The Leastone Racing Team kicked off their 2015 at Mondello Park last weekend. Brendan O’Brien returned to the team, looking to build on the momentum gained during 2014 which saw him net a top 3 in the B championship. Brendan was joined by series returnee Colm Blackburn, who sat out the second half of last year but recently purchased John Stapleton’s JH002. The two team regulars we joined by newcomer Des Foley who was making his Formula Vee debut.
Brendan’s weekend got off to a troubled start, with a leaking cylinder head, followed by a broken valve spring, limiting Saturday’s running. Unfortunately this was a pattern that would continue for the weekend, with further problems in qualifying leaving him at the back of the grid. Des and Colm enjoyed a better time of it, lining up 5th and 7th on the timesheets. This performance would put Des on pole for the heat and in prime position to take full Finol Star of Tomorrow points.
His first Formula Vee start couldn’t have got any better as he streaked into an unassailable lead on the opening lap. Brendan had a similar getaway, carving his way up into the top 10 early on. Unfortunately tell tale puffs of smoke indicated all was not well and he retired early on with an oil leak that resulted in terminal damage.
In the meantime, despite the slippery conditions, Des was in full control. He calmly brought his JH004 past the chequered flag to win his first ever single seater race.
Grid positions for the final were set directly from qualifying with Des 5th and Colm 7th. Des struggled off the line but this was an indication of a larger problem, when his clutch failed in the early stages of the race. Colm had a good getaway, breaking into the top 5 and giving chase to a 3 way battle for 2nd place. However, his pace dropped off somewhat in the middle stages of the race and he was vulnerable to attack from behind. Despite a stout defence, he slipped back to 6th, which is where he would stay.
This meant he put some solid points on the board for the national championship, exactly what he needed to do, given the limited experience he had with the car, having only managed 2 sessions during testing the previous day. Despite his DNF in the final, Des takes maximum points for the Finol Star of Tomorrow championship, which gives him the early championship lead. Brendan will regroup and look to get some points on the board at Kirkistown in two weeks time. The structure of the Formula Vee championships allow for 2 drop scores, so while nobody wants a DNF, it is not the end of his championship challenge. In the meantime, the team will work hard to eradicate the problems suffered by both Des and Brendan.
Check out some coverage from Des's win below:
Next round – Kirkistown 28th March