The 2016 Irish Formula Vee season kicked off at Kirkistown last weekend, with the Leastone team fielding a pair of JH004’s. Brendan O’Brien returns for his 3rd season of formula vee with his eyes firmly set on the Crowne Plaza championship, a championship he narrowly missed out on in 2015. He has been joined by Kevin Cahill, who will hope to challenge for Finol Star of Tomorrow honours in his first year of motorsport.
The Northern Irish weather was anything but kind over the weekend, with Friday testing hit by torrential rain, making it difficult for Brendan and Kevin to gain any useful running. Race day saw an improvement in conditions, but both drivers had to deal with tricky and changeable track conditions throughout the day. Both had a solid run in qualifying, with Brendan lining up 8th of the Crowne Plaza runners and Kevin slotting in 4th of the Finol Star of Tomorrow contenders.
The first race was a short lived affair for Brendan as he was eliminated at the hairpin on lap 3, having made good progress in the first few laps. After the frantic action of the opening laps, Kevin settled into a good rhythm and becoming involved in a tough battle to hold his 4th in class. His race too would come to a premature end, albeit much later on, when he was caught out by the greasy track conditions. Exiting Fishermans, his JH004 swapped ends and was clipped by another car, damaging the rear suspension.
During the break, the team had repaired what they thought was relatively minor damage to Brendan’s car, but it became apparent that the gearbox internals had suffered damage in the collision, meaning he was unable to take the start for the main event. His rookie team mate did not fare much better, as Kevin collected a stalled car off the startline, resulting in front suspension damage. Despite the team’s best effort to repair the car in time for the restart, the damage was too much and they were forced to retire the car.
A rocky start to 2016 for the Leastone crew, but with flashes of pace from both cars, they can look forward to redeeming themselves at the now traditional double header at Bishopscourt on May 7/8th.