Future Classic Racing from down the grid!!
It was suggested to me that I should write something about Future Classics and the recent demo racing from Mondello, so here goes…..
This weekend saw Mondello Park invite the Future Classic Racing crowd to participate in demo races as part of the mega truck fest. It was a weekend of contrasting weather with Saturday awash whilst Sunday was warm, sunny and dry. The racing went from soft settings and wet weather tyres (those that had them) to stiffer setups and slicks, again for those who had them and for those of us that did not we ran the typical Micks Garage Future Classic tyres, this being a demo race it was possible to set the regulations aside.
The entertainment provided by Mondello was diverse and spectacular, naturally being a truck show there was truck racing and it was surprising how quick these big machines were around the national circuit. The ever popular drifting provided a lot of sideways action and the rally cross was hotly contended also. For yours truly though it was all about the Micks Garage Future Classic racing and whilst I did not manage to attend on Saturday I certainly got value for Money on Sunday.
Having arrived at the circuit and getting the car scrutineered we all set about race one preparations. A tongue in cheek joke on facebook on Saturday evening involving the Child of Prague and me wishing for a good grid position came to fruition when drivers pulled a grid number from the hat (there’s no qualifying for demo races) I actually pulled pole position and couldn’t have been happier. When the lights went out however I messed up my start and just spun up the front wheels going nowhere. My comrade on the front row in the cracking BMW got the perfect start and as I watched him drive away I was engulfed by a lot of machinery and found myself racing abreast with the legendry Aidan Byrne through turn two before succumbing to his talent and more powerful machine, only for him to be replaced by Tommy Byrne in the black Celica (No not that Tommy Byrne of FF1600, FF2000 and F3000 fame, he wouldn’t compete for fear of his namesake)
He wragged me hard for some laps before showing me the difference between rookie and experience. Fighting hard to hold my own I was overtaken by a few others, namely Adrian Dunne’s lightning Saxo, two Punto’s on slicks and the rapid ITCC VW Corado and having found myself at what I would call the back end of the normal leading group I was holding my own and maintaining station nicely…… that was until my gear selector broke and I had to retire from my best ever performance in the future classics.
Race two caught me napping in pit lane and I was last out on the warm up lap and forced to start at the back of the field, not far behind my customary position. Richard Kearney was alongside in David Owen’s beautifully prepared Alfa 155 as was Leo Nulty in Aidan Byrnes Chevette and both were out of the blocks and out of sight before I knew it.
Unfortunately Richard did not get to finish the race but the Alfa by all accounts has real potential. I drove my little Punto hard and was delighted with it given the major shunt it received only two weeks previous. When the race ended I had driven myself to a midfield finish having hotly contested with Rob King in the brilliant Mini, the MG Meastro, Ritmo, Fiesta and a very quick Uno. All in all a very enjoyable experience and the drive at the front was a real education!!!! I certainly hope to find myself in that situation again soon.
Results on Saturday favoured the super Punto of Dennis Brennan whilst Sunday belonged to Ger Byrne in the cracking BMW. Well done lads, we all know it’s not simple!!
One of the better parts of the day for me was the gathering around two garages and everyone sharing in the banter, drinking tea and coffee eating toasted sarnies and generally being in good spirits. It was exactly this that attracted me to future classic racing in the first instance and it’s good to see that it still exists.
A big thank you to Mondello Park and the staff, Marshalls and coordinators who worked hard all day and were very professional and to all the Future Classic people for their comradery and friendship. Also thanks to James Foley for the photographs, you can see his full gallery from the Truck show here
All this said the highlight of the day for me was when I drooled over the beautiful Alfa 155, only matched by the 306 of Willie Tighe last year. The future classic class is certainly growing at a rapid pace and rumour has it that next season’s grid will also show an Audi, a Toyota MR2, a Subaru and a Vectra.
I hope you enjoyed the read from lower down the grid where the racing is as intense and hotly contested as at the front.
Thanks for reading!!