|Philip Sheane, Sheane, on his way to winning round 7 of the Formula Sheane Championship at Mondello Park,. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
For the first time this year the weather gods didn't show up for the latest round of the Formula Sheane Championship as the warm sunny weather turned cold, wet and miserable. Sadly Paul McLoughlin and Brendan Carr again were non starters but it still wouldn't take away the action from the rest of the field.
|Richard Kearney, leads Philip Sheane, and Derek Roddy, out of turn 3 on the opening lap. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
|Richard Kearney, leads Philip Sheane, during the opening lap. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
|Philip Sheane, leads Richard Kearney out of turn 2 on his way to winning the Formula Sheane race. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
At the last round in Kirkistown Phillip Sheane was on for his first double until mechanical failure let him down. Derek Roddy took his first win and another couple of podiums at Mondello would certainly keep him well in touch for the championship. The wet however can provide any results as it can catch the best of drivers out. For both Sheane and Roddy both have never driven these cars in the wet but it didn't show in qualifying as both men locked out the front row. Sheane though gapped Roddy by 1.3 seconds while taking pole, a sign of things to come maybe?
|Richard Kearney battles for grip while holding off Derek Roddy. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
|Derek Roddy leads Richard Kearney on his way to finishing in second place. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
As the lights went out however, it was Richard Kearney from fourth on the grid who got the jump on everyone and lead as they came out of turn one. There was also oil down on the track so conditions were far from easy. The Formula Sheane cars are very torquey and in the wet it is easily to get a lot of wheel spin. It is a balancing act and finding the areas where the most grip is can also a fine art. Sheane was a master at both and once he got a lap under his belt he was in the lead. Using the outside lines he found the grip and by not being too aggressive on the throttle he pulled clear from Kearney and Roddy behind. As Sheane built up his advantage the two men behind swapped places all race both seeming to struggle for grip much more than Sheane ahead.
|Tom Foley leads Mark Keenan in the Scholarship class. Photo Barry Cregg.|
|Mark Keenan leads Tom Foley in the Scholarship class. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
Kearney seemed to get into a rythm from lap four but Roddy also started to get used to the conditions and caught back up to him. He got by on lap six but a lap later he was repassed. Again Kearney held off the previous rounds winner but with two laps to go he could not keep him behind anymore as Roddy got by at turn 3.
|Chris Dunne on his way to second place in the Scholarship class. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
|Richard Kearney on his way to third place. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
It stayed that way to the flag and an important result for Roddy as it kept the pressure on Sheane in the points race. Sheane was on another level and his car looked more comfortable on track than either Roddy's or Kearney's. Behind the front three Mark Keenan had a nightmare race spinning out of fourth place on the opening lap at turn three and again at turn one a couple of laps later before retiring half way through. In the scholarship class Tom Foley kept up his winning form from Kirkistown by taking the win after a battle with Keenan early on. Chris Dunne and Richie Adams tried to haul in Foley but a spin at turn two cost Adams any chance of victory. Dunne held his own and settled for second and more points for the championship after a win also in Kirkistown.
|Richie Adams on his way to third place in the Scholarship class. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
|Philip Sheane was in a league of his on his way to winning round seven of the series. Photo's: Barry Cregg.|
As hard as it was for the people with experience racing in the wet, it is doubly hard for those newcomers and adding in the oil they did very well to finish. Sheane laid down a marker for those to match in the following round and a lot of work on setup would need to be done to close the gap to the Wicklow man.
1st Philip Sheane
2nd Derek Roddy
3rd Richard Kearney
1st Tom Foley
2nd Chis Dunne
3rd Richie Adams