Mark Reade and the Leastone Racing Team have today announced that they will tackle the 2017 UK Monoposto championship in one of the teams Leastone 1000’s. Reade capped off his 2016 season with a number of appearances in the 1000, culminating in a podium at the season closing Monoposto event at Brands Hatch last October. These performances saw Reade reassess his 2017 plans and both he and the Leastone team set about putting together a plan that will hopefully see them mount their first full time championship campaign across the pond in over 10 years.
Monoposto consists of a number of classes, depending on the power, age and type of chassis the car uses. The Leastone 1000 has raced in the MonoMoto class, which caters to motorbike engined machines and the 1000 will continue to use its trusted Suzuki GSXR1000 engine in the coming year.
The championship kicks off with a double header at Cadwell Park, in Lincolnshire, on April 22/23rd. The championship visits all of the major venues across the UK, including Brands Hatch, Silverstone and Donington Park. All race weekends will see 2 races, maximising track time but minimising the overall calendar duration.
Reade was bitten by the motor racing bug from a young age. In fact it was hard not to be, as he lives a stones throw from the home of Irish motorsport, Mondello Park. He began racing karts back in 2004, at the age of 15 before progressing to single seaters in 2007, winning the 1 litre Formula Libre championship at his first attempt, backing it up with a runner up spot in 2008. He took a break from motorsport, as he focused on his career as an electrician but having established himself as a private contractor, Reade made a return to the motorsport circle, contesting a number of races for the works Leastone race team in the 2016 Irish Formula Vee championship, before rounding out the year in the Leastone 1000.
Despite a strong showing throughout 2016, Reade is under no illusion as to the task in hand: ‘The car is a lot more physical due to the increase in grip and power compared to the Formula Vee but I have had some experience with slicks and wings in the past so it’s not all new. Learning the tracks will be a bigger challenge than learning the machine!’
The step up in machinery and the logistics involved in the UK championship mean a big jump in budget requirements for the coming season, and Reade sees this as the biggest challenge for 2017. ‘It’s been a busy off season, chasing the budget for this step up. At the moment, we have budget for the opening rounds but there is still work to do. We are talking to a number of potential sponsors but it is of course difficult in the current climate.’
The team have now completed the winter overhaul of their 1000’s and their pre season testing programme will be split between Mondello Park and Kirkistown, allowing Reade to further bring himself up to speed in familiar surroundings.