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Latest News: March 2015

So the long winter break is over and the start of the 2015 Formula Sheane Championship is fast approaching and is promising to be bigger and better than ever! The 2014 campaign went down to the wire with only two points separating the top two in the end and made for one of the closest and exciting finishes circuit racing in Ireland has seen for years, which seen five contenders for the honours going into the final race weekend of the year.
With the class regulars all making a return to this year’s championship, along with a whole cast of newbies that have joined the grid over the winter, we predict that there is upwards of nine different drivers that could win a race on any given day, which you won’t see in any other racing Formula in Ireland. Who are the nine you ask? Let’s Start at the top then, Irelands most successful clubman racer, Brian Hearty, will be looking to add to his impressive, record making haul of ten championships this year. Hearty is the benchmark for all clubman single-seater racers in Ireland, winning six Formula Vee and four Formula Sheane Championships, not to mention more races than any other driver in the history of Irish Clubman racing, at County Kildare’s Mondello Park. Hearty will not be giving up the title that he fought for so hard last year. Next up we have the Triple Formula Sheane, Dunlop Sexton Trophy Nominee and youngest Champion in the series, Kevin Sheane. Sheane fought tooth and nail last year only to be piped to the post by Hearty and will be more determined than ever to come back in 2015 and show Hearty a few new tricks in his classic Team Lotus Sheane. Next up we have, as he has come to be known, Mr Consistent Keith Hogg. Hogg was at the pointy end of the field all season, securing 2nds, 3rds and 4ths but missed out on the top step of the podium several times, none more so than his “do or die” attempt for the lead at last year’s Bishopscourt race meeting, where he threw every inch of the car into taking a win which ultimately ended up with a spin on the last lap with only a few corners to go. Hogg is still hunting for his elusive first win in the series and surely, with the law of probabilities, this has to be his year.
Robbie Allen returns in his Vertical Racing machine to challenge for the 2015 honours after his impressive performance across the water at Brands Hatch in late November where he was the fastest Irish Driver there, beating one of them by 5 seconds in qualifying in appalling conditions. Allen is a proven race winner and has been a contender for the title at every final race weekend for the past four years, could this be his year? Allen’s team mate, David Parks, is always one to watch, a race winner last year with a handful of podiums put him in the running with the others, he was all set for a second win and a restart to his hopes in Kirkistown last August when his car got stuck in gear after an electric getaway which seen him first into turn one, in 2015 Parks will be looking to grace the top step more regularly. Former Multiple Formula Sheane Champion Enda O’Connor showed impressive form when he was out, a medical problem cut short his hopes early in the season but he was back to put on a show for the crowd at the Leinster Trophy races leading from lights tp flag and taking home the Holmspatrick Trophy. O’Connor will be looking to make a better start to the year and will be hoping to be mixing it with the top of the championship table coming into the final race weekend in September.
Now we move onto the guys that are starting their second season in Formula Sheane but showed fantastic race pace as they learned the cars. Richard Kearney, a former champion in Fiat’s, graced the podium and ran with the class regulars on several occasions throughout the year particularly towards the end of the season where he showed fantastic form and proved he has what it takes to win. Another new driver from last year that proved himself not only on the Formula Sheane grid but the Formula BOSS Ireland grid and the many Hill Climb events he took part in also is Paul McLoughlin. McLoughlin purchased a car on the hire to purchase scheme that Sheane Cars operates and by mid-season he was hooked. McLoughlin is a six time All-Ireland Motorcycle Trials Champion, two times Irish Enduro Champion and an Irish Motocross Champion, so in other words he is well used to winning! In 2014 he moved back to Single-seaters after he raced a Sheane Formula Vee for the Sheane Cars team in the 90’s and he was immediately one to watch, this year will be no different and McLoughlin will be aiming for the top step, which should be no problem to a guy with fuel pumping through his veins!
The long awaited return of a Formula Sheane favourite can be announced also, Mr Radio, Anton Savage. On several occasions last year it was believed that he would make his welcomed return to the Formula Sheane grid, but time and again his busy TV/Radio schedule collided with the races but this year, with his appointment as Ray D’Arcy’s successor on the Today FM morning show, Savage should be making guest appearances on select events. Savage, a proven race winner and Formula Sheane Championship runner-up for three consecutive years will be back with his “drive it like you stole” driving style that will challenge even Kevin Sheane as to how much of an angle he can drift the car. He is no stranger to the top spot of the podium and is one (pardon the pun) savagely quick driver. That’s who we have our eye on based on last year’s exploits but that’s not to say any of the newbies that have joined the grid over the winter break won’t be up there surprising everyone.
Additionally, class regulars John Linnane, Gary Corcoran, Chris McCabe and Brendan Carr are all committed to another full year's racing with Formula Sheane. Linnane had a woeful season which seen him succumb to mechanical and race damage throughout the year, 2014 was definitely a year to forget for the man who finished 5th the year before. A plus note for the Wicklow based Linnane Racing team was that another of John's sons, Aaron, followed in his fathers and younger brother, Ginetta Junior Championship hopeful Charlie's footsteps and competed in a Formula Sheane Championship race. Gary Corcoran was another who has put his 2014 worries behind and is gun-ho for the new season in his excellently prepared machine, Corcoran started nearly every race last season from the back of the grid and charged his way up through the pack to finish in respectable places each time and was awarded the drive of the day on more than one occasion, hopefully he can put this into practice against the guys at the front of the grid this year and bring a few podiums home. Chris McCabe made sporadic appearances last year as he juggled racing, college work and a job so we hope to see more of the man who won the 2007 Scholarship championship. Brendan Carr is all set to make a full stab at the 2015 Scholarship Championship after only competing in select rounds last season with the Sheane Cars team, this year he should be able to really concentrate on it with the works team backing.    
In 2015, the Formula Sheane Scholarship championship for Rookies is looking very strong indeed; this is a sub-series that runs in the main championship which means the rooks score points in the main championship and scholarship championship. Previous well-deserved winners of the title included Christopher McCabe, Kevin Sheane Snr, John Linnane, Gary Corcoran and current holder Coilín Clinton. This season, Formula Sheane welcomes Mark Carvill, Leslie Shaw, Alan Allen, Niall (pronounced Niel) O’Flynn and Andrew Murphy to the grid, although Murphy will only be competing in select rounds later on in the season. There are even rumours of a car being built at this very minute from another young hopeful which will be announced in due course.
Carvill hails from North of the Border and at the ripe old age of 19, will make his Single Seater debut in Formula Sheane. Another man that’s had success on two-wheels, Carvill, the 2011 U21 MX Champion and former Junior Ireland Team rider takes to the track in the ex-Tristan Quinn car that was no stranger to the front of the grid. Leslie Shaw, in his recently acquired ex-Aiden Byrne car that double Formula Vee Champion Adam McAuley briefly had, comes from across the country and is an absolute novice to racing of any kind. Shaw will be looking to get to grips with the car quick under the watchful and helpful eye of Formula Sheane Race winner David Parks. Alan Allen, brother of front runner Robbie, will be venturing out also after sitting on the side-lines watching his brother compete in the championship in recent years, an end of season test day in one of the Vertical Racing cars seen him hooked and ready to go. Neil O’Flynn joins the very successful Sheane Cars team under the very watchful eye of Series creator and Godfather of Irish Motorsport David Sheane. O’Flynn will be best placed to learn under Sheane’s supervision and guidance and should be a key player in the Scholarship Championship. Andrew Murphy is another raw novice looking to cut his teeth in the ultra-competitive championship. Murphy has tested in Formula Vee in years gone past and more recently in Formula Sheane; he is also the PRO for the Series and race mechanic to Robbie Allen and David Parks and is very excited to be joining the field later in the season.
The Formula Sheane Committee has also launched an exciting all new Northern Irish Formula Sheane Championship. The Championship, comprised of the five rounds held across the border, will kick off at the new Bishopscourt circuit in May (which the series was credited with the best racing of the weekend by the race organisers, the Leinster Motor Club, and Autosport Magazine last year) and will finish at Kirkistown’s super quick track in August. Points will be awarded in the same manner as the main championship and the award for the victor of this championship is the S. R. Sheane trophy that has been constructed from a Humber (Bentley) B.R. 2 Rotary engine from a 1917 WW1 fighter plane that would have been a guest at the two Northern Irish Airfields at some time or other before they were transformed into race circuits. Previous winners of the prestigious trophy include Formula Ford Mogul Mick Merrigan and Formula Vee Ace Shaw Lawless.
The Formula Sheane Committee have been working hard over the winter months and will have more exciting news to announce over coming weeks in the run up to Rounds 1 & 2 of the 2015 campaign which kicks off on the 18th and 19th of April at Mondello Park’s County Kildare Circuit. Make sure you come on down, we guarantee you will enjoy seeing Ireland’s Top Clubman Drivers compete in Irelands Premier Race Series. Roll on the first race weekend!!!

 

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Formula Sheane featured on Nationwide back in 2003. Andrew Murphy who has been involved for a number of years approached me to take the segment off DVD to make available for all to view and enjoy.

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