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Martin Donnelly Trophy

Posted by Jonny McMullan on October 28, 2013 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Hey everyone

Since my victory at the Holmpatrick Trophy at Mondello there hasn’t been much time before the Irish Formula Ford Festival for the prestigious Martin Donnelly Trophy! With everyone eager to win the prestigious trophy there was some tough competition on the entry list to spice things up for a great final! On the entry list very fast drivers such as Noel Robinson, Patrick McKenna, John Ferguson and a very quick English driver Oliver White made a rare appearance to make things more interesting! Testing started on the Friday and it was hard to gauge who was quick with so many drivers being around the similar time! Unfortunately for us with tyres and braking issues hindered our track time as we were in and out of the pits a lot trying to sort the issue with the car into Colonial 1 and the hairpin! Fortunately for us for the last session we put on our race tyres and the change of a disc found us around 6 tenths! On the last session the pace was a 61.5 and I did two of them in a row so I knew I was on the pace thankfully! This put me in a good mindset going into qualifying for the Martin Donnelly Trophy!

Unlucky as usual for me I got the toughest heat draw, before qualifying I had a feeling any 7 could have been quick enough to put there car on pole if they got their best lap hooked up! Qualifying came on Saturday morning and I was in heat one, I got out first and tried to get my head down and put the best lap in that I could, I was on p2 for most of the qualifying but started to fall back. I was struggling a lot around the bottom of the circuit with turn in oversteer and especially through the chicane which was affecting my run down the back straight. Best time I could do was a 61.5 which put me p5 on the grid. I knew for the race if we could get the car sorted round the bottom we could make ground up the grid! The Heat came and I knew I needed a good start to get away with Noel Dunne and Kevin O’Hara, that I did and into turn one I was in p3 in behind the two leaders. The car was mega round the bottom and the three of us were able to pull away from the rest of the bunch and have our own little scrap for the lead. I sat there for half the race to see if anything was going to happen in front but nothing did so I knew I needed to make my move. Last corner last lap I went down the inside of Dunne into the hairpin but a drag race to the finish line had me finish p3 in the race and meant I would be starting p6 for the Martin Donnelly Trophy Final! I had fastest lap in my heat so I knew the pace was there to fight for top honours in the final. The final came and I knew it was going to be a tough race with any of 8 people quick enough to win. I got off to a great start and into 5th but got squeezed wide at turn one and went back to sixth. There was a train of six of us for the lead! Out of the hairpin after six laps there was a bit of contact and McCullough fell from 2nd – 6th and I moved up to fifth! I knew I needed to get a move on so I got past Murray and Smyth into third and tried to chase down the two leaders! Unfortunately a bit of squabbling for third made the gap too big to catch the two leaders. Into the chicane around mid race, Dunne spun on his own water after his radiator started to leak. This moved me up to second but O’Hara was too far ahead and now the race was on for second. Lap after lap there was constant passing between myself, Murray and Smyth for second. I made a move back for second with two laps to go and was able to settle for second place in the final! (Unfortunately for third year in a row!) I was happy with the end result after a tough qualifying making it hard for ourselves but with plenty of passing we made it onto the podium!

Looking back at the month of September it has been a very good month for the NI Radiator Services Mondiale with a fourth, Holmpatrick Trophy winner at Mondello then a second place at the Martin Donnelly Trophy.

Next up for us Is the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, I’m looking forward to this as our pace was very good last year just a bad day at the office cost us of a good result after qualifying on the front row for our heat.

Big thanks to NI Radiator Services, Dawson Wam, Dark Horse, John Harris, Mum and Dad!

Jonny McMullan

 

Not a bad weekend

Posted by Jonny McMullan on October 28, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog, it’s been a hectic few weeks between the last championship rounds at Kirkistown and the Leinster Trophy race weekend!

To summarize- the last day at Kirkistown we were quick in testing on the Friday but unfortunately a carburettor issue in qualifying made it flood through the chicane, loosing me a chunk of time down the back straight! Fortunately we qualified well enough for p5 on the grid but I was confident for the races if we got the car sorted we were able to fight for the win! Race one started and we got a good start up into third, myself, Murray and McCullough battled which let Dunne streak away for an easy win! The battle was on for second, with myself and Murray as I passed him round the outside of Debtors on last lap to claim second. Race two was another good start up into third, myself Dunne and McCullough got away from the pack! Defensive driving from Dunne packed the group up to the 4th place pack! On the last lap it was a five way train for the lead, but the first two tangled through Colonial, letting myself and Murray to fight for the win! A great tow down the back straight and a great move into the hairpin gave Murray the win and another second for me. It was a good points scoring weekend for the NI Radiator Services Mondiale.

Next up were the final two rounds of the Irish and Northern Ireland championship. I had never been on the International layout so I went out in a Ginetta G20 on the Wednesday thanks to Alan Byrne to learn the track! (Which may I add was great fun in the wet) Friday came and we were out in the Ford for testing before the weekend! Testing was good and we had good pace all day and was getting familiar with the track and really enjoyed the International track in a Formula Ford! Qualifying was on Saturday morning and we had an issue with getting the car stopped into Dunlop and the first corner. We were 4 tenths off but knew the pace was good if we could get the braking sorted! For race 1 we changed the two rear discs which we thought were slightly warped, this made a huge difference in the race and we got a good first lap into fourth and held it to the flag! The car was really good first few laps but

 

In the zone. Concentrating before Race two. Image from JayTee Photographic.

unfortunately the car went off mid race, I had a chance for third on the last lap into Dunlop but just ran out of laps. Fourth place finish in the first race! The Sunday was a complete wash out than the Saturday! It was a wet qualifying for us and more learning to try and find the wet lines around the track! Unfortunately a lack of laps and track knowledge in the wet put me P4 on the grid for race two. Fortunately for me it dried up in the afternoon for our race and back to the dry set up but had to make changes from the Saturday race! Off P4 in the race, I got a brilliant start up into P2 into turn one. Doyle was leading and we got a gap from third place O’Hara on the first lap. Murray was quick for half distance and caught us which made me defend for a lap and Doyle got a gap. Murray then dropped off from me in second and I had a good car under me to close the gap on the leader! On lap five or six I caught Doyle and he had to defend into Parabolica, making him get a poor run down to Tarzan, I got a good tow and was able to pass him on the brakes into Tarzan 1. For a lap I defended into Dunlop but I was able to get a gap on second place and control the race to the flag and win the race! Brilliant showing for an 89 car up against all the modern machinery on the grid.

This season has been pretty good, the pace has been there but unfortunately for two dnf’s cost us a good chance off winning the Northern Ireland Championship! We ended up winning the Northern Ireland pre 90 championship, second in the Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 championship and fourth in the Irish Formula Ford Championship.

Next up for us is the Martin Donnelly Trophy in two weeks then hopefully the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch depending on budget! Budget is crucial at this stage with the races being in England, so if anyone wants rid of a few thousand I can take it off your hands!

Thanks again to NI Radiator Services, Dark Horse, John Harris, Dad and Mum.

Until next time

Jonny

 

Mondello Blog

Posted by Jonny McMullan on October 28, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Hi again, hope you’s all are well! Since the last kirkistown meeting I took part in the Formula Vee Festival Meeting for the next round off the Irish Formula Ford 1600 Championship. Myself, dad and John Harris headed down on the Thursday night late on so we would be there for testing for the first session on the Friday.

Friday went good getting the car set up for the track as it would be completely different than Kirkistown as its a lot more technical and there are more stop/ go corners! After a session or two familiarising with the track again after only doing one race meeting on it before, we got up to speed pretty quickly in the morning sessions and were second quickest in most off the sessions! Stephen Daly was putting his mark down from the start off the day with a few tenths on everyone! We struggled with a bit off understeer so we saved a good set of tyres for the afternoon sessions to dial the set up off the car into the track, looking forward to qualifying on Saturday morning.

Once we got rid of the understeer we were quickest in most off the afternoon sessions. The last two sessions on the Friday were concentrated on getting pads and tyres scrubbed in and the car working well on the new tyres for qualifying.

Saturday morning came for qualifying and I was in good form from Friday. I was first out onto track and got in behind Stephen Daly because I knew he was going to be the man to beat. The first four laps were good and I got heat into the tyres well and the car felt brilliant and we were quickest for the first few laps, but trying a bit too hard I had a bit of a moment and locked up into the Esses and went off and that kind of destroyed my rhythm for a few laps while most drivers set their quickest lap that lap! Driver error! After a few laps I got back on it and set my quickest lap on my last lap which was only good for fourth place on the grid for race one and third for race two. I knew were we were lacking and that was mainly out off Dunlop corner.

Race one came on the Saturday afternoon and I got a good start and round the outside of Niall Murray at turn one which gave me the line for Adelaide corner. A few laps struggling with the car I had to defend from the great start of Doyle which let a gap to the front two drivers form! After I was able to pull away from Doyle, I was able to charge after Smyth. I was able to take a tenth out off him every lap but unfortunately I ran out off laps and I was right on second going across the line for a good points scoring race in third.

Warm up came across us on Sunday morning and I still had a few weak points around the track, so we thought we would try something drastic with the set up but unfortunately it didn’t pay off and felt worse and were p5 in morning warm up but I was confident going into the race as I knew we still had a good race set up from race one

Race two started and another good start into turn one but unfortunately I got boxed in and fell down to fifth place behind Doyle and Murray. Unfortunately I was getting held up for the start off the race and let the two leaders get away but I got up into fourth place past Doyle and then a move by McCullough pushed me back down to fifth. After a few laps in a train behind Murray, McCullough made the move at turn one and fortunately I was able to get past as well and then myself and McCullough pulled away from Murray. Again I felt as if I had more pace than the car in front but great defending from Mccullough by putting the car in the right place at the right time made it difficult for me to pass meaning a fourth place finish.

Looking back on the weekend now it was a frustrating weekend because we had better pace for where we finished in race two but it was great points for the Irish Championship.

Next event for me will be in three weeks at Kirkistown for the next round off the Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship and I’m hoping for good results there.

I would just like to thank NI Radiator Services, The Dark Horse, John Harris and Mum and Dad for their continued support and I look forward to getting in the car again soon

Thanks

Jonny

 

Kirkistown Blog

Posted by Jonny McMullan on October 28, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This season is by far the most competitive Formula Ford grid I have raced in here in Ireland since my first car race in 2009! For the third season we have been driving the NI Radiator Services Mondiale 89s with John Harris running me.

Up to now we have had a pretty up and down season, the pace has been there but the luck hasn’t been on my side that much.

Going into the June meeting after three podiums, a fourth, a fifth and a DNF we were sitting second in the points!

After the 2nd May race fighting for the lead we knew we had a major weakness on Ivor McCullough and Kevin O’Hara! After the race we went back and talked and had a few plans to try and sort the issue out for the June race! So we went down on the Thursday to try a few things to the car but a lack of laps hindered those plans and a bad oil leak cut the day short for us, but pace seemed considerably good with the laps we got! A late night was on the cards with the gearbox and engine out of the car got us ready for testing on Friday morning! We got a lot more running on the Friday and we were able to concentrate on the setup of the car. A lot more tuning was needed for the slippy and slow track which we were to have for the rest of the weekend! The Friday was good and we were quickest in a good few of the sessions which put me in good form going into qualifying for the Kirkistown 60th anniversary race.

Unfortunately due to traffic and rain coming down, I qualified 2nd for race two, which I was disappointed with but at least we were on the front two rows!

Race 1 started off well by getting past McKenna off the line and doing McCullough round the outside through Colonial to get in behind the race leader Steven Daly! Three laps in behind Daly with McKenna right on me was all it lasted for me, as an attempt to pass Daly round the outside at Colonial ended my race when on the downshift to third, the clutch (which was replaced on Thursday) blew to bits and that was the end of race 1 when a race win could have been on the cards.

Race two- I was on the front row with McCullough, another good start got me into the lead and led the race for two laps when McCullough and Sean Doyle got past me, while I was struggling with a slipping clutch! Myself Doyle and McCullough got away but a mistake from McCullough at the chicane lost him the lead and Doyle and I got away! After this I started to reel him in and made the move for the lead down the back straight into the hairpin and held it from there. Twice I got a break from the pack but back markers two laps in a row made it a bit more interesting and closed the pack up meaning I had to defend for the last few laps to win my first race of 2013!

Just want to take this moment to thank NI Radiator Services, John Harris, Leslie Drysdale, John Morrow and of course Dad and Mum.

I’m currently writing this as I am on route from Cairnryan down through England to spanner for Nutts Corner Circuit driver Conor Mcpolin in the next round of the super 1 karting championship at PF then onto Mondello Park next weekend for the next round of the Gary Gibson Irish Championship! Can’t wait!

Jonny

 

Summary of season so far

Posted by Jonny McMullan on July 10, 2012 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

hey everyone

Sorry its been a long time since ive been on here.  Well since my last blog we have since beaten the outright lap record again and also crashed out of the European Superseries at Kirkistown on the last lap going for the lead :( and had engine problems in the June races but been on the podium every other race. We are now we are leading the three championships and are heading to Mondello Park on the national circuit for the next two rounds.  I havent been to Mondello before so its going to be a learning curve but im confident in myself with amount of testing we shall have on the Saturday morning that we will be on the pace.  Ive also done hundreds of laps around Mondello on the Room2race simulator.  (check it out guys.. awesome for learning tracks)  As every driver is at the minute, we are also hunting for some cash to try and get a seat in a championship abroad next year..  Its hard to get money because there is not much about but Dad and I are working are ass off..

For now thats me done but I shall post another blog after Mondello to let yous know how i get on :)

Jonny 

Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship RD1

Posted by Jonny McMullan on April 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

After a long winter trying to find a seat for this year unfortunately due to our budget we couldnt get a deal put together after the fantastic deals that were offered from many teams. To keep our hand in this year I will be contesting the Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship along with the first round of the Superseries at Kirkistown on the 28th April.

Round one and two of the championship kicked off last weekend at Kirkistown and it was a brilliant start to the year from me. We shook the car down for the first race two weeks before and we were very quick but didnt know ourselves if it was a quick day or not as there was no other fords out. We tested as usual on the Friday before the race and all day we were right on the pace with Ivor Mcullough and we were doing the same times as we did in testing the two weeks previous. Going into qualifying on the Saturday I was confident and from the start I was able to put the times in and was on pole the whole session untill the very last lap when Ivor pulled in a lap from nowhere to go pole by a tenth. Between the top three there was two tenthts so i knew it was going to be a tough race. Going into the first race we all got resonable starts and held our positions going into colonial. On the fourth lap i was able to get past ivor into colonial and was able to pull away a few car lengths. In the closing stages of the race Neville and Ivor worked together and were able to tow back up to me and contact going into the haiprin was made with me and Neville giving him the run down the front straight but on the last lap i was able to get the town down the front straight and committed to the move round the outside at colonial and got the lead and held it to the line. I was over the moon with the result and to make it even better i broke the Open Formula Ford lap record and the pre 90 lap record. In race two it was as tight as race one with three of us wheel to wheel but unfortunately i was in second most of it and i couldnt find a way past Ivor. A few attempts on the brakes and round the outside but Ivor held his place well. Going onto the last lap three of us were near three a breast on the back straight and i tried to outbreak both guys for the lead but when i turned in for the corner a slight bit of contact from Neville sent me spinning and the car stopped and i finished fourth. I was a bit disappointed with the race two result but was very happy with the win, two lap records and two fastest laps. I am now looking forward to the first round of the superseries at Kirkistown on the 28th April

I would just like to thank my Dad, Mum, NI Radiator Services and John Harris Motorsport

Speak soon

Jonny

Walter Hayes Trophy November 2011

Posted by Jonny McMullan on January 19, 2012 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I have just completed in the prestigious Walter Hayes trophy at the legendary circuit of Silverstone in Northampton. Instead of the usual 89s Mondiale that we used all year in the Northern Ireland Championship, championship of Brands and the Formula Ford Festival we changed machinery for this weekend to the Ray GR09 with Athgoe Racing.

I arrived at Silverstone on the Wednesday evening ready for the first day of testing on the Thursday. I woke up to a miserable wet day at Silverstone and it stayed like this most of the day as the track takes ages to dry. The day went pretty well and in three out of the four sessions I was quickest. Thursday stayed wet and greasy all day until the overall session at the end with an open pit lane which was party dry with wet patches but we ended up 3rd or 4th quickest.

Friday morning came and we only had two sessions. Again it was a wet and greasy track and we went out and bedded in pads and tyres for the race weekend. We ended up quickest in one session and 2nd quickest in the other. The past two days put me into a confident mood going into qualifying on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning arrived and again we woke up to a wet silverstone. In total there was 100 cars + entered to battle it out for the Walter Hayes Trophy so there was a total of six heats. I was in heat three along with Chris Middlehurst and Ben Norton who were the main guys in my group. We went out for qualifying on a damp but drying track, we were p1 in quali right up into the last two laps were we were pipped by Middlehurst by one tenth of a second. Pole would have been nice but a front row start was ok starting p2. The race came on Saturday afternoon and I got off to a good start and Chris got the lead into the first corner but I went for the lead going into the complex at the end of the first lap. I got the lead from him and led the whole race right through to the flag. This was a good start to the week for us as for the Sunday for the semifinal we would have been starting on either the front two rows.

Sunday morning came and we woke up to a lovely dry day for a surprise. There was a total of six heats so six winners was split into the two semifinals. This meant I was starting 3rd on the grid for the start. We got off the line well and I was lying third going into the complex on the first lap. I made a move on the American Trent Hindman into the complex and got into second. Josh Fisher was in the lead and I sat behind him for a few laps so we could get a break from the guys behind. With about five laps to go I made a move round the outside of Fisher into the complex and held the lead for two laps. Fisher then got me back with three laps to go and I passed him again. Us battling caused Adrian Campfield to catch and there was then three for the lead. On the last two laps Adrian got past me for second and this was the result to the flag with Josh Fisher winning, from Campfield from myself.

Finishing third in my semifinal made me start p6 in the main final. I got off to a good start off the line and into 5th. Was a very good race with six of us for the lead the entire race. Unfortunately we had a few problems with straight line speed which meant we couldn’t capitalize. We got into 4th for split second but couldn’t keep it. We kept with the leaders until a fellow competitors nose cone got stuck under my car and I went off the track. This made me fall back to sixth. On the last lap I was able to get back past Trent Hindman and back into 5th position where I would finish.

From this weekend I was reasonably happy with a win and two podiums but was disappointed with how the final planned out. From this weekend we will move on trying to find a budget for next season either in a UK championship or elsewhere.

I would just like to take this time to thank Newtownabbey Borough Council and Athgoe Racing for their help and support this weekend.

Formula Ford Festival

Posted by Jonny McMullan on January 19, 2012 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I have just competed in the prestigious 40th anniversary of the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch near Kent. We have been in England since Thursday, and we were testing on circuit the Thursday and Friday before the race weekend itself! Thursday and Friday were pretty good days testing with a few issues with the car on the Thursday but we got them sorted for Friday! The major problem with the car was understeer but a lot of adjustments sorted that problem out and when we put new tyres on during the second session on the Friday the car was prefect and we were on the pace of the front runners! This put me into a good mind set going into the Saturday with qualifying and the first heat.

Qualifying came on Saturday morning and 23 in each heat set out to put in their best time but the session was ended just after three laps due to a car putting oil down all over the track! This made the track a lot slower after the restart because it was so slippy but the guys who got a time in before the oil went quickest, unfortunately I didnt get a competitive time in due to having to pass a lot of slower cars at the start of the session. I put an average time in on the oil and qualified sixth. I started the heat in sixth and got into fifth off the line and on the third lap i went to pass for fourth into druids and unfortunately a collision in front of me left me with nowhere to go and i clipped english man Felix Fisher and ended up stuck in the gravel trap! Nightmare!!

Sunday came and due to me not finishing my heat I had to start at the back of the grid in 22nd and to make it into the main final I had to finish 14th so the pressure was on! Thankfully the car was perfectly set up and I was able to make my way up through the grip and finished 8th at the chequered flag! That got me into the main final of the day and because there was two heats I started 16th with the results of one semi final down one side of the grid and the other on the other side of the grid! I got off to a really good start and had passed four cars before paddock hill bend and I picked them off as quickly as I could! I had another brilliant race and was able to make my way up to fifth! I was over the moon with the result as on Saturday sitting in the gravel trap I wouldnt have thought I would have made it to the final!

I would just like to take this time to thank NI Radiator Services, Newtownabbey Borough Council and John Harris Motorsport for their help and support this weekend!

Depending on budget we will hopefully be attending the end of season race at Silverstone for the Walter Hayes Trophy in a few weeks hopefully with a bit more luck on our side.

Martin Donnelly Trophy September 2011

Posted by Jonny McMullan on January 19, 2012 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I competed in the Martin Donnelly Trophy Race on Saturday at Kirkistown. We were testing on Friday and were joint quickest all day. Saturday morning in qualifying we qualified 2nd on the grid for our heat 0.2 off pole position. At the start of the heat we had a missfire in the car but thankfully it cleared itself out after two laps. We ended up finishing third in the race with a race long battle with Noel Dunne the eventual winner and John Ferguson. For the final the grid was worked out by the quickest heat starting on the right hand side of the grid, because our heat was slower we started on the left hand side which made me start sixth on the grid. In the final I got a good start of the line up into fourth and held my position for a few laps with six cars for the lead. The race was so close and there was a different leader every lap and positions were being changed most corners and slipstream down the back straight of the circuit was crucial with around a second between first and sixth. I finally got into second position and held it there for a lap or two but dropped to third with four laps to go. I ended a very good race in third position but a stewards enquiry after the race meant an exclusion from the race for the second place driver. This meant I finished second overall with the eventual winner going to Noel Robinson and third place to Championship winner Ivor Mccullough.

It was a great result for us as we were in an pre 90 (1989 car) racing against modern cars. From this we will regroup and move onto Brands Hatch in three weeks time for the Prestigious Formula Ford Festival and hopefully go one better! At this time I would just like to thank NI Radiator Services and Newtownabbey Borough Council for their continued support


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