Another strong performance from Kelly which was great to see going into the four week break before coming back to the national circuit in Mondello Park on the 14th of August.