Posted on 18 May 2013 by Susan
Ah isn’t it just great that racing is back. This year saw a later start in the year than most recent times this is probably a good thing given the weather in Ireland the past few weeks. Con Connolly picked me up at 6am (I’d say bright and early but it was still dark) for the drive to Kirkistown that went through frost glistening fields and a fiery sunrise over the snow capped Mourne Mountains, it was the sort of morning poets dream about. I was surprised to see snow still piled on the roadside when we reached Hillsborough and it lasted until we reached the coastline of Strangford Lough. We arrived at the track and our first stop was the cantina for a breakfast, after which I wandered around the paddock for a while chatting to a few people, and having a few cups of tea. Feeling jetlagged from my recent holiday I went for a nap in the back of the Leastone truck emerging for the start of racing. John Murphy and Colm Blackburn won the Formula Ford, and Formula Vee qualifying races before lunch. Discussing ice cream with JayTee Jay Tee alerted me onto the ice cream stand in the paddock so I tried some at lunchtime. A local farm makes it and it was out of this world. Rhubarb and custard was the top flavour if you’re heading that way during the season. The wind picked up over lunch making for a cold afternoon. I stayed at the chicane and Fishermans for most of the afternoon and watched some close racing. There were wins for Ivor McCoullough, Dylan Curley, David Beatty, and Stephen Davidson. Kevin Seane won a thrilling Sheane race that produced controversy when Robbie Allen was excluded post race, while Ray Moore ran away with the Vee race. A few incidents led to delays as the afternoon wore on and as 5pm approached there were still a few races to run. The Fomula Ford race was stopped several times for incidents, but the racing was brilliant at the front. McCoullough took his second win of the day, as the young guns of Stephen Doyle and Niall Murray gave a good account of themselves. The final races were cut short but it was still nearly 7pm by the time it was all over which was a bit late to be leaving for the drive back to Dublin.
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Kirkistown Blog- with Cregor Elliott
Posted on 18 May 2013 by admin
Apologies for some passing of time since my last blog as my proverbial plate just seems to get bigger, however I’m not complaining when on that plate is the finest of Italian cuisine to be washed down by Super Tuscan red, it’s just a matter finding room for the intake of an extra course and hope I can fit it all in. Of course what I’m actually talking about is the new Ferrari 458 Italia Challenge that Philip has acquired for new ventures further afield. Best of all is that its new…..brand spanking out of the box new! Now I’m going to be completely open here, I’ve had a crippling ‘no other road car is better than a Ferrari’ mindset since wearing grey shorts with conkers in my back pocket. This blind loyalty was firmly sealed once contents of an oddly shaped money box was swapped with a Ferrari annual with glossy pictures and exploded views of the then scarlet range of road cars. Fast forward a few hair styles from then and that obsession proved advantageous when I spent time with Pininfarina Study and Research as a development technician on bespoke Ferrari, ahhh great fun. A calling to motorsport took over my career aspirations, but Ferraris have never been far away throughout. Now we come to present day and this absolute drop dead gorgeous Rari has arrived at the Breezemount workshop. A prompt read through the 458 instruction manual has brought me up to speed on this current Challenge edition. It continues with the previous Challenge car ethos, not quite GT race spec but hardened up enough with the right racy bits stuck on for eligible competition. F458 Challenge Shakedown What really impresses me is the filtering down of F1 technology into the powertrain architecture, the current tread of seamless gear shift and active diffs to control whole corner balance is right there with this car. So with no delay, a shakedown with Philip at the helm and Richard Lyons as backup pilot was undertaken. A quick download of captured car data does indeed show the many electronic interventions of diff control thus enabling driver to just press right foot pedal and go. Don’t get me wrong, not even the F1 tech clever electronics can beat the laws of physics so drivers are still on their toes to avoid any pilot error induced pendulum effects; however the car proves to be fairly easy to drive and point through the corners. One thing that did become apparent to both drivers is the effect of some positive lift on the car at various performance points and so upon return to workshop an aero package has been the topic of development discussion. The plan is for Philip to learn the circuits in the UK with the Challenge, so I am pleased to say Breezemount Motorsport has linked up with Ferrari specialists FF Corsa who will take over the running of the car at their base at Silverstone with intentions to support us to UK and European circuits. Stuart checking Ferrari data. In the meantime while an aero upgrade is sourced for the Ferrari we have moved onto the Formula Master and Seat Leon. Our first outing this year with the Master at Mondello has highlighted an issue with setup as we have switched tyre brands and sizes, something which will require additional testing as we assess and learn to understand changes to the dynamics of the car. I fear quite a few changes to suspension components and permutations of setup to achieve balance equilibrium. This takes time which we are short of when that plate is already full and the saloon championship is well underway, so more on Formula Master developments later. Our first race at Kirkistown in the saloons showed Philip has the speed to qualify well but the Seat Supercopa Achilles heel is its DSG gearbox, AKA getting off the line. It’s a rather hit or miss affair as Philip found out on both races, then there was the realization that the saloon boys don’t give a damn if Philip is the outright record holder at Kirko. With a mixture of relatively equal matched machinery here, if you want to be first across the line then you have to learn to squeeze every ounce of horsepower from the engine on corner exit and accept that no one is going to give an inch on corner entry. Good point finishes for both races on our first event this year we are glad off, but much discussion on return to the workshop was had with many cups of coffee. So another test was booked 2 days before the second saloon race meet. I implemented another setup adjustment and Richard Lyons was on hand for the finer points of race craft and that all important lap time, then it was down to the stopwatch to tell the tale of positives or negatives. The times are good, real good, into the mid 61’s for Philip as the Leon is touching the edge of its performance envelope. So with race day on the next sunrise, the Leon is back A job well done! on the flat patch into the dark hours getting a final adjustment to remove a little of the nervousness that has crept in. A little red eye in the morning soon disappears as caffeine is consumed, 2 qualifies and 2 races await the Leon Supercopa as she warms up on air jacks. A quick download then check of engine vitals on the laptop confirms all is go for the morning qualify runs. The hard work Philip has been putting in is starting to pay off, fastest in his class and even out pacing the GT’s for Q1. ‘Car feeling better with that setup tweak Stu’ Philip comments, and indeed the confidence shows on Philips data, ‘just got to get the car cleanly off the line now!’ Well both races went well as it turned out, the DSG gearbox launch control is indeed useless as Philip loses places on both starts, however Philip drove well, exceptionally well, fighting with the mighty Hondas with a few well placed overtaking maneouvers to take class wins in both races. And to top things off a new saloon lap record of 62.2! Well done Philip, you have our attention now! Follow us on Facebook / Breezemount Motorsport
Breezemount Motorsport- a new arrival!
Posted on 19 April 2013 by admin
The Formula Vee class returned to Mondello Park last weekend for round 2 of their three championships. Both of the Vee races were streamed live on Mondello Park’s new Mondello.tv, allowing sponsors, friends and family to watch in real time from around the globe for the first time ever! In the Dunlop B Championship and VW Spares Rookie Championship race, Colm Blackburn’s Total Oils Leastone was first across the line, having overcome an on-form Ger Byrne early on. Ger had qualified superbly in the wet but when the track dried out a little, his down on power engine made him an easy target on the main straight. Damian Murphy in the Simtech Aviation car lead off the line for the opening lap of the race before a spin at the exit of the Esses left him down the order. Stephen Morrin, driving John Downey’s car for the weekend, was on a charge however, and also displaced Byrne to make it a Leastone 1-2. He seemed to be on the ragged edge though as he tried to close the gap to Blackburn and had the first of a number of off track excursions on lap six. By the end of the race though, he had mounted an impressive charge back to fourth, setting fastest lap on the final tour. Byrne held on for an impressive second with Morgan McCourt driving well for another good result in third. In the main Crowne Plaza Dundalk National Formula Vee Championship race Ray Moore had dominated qualifying, his Bernard Dolan run Leastone handling perfectly in tricky conditions. His margin at the top of the timesheets was an unheard of 1.7 seconds- Normally grid positions in Formula Vee are Is this a Jump Start? Morrin heads for the sky. Image from Cregot Elliot decided by fractions of a second. Adam McAuley and Dave O’Brien were next up, both in Newsome tended Sheanes. When the lights changed, McAulay nailed a perfect start to lead the field down to Ford corner. Further back, Morrin’s day was going from bad to worse as his borrowed Leastone was launched skywards after a mid pack shuffle. Moore challenged the leader almost immediately and looked clearly quicker, drawing alongside on a number of occasions on the opening lap. He eventually made the move stick on the exit of Adelaide corner when McAulay’s master switch turned off, killing the engine for an instant. Dan Polley was on a charge, his LOH tended Sheane having qualified back in eighth, and came out tops of a battle with Kevin Grogan, the pair having both displaced O’Brien. Robbie Allen was also driving superbly, carving through the field to fourth, although he had to defend from Grogan in the closing stages. A bonus to Moore’s dominent win was the fastest lap prize sponsored by Total Oils while the AvantiSport Highest Grid Mover award was shared by Colm Blackburn, Morgan McCourt and Gary Owens. Both Moore and Blackburn now lead their respective championships with two maximum scores each, whilst Justin Costello now heads the novice title chase. Star Drive- Ray Moore (again). A flawless performance from the former double champion. If someone is going to stop him adding to his title, they need to stand and be counted soon. One to Watch- Jack Byrne. At just 16, the youngest driver in the class. Drove impressively again this weekend and did well to avoid trouble on the way to the first corner.
Moore Continues to Dominate!
Posted on 11 April 2013 by Dave
Ray Moore replied to off season paddock rumours suggesting he had retired with an impressive lights to flag win against strong opposition at the Formula Vee season opener in Kirkistown last weekend. The race for the Dunlop B Championship & VW Spares Rookie Championship was one of the best of the day, with Colm Blackburn, now driving for Leastone Racing and backed by Total Oils, battling mightily with impressive Vee debutant Sean Newsome from the off. When they outbraked themselves mid race, Stephen Morrin took over the lead in the ex works Leastone. Morgan McCourt had been progressing well in the Ken Elliot run Leastone and he closed in and began to battle with Morrin. When the pair came together at Fishermans, with Morrin out on the spot, the recovering Blackburn retook a lead he would hold to the flag for an impressive win. 16 year old Jack Byrne took a great fourth on his Vee debut despite constant pressure from Dad Ger for the duration- no sign of Multi 21 with that pair! The recovering McCourt was next up from Justin Costello and Uno graduate Gary Owens, in his freshly rebuilt Sheane. In the Crowne Plaza Dundalk National Formula Vee Championship race, Moore led from pole but Adam McAuley and the resurgent Dan Polley, now back driving his beloved Sheane chassis, were right with him. In the early stages, the pair looked as if they would challenge Moore but as they began to battle, the black Leastone began to ease away. The subsequent scrap for second was one of the highlights of the day, as the evenly matched Sheane mounted pair swapped places almost every lap. On more than one occasion, they rounded Debtors, Colonial 1 & 2 and even Fishermans, side by side, wheel to wheel. It was hard but fair with Polley being ahead when it counted. Both acknowledged how good the battle had been, but rued the fact that a chance to race Moore for the win had been lost. Kevin Grogan was an impressive, if lonely, fourth at the flag, unable to get on terms with the battle in front but well ahead of his pursuers, headed by new Vee chairman John Downey. Star Drive- Ray Moore. Pole, lights to flag win and fastest lap to boot. A top class performance. One to Watch- Colm Blackburn. Was always quick and spectacular. Now under the wing of the works outfit, he is definitely one to keep an eye on in 2013.
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Moore of the same…
Posted on 08 April 2013 by Susan
Novice racer Stephen O’Keefe was presented with the opportunity to fulfil his Motor Racing Dreams at Mondello Park last weekend, as he was announced as the winner of the 2013 Mondello Park and Sheane Cars sponsored, ‘Become A Racing Driver’ Competition. The Corkman can now look forward to racing in the Irish Formula Sheane Championship this year with all costs covered. 31 year old O’Keefe became the third winner of the competition following in the footsteps of Mayo’s Sean Hynes and Bray’s Timmy Swail, both of whom went on to impress in their first seasons’ racing. The fantastic prize is valued at over €15,000 and will provide him with everything he needs to go motor racing. Included in the prize package is coaching, all testing and entry fees, use of a Formula Sheane race car supplied and maintained by the Sheane Factory in Wicklow, all running costs and a full set of racewear to keep, courtesy of Murray Motorsport. Stephen O’Keefe with 2012 winner Tim Swail. The new Become A Racing driver champion won his opportunity by coming out top in a qualifying heat and then beating all-comers in the final, which consisted of a day of assessment, both on and off the track, at Mondello Park. On his way to winning the prize O’Keefe underwent assessment in a Racing Saloon with an instructor alongside and in a Formula Sheane single seater, as well as having to undergo a Media skills interview. Speaking shortly after the announcement of the result, O’Keefe said, “I cant believe that against so many other competitive drivers, I’m the one that has been chosen. It’s a fantastic opportunity for someone so passionate about motor racing, to get a chance to take up this great sport is just amazing. I’m very grateful to Mondello Park, Sheane Cars and Murray Motorsport for the time and financial investment they are putting in to allow me fulfil my dreams. I hope to put in a competitive season and try to match the success of the two previous winners.” Mondello Park chief Instructor Ken Elliott summed up O’Keefe performance, saying, “Stephen drove really well on the day. He really impressed all the judges and I’d like to wish him all the best in his first season of Formula Sheane. He will have a tough job following in the footsteps of our previous winners but we are all sure his is up to the job.” The new addition to the Formula Sheane grid will had very little time to get used to the idea of going racing as he back in Mondello Park just a few days later to undergo another assessment, to qualify for his Motorsport Ireland race licence. The next Stage for Stephen will be a test day at Mondello Park before tackling his first race weekend at Bishopscourt Co. Down in May. With the 2013 competition completed the search for the next ‘Become A Racing Driver’ champion is already under way. For 2014′s competition all drivers who complete a Mondello Park Motor Racing Experience will have a chance of being put forward for the award, with at least one driver being nominated each day that the experience is run. To get involved all you have to do is buy a Motor Racing Experience Level 1 or Level 2 and show our instructors that you could have what it takes to be our next future star.
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Novice Racer Wins Motorsport opportunity of a Lifetime!