The sun was out – the paddock packed – and the craic mighty as The IMC descended on Athboy Karting Centre, West Meath for the conclusion of the 2019 Championship. With the majority of Class Championships still to be decided anticipation hung in the air, albeit for 30secs, as the banter among the competitors diluted the nerves and the immense level of sportsmanship shone through.
Getting the day off to an impressive start were the cubs that compete within The Honda VW Audi Bitz Sponsored BamBam Class – each of them worthy of a mention given the grit and determination they demonstrate each and every time they throw their wee leg over their machine. It was Ballyclare’s Buster Sherman-Boyd that topped the qualifying session ahead of Lewis Mullen, Matt Davidson, Matthew Curry, Leon Scott, Bailey ‘Bomber’ Dobson, Tommy Ferris, Jay Coates and Alyssa Curry respectively. Buster continued his form into Race 1 taking the flag from Mullen and Davidson, with the rest of the pack in hot pursuit. Race 2 and the order at the front was altered with Mullen running a faultless race from start to finish, Sherman-Boyd having to settle for 2nd, followed by Davidson in 3rd. This time around Davidson was put under serious pressure by Matthew Curry and Leon Scott with only 0.7sec separating the trio on the line – a whopping achievement by Curry given that his first experience of riding any form of motorcycle was in March of this year. Race 3 and Mullen had a belter off the line leading for the first 3 of the 5 lap race. Sherman-Boyd tailed closely behind and took his opportunity for a pass in lap 3, maintaining the lead to the end and securing the win. Full of confidence following his performance in Race 2, Leon Scott bagged himself a well earned 3rd. Alyssa Curry, RST Moto BAM recipient from Round 7, continued to demonstrate gusto in her new found past-time, taking seconds off her lap times with each session – proof – if needed – that practice makes perfect.
Following on from the cubs of the paddock were the ‘auld hands’ – competing in The Hillhead Sheds Sponsored Stock 140cc VETS Class. Former Short Circuit Champion Nigel Robinson secured a clean sweep from Kelan Smith, securing both Pole Position and the top step in all 3 races, if only by the slightest of margins. Longford man, Graham Ronan, would have a battle of his own to contest as he and Patrick Dagger jostled for the remaining podium place. Ronan the victor in Race 1 and 3 earned himself a hard fought podium spot.
The Temple Tree Services Sponsored Junior Pro Class saw the welcomed return of 2 future Starlets of racing – Paige Mullen and Leigha-Jane Browne. Both girls excelled in confidence as the day progressed, in fact, Paige earned herself a nice little wager having set herself a lap time goal for the day then thrashed it in only Race 1! The Class was once again dominated by Fionn Stephens with Ruben Sherman-Boyd and Freddie Cooke taking the runner-up spots. In Race 3 Cooke was under serious pressure from young Leon Scott, unfortunately for Scott a low side in Lap 3 saw his chances of securing a podium slip away. He remounted to rejoin the race and secured a respectable 4th with Sean Dagger in 5th.
In the HAWKS Racewears Sponsored MiniGP Class it was again the time for class dominance, this time in the form of Rossi Dobson. Rossi set the bar in qualifying with a time of 50.724. Rookie Jack Ferris showed promise with a best time of 51.392, securing 2nd spot on the grid. Rossi rode to victory in all 3 Races, with Jack securing 2nd in Race 1 and 3, losing out to Christopher McCallion in Race 2. The Overall Standings for Round 8 concluded with Dobson 1st, Ferris 2nd and McCallion doing enough to hold onto 3rd.
An impressive squad of Juniors descended onto the grid for the BMW Autoparts Sponsored Junior Gearbox Class. In a class that would provide some of the most thrilling race action of the day, no less than 18 competitors lined up to take the start. Matt ‘Missile’ McCord started the day well securing himself a place at the front of the pack, 0.5sec faster than his competition. Missing the flag in Race 1 he was slow of the grid and was passed by the pack, making work for himself as he tried to claw back some valuable points. Living up to his name, ‘Missile’ homed in on race leader, Jack Ferris and 2nd place man, Ruben Sherman-Boyd to finish in an impressive 3rd with less than 0.25sec separating the trio. The 3 lads would continue the tussle into Race 2 and 3. McCord the victor in Race 2 and Sherman-Boyd securing his first 140cc Class win in Race 3 with again less than 1sec at any point between them. In the 125cc Class it was Kai McClintock that would be victorious following a clean sweep in all 3 Races. Fionn Stephens would take 2nd place in both Race 1 and 2 but young Isaac Mark would regain his usual form to relegate him to 3rd in the final run of the day. Lewis Mullen started the day well finishing 3rd in Race 1 but teething problems off the line in Race 2 would see him further down the field and Race 3 result in a DNS. There is little doubt that Mullen will make his presence felt with a little ‘off the line’ practice as we move into the Snowflake Showdown. As with the other lads in the Junior Gearbox Class – Alexander Rowan, Mark Carey, Callum Clint, Daragh O’Mahony, Joey Ferris, Robert Ronan, Lee Hara, Freddie Cooke, Cody Miskelly, Matt Davidson and Bailey Dobson – time on track is paramount and the progress demonstrated by the youngsters over the 2019 season bodes well for the future.
Michael Owens continued to dominate the AJM Car Sales Senior Open Class putting his 85cc Machine on Pole during the qualifying session. With an extended grid of 17 competitors the spectators were treated to 3 entertaining races, the first 2 of which Owens claimed victory. In Race 3 Conor O’Neil, on home turf, called on his track knowledge and managed to cross the line a mere 0.2sec ahead of Owens. Owens secured 1st Overall, O’Neil 2nd and a consistent run for James Thompson in all 3 Races was enough to earn him the final spot on the podium.
In The EUROL Lubricants Stock 140cc Group 1 qualifying session it was Athboy’s Sean O’Neil who would set the fastest time followed by Oisin Watson and Michael Owens. Owens, making his debut in the Stock Class, suffered mechanical issues during the qualifying session but, luckily for him, had managed to put in one fast lap before disaster struck earning himself a place with the front runners on the grid. That order would remain the same in Race 1 however Owens would not take the grid in the remaining races leaving room at the front for regular front runner James Thompson to accumulate some valuable Championship points taking 2nd in both Race 2 and 3. In Group 2 it was Veteran Class competitor Graham Ronan who managed to secure pole from the other 24 competitors vowing for the front spot on the grid. In what must be a first the qualification list included not one, but two, father/son combinations as Graham shared the track alongside son Robert and father/son duo William and Lee Hara. In the Ronan household it would be Dad Graham that would take home the bragging rights with a successful run in Race 1, coming home in 2nd behind Lee Hara. In the Hara camp however, it would be the younger generation that would be the man to state his claim. With a win in Race 1 and 2 Lee would be relegated by Michael Thompson in Race 3 with a flag to flag win. Killian Ryan-Meenan put on a strong show capitalising on a poor performance in Race 1 by Thompson securing himself a well fought 3rd, a feat he would replicate in the remaining 2 races. Hara would take the Overall with Ryan-Meenan 2nd and Thompson finishing the day in 3rd.
The climax of Round 8 had to be the most anticipated race of the day – The 2019 IMC ‘Daddy Cool’ Race – which comprised 3 very experienced and competitive Dads, Barry Davidson, Jami Coates and Adrian Mullen competing on 90cc BamBam Class machines. The roar of the crowd as the boys whizzed by was uplifting to say the least and we can think of no better way to have closed the day. Mullen managed to cross the line first after a tactical approach to the course, much to the amusement of the spectators. Summing up of the race goes to our good friend Stuart Castle (Two Brothers Photography)… “What goes on in Athboy – stays in Athboy!”
Round 8 concludes the2019 Summer Championship. We would like to extend our thanks once again to our Class Sponsors for their support and encouragement.
Congratulations to each and every one of our competitors, of all ages and all abilities, it’s been a fabulous ride!
Championship Winners will be announced over the coming days.
Attention now moves to Round 1 of The Snowflake Showdown which takes place on 13th October 2019 @ Nutts Corner Circuit, Crumlin.
Photo Credits: TWO BROTHERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Overall Results for Round 8 are as follows:
Honda VW Audi Bitz Sponsored BamBam
1 Buster Sherman-Boyd
2 Lewis Mullen
3 Matt Davidson
HillHead Sheds Sponsored Stock 140cc VETS
1 Nigel Robinson
2 Kelan Smith
3 Graham Ronan
Temple Tree Services Sponsored Junior Pro
1 Fionn Stephens
2 Ruben Sherman-Boyd
3 Freddie Cooke
AJM Car Sales Sponsored Senior Open
1 Michael Owens
2 Conor O’Neil
3 James Thompson
BMW Autoparts Junior Gearbox 125cc
1 Kai McClintock
2 Fionn Stephens
3 Isaac Mark
BMW Autoparts Junior Gearbox 140cc
1 Jack Ferris
2 Ruben Sherman-Boyd
3 Matt McCord
EUROL Lubricants Stock 140cc (Group 1)
1 Sean O’Neil
2 James Thompson
3 Oisin Watson
EUROL Lubricants Stock 140cc (Group 2)
1 Lee Hara
2 Killian Ryan-Meenan
3 Michael Thompson
HAWKS Racewears MINIGP
1 Rossi Dobson
2 Jack Farris
3 Christopher McCallion