Sunday, 13 September 2020

Maiden Victory and Holmpatrick trophy for Jack Byrne during Formula Vee Championship- Rounds 4 & 5

Jack Byrne holds up the Holmpatrick trophy after taking his maiden race win after Formula Vee race two. Photo: Barry Cregg.

The month of September usually sees the curtain fall on the motor racing year with the highlight meeting of the season, the Leinster Trophy Races, bringing to an end each championships campaign. This year however, sees it being right in the middle of this strange season. For Formula Vee, it attracted their biggest grid to date with 22 cars lining up for qualifying. It's the one meeting where all the classes share the paddock over the race weekend. While the Emerson Fittipaldi trophy is the Formula Vee drivers big class trophy the chance to claim the prestigious Holmpatrick trophy is one not to be turned down. 
Formula Vee drivers make their way out of pitlane for qualifying during the Leinster Trophy Races at Mondello Park. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Weather was on the competitors side as while a bit cool, the sun came out and track conditions were perfect ahead of qualifying. Mondello Park expert Anthony Cross was favourite to grab pole as he had done at the previous meeting at the county Kildare track. However it was rookie Jordan Kelly who surprised all by taking pole and by 0.345 seconds ahead of Cross with Philip Sheane in third and Jack Byrne in fourth to lock out the front two rows of the grid. It wasn't all good for Kelly however, as his front right steering arm broke and forced him into the bank on the outside of the penultimate corner. It also broke the front beam but thankfully for Kelly, his mechanics were able to fix the problems for the first race. 

Jordan Kelly, Sheane, leads Anthony Cross, Sheane, and Philip Sheane, Sheane, during Formula Vee race one. Leinster Trophy Races at Mondello Park. Photo: Barry Cregg. 

" There was oil down in a lot of areas and then I had an off when the steering arm broke but will we will have it ready for the race so all is good" said the young Donegal man.

The same could not be said for Conor Molloy when his rear track rod arm snapped and caused further damage to the rocker cover of the engine forcing him to withdraw from the event.

Anthony Cross leads the large field of Formula Vee's out of turn 3 on the opening lap of race one. Leinster Trophy Races at Mondello Park. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Cross got the whole shot and lead the field into turn one with Kelly tucked in behind in second with Sheane in third. Mark Reade made a great start and moved up ahead of Jack Byrne to move into fourth from seventh on the grid. Cross lead didn't last long as he ran wide on the exit of turn five and lead Kelly get a better run down to turn 7a. It didn't last long as Cross got back past Kelly to regain his lead by the end of the lap. This was shaping up to be a thriller, as not only did the lead change but also behind the following trio of Sheane, Byrne and Reade. Kelly dropped back behind the trio as Reade managed to get past Sheane for a brief moment until Sheane retook him while allowing Jack Byrne up to second. 

Anthony Cross, Sheane, leads Jack Byrne, Sheane, and Mark Reade, Leastone, on his way to winning race one. Leinster Trophy Races at Mondello Park. Photo: Barry Cregg.

The leader however could now put his head down and try and gap the rest, but before he could put a string of quick laps together the red flags came out as Donal Downey put his car into the gravel trap at turn four and with time running out the race was called at the end of lap three as his car was in an unsafe place. What a shame, as it was easily shaping up to be the best race of the year. In the end it was Cross who took another win from Reade with Philip Sheane in third.

Anthony Cross, Sheane, leads the field on the opening lap of race two. Leinster Trophy Races at Mondello Park. Photo: Barry Cregg.

For race two Cross got the best start and got into the lead by taking Kelly around the outside of turn one. It got worse for Kelly as Byrne, Reade, Sheane and Buckley got past through turns two and three. Cross aimed to make a break but Byrne wasn't letting him go and got by on lap two leaving Cross to deal with Mark Reade. Byrne got the head down and start setting some quick times and broke clear of the field. Cross remained in second but Reade pushed him hard throughout the race and got by on lap three and but lost it a couple of laps later only to regain it before they crossed the line. Karl O'Sullivan drove brilliantly to get up to fourth place and was right behind the battling two of Reade and Cross. 

Jack Byrne, right, Sheane, passes Anthony Cross, Sheane, to take the lead during race two. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Karl O'Sullivan, Sheane, had his best result of fourth during race two. Leinster Trophy races, Mondello Park. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Mark Reade, Leastone, leads Anthony Cross, Sheane, during race two. Photo: Barry Cregg.
Cross got by on the last lap to take another first and second place, a repeat of the previous visit to Mondello. Reade had to settle for third but it was a close run thing and O'Sullivan was right there in fourth. It was a commanding performance from Jack Byrne however, to take the race win by seven seconds and also take his first ever national victory and along with it he took the prestigious Holmpatrick trophy. 

Jack Byrne, Sheane, on his way to winning race two by a massive seven seconds. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Jack Byrne, Sheane, celebrates after winning race two. Photo: Barry Cregg.

"I'm delighted to take my first win today and also this lovely trophy and now I may have a rethink about the championship after this result today!"

Jack Byrne with the Holmpatrick trophy and his maiden race winning trophy after race two. Photo: Barry Cregg.

Another two rounds down and both hotly contested for the most part in each, but it also marked another new winner in the series and the second maiden victor in as many races. The series moves back up north of the border for the next two rounds in Kirkistown on September 26th. Will Cross continue his defence or will the new winners of Sheane and Byrne prevent him doing it again? It is still all to play for in the Formula Vee Championship. National Championship Race 1
1st Anthony Cross
2nd Mark Reade
3rd Philip Sheane

VW Spares 'B' Championship Race 1
1st Mark Reade
2nd Philip Sheane
3rd JB Farrell 'Star of Tomorrow' Championship Race 1
1st Jordan Kelly
2nd Karl O' Sullivan
3rd James Kent National Championship Race 2
1st Jack Byrne
2nd Anthony Cross
3rd Mark Reade

VW Spares 'B' Championship Race 1
1st Mark Reade
2nd JB Farrell
3rd Ger Byrne 'Star of Tomorrow' Championship Race 1
1st Karl O' Sullivan
2nd Jordan Kelly
3rd Donal Downey

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