Abrakebabra Formula Ford Festival- Saturday Report.
June 8, 2014 by Leo Nulty
Is it just me, or have we just had one of the best days racing in a while at Mondello Park? Maybe we have been starved of action lately, or maybe it was the buzz in the air caused by the return of the Irish Formula Ford Festival this weekend but either way, there was some cracking on track action all day.
Sean Lillis took his usual with from pole in Patch Tyre Equipment Fiestas, but not before Shane McFadden, in the equally fast ex-Boland car, displaced him with a superb move at Dunlop. Unfortunately, an exhaust heat shield had worked itself loose and when it baulked the gear linkage momentarily, Lillis retook the lead and held on for the win.
Bernard Foley blitzed the pack in a pair of excellent HRCA races but main interest centred on the battle for second. Mark Russell’s beautiful TWR liveried Jaguar XJS had loads of straight line speed but round the twiddly bits Clive Brandon’s three wheeling Lotus 47 was snapping at its heels. Former Formula Fordster Tommy Doherty was in on this battle too and he claimed runner up spot in both, but not without working extremely hard.
All eyes were on the Formula Fords of course, with two round of the Champion of Mondello series running. Niall Murray was on pole but WRC-2 regular Rob Barrable rocked off the second row to challenge for the lead into Ford corner. Stephen Daly,
who seems to be able to outbrake anyone round the outside into turn one, grabbed the lead with Barrable shuffling Murray back to third at Adelaide Insurance Corner. Murray was wrong footed an lost another place or two on the opening lap and he must have been happy to see the red flag flying when Mike Todd’s Crossle 25F tangled with Denis Sheehan’s 45F at Dunlop. At the restart, Murray had another chance to lead them away. The action was furious and eventually Murray and Daly tangled at Ford, with Daly dropping down the order and Neville Smyth taking the lead. Somehow, Daly charged back up and as Smyth and Murray backed the leading pack up, he picked them off one by one. Murray made a lunge down into turn one but the gap was barely Van Diemen sized and Smyth was fired off. When the dust settled and the chequered flag unfurled, Daly was somehow first over the line after an incredible drive! In race two, Murray had a problem with a bent throttle stop, dropping him back but Daly didn’t have it too easy as in impressive Barrable shadowed him all the way, piling on the pressure in the closing stages, the dup crossing the line well clear of the rest.
So who is it going to be tomorrow? Very hard to call- Daly, Murray and Barrable would appear to be the safe options, but
remember the action moves to the International Circuit, where Kevin O’Hara, who had a horrendous day yesterday, was quickest in testing in the VIT HIT Hugh Reid Mondiale. Sean Doyle showed flashes of his usual pace and aggression, but suffered from a misfire and warped discs- both of which have been sorted overnight. Neville Smyth will be keen to fight back having been hoofed out of the lead in race one, Jake Byrne has found great pace in his Ray so it really is all to play for. After a great deal of discussion and some form signing, the FF guys have agreed to pull the names out of a hat for heat one and reverse them for heat two so we can expect plenty of action and no shortage of overtaking. Rod McGovern is a former Supercar Champion and is edging closer to the pace in the Murray Motorsport Van Diemen and should the likes of he, or Barry Rabbitt, who is wheeling out his Swift, end up on the front row, we should see some entertainment as the quicker guys try to get through! Either way, I have a feeling whoever holds the Vivion Daly Memorial Trophy aloft on the newly Abrakebabra-liveried podium this afternoon will truly have earned it. And that, I am sure, is the way “Vivo” would want it!
Right, I am off to Mondello! Remember if you can’t get there, we are live on Mondello.tv with all the action today!