Round 1 & 2 Mondello National July 26th 2020

At long last the tedious wait was finally over for competitors as the 2020 Selco.ie Formula Vee championships got underway at Mondello Park yesterday. A very healthy grid of 24 cars lined up for the season opener, a much needed boost to the class which saw numbers begin to dwindle last season. Ten newcomers to the grid would make the ‘Star of Tomorrow’ championship one of the most openly contested classes on the tracks this year. 

One of these newcomers was Ronan Waters from Wexford. Who along with his team of mechanics, although only one was left to do the work while the rest looked on, was eager to get out on track. ” Im looking forward to it and should be a bit of craic and sure we’ll see how it goes.” It was great to see the group of men get together in helping a young driver in his first race and showcase what Formula Vee is all about.
 

Another two of the newcomers were Colm O’Loughlen and Michael O’Callaghan. Both natives of Kerry it was a life’s ambition for the two to go motor racing and now the opportunity was there to do it said Colm. ” I never raced anything before but I have always been into cars and only now have I had a chance to get into doing it. I’m looking forward to it and it will be fun.” Michael agreed, ” I’m the same the chance came up to do it and I said I might aswell. Although after the first test session I was getting dizzy” he laughed.

With the weather forecast not looking great for the afternoon, qualifying would be crucial in the morning. Thankfully the rain stayed away for qualifying and just like last season Anthony Cross in his Sheane began to top the timesheets. He would stay there until the end as for most of the session he was four tenths up on the field. Then in the dying moments Gavin Buckley got to within a tenth of second to Cross. Time ran out to go better but it was a good showing from Buckley who put in some good drives last year. Phillip Sheane also had a good qualifying and was up to second at one point but dropped to third. Apart from Cross the main favourites in Jack Byrne and Dan Polley who usually qualify in the top four had a bad session ending up in eighth and eleventh respectively. In fact it ended up a very close session with the first three cover by 0.135 of a second.The fastest newcomer was Michael O’Callaghan in a very good 13th place.

Thankfully the weather gods looked down on Mondello Park and kept the rain away for the afternoon. Where the two metre distance rule applied everywhere else in the county Kildare venue, it certainly did not once the lights went out to start race one. Buckley got the jump over Cross off the line but Cross held the inside line to lead him and the field around turn one. It didn’t take Cross long to get into his stride and began to open a gap over Buckley who held his own over Tim Murray who made a great start to get himself into third. Cross started to open a gap on the field putting in consistent times to build his lead over the following three cars who now were firmly in the grips of a hard battle. Sheane overtook Murray going into the final corner and then lost his nose cone trying to get it back going into turn one. This gave Buckley room to breath for a while and also Trevor Delaney, Mark Reade and Dan Polley to get closer and join in the battle. Polley got ahead of Reade and started to show his form moving on to the back of Delaney. As this was going on the leader lost the gap he had built up and it became an eight car train for the lead. Coming out of turn three Murray and Sheane collided with murray coming off worse dropping down to 17th and Sheane down to 8th. This of course let the front two clear but also allowed Polley to get a move of Delaney to put him into third place. As the race began to come to a close Cross upped his pace to open up his lead again over Buckley as Polley chased in third. The race for fourth was between the three cars of Delaney, Reade and Byrne. It was Reade who won this battle to finish in fourth ahead of Byrne and Delaney. Up front it was Cross who continued from where he left off last year by taking the win from Buckley and Polley. 

Speaking with the winner after the race he was glad to bag his first win ” I missed a gear at paddock bend and dropped back towards Gavin but no real problems other than that. The track was very slick but im happy to get my first win of the year.”

For race two it was Cross on pole with Philip Sheane lined up beside him this time. Sheane made the much better start off the line and headed the field into turn one. his lead was short lived as a number of cars came together in turn one which brought out the red flags. On the restart it was again Sheane who got the better start and lead going towards turn one but an accident just after the bridge between Robert Fleming, Dan Polley and Trevor Delaney brought out the red flags again. Thankfully nobody was hurt and the rescue services and marshals were on the scene instantly. 

The third time of asking was much less frantic as Cross made the better start and his best all day to get into the lead before turn one with Sheane in second and Buckley in third. Tim Murray and Jack Byrne battled for fourth until Mechanical problems but Byrne out after only a handful of laps. The field began to stretch out bar the front two, where a closely fought battle was brewing up nicely.
Lap after lap Sheane harassed and pressured Cross trying to pass on the outside into turns one and three several time to no avail. With Cross trying to hold off and take win number two of the day and Sheane trying to take his first ever Formula Vee win which he so nearly came to at the end of last year, it always had the chance of ending badly. That is what happened on the penultimate lap on the exit of the final corner. As Sheane got a better drive on the inside Cross came across to take his normal line but in doing so got collected by Sheane with both cars spinning off. This gave the lead to Buckley who must have thought Christmas had come early, and put Tim Murray up to third. Luckily for Cross he spun round in the right direction and got going enough to stay in second place. With a lap to go he had no time to try and regain the lead. Buckley remained calm to take his first Formula Vee win from Cross and Murray. 
So an action packed weekend in Formula Vee has drawn to a close and after such a long wait for it to come round it certainly flew by. Sadly not all would be going home happy with the way their races went but some certainly will least of all Gavin Buckley who took his maiden win. Anthony Cross still remains the man to beat though but the pack are catching up. It was great to see a grid in a healthy state again and hopefully it continues for the rest of the year. Spare a thought for David Sheane the man who brought Formula Vee to Ireland and has made so many cars for drivers down through the years at this time and hopefully he makes a recovery soon and we will see him in the paddock again.

 

Results by class:

Race 1
Selco.ie A Championship Race 
1st Anthony Cross
2nd Gavin Buckley
3rd Dan Polley

VW Spares B Championship Race 
1st Mark Reade
2nd Philip Sheane
3rd Ger Byrne

Motorsport.ie Star of Tomorrow Championship Race 
1st Ronan Waters
2nd Michael Killian
3rd James Sheppard

Race 2
Selco.ie A Championship Race 
1st Gavin Buckley
2nd Anthony Cross
3rd Tim Murray

VW Spares B Championship Race 
1st Tim Murray
2nd Mark Reade
3rd Philip Sheane

Motorsport.ie Star of Tomorrow Championship Race 
1st Jordan Kelly
2nd Karl O’Sullivan
3rd Michael Killian

Round 11 Kirkistown September 28th 2019

With the autumn days getting into their stride and the long evenings now a distant memory, it also meant that the 2019 Selco.ie Formula Vee championship was drawing to a close. Not before one last outing though, and another trip up north to the popular Kirkistown racing circuit in county Down.

While the championships were all decided at the previous round at Mondello Park two weeks ago, it didn’t mean that this last round would be of little significance. This would be the last chance for some to grab their first win of the year or even their first ever win! Anthony Cross who successfully retained his title this season, would be out to finish the year with another victory and the rest would be out to stop him doing just that! Not only was it the final championship meeting, but also a separate race for the all important Emerson Fittipaldi trophy, won last year by Dan Polley.

A grid of fifthteen cars lined up on the grid headed by Philip Sheane who impressed at this track in August. He was the man who dominated qualifying and took his maiden pole position by 0.787of a second from Anthony Cross. Joining the grid for the first time this year was UK Formula Vee champion Ben Miloudi. When the lights went out it was Cross who lead the field towards turn one, the infamous Debtors Dip. Cross held his lead as they exited turn two, followed by Philip Sheane, David O’Loughlin, Dan Polley, and Jack Byrne. His lead was short lived as by the second lap it was Sheane who now lead. Building on from his qualifying, Sheane was showing he wasn’t going to let Cross have it all his own way. Cross retook the lead on lap five dropping Sheane back towards Dan Polley who by now was up to third.

The race was shaping up to be the one of the closest all year as the lead battle grew into a five car train. Once again Sheane on lap seven took the lead from Cross determined to grab his maiden win. The front began to slightly gap Polley and Byrne in third and fourth, Jimmy Furlong was also putting the pressure on in fifth. It looked like anybody’s race and a small mistake could see you drop back down the order in a split second.

Then with only a couple of laps to go Cross made his move on Sheane to retake the lead which he held onto to the chequered flag but by only 0.2 of a second. Polley came home third but by only 0.001 of a second from Byrne. Again it was this years champion who took the win but he was made work hard for it and it shows that next year’s championship looks set to be a closely fought one.

Now that the championship was over, it was time for the Emerson Fittipaldi Trophy race. Cross was out to take his second win of the meeting boosted in confidence after winning the season finale race earlier in the day. The Fittipaldi Trophy is a trophy all formula vee drivers want their name on. All that has gone on during the season prior to it, be it good or bad goes out the window. The old saying of ‘Saving the best for last’ certainly couldn’t have been more apt for the race to bring the curtain down on the 2019 season. At one point there were six cars battling for the lead with nothing bar a cigarette paper between each of them.

It began with Philip Sheane taking the lead from Anthony Cross around the outside going through ‘Debtors Dip’ followed by David O’Loughlin who was having his best showing of the year in second place with Jack Byrne in third and Cross forced back to fourth place. Going into the chicane on lap two Byrne forced his LOH Motorsport car up the inside of Sheane to briefly lead, but with Sheane having the line for the second part he couldn’t make his move stick.

In doing so Sheane got out of shape and ended up having a bad run on the exit, giving the rest behind, lead by Cross a better run down the back straight. By turn one on lap four cross was now in the lead taking Sheane on the inside. Setting out to build a lead, proved unsuccessful as he simply could not shake off the pack behind, now lead by Byrne who was determined get by as soon as possible. He did so within a couple of laps and it looked like the front two would have the race to themselves, especially after Sheane got his car very out of shape on the exit of the chicane with only a handful of laps to go.

On lap eleven Cross got back in front and slowed the pace to bring the pack behind back into play again in efforts to prevent Byrne getting passed. It worked but just, as Sheanes last corner efforts nearly came off but Cross held it to the line to win by 0.021 of a second with Byrne back in third and Jimmy Furlong in fourth. The top four all crossed the finish line within the same second. Furlong grabbed the fastest lap in another strong performance. A second win for Anthony Cross made it a championship and Fittipaldi trophy double and deservedly so. As he was the man to beat all year and won at times by digging deep when other really should have won.

 

Results by class:
A Championship Race 
1st Anthony Cross
2nd Philip Sheane
3rd Dan Polley

B Championship Race 
1st Jack Byrne
2nd David O’Loughlin
3rd Nick Mulhall

Star of Tomorrow Championship Race 
1st Philip Seane
2nd Justin Gray
3rd Sean McCallion

Emerson Fittipaldi Trophy Race
1st Anthony Cross
2nd Philip Sheane
3rd Jack Byrne

Round 7 Mondello July 14th 2019

Round seven of the Selco Hygiene Supplies Formula Vee championship brought the drivers to Mondello Park for the second time this year. This round saw a welcome boost to grid numbers with twenty-one cars lining up for qualifying, all vying for the important two front row spots at the tight and twisty county Kildare circuit. 

At the previous Mondello Park round series leader and current champion Anthony Cross won from Dan Polley by 0.209 of a second and as both won a race at the last time out at Anglesea in Wales, both were favourites to lock out the front row. After a good test on Friday Cross was confident of qualifying well. “I had a good day testing and was quickest overall but Dan wasn’t here and he always goes well here, so it’s hard to tell if it will be good enough today but we will see how it goes.” Indeed Polley did go well by topping the time-sheets but only by a meer 0.45 of a second.

It was first blood to Polley and by his own admission he needs to finish ahead of Cross to keep himself in this years championship hunt. The biggest surprise though in qualifying was the man heading the second row. Gavin Buckley making his first appearance this year after recovering from a broken pelvis in a skiing accident earlier this year put in a great time finishing only 0.4 seconds off Polley’s pole time.

Polley made the most from his pole position by leading the field into turn one, although cross himself made a good start but had to slot in behind Polley on the exit to protect his second position from Trevor Delaney who moved into up third. A mistake under braking into turn four by Robert Fleming caused him to spin his Sheane and in the process got collected the luckless Karl O’Sullivan who had nowhere to go with both cars ending up in the gravel. Unable to move both cars, race organizers had no option but to bring out the red flags.

Cross then set upon building a lead which steadily grew each lap. Behind the front two Trevor Delaney and Gavin Buckley had a race long battle for the final podium spot. Delaney got the jump on Buckley off the line and moved up one place from his qualifying position. At one point Delaney began to close in on Polley but after getting got caught up with backmarkers it left him too far behind to challenge for second. John Farrell had to pull his Sheane over to the pitwall after suffering fuel issues with two laps to go, with the car deemed to be at risk to others once again organizers had to put out the red flags. As the race was past three quarter distance a result was declared, which left Cross as the winner from Polley with Trevor Delaney in third. In the “B” championship Paul Heavey took the win from Jack Byrne with Tim Murray in third. Heavey a winner at the Bishopscourt round back in May, was somewhat off the pace and never looked like moving up towards the front of the field. Justin Gray took the “C” championship win from Sean McCallion with MIchael Killian in third.On the restart Polley again was better of the line and lead the opening lap but only just from Cross who got better drive out of turn one and by the exit of turn two he was passed and into the lead. A well worked move but respect shown by Polley who could have easily squeezed him on to the grass.

Another good show put on by the Formula Vee drivers and great to see the numbers coming back up again which bodes well for the rest of the year. The next round brings the drivers back up north to Kirkistown in county Down on the 24th of August.

 

 

Results by class:
A Championship Race 
1st Anthony Cross
2nd Dan Polley
3rd Paul Heavey

B Championship Race 
1st Paul Heavey
2nd Jack Byrne
3rd Tim Murray

Star of Tomorrow Championship Race 
1st Justin Gray
2nd Sean McCallion
3rd Michael Killian

Rounds 3 & 4 Bishopscourt May 12th 2019

The third round of the Selco.ie Formula Vee championship brought the drivers to the beautiful Bishopscourt race circuit in County Down, Northern Ireland.

Bishopscourt specialist Dan Polley who has won the last six races at the track, was out to not only out to keep his winning streak going but also to get his first win of 2019. The Dubliner has had to watch rivals Jack Byrne and Anthony Cross take the chequered flag at the Kirkistown and Mondello rounds of the championship so far this year.

Anthony Cross drew first blood as he grabbed pole from Polley by 0.100 seconds. Unfortunately Polley was a non-starter and as the lights went out it was Cross, who made the most of the free space vacated by Polley at the start and lead the field into first corner. Right from the first corner Cross had his mirrors full of Jack Bryne and veteran Formula Vee driver Paul Heavey. Heavey then made a move on Byrne going into the chicane on the back straight to move into second. This trio quickly pulled clear of the field but on lap three Byrne while attempting to pass Cross got caught out on dropped oil and spun off at the hairpin.

This left Heavey and Cross to battle it out and both drivers put on a great display swapping the lead several times over the course of the race. By crossing the line with three seconds to spare, they got one final lap in the 15 minute timed race. It was Heavey who drew on all his Formula Vee race experience who came out on top as he took the chequered flag by 0.161 seconds ahead of Cross. Jack Byrne recovered to finish in third.

For the second race it was Anthony Cross starting from pole. He made best use of it as he lead off the line to head the field into turn one.

It looked to be shaping into a copy of race one as Cross, Byrne and Heavey began to battle it out in the opening laps. Until a mistake by Heavey ended in an off-course excursion, dropping him down the field. That left both Sheane car drivers Cross and Byrne to battle it out for the win. Byrne passed at half distance but it was a short lived as Cross was ahead again by the end of the lap. Once Cross regained the lead he never let it go and started to open a small gap on Byrne but the red flags came out on the final lap ending the race somewhat prematurely.

Another two close races at the sharp end of the field that kept the onlookers on their toes. The championship is still wide open and im sure it will be just as close at the next round.

 

 

Results by class:
A Championship Race 1
1st Paul Heavey
2nd Anthony Cross
3rd Jack Byrne

B Championship Race 1
1st Paul Heavey
2nd Jack Byrne
3rd Matt Bodden

Star of Tomorrow Championship Race 1
1st Philip Seane
2nd JB Farrell
3rd Sean McCallion

A Championship Race 2
1st Anthony Cross
2nd Jack Byrne
3rd Philip Sheane

B Championship Race 2
1st Jack Byrne
2nd Robert Fleming
3rd Colin Lewis

Star of Tomorrow Championship Race 2
1st Philip Sheane
2nd Justin Gray
3rd JB Farrell