The Leastone team visited Bishopscourt last weekend for rounds 4 and 5 of the Irish Formula Vee Championship. It was a mixed bag for the team, Colm Blackburn had two solid races and Des Foley got his first A race podium but on the flip side Des failed to finished race 2 and Brendan O’Brien had mechanical problems throughout the weekend.
Qualifying was compromised when oil was dropped on the circuit early in the session. With all the good times set in the opening stages of the session, Des led the way with his 8th place grid slot, with Colm right behind in 9th and Brendan lining up 15th.
Right from the get go in race 1, a 6 car battle for the lead developed and after a good start, Des was right in the mix. Colm had latched onto the end of the train but was struggling for top end speed so while he was able to hang onto the coat tails of the battle, he could never get himself in a position to attack. While all this was going on, Brendan’s day went from bad to worse as an engine failure sidelined him early on.
Des picked his way through an incident at the head of the field to jump into second place and then immediately went on the attack to snatch the lead. The slipstreaming nature of the Bishopcourt track saw that his moment of glory was short lived as he was demoted to 3rd while Colm continued to struggle at the tail of the lead pack but was still holding a strong 5th place. Des continued to battle hard and after some hard fought final laps he moved into 2nd to seal his first overall podium and with it taking another maximum score in the Finol Star of Tomorrow championship. Despite his struggles, Colm snatched 5th place and a healthy haul of National championship points.
The team changed Brendan’s engine overnight but it was a weekend to forget as yet another problem saw him sidelined again, even before the race. Colm got a great start in race two and shot straight up to 5th place. Unfortunately, his straight line issues meant he was a sitting duck and was pushed back to 8th by the end of the opening lap. Des was having a quiet start, stealthily working his way up to 6th. Once again, the lead battle was between a 6 car train, meaning it was anyone’s race.
In this midst of this battle, Des made of move for 5th but was caught out when the 3rd and 4th place cars slowed up in their own battle just ahead. Des ended up clipping the rear wheel of the 4th place man, sending both spinning and, unfortunately for Des, into retirement. Colm of course benefitted from this and was moved up to 6th place, however, after the race he was deemed to have exceeded track limits and was given a 5 second penalty, pushing him back to 7th.
The cars now return to HQ, Des’ car has minimal damage, Colm is set for an engine rebuild and Brendan needs some repair work and healthy dose of luck. All in all, the team have their work cut out prior to the next round at Mondello International on June 6th! Some onboard footage from Des' car can be found below.