For the first time in 2019 Irishautoparts.ie Future Classics were back to Mondello Park for rounds 7&8 of the Championship. We had a huge grid for the weekend with over 25 cars signed up. This would be no ordinary event as it was the Historic Motorsport Festival. Future Classics are very privileged to be invited for the past few years, but this time we would have Championship rounds instead of the normal demo rounds we run.
Some of our drivers were down testing on the Saturday. Unfortunately some ran into issues which seen them miss the Sunday action. Pat Lucy and Trevor Kinsella were set to make their return, but a wheel bearing collapse in practice seen the end for their weekend.
This weekend we had some newly registered drivers, Colin Lewis, Niall Maher, Kian O’Brien, Andrew Brennan back in Mike Dermody’s old Punto, and Emmet Brennan was out with another MX-5. Ulick Burke was also a late call up driving the ex-Steven Martin Abarth.
On Sunday morning we had 21 cars lined up for qualifying in pretty much perfect conditions. Paddy Howley, Ulick Burke and Mike Dermody lit up the time sheets with the fastest times, but were a little too fast for the barrier time and this moved them to the back of the grid. As a result, this put Stephen Martin on pole closely followed by Aidan Byrne and Gareth Thompson in P3. In future class Kevin Cahill was the fastest but slightly shading the barrier also demoted him the back of the grid. This put Gary Duggan in pole followed by Paul Flanagan and Jimmy Kilbride in P3.
Race 1 got underway and everything was going smooth until turn 2. Cold tires sent a few cars sideways and ultimately Connor McEllmeel had heavy contact with the barrier. The race was red flagged and the cars were sent back to regrid. This time the start was clean and Steven Martin Just pipped Aidan Byrne into turn one. Stephen started to pull out a big gap with Thompson closing on Byrne too.
Back down the pack there was some great battles, especially with Mike Dermody and Ian Thornton as the traded blows in an epic old vs new battle with the Vectra and now immortal Chevette. Paddy Howley was making his way from the back of the grid in the Rover, but a broken cv joint seen an end to his challenge for the weekend.
As the newly registered drivers had to start from pit lane, they too were now starting to make progress on the pack. None more than Ulick Burke in the Abarth! He showed great pace blasting past all the Future Class cars and well into the Super class, but breaking the barrier time on two laps would unfortunately move him back down the order.
Timmy Duggan was going well in a borrowed CRX and had got past Aidan Byrne for P3 until he also broke the barrier. Three laps later he was out with a big engine failure which resulted in more red flags and ultimately the end of the race.
David Hammond was as ever very impressive in the little 1.3 Uno, always happy to take on the big boys in Super Class. Mondello Park suits David better as he can use his experience rather than out right grunt.
Thankfully Conor was ok after his shunt and the car had taken less damage than we first thought. Well done to the Mondello track team for such a fast response and speedy track turn around.
With all penalties applied race 1 results were:
Super Class- P1 Aidan Byrne P2 David Hammond P3 Mike Dermody
Future Class- P1 Gary Duggan P2 Paul Flanagan P3 John Twomey
Race 2 was going to be a washout! The Hill of Allen wasn’t to be seen and rain was starting to soak the track. On the wet track the experienced Aidan Byrne got the better start. He got around turn 1 safely followed by the pack, and eventually the pit land starters got going.
Byrne was breaking away and the wet track was suiting his relaxed driving style and the big Celica. With this kind of weather the barrier time never comes into play so it’s a good chance for the future class cars to make their way to the front. Gary Duggan made steady progress in p3. More proof the Punto’s are the car of choice for the wet was Paul Flanagan splashing along steady and again Burke blasting all the way from pit lane right up the order.
Thornton was wowing the stand with his drift displays. Ian has recently bought this little Chevette from Robbie Parks so we hopefully get to see a lot more of it on the track in the future.
Three laps in and John Twomey’s Saxo suffers an electrical fault on the main straight. John was going well in class and no doubt we will see him back stronger. This brought out the safety car and bunched the pack up nicely. On restart Byrne catches them all sleeping and flings the Celica down the main straight.
Five laps in and the weather takes a turn for the worse, cars are really struggling with surface water on the main straight and visibility is poor. There was a slight coming together on the straight between Steven Martin and Gary Duggan which sent Stephen into turn 1 out of control. There was an unlucky impact between Gareth Thompson in the Celica and Stephen, both cars ended up in the sand through turn 1. The cars were damaged but thankfully both drivers were fine. Kevin Cahill who had also been going great but lost control on the main straight and was very lucky not to collect the barrier.
With all penalties applied race 2 results were:
Super Class- P1 Aidan Byrne P2 Gary Duggan P3 Ulick Burke
Future Class- P1 Gary Duggan P2 Jimmy Kilbride P3 Paul Flanagan
After another great weekend we now look forward to the final rounds at the Leinster Trophy weekend in Mondello Park 14th&15th of Septemper.
Thanks to all drivers new and old for the continued support, and last but not least our class sponsor Irish Auto Parts.ie for our new for all their help in 2019. Championship standings will soon to live via our website futureclassicsracing.ie
Photo Credit: Al Cully, Cregor Elliot, Mark Ashby, David Mc Lachlan