Sunday, 10 October 2021

Richie Ryan Secures 2021 Dunlop Mondello Masters Title

Once again Richie Ryan takes the Dunlop Mondello Masters title today and for the fourth time in succession. He hadn't it all his own way this year battling with  Luke Johnston, Derek Sheils, Michael Sweeney, Thomas O'Grady and Emmet O'Grady all year long. It is hard to maintain a high level of performance over a weekend let alone a year but to do it year in year out for several years is quite something. Congratulations to the Kilkenny man on his success this year.













Photos:Barry Cregg.

 

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Kearney Wins Final Race But Sheane Seals Series Title In Final Round - Formula Sheane 2021

Richard Kearney on his way to winning the final round of the 2021 Formula Sheane championship. Kirkistown Racing circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

In its 20th season it is fitting that this years championship went to a Sheane. The class and car born from David Sheane as a step up from Formula Vee at the beginning of the new millenium. For the final race it was quiet simple for the two championship contenders. 

Richard Kearney leads Paul McLoughlin, on his way to winning the final round of the 2021 Formula Sheane championship. Kirkistown Racing circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Philip Sheane who had one hand on the trophy after winning the penultimate race only had to finish in the top five if Derek Roddy won. Roddy knowing he only had a slim chance for the big prize was still upbeat and was going out to enjoy his race. " I'd need Phillip to load the car on to the trailer now for a chance to win the title now." He said laughing just before he took to the grid. In saying that a sure victory was taken away from Sheane at the same venue back in July and if a similar thing was to happen it would give Roddy the title cruel as it may be.

Derek Roddy could get no higher than second during the final round of the 2021 Formula Sheane championship. Kirkistown Racing circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Beyond these two there were others out to make up for lost time and ground and to set right the bad runs had earlier in the year. Paul McLoughlin made a much welcomed reappearance and showed good pace in the previous race. Brendan Carr finally got his arm working again to take the wheel of the double race winning car used by Enda O'Connor in rounds 3&4 at July's Mondello meeting. Rookies Chris Dunne and Richie Adams were also out to settle the Scholarship class. 

Philip Sheane stayed of of trouble on his way to winning the 2021 Formula Sheane championship. Kirkistown Racing circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Richard Kearney also wanted to end his bad year with at least one more win stating that he would win before taking to the track. Some prayed for him to win, saying " It will be a long winter if he doesn't!". So still all to play for in this final race of the year. A quick year it has been even though the late start due to the pandemic. Kearney and Sheane lined up on the front row and it was Kearney who got the best start to lead the field through Debtor's and into turn two. 


Paul McLoughlin, top, and Brendan Carr above both showed great pace this after long lay offs, during the final round of the 2021 Formula Sheane championship. Kirkistown Racing circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Paul McLoughlin also made a great start and pulled off a great maneuver around the outside of Sheane to take second place. A slight touch of wheels on the exit may have upset Sheane's rythm for turn three, but his reflexes weren't as he had to move quickly to the left as Roddy was on a charge past with no signs of easing for the corner. In fact he pushed Sheane wide causing him to drop to sixth. By the end of the second lap Kearney had already opened up a gap to Paul McLoughlin as he had Roddy breathing down his neck. Sheane was making his way through the field passing Adams and Carr a couple of laps later. Roddy mad his move into second but it would be hard to catch Kearney ahead especially as he now had broken the toe from the men behind him. Sheane was now in a safe fourth place with no pressure. He couldn't catch those at the front and he had gapped those behind. All he had to do was reel off the laps and the championship was his. Roddy tried hard to catch Kearney but the Carlow man was true to his word and wanted the win. The placings became stagnant with the gaps staying much the same throughout the field from the halfway mark. It would have been nice to see a battle up front for the title but Sheane used his head and stayed out of trouble after that near miss on the opening lap. In the end 

Chris Dunne on his way to winng the 2021 Formua Sheane Scholarship Class championship during the final round of the 2021 Formula Sheane championship. Kirkistown Racing circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Kearney cruised to another win and deservedly so as he was the quickest man all day taking fastest lap with a 1,01.708 second lap. Roddy did his best but it was always going to be a tall order and finishing again on the podium added to his consistency for the year. Paul McLoughlin came home in a fantastic third place and if only he had been out all year the championship could have been even closer. Hopefully he makes a return full time to the grid next year. Brendan Carr had a great run just finishing behind Sheane. 

Philip Sheane takes the chequered flag to become 2021 Formula Sheane champion. Kirkistown Racing circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

In the Scholarship class Chis Dunne may not have had the pace in race two to rival Richie Adams but after nearly loosing it all in the previous race he was happy to sit tight and bring the car home to win the class. A brilliant result for the all newcomer to motor racing.  So that was a wrap for the 2021 season which saw a resurrection of the class with four newcomers coming into joining the current runners. Hopefully the interest has been sparked by other to come back out and join them on the grid in 2022!

Results

National Class

1st Richard Kearney

2nd Derek Roddy

3rd Paul McLoughlin

Scholarship Class

1st Richie Adams

2nd Chris Dunne

3rd Garrett McKenna

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Joy for Kelly after taking the Emerson Fittipaldi Trophy

Jordan Kelly with the Emmerson Fittipaldi trophy after winning the Formula Vee race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Now that the championship was over for another year the Formula Vee drivers had one last race for the year. The last big prize to win was the coveted Emerson Fittipaldi trophy. The former F1 World Champion who began his career in Formula Vee in his homeland of Brazil kindly donated a trophy to the Irish class several years ago and it is one all drivers want to win. 

Jordan Kelly, Sheane, leads the opening lap of the Emmerson Fittipaldi race as Tim Murray and Dan Polley spin off in the background. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

With nothing for anyone to loose it was a chance for some to bring home silverware that missed out for various reason throughout the year. Also up for grabs was a cheque of €120 for fastest lap kindly sponsored by circuit commentator Alan Drysdale. Final championship round winner Jordan Kelly lined up on the front row alongside pole man Anthony Cross. As the lights went out it was an even start by the two front row men. Tim Murray again got a flyer off the line and challenged into turn two but in doing so took out Dan Polley and Anthony Cross. 

Jordan Kelly, Sheane, leads the field on the re-start of the Emmerson Fittipaldi race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

This left Kelly 150 metres clear of the field with only two corners gone. It was short lived as the red flags were brought out and they had to do it all over again. On the restart it was Kelly who got the better getaway from the line and lead into turns one and two. Yet again his pace through the chicane is unmatched as from entry to exit he gained two car lengths over the chasing pack. This was on top of a two car length gap he opened up prior to that. Cross was second with Polley defending from Jack Bynre in fourth. A lap later Byrne was into third and really pressing Cross ahead on the run down to the hairpin. He got by on the inside but Cross had a better exit and it took Byrne until turn two make the move stick. His efforts were undone as he lost the place on the back straight to Cross who powered by. 

Tim Murray, Sheane, leads Jack Byrne, Sheane, and Anthony Cross, Sheane, during the Emmerson Fittipaldi race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

All this was playing into the hands of Kelly who just grew the gap lap on lap enough so to break the toe to the second and third placed men. Byrne was like his namesake terrior and would not give up his second spot and retook it going through Debotor's Dip. For a lap it looked as though Byrne was going to make a break from Cross and possibly make inroads to Kelly but again Cross got by at the hairpin and this time held it through the opening corners. What a race it was for second place. Tim Murray had now moved into fourth place and began to close in on the two ahead of him. Kelly just ticked off the laps and continued to pull clear. Gary Newsome though had taken the fastest lap by this stage and if he held on he would be €120 the richer. Murray wasn't biding his time anymore and made a great move into the hairpin to pass both Cross and Byrne to take second place.

Anthony Cross, Sheane, leads Jack Byrne, Sheane, and Tim Murray, Sheane, during the Emmerson Fittipaldi race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

 Newsome had now also got by Cross and these four were like a train for several laps not one moving out of line from the other. It really was an entertaining battle and it was anyones for the taking. Then with only a couple of laps to go Byrne got to close to Murray and lost his nosecone and damaged his bonnet which began to flap in the wind. This dropped him back, a shame as he really drive well. Murray now was clear in second from Cross and Newsome but a lap later Cross was right on his tail and trying everything to get by. Murray who has got stronger as the year has gone by defended superbly though. Barring a mistake a mechanical problem Kelly was home and dry. Thankfully nothing happened to the Donegal mans car and he took a deserved win in fine style.

Jack Byrne, Sheane, leads Anthony Cross, Sheane, and Gavin Buckley, Sheane, during the Emmerson Fittipaldi race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Tim Murray, Sheane, leads Anthony Cross, Sheane, during the Emmerson Fittipaldi race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

 Murray did win the battle for second from Cross with Newsome and Gavin Buckley round out the top five. A mixed year for the young Buncranna man but a great end to the year all the same. Speaking to him after the race he was both relieved and joyful at the same time. " When I broke clear from the field I was just focusing on my lap timer. I was just keeping my times within a tenth of each other which is something I've learned from Sim Racing and was finally able to put it into practice. To win the Emerson Fittipaldi trophy was just the best possible way to end the season where I made too many mistakes with the car. Without the help I got from Dad and my brother Owen it wouldn't have been possible".


Jordan Kelly, Sheane, on his way to winning the Emmerson Fittipaldi race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

So a terrific end to a terrific season with a new name on both the Fittipaldi and Holmpatrick trophies in Jordan Kelly and Anthony Cross. A new name and trophy for the Formula Vee this year after receiving the Martin Birrane trophy where Tim Murray won. That said the same name remains on the main prize again this year after Anthony Cross made in four in a row. 



Jordan Kelly holds up the Emmerson Fittipaldi trophy after the race. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Jordan Kelly holds up the Emmerson Fittipaldi trophy alongside Tim Murray, left, and Anthony Cross. Kirkistown Racing Circuit, Rubane, Co. Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.





Result

1st Jordan Kelly

2nd Tim Murray

3rd Anthony Cross