Leastone boss Paul Heavey made a successful return to the cockpit last weekend, as he took a brace of podiums during the opening weekend of the 2019 Irish Formula Vee championship at Kirkistown. Despite being away from full time competition for over 10 years, Heavey raced well among Formula Vee regulars, although it was not without its spills on the way.
Heavey took a break from normal protocol by testing on Thursday, ensuring that he had the option of regular Friday testing should any issues with his freshly rebuilt JH004 restrict his track time. Thursday ran smoothly and following that, he elected to observe Friday testing from the sidelines.
His solid testing pace continued into qualifying, where he placed his Total JH004 on the second row, with 4th quickest time. Despite Heaveys vast experience, his lack of competition in recent years makes him eligible to partake in the B/C races prior to the main event, giving him the chance to shake off the rust with some wheel to wheel action.
And it was evident that there was still some rust there! Despite some clutch issues, Heavey made a reasonable start…and duly out braked himself into Colonial. Not content with giving the pack that advantage, he adopted a similar approach at the hairpin before finally settling down and setting about recovering some of the lost time.
He carved his way through the field over the remainder of the race, which would see him elevate himself to 3rd place by the mid-way stage. By that time, the top two had already made a break and Heavey settled into a rhythm, keen to rack up as many error free miles as possible. Despite the scrappy start to the race, he was content to grab some silverware and shake off the cobwebs.
But yet some cobwebs remained! Conscious of his slight struggles to get away from the line in the B/C race, Heavey adopted a slightly different approach for the main event…and duly missed a gear when the lights went out.
Again he set about making amends, carving his way through the field, making quicker progress than in the day’s earlier race. He again elevated himself to third place and looked to have made a break from the ensuing pack, with hopes of tracking down the top two, who were enjoying a typically tight Kirkistown battle at the head of the field.
A slight error at the hairpin put the pack back on his tail and Heaveys attentions turned from chasing down the lead battle, to solidifying his podium position. The closing stages of the race would see a frantic multi car battle try wrest the final podium slot from the team boss but the Total Leastone would emerge on top when the chequered flag flew.
‘I really enjoyed the battles over the two races and initially I was happy with how things went. But now I’m just annoyed with my mistakes and what could have been! I am glad with the pace the car has out of the box though’ said Heavey later that evening.
Paul will miss the next championship event at Mondello, as he returns to team boss duties at Donington Park on April 13/14th, when Max Hart begins his UK Monoposto campaign. He will return behind the wheel for the championship double header at Bishopscourt on May 11/12th, one of the few tracks that he has yet to experience.