Motormouth Update- with Leo Nulty
December 9, 2013 by Leo Nulty
Well it’s almost time for the big man in the red suit to come visiting so things are quiet in terms of circuit racing. Rallycross seems to have shrugged off its recent woes with a great showing at the last Mondello meeting. It was almost as if the Rallycross community realised that their beloved sport was in danger and grouped together. The entries were up, admittedly not by much and nowhere near the levels enjoyed in bygone years, and the competition was fierce. Three of the new Civic RX Challenge machines took to the track with Joe Murray dusting off the overalls and taking the spoils, but only just, as his employee Paul Doyle made him work hard all day, belying his lack of experience. RTE’s John Kenny was the latest invitee to take the wheel of Colin Dowling’s Civic and he improved all day, to the point that he ended the final not too far behind the Murray Motorsport
pairing. Signs are that these cars are cheap and all going well, the class may eventually move into the gap left by the popular 8v Stockhatch class, as the 205s are becoming increasingly hard to source parts for. Derek Tohill’s Rallycross Rebels team burnt the midnight oil as only they know how to as they bolted together a BMW 328i in just over a week with Gordy Lynch taking the wheel for the event. With 200 odd bhp and rear wheel drive, opposite lock was very much the order of the day and if these cars can indeed be on track for under 6k, I think we may see a few more of them out there before long! Andrew Morris drove superbly to win a cracker of a superfinal despite the best efforts of John Kelly, with the returning Derek Jobb right in there too with his Supercar Escort. Grzeg Kalinecki drove his iconic Integrale with great gusto also and stayed in touch with the leading trio for most of the day.
The 2014 racing season is already taking shape with even more Fiestas reputed to join the already bulging grids with pacesetters John Denning and Sean Lillis rumoured to be staying on for more. The ITCC have regrouped and a little birdie tells me that a WTCC spec SEAT Supercopa has arrived in the Emerald Isle- this should ensure that the M3 pairing of Champion Erik Holstein and Dave O’Brien won’t have it all their own way! Mondello have announced that for the first time in many years, a Mondello based FF1600 Championship will run in 2014. The “Champion of Mondello” series will run over four double headers during 2014 and has already attracted serious interest. The Kildare venue ran a “Taster Day” last Saturday and interested parties were invited to come down, meet the teams and organisers and enjoy two runs in a FF1600. Vee Champion Adam Macaulay, Vee Festival winner Trevor
Delaney and Kirkistown Vee winner Kevin Grogan all attended the day and I would not be surprised to see at least two of them graduate in 2014. Sheane racers Jennifer Mullan and Stephen O’Keefe, Stryker driver Colm Divilly and Sean Lillis from Fiestas also had their maiden FF1600 outings. The cars were supplied by Morgan Dempsey’s MCP team, using the Van Diemen raced at the Festival by Sean Doyle with Murray Motorsport using Niall Murray’s similar Festival winning car. Noel Dunne and Bernard Dolan, both former FF1600 champions, were also on hand to offer advice. The class will run the usual classes of Open, Pre ’90, Pre ’87 and Pre ’82 with the possibility of an historic class if there is demand for it. All rounds will be covered by Mondello.TV and the job of landing a title sponsor has, unsurprisingly landed on my desk recently! Similarly to the Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta series in 2013, all sponsorship monies will go back to the competitors, with entry fees reflecting this for the four meetings the class runs at.
As you will have seen elsewhere, E Fox Engineering have come onboard as title sponsor of the bridge at Mondello Park. Not only does the bridge look superb, there will be a direct benefit to competitors as the company intend to open a shop in the paddock with tools, bearings, rose joints etc all on sale on race days. I am delighted with this deal as it works for everyone and it also makes the place look a whole lot better too!
It is unusual for me to have a non motorsport related Sunday so yesterday, I headed to Dunboyne to pick up fellow Mondello commentator Matt Feeney and we drove over to my Dad’s house in Dundrum. Dad always had classic cars (a succession of MGs when I was young) and this summer acquired a lovely Mercedes 350SL. This left his precious pride and joy, a 1968 Rover 3500 V8, surplus to requirements. Matt really is the Irish Mike Brewer and dabbles in classic cars quite a lot so he happily agreed to help offload the Rover. We needed it gone for two reasons- firstly, it was sitting outside, having being bumped out of the garage by the SL and secondly, Dad was beginning to get the odd “Wanna sell that car boss?!” knock on the door! It started on the button and after a quick wash we were ready to go. Matt took it steady at first but once the old lady was warmed up, he gave her the right pedal on the M50. Auntie Rover has always been able to pick up her skirts and run when asked and when the P6
blasted by me Matt was grinning from ear to ear! Duly delivered to Matt’s lockup at an undisclosed location, we considered going for a celebratory beverage but wisely decided against, it being a school night and all. You just can’t beat a day messing around with cars, especially classics! Speaking of classic cars, I have an awful hankering for a MK1 Golf GTi, so if anyone knows of one for sale, give me a shout! In terms of race cars, the Imp is still very much in stock, the Ritmo Turbo should be out at a track day near you in 2014 (I know, I have said that for years), whilst the Formula Sheane is up for sale, now with Leinster Trophy winning pedigree and the Ginetta has been sold. I have been trying to get Steven Boden to sell me Tony Dowling’s old “ACJ” Austin Seven Special as I remember it well from my youth but he has not yet relented. Some day…..