Dominant O’Connor Claims Northern Irish Championship


The 2015 Auto Care Formula Sheane Championship visited the ultra-fast Kirkistown Race Circuit for the final time this year for the conclusion of the Northern Irish Championship. Coming into the weekend Dave Parks led from Enda O’Connor followed closely by Brian Hearty. The weather on Saturday morning was sunny but the usual wind that accompanies Kirkistown was aplenty as the cars rolled out of assembly for qualifying at midday.


Brian Hearty was the early pace setter followed by O’Connor, Sheane and Parks. Further down the field the grid was joined by former Ginetta Junior Ireland driver Charlie Linnane who made his first appearance since the competing for the Leinster Trophy in a Sheane back in 2013. Neill O’Flynn and Andrew Murphy were battling away in the Scholarship Championship which seen just .006 of a second between them before Murphy’s suspension failed coming through the John Crossle Chicane which ultimately resulted in the session being Red Flag but not before O’Connor blasted in a lap that would see him take the pole on the Northern Irish track next to Hearty.


A strong grid formed up on the grid for the final race of the Northern Irish leg of the Championship in the gorgeous August Sun. When the lights went out it was Sheane from the second row who took off like a rocket ship to lead into the first corner but unfortunately, that lead would be short lived as the gaggle of cars behind him ducked and weaved which ultimately resulted in a touch followed by another one and then John Linnane, with nowhere else to go ploughed into the stricken Hogg who was by at that stage sideways across the track. This brought out the Red Flag and allowed the drivers time to get themselves ready for the restart.


On the restart, O’Connor got it all hooked up and didn’t allow Sheane get the jump on him for a second time, Hearty tucked in behind O’Connor and Sheane followed suit. Richard Kearney was next in line with Paul McLoughlin and Hugh McEvoy close behind. Dave Parks was making a dash from the back of the grid cutting through the pack like a hot knife through butter. The man that everyone in the pit-lane was watching was the charging Charlie Linnane who had not only out qualified is father, John, but was up battling with some of the class regulars and showing them what they have to expect in the future from him. Back at the front everything had settled down with O’Connor pulling a slight gap on Hearty to lead across the line to the Chequered flag.


And that was that, Enda O’Connor became the very first Formula Sheane Northern Irish Champion and extended his lead even further in the main championship. In the Sheane Cars Scholarship Championship, Niall O’Flynn was able to snatch back some points in his battle with Daniel Clarkin for that title. Both Championships are not over by a long shot with both leaders in the position that no one really likes, “Its theirs to lose” from here on out.


The Championship now moves into the final race weekend of the year and it’s the big one, the Leinster Trophy weekend. Last year the series raced for the coveted Holmspatrick Trophy which was nabbed by O’Connor but will he be able to take it for a second year or will he crack under the pressure of what is surely going to be a bumper grid of Formula Sheane’s all looking to finish the year on a high! So make sure you come on down to Mondello Park on the 19th & 20th of September to see who will be crowned the 2015 champion and probably the best racing in the country!

#FormulaSheane #AutoCare #ChampionshipDecider

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