MOTORSPORT: Polley gets the job done at Mondello

by Gazette Reporter
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BY Barry Cregg

Foxrock native Dan Polley won the seventh round of the National Championship at Mondello recently

The race, on the international circuit , meant for  longer laps with more opportunities to overtake over the national layout.

The weather forecast in the week leading up to the event didn’t look too good but for qualifying the showers that looked like they would come down stayed away and the temperature rose producing ideal conditions. It also marked the return of Jack Byrne since his big accident in Bishopscourt earlier this year.

Borrowing his father Ger’s car it was a test to get up to speed again while waiting on his car to be rebuilt.

As per the course of qualifying in Formula Vee it was close between several drivers and a blanket could be thrown over the first four with them all being under the same second. Surprisingly current champion and Mondello specialist Anthony Cross could only manage sixth. Once again however, it was Dubliner Dan Polley who grabbed pole his second in a row after Kirkistown two weeks previous. Series and racing newcomer Ronan Doherty once again showed great pace in qualifying in second place outgunning round six winner Lee Newsome in third.

As the lights went out it Polley got the best start and lead the field into turn one. Doherty though had a disaster off the line, the car bogging down and dropped several places in the process and any chance of a win or podium was already out the window. Lee Newsome made the most of the opportunity and slotted into second place with Colm Blackburn in third. The opening lap is always fraught with everyone jostling for position and but current champion, Anthony Cross already made a place and was up to fifth.

Polley lead the long train of cars out to the international loop for the first time and looked comfortable in the LOH Motorsport run car. Just like qualifying though there was nothing in it and an on form Newsome was right behind ready to pounce. As they round the final turn the safety car was brought out and it would bunch the field right up. On the restart Polley held his lead superbly defending his line into turn one from Newsome and Blackburn. The front three opening a gap to Gavin Buckley in fourth as they made their way out the county in what was shaping up to be another Formula Vee thriller, but by the time they were halfway round the lap it was a six car train again.

Doherty was closing in on Cross and tried to get by on the inside of the long left hander on the international loop. In doing so he hit the back Cross’s car spinning him off track and dropping him right down the field. Cross’s consistent run of form has deserted him this year and it has not been his fault. It shows how competitive the class is this year, where any kind of mistake like this can cost you valuable points in the championship that is so close at this stage of the season.

A couple of laps later the front five had stretched out a bit with Doherty unable to close up to the leaders. Gavin Buckley was now up to third though and set out to catch the front two. Just as he looked like he was pulling away Polley made a slight error exiting turn one and Newsome closed back in again. He was hampered too though as he had Buckley closing in and as ever in Mondello it’s a battle to try for the lead whist also defending at the same time.

He wasn’t giving up though and he closed right in through Birrane’s Bends and got alongside on the run to the penultimate corner. It looked like his move was going to work but Polley held firm and held his lead thought the fast left hander. It would be Newsome last attempt. Polley took control on the final laps and brought it home to win ahead of Newsome and Buckley.

Doherty work his way into fourth and looked fast in the final laps. It’s a shame his start ruined his race as it would have been interesting to see him nix it with the front three.

Another different winner this year the fourth so far and speaking afterwards a happy be relieved winner gave his view on the race. “ Im glad that’s over, It was tough out there today. I had a great battle with Lee. I knew I had the pace from testing and qualifying but I still knew I had to get the head down. I was comfortable, turn one was a bit tight but we got through and began to open a gap until I made a slight mistake and let Lee close in again. Im looking forward to Anglesea in Wales for the next round.”


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