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spawny whippet motorsport




7th - 8th July 2006


I travelled from Australia to the UK and met with Phil Moore a couple of days before the first qualifying day at Spa. We went over to Belgium in Phil's Lotus, arriving in time for scrutineering and seat fitting in the Formula Ireland. I was driving with the Nemesis Motorsport team who ran me in my last Mono drive at Donington a couple of years ago.


Qualifying 1 went well, despite the damp conditions, old tyres and it being my first outing in this car and first single seater event for 12 months. I qualified 4th overall, from 37 cars. The car went well, and I was able to take Blanchimont and Eau Rouge flat after only 2 laps.



Qualifying 2 was never going to be as successful, as the track had dried and other drivers had new or newer tyres plus more recent driving experience in their cars. I therefore qualified 5th in class, as my team mate Phil moved ahead of me in his Dallara on new rubber.


Race 1 started OK, I passed a Jedi through Eau Rouge and caught up to Fern in 3rd place by Les Combes. Fern outbraked himself into the corner and bounced across the grass as I went around him. He rejoined the track on the exit of the corner and I had to run off the track to avoid his car. I span on the grass and rejoined the race in about 25th place. I played catch up for the next 2 laps, regaining around 15 places. I then tried to pass a pair of Jedi's into the Bus Stop chicane, but they came together on my nose and damaged the front suspension, wing and nose cone. The car was undriveable, but I managed to pull off the track and limp into the Formula 1 pitlane to wait until the end of the race. A recovery truck returned the car to the paddock approx 25 mins before the start of race 2. Timms won the race from Mark Harrison and Richard Purcell in 3rd.

Nemesis did a great job (with some assistance from Dermot) of refueling the car, replacing the nose cone, upper wishbone and steering rod in only a few mins while I was still strapped into the car. The rest of the field had already gridded up on the track while I was still in the paddock with no front suspension fitted. The car was finished just a couple of mins before the green flag lap (there was no time to setup the suspension though), and I flew around the track at race pace to reach the startline in time and check out the handling of the car after the repair. Unfortunately, the steering wheel was 45 degrees off centre and I had severe steering wheel vibration and the car was unsettled in fast corners.

Race 2 started with another rolling start. I managed to get a run up Eau Rouge and passed 3 cars, ending up 5th behind Fern again in Les Combes. I gave him some space this time, as he again outbraked himself and bounced over the kerbs. We exited Les Combes alongside one another, but Fern had the racing line into the hairpin and pulled ahead.

I spent the next few laps trying to keep up with Fern, but I had to hold the steering wheel very loosely in the fast corners, as the vibration was already giving me blisters. I started lapping back markers and Porsche roadsters on the 4th lap. On the 6th lap, there was a Porsche accident at Eau Rouge causing a red flag. Phil Moore was in the lead at this point and hoped for the race to be declared, however it was less than 50% race distance so we had a 3rd rolling start of the day. By this time, I was no longer racing to gain positions, just trying to get a finish without too many new blisters. I kept Fern just in front of me and we pulled out a gap from Everitt in a similar Formula Ireland behind me. There were no other incidents for me, except a few minor slides from not being able to hold the steering wheel properly.

On the last corner, Mark Harrison ran out of fuel from the lead, passing the place back to Phil Moore for his first win. He was followed home by Timms and Fern. I finished in 4th place, which I was happy with under the circumstances. I accepted Richard Purcell's 3rd place trophy for him, in lieu of my uncollected 2nd place trophy from the previous year.





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