Flying High- with Sean Doyle.
March 18, 2014 by Sean Doyle
Going into this weekend I had a good feeling about it. With the first race weekend of the 2014 Champion of Mondello series for FF1600 just over it was for sure a real character building one! I’ll get to that in a minute.
On Saturday I only went out for a couple of sessions just to give the car a check over and make sure all was ok for race day. With Morgan (Dempsey) Jnr away and not returning until Sunday I had Wesley, Charlie and the very experienced Morgan Snr getting me ready for racing. We were happy with the pace on Saturday testing and parked up early before testing finished to get to work preparing for Sunday morning. We knew we had good pace and it seemed a lot of people noticed…
Sunday arrived and the weather had turned slightly, it wasn’t what anyone was expecting with drizzle of rain and lots of cloud
cover around. As always we changed setup and went out for qualifying. It all went well, my times were good and I was on pole until I went off got stuck with only enough time for three more laps and Niall Murray pipped me on his last flying lap while I was still stuck! This left me second for race one and fourth for race two.
Race one was the first race after lunch and we headed out to the grid and up to the grid box, the 5 second board came out and I brought the revs up, started to focus on the lights and out of the corner of my eye I could see Murray starting to roll forward off pole but I didn’t let that faze me and I stayed focused on the lights, I got a good start and slotted in behind Murray, I had him under pressure just sitting on his gearbox and going through the second part of turn 4 he made a mistake and I slipped through to take the lead. I was leading for four laps with Noel Dunne on my tail when coming into Dunlop (last corner) Dunne went up my inside I went for the cut back and got caught up in his back wheel which dragged my car up and over his car. When the accident had finished I jumped out as soon as I realised my car was sitting on his head! At this stage I was standing there lifting the car off him and hadn’t realised that the race was still going on! I got the car off him and luckily no one was injured and the race was red flagged while we were both brought to the medical centre by the medics.
We got the car back from the scrutineers and started to work straight away. Everyone worked very hard and we got the car out just in time for to head to paddock assembly before race two!
For race two I started in fourth. The lights went out and I got a good start off the line and into the first corner alongside leader Stephen Daly. I tucked in behind Daly and was right on his gearbox for five laps until I dropped a wheel onto the damp patch going through the second part of turn four and ran wide which left the gap for Neville Smyth and he got through, I battled with Smyth to try get past but he was like a moving chicane and he had every gap covered! I slipped up and dropped back to fifth place after another run wide.
We had great pace all weekend just lacked a little bit of luck.
I learned a lot this weekend. I’m up against drivers who have much more mileage under their belt than I do, but it’s great to drive against them because the only way you can make yourself a better driver is by driving against those with more experience. I got a first hand experience of how single-seater racing can be so dangerous but thankfully Noel and I were both ok afterwards and both made it out for race two. I’d like to thanks Wicklow Tyre Services, BOSS Security, Nissan, Nissan Generation Next, Mondello Park and Motorsport.ie and also thanks all the MCP Team- Wesley, Charlie, Morgan Snr and Morgan Jnr for all their support over the weekend, I really am privileged to be working with such a experienced team in FF1600.
My next race is The Formula Ford Trophy for the Vivion Daly Memorial Trophy in Mondello on the 7th and 8th of June you can keep in touch with me through Facebook: facebook.com/seandoyleracing and Twitter: twitter.com/seandoyleracing