While the world continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic and there are obviously much more important issues currently to deal with, the Leastone team were happy to get back to some level of normality when pre-season testing got underway at Mondello Park recently.
Following the phased re-opening of the country, Mondello opened their gates again on June 13th for single seater testing. Mondello took Covid protocols extremely seriously, with each test participant allowed to have one guest in attendance and everybody required to complete online screening before travelling to the track. Upon arrival, attendees were directed to the museum (well worth a visit the next time you are at the circuit, by the way), where temperature checks were completed, and everybody was issued with a PPE pack. Around the paddock, parking spots were clearly marked and social distancing markers were visible throughout.
Mark Reade shook down his new JH004, in preparation for his return to the Formula Vee championship this year. Despite a few new car niggles, Reade was happy with the mileage racked up over the course of the half day testing. Brendan O’Brien enjoyed some decent running in his Global Service Centre Leastone 1000 over the course of the day, before a faulty spark plug brought his day to a premature end. Team boss Paul Heavey also hit the track, to shake down Morgan McCourt’s freshly rebuilt Leastone 1000, and he even went as far as showing reasonable pace once the GSXR engine had bed itself in.
After the long season hiatus, the action was coming thick and fast, with a second test arranged by Mondello for the 6th of July. Mark ran up some more miles in the M3 Van Centre JH004, struggling with a clutch issue during the early part of the day. This ultimately required a clutch change to rectify the problem and the lost time left some additional items on the to-do list before the season opener. Paul Heavey was again on track, this time in the Spire GTR. He logged approximately 10 laps before an issue with the front brakes pitched him into the gravel. He then switched to Reade’s Vee in the afternoon, to ensure the mornings clutch issues were put to bed.
The Formula Vee season is due to kick off with a double header at Mondello on July 26th. Given the fluid situation regarding national sports events, the balance of the calendar has yet to be confirmed. More details are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks but despite it likely being a truncated season, it’s good to be back!