Mondello Park - Formula Vee Festival - 9/10th July
The Leastone team enjoyed a mixed weekend during the Formula Vee Festival weekend at Mondello Park last weekend. The weekend had a hectic timetable with 4 championship rounds on Saturday, followed up by 3 races on Sunday that made up the 2016 Formula Vee festival in aid of the LauraLynn Hospice.
Both Mark Reade and Kevin Cahill had a solid qualifying for the championship rounds, lining up 2nd and 5th in class, despite tricky wet conditions. With a jam packed timetable, there was little time for adjustment and the opening laps saw typically frantic formula vee battles throughout the field. The leader managed to get a break as Reade was forced to defend from behind in order to hold on to his 2nd place. Such was the intensity of the battle, the leader built a sizeable advantage by the time Reade broke free and he had to settle for 2nd, but with it, a decent haul of championship points. Kevin got a great start, vaulting himself to 3rd in the Finol Star of Tomorrow championship running, a place which he held to the chequered flag.
That was about as good as it got for Mark, as he developed a misfire in the second of the days races, which eventually stopped the car. The problem was traced back to a broken earth strap. Cahill had a better run of things, despite dropping to the rear of the field with a scruffy start, he managed to clamber his way back up to 3rd in class, maintaining his strong run of class podiums in his rookie year.
The festival format eliminated the requirement for qualifying, with grid positions drawn from a hat for the 2 heats, guaranteeing entertainment for the sizeable crowd on hand. This lottery worked out well for Kevin with a 3rd place grid slot in heat 1 and not so well for Mark, who found himself back in 15th. Cahill had a solid opening lap, before the more experienced drivers started making progress through the field. He found himself steadily shuffled back through the pack, with a few off course excursions along the way, coming home 20th overall.
Unfortunately Reade could not shake his terrible luck from Saturday. From the outset, he noticed something off with his power plant, which eventually coughed a death rattle on lap three of the opening heat. This not only meant a halt to his progress but meant he was sidelined for the remainder of the day.
Heat 2 saw a lowly starting spot of 22nd for Kevin, who set about making steady progress from lights outt. He found himself embroiled in a heated battle with a fellow Finol Star of Tomorrow runner, before the pair came to grief at turn 1. This sent both drivers into the gravel trap, with Kevin suffering terminal damage to his steering.
Such was the format of the final, Kevin found himself on the inside of the 4th row, but this favourable starting spot was lost at turn 1, when he found himself squeezed off track as the cars funnelled through. This saw him drop to the tail end of the field but involved in a tight battle for 20th place overall. With no championship points on the line, Cahill was enjoying the fierce battle, taking chances he could ill afford during the championship events the day before. In the end, he prevailed by just 8 tenths of a second when the red flag was displayed, cutting the race short of full distance.
The team now enter a lengthy summer break during which a complete overhaul of both cars should take place, in an effort to ensure both drivers have reliable machinery for their respective tilts at the Crowne Plaza and Finol Star of Tomorrow championships. The Formula Vees are next in action on August 27th, when the series makes a return to the Kirkistown circuit in Northern Ireland.