|Jack Byrne, Sheane, on his way to winning round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
For round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee championship drivers made a welcome return to Bishopscourt Racing Circuit north of the border in county Down. The much-loved venue is only used once a year and this year is the first time the class has be back in three years due to the Covid outbreak. The 1.830 mile track is fast and flowing with some quick chicanes and tricky hairpins.
The weather held up for qualifying where Jordan Kelly and Gavin Buckley fought it out with both men setting their fastest time on lap 9. Kelly edged out Buckley by a mere 0.160 seconds. Jack Byrne also made a big improvement in his qualifying performance by grabbing third just ahead of the ever-improving Donal Downey. As the lights went out it was Kelly who got the best start and lead the field as they made the long run down to the first left hand bend Brock's. With the run from the start-line being so long the field bunches up tightly which can give drivers from rows two or three and good tow and enable them to draft past. this is exactly what happened. Donal Downey from row two used this to his advantage and lead the field round the very fast first bend.
|Donal Downey, Leastone, leads the field into turn one during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
Kelly and Buckley tucked in behind with Wicklow man Jack Byrne in fourth in his first meeting with his new engine. Fellow county man Sean Newsome woke up brightly and made his way up to second place by the end of lap one and began to chase the leader. By the exit of the bottom hairpin Newsome was into the lead with Byrne into second and Downey into third.
|Sean Newsome, Sheane, leads Jack Byrne, Sheane, during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
Newsome from Ashford and Byrne from Annacurragh both looking to get a return to form edged out a gap over Downey who had to worry about Buckley and championship leader Anthony Cross closing in behind. With the nature of the northern circuits having long straights any gap made can be closed in quickly once the car in front hasn't broken the tow. This is when the car behind uses the one in front to break the air and allows them to catch up, as there is no air in front to reduce their speed.
What was three cars, now became a seven-car train and it was shaping up to be another Formula Vee thriller. With no margin for error, it is ultimate trust between drivers to race hard but fair at these high-speed tracks. Newsome tried to break the tow by moving from side to side on the main straight and just held the lead into turn one on lap four but behind it was three abreast with Byrne, Downey and Buckley scrapping for second place. Byrne held it and went one better going up the inside through back straight chicane to get into the lead. Still all to play for and all with Cross, Kelly and Lee Newsome still in this leading group. Then disaster struck for Sean Newsome as an electrical problem slowed him down on the main straight as he watched his rivals and his brother pass by.
|Jack Byrne, Sheane, leads Gavin Buckley, Sheane, on his way to winning round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg|
It was hard luck indeed as he was right there in the hunt for the win. Yellow flags were also out at turn one which helped Byrne's cause as the first overtaking opportunity was now gone for those behind him. That didn't stop Buckley at the hairpin though as he got by Byrne, as also did Cross over Downey to move into third. Pole position man Kelly was there but didn't show his hand just yet although as he did in passing Newsome he lost his nosecone. A lap later Byrne repaid Buckley by pulling the same move on him to take back the lead with four laps to go. Had he gone a lap too early or was it just right?
|Jack Byrne, Sheane, leads Anthony Cross, Sheane, and Gavin Buckley, Sheane, on his way to winning round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
He did open a slight gap which gave him breathing space as they started another lap and when Buckley began to battle with Cross it extended further. With two laps to go Cross was really chasing him down but that new engine in Byrne's car was doing the job. The Annacurragh man has always had the talent and speed but has struggled in recent races to show the form we had being accustomed to seeing. Buckley was not out of it yet either as he was right behind Cross again which helped Byrne and starting the last lap his lead was up to over two tenths of a second.
By the hairpin though they were all together, but Byrne had the measure of them and held his lines through the final chicane and corners to take the win. A great win for Byrne in what was a very entertaining race. It was also a needed boost for his championship chances this year.
“It was great to win that race, it was tough out there. I bought a new engine and just go into the car in time for the race and it worked a treat. It has made a massive difference. Hopefully we can kick on from here and start to get some good points at each race meeting from now on”.
|Jack Byrne, Sheane, celebrates after winning round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg.|
In the VW Spares 'B' Championship Jordan Kelly by managing to hold off Donal Downey in the closing laps took top honors and all was not lost for Sean Newsome who limped home in third place in the class despite his electrical issues. It shows again how strong this championship is with the front runners also fighting for out right wins too.
|Jordan Kelly, Sheane, on his way to winning the VW Spares 'B' class during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg|
In the LOH Motorsport Rookie Championship Aaron Murray took the win from Stephen Roche by finishing just outside the top ten which is a decent effort at his first visit to a track like Bishopscourt.
|Aaron Murray, Sheane, on his way to winning the LOH Motorsport Rookie class during round four of the Selco.ie Formula Vee Championship. Bishopscourt Race Circuit, Co, Down. Photo: Barry Cregg|
Selco.ie National Championship
1st Jack Byrne
2nd Anthony Cross
3rd Gavin Buckley
VW Spares 'B' Championship
1st Jordan Kelly
2nd Donal Downey
3rd Sean Newsome
LOH Motorsport Rookie Championship
1st Aaron Murray
2nd Stephen Roche