The Leastone team returned to familiar surroundings last weekend, when the Irish Formula Vee championship made its only appearance on the International circuit at Mondello Park. Local man Mark Reade looked to continue his good run of form in the Crowne Plaza Championship, while Kevin Cahill also looked to build on a solid start to his Finol Star of Tomorrow Championship. Watching from the sidelines however was their team mate Brendan O’Brien, who was kept out of the cockpit due to a hand injury.
Qualifying turned out to be a trying affair for the team, as Reade struggled with a misfire hampering his pace, while Cahill managed some strong laps but finished the session on the back of a recovery unit when he crashed late on. Despite these trials and tribulations, Mark lined up 8th overall and 5th in class, with Kevin 12th overall and 2nd in class.
The team had their work cut out for them on the run up to the 1st race of the weekend, hastily repairing Cahill’s qualifying damage, while chasing Reade’s misfire problem which was traced back to a carburettor issue. The race offered little respite for Mark when a collision on the opening lap cut a tyre and forced him into retirement. Kevin also suffered a poor opening lap, dropping a handful of places during the hectic start. He fought back to his starting place of 12th but lost out in a last lap battle, dropping to 13th as the chequered flag flew but gained valuable championship points with 3rd in class.
Sunday’s event saw a damp track greet the drivers, with on/off rain throughout the day. Reade had a much cleaner opening lap, maintaining his starting position but his teammate was not so lucky. The damp conditions caught Cahill out exiting Turn 1 and as he rotated, he was clipped by another car, breaking the rear suspension and rendering him a spectator for the remainder of the race.
The safety car was deployed to deal with the mess, and this allowed the field to regroup after a typically busy first lap. When they did get racing again, Reade jumped to 6th and was seeking a way into 5th but could not find a way through, losing his nose cone in the process. A couple of small mistakes in the difficult conditions saw the gap ebb and flow a little but it remained tight right to the chequered flag, as Reade maintained 6th place but most importantly 3rd in class, securing decent points on what was a particularly difficult weekend.
The team now begin preparations for another double header, this time around Mondello’s National circuit. While Reade and Cahill’s non finishes over the weekend do not help matters, both are still firmly in the championship hunt as the season approaches the mid way point. They will hopefully be joined by Brendan, dependent on how his thumb injury progresses. July 9th will be a hectic day, as both Formula Vee championship races will be compressed into a single day event on Saturday before the Formula Vee Festival takes centre stage on the Sunday.