Round 4 of The Irish Minibike Championship was held at Athboy Karting Centre, County Meath, and a major change to the directional running of the track proved a massive hit with everyone concerned. The changes made for an even playing field for those competitors that had not before visited the circuit and provided a welcome change to those that had. The pace was fast, flowing and thrilling from the offset, throughout the field across all classes and made for very entertaining racing.
Athboy welcomed both new Club Members across a number of classes and another major boost to the Championship – a new Stock 140cc Class Sponsor in Eurol Lubricants Ireland.
The Eurol Lubricants Ireland Stock 140cc Class Group 2 produced an impressively large grid when 24 machines lined up ready to pit their race-craft against one another, and in some cases, brother on brother! Young Guns Robert Ronan and Lee Hara continued their form with Hara taking the first race and Longfords Ronan taking Race 2 & 3 with ease. Riding with visible determination following his crash in Race 1, in which dropped him to the back of the pack, Ronan was unstoppable from the off and took a very well deserved Class Overall. No mean feat given the teenager was celebrating the 1st Anniversary of his introduction to Minibike Racing, which coincidently was also at Athboy. Newcomer Cormac Ryan-Meenan, onboard his 10TENR Machine, made an impressive debut and amassed sufficient points to take the first runner-up spot. Brother Killian slid further down the leader board following a DNF in Race 2. Michael Thompson, who had taken 2nd in both race 1 & 2 was unlucky in his final race of the day when a coming together with his Team-mate, Nancie Armstrong at the hairpin resulted in not only a very impressive ‘hug’ of their machines but relegation to 3rd spot Overall.
Eurol Lubricants Ireland Stock 140cc Class Group was dominated by Ballymoney’s Christopher Stirling. 3 wins from 3 starts not only earned Christopher the Class Overall but also the GCM&E Start of the Round Award which entitles him to free entry at the following Round. Chris Moody managed to collect himself following an awkward fall in Race 3 and complete the race. His eagerness to earn himself a few extra points was enough to secure 2nd Overall. Kelan Smith completed his day with 3rd Overall following a DNF in Race 1.
The HAWKS MiniGP Class it was USBK Starlet Rossi Dobson that proved unbeatable onboard his KAYO 150cc Machine. An impressive ride from young Jack Ferris earned his 2nd with Chistopher McCallion in 3rd. Jack showed a massive step up in pace onboard his KAYO Machine and makes for the promise of very competitive racing in future rounds.
Another rising star of the Short Circuits, Michael Owens, bagged himself another Overall Win in The AJM Car Sales Senior Open. Owens didn’t have an easy ride however and was pushed all the way by Conor O’Neil, with O’Neil snatching the win in Race 2 and 2nd Overall. Gary Scott put in another determined and consistent performance finishing 3rd.
The Hillhead Sheds VETS Class saw consistent riding from the top 3 lads with Kelan Smith leading from brothers Patrick and Mark Dagger in all three races. Enda Delaney was a welcome addition to the grid and enjoyed himself so much on a borrowed machine he ventured out the very next day to purchase one for himself!
In The BMW Autoparts Junior Gearbox 140cc Class Jack Ferris closed the gap further on current Championship leader Alexander Rowan. The day started well for Rowan, securing himself 2nd position on the starting grid with an impressive lap time of 50.094, just 3 tenths of a sec of Ferris. Disaster struck in Race 1 however when Rowan’s KTM 65cc machine suffered electrical issues and forced his retirement from the race. Jack would take the flag followed by Matt ‘Missile’McCord, Ruben Sherman-Boyd just pipped Robert Ronan to the line in 3rd with Lee Hara just a sec behind. Race 2 and Rowan was back on the grid onboard his Stomp 125cc Machine and was not deterred in his handicap of power, managed to put in a lap time of 51.879. An overall finish of 6th position may be somewhat disappointing for the Dromara boy but valuable posts secure his Championship lead going into Round 5. Race 2 and 3 a carbon copy of positions albeit for a DNS for young Lee Hara following an earlier crash in the Stock 140cc.
Isaac Mark secured his second Overall of the Championship this season following a double victory and a 2nd place finish in The BMW Autoparts Junior Gearbox 125cc. Ballymena’s Kai McClintock took up 2nd position and Joey Ferris 3rd following a visible advance in both the newcomer’s skill and confidence. Athboy’s Mark Carey, Wicklow’s Fionn Stephens, Bangor’s Cody Miskelly, Darragh O’Mahony and Freddie Cook all keep the pace and showed that not all the thrilling racing takes place at the front of the pack.
Young Lewis Mullen dominated in The Honda VW & Audi BITZ BamBam Class with 3 wins, pulling a gap on the 9 strong field. Class addition Cody Orme made his presence felt running at the front of the pack in all 3 races finishing off his first event with an impressive 3rd Overall. Ballyclare’s Buster Sherman-Boyd put in a solid performance and earned himself 2nd Overall. Jay Coates raced well throughout the day as did Matthew Curry. Matthew is still in his first few months of riding a motorcycle – let alone racing one. He impressed each race and not only those that watched these future stars in awe from the sidelines, but more importantly, himself. Matthew was witnessed giving a very satisfied ‘IT’S CLICKED’nod as he passed the finish line following a last lap, last corner move on a group of his fellow competitors. Matthew was awarded The RST BAM Award for his determination. Fellow competitors Leon Scott, TAG Racing Rider Ryan Nolan, Bailey ‘Bomber’ Dobson and young Tommy Ferris all continue to improve each and every time they venture on to the track and always give 100%. Each and every one of them improve not only with each event but each race. We look forward with excitement to witness how the season unfolds.
Fionn Stephens again dominated in the Temple Tree Services Junior Pro Class, taking 3 wins from 3 and the Class Overall. Always a joy to watch, Fionns evolving style and growing confidence mark him as a certain star of the future. Buster Sherman-Boyd had bike trouble during qualifying which meant his retirement from the class for the remainder of the day. Older brother Ruben performed well resulting in 2nd across the board thus 2nd Overall. Leon Scott improved his pace throughout the day taking 3rd from Freddie Cooke and Sean Dagger.
All-in-all a very well supported, enjoyable event with fantastic entertainment for all.
We return to Athboy again on 8th June, the track layout is currently in debate, having been put to vote by the competitors. Keep an eye on the Facebook Page for updates.