Abrakerabra Formula Ford Festival Blog- with Sean Doyle.
June 11, 2014 by Sean Doyle
Coming into this weekend we were confident, having had a strong performance in Kirkistown the previous week after a long 10 week absence from the seat- unlike most of the drivers on the FF1600 grid. Still trying to gain back lost seat time this season!
With the Champion of Mondello series continuing on, we had round 3&4 on Saturday with qualifying and two races. Qualifying didn’t go quite to plan only managing 7th on the grid for both races but I changed that around in race one!
Race one got underway and initially I didn’t get a great start but after a stranded car on the circuit the safety car was released but then the race was red flagged and restarted from our original grid position. With the restart underway I got a better start and was now up to 3rd position from 7th and held it till the end with lots of wheel banging in front. (The wheel banging promoted me to 2nd with Niall Murray penalised with a five second penalty.) Race two was a bit of a lonely race for me staying in 6th position for the whole race but I still felt had good pace but just got held up a little at the start of the race.
The Abrakebabra Formula Ford Festival on Sunday was going to be interesting with the heats being pulled from a hat for a random grid position! My name was pulled out in 4th for the first heat which meant I’d be 4th from last for the second heat.
As we left paddock assembly for the first heat the heavens opened and it turned from a dry race to a wet one very quickly! I didn’t get a brilliant start- a bit too much wheelspin- but stayed fourth for the first lap but with cars spinning off the track, and me getting hit on the side by an over enthusiastic move by Daly I still managed to make it to second place and break away from the group behind. I tried to chase down O’Brien in the lead but going into the first corner I locked
a wheel and even though I tried my best to try and pump the brake pedal, it was of no use and off I went, sliding into the gravel. Luckily, I managed to get back out and continue unlike some of the other drivers. I had good pace all race but just kept locking a wheel. This meant I slid off the road twice putting me to back of the pack and gave me plenty of work for myself before I finally finished heat one in 6th position.
Heat two saw me fourth from last (13th) and I knew I had lots of work to do. I got the head down from the off and squeezed my way through the traffic at turn one and by the end of the first lap I was up to 7th. By lap two I was battling Rabbitt for 5th and by lap three I was in 3rd place, holding it till the end which wasn’t easy with oil being spread on the track with two laps to go. At that stage, with a big gap behind I knew I just had to bring the MCP Van Diemen home safe in third and I’d be in a good position for the final!
And a good position it was, I was fourth on the grid with Murray third, Kevin O’Hara second and Rob Barrable on pole.
The lights went out Murray and I were neck to neck but when I pulled second gear, I nudged ahead into the first corner and slotted into third position. Murray and I had a good battle for a bit of the race and he got ahead for one lap but I was quick to take it back with some wheel to wheel action. I had the pace of Barrable and O’Hara and I was on it for the whole race, not giving a inch crossing the line in third was a great achievement! It was a great race with everyone so close the whole race. It was a privilege to have been able to race for this memorial trophy for Vivion Daly & next year I hope to be on the top step!
I’d like to thank everyone who helped me get out and for everyone who attended the on day to support me and to everyone who was watching live on Mondello.tv and sending lovely messages, I’d like to thank all the MCP team for getting me to the podium- it’s always good to have the best team in the paddock running you, thanks to Nissan Ireland, Mondello Park, BOSS Security, Brand Match, Wicklow Tyres and Motorsport.ie for running my blog after the race!