Motormouth’s Mutterings- Preview of Sunday’s Mondello Race Meeting.
April 11, 2014 by Leo Nulty
I can’t believe we are on the eve of the second car race meeting of the season already. The Mondello Champion of Mondello Series’ kicked off at the new March meeting last month and continues at this one, but it also sees many of the National Championships starting their own championships. The Crowne Plaza Dundalk Formula Vee title chase kicks off and, despite testing a Formula Ford over the winter break, reigning champion Adam Macaulay is back to defend his title. Kevin Grogan won the last race of 2013 impressively and his Avanti team are
confident that they can carry this form into 2014. Colm Blackburn leads the Champion of Mondello series after a strong win in March, and he won’t be happy unless he can continue that type of form this weekend! The Finol Star of Tomorrow series for novices also begins this weekend- let’s see if we can find any future champions on that grid!
Kevin O’Hara has thrown his hat in the ring for the Mondello Formula Sheane series in the Motorsport.ie car driven to a Leinster Trophy win by Barry Rabbitt in 2013. O’Hara’s pace is undoubted and if his family LOH Motorsport team can iron out the reliability issues that Rabbitt suffered from last year, he will be very hard to beat. Kevin Sheane is back to defend his 2013 title and the evergreen Brian Hearty will again be the driver we measure everyone against. Brian says there are “still a few titles in me”- and few would disagree with him. Former Uno Champion Coilin Clinton has also moved to single seaters and has rebuilt the car over the winter, even benefitting from setup tips from former champion Hearty along the way!
Dave O’Brien looked to be marginally quicker than Erik Holstein when the ITCC M3s battled in March and he will be keen to score a win this time out. Brian Sexton’s long awaited Honda powered Altezza also made an appearance and showed genuine potential despite minimal testing before the event. The car looked a little soft, even lifting an inside front wheel on occasion, but by race two the times were
beginning to tumble and it looks like if will have the beating of the Integras when sorted. Sexton, ever competitive, is aiming higher though, and wants to have a go at the Beemers! He has even fitted a rear wing that Damo would be proud of so he won’t be short of downforce! Brian Fitzpatrick’s beautiful SEAT Supercopa will also be out there and he showed at the March meeting that he can all but match the M3s for pace, once the tyres get up to temperature. Unfortunately, by that time, the Bavarian machines had made good their escape! Owain Drought and Eoghan Fogarty will both be out too in the G-Sport Integras, and both have had plenty of work done lately so should be will in the hunt for the new In Fiestas Sean Lillis will be hoping for another dominant performance like the last one, when he got the head down early on whilst the rest battled. Champion John Denning will be hoping to return to the top step of the podium after a frustrating race last time out, whilst the Kellett Motorsport pairing of Barry Hallion and JJ O’Riordan should be right there too. I hope I am right when I say that there would appear to be fewer attempts to bend the tech regs this year but certainly the cars look pretty similar in terms of pace in a straight line- a bit of a change from 2013. Multiple Stryker Champion Alan Watkins also appears on the entry list in a new self built car. This should be interesting as he has been pretty much unchallenged in the sports car class over the past few years- so keep an eye out for number 78!
In Ginetta Juniors Jack Finlay and Johnnie Mulholland stay on from 2013 but will be under attack from a raft of newcomers. Wilson Thompson has shown great pace in testing and also watch out for the lastest from two motor racing dynasties. Jordan Dempsey is the son of Morgan Dempsey of the Mullingar racing family and James Roe, from Naas, nephew of former single-seater ace Michael Roe. If either of them go well, they won’t have licked it off the stones!
Watkins also togs out for the Baker Automotive Stryker race which will probably make it a foregone conclusion. I could cut and paste the next sentence from my last three season previews but it still stands- alan Auerbach and Dave Griffin have shown flashes of race winning pace but nowhere near enough consistency to relieve Watkins of a title he has almost come to own! Colin Deering Pat Bergin and Greg Kelly all return to the class too and old hand Des Bruton also appears on the entry list. As the front runners will tell you, Des makes no allowance for age, and it is unlikely he will be too far from the sharp end!
Future Classics continues to grow and the race at the March meeting was amongst the best of the day as Ken Fleming’s Starlet and Brendan Travers Punto slugged it out up front. Unfortunately both smashed the barrier time, handing the win to Ian Thornton from Barry-John McHenry. Daryl Scully’s
Civic also proved too fast for the barrier time too so if these guys have added weight, or fitted rev limiters, as some have suggested, then it will be all to play for again! Aidan Byrne will be out too in his 16v Golf and Paul Dalton also lines up in his Fiat 128 SL Coupé which should be right at the front.
It is hard to see anyone beating David Kelly’s Crosslé 9S in Historics but Bernard Foley and Jackie Cochrane will no doubt make him work for it. In their wake, expect the Lotus duo of Billy Crosbie and Clive Brandon to battle it out ahead of the horde of Midgets fighting for the Joe Flynn Trophy!
All in all it looks like we are in for a great day’s racing and if you can’t make it to see, hear and smell the action, then sit back on the couch, put the kettle on and log on to www.mondello.tv for all the action live!