Kirkistown, N Ireland, 8 April 2000 Vivion Daly, 1999 Irish Formula Europa Champion, started the new motor-racing season where he left off the old one with a convincing win in the first round of the 2000 Europa Cup Ireland at Kirkistown on ...
Kirkistown, N Ireland, 8 April 2000
Vivion Daly, 1999 Irish Formula Europa Champion, started the new motor-racing season where he left off the old one with a convincing win in the first round of the 2000 Europa Cup Ireland at Kirkistown on Saturday 8 April.
Past Champion Morgan Dempsey junior was second and Leslie Wright third after a hard-fought 20 lap race at the demanding circuit near Newtownards in Northern Ireland. However, the story of the race was of mechanical gremlins as three cars running in the top five were sidelined with the early-season niggles which drivers always hope to avoid.
Saturday morning's qualifying session pitted the experience of Vivion Daly (1999 Formula Europa Champion), Morgan Dempsey junior (1991 Formula Opel Champion) and Leslie Wright against the youthful enthusiasm of Robert Scott, Paul Dagg, Keith Dempsey and Jason Curran. As things turned out, the resulting starting grid was weighted towards the experienced, with Vivion Daly on pole from Robert Scott, Noel Roddy and Leslie Wright close behind. However, the times were very close as only 0.3 seconds covered the five drivers behind Daly.
Eleven cars lined up for the start of this, the first round of the new Europa Cup Ireland. Vivion Daly made the most of his pole position to lead into the first corner, closely followed by Robert Scott. The teenager then missed a gear at Colonial corner, allowing seven cars past him with Noel Roddy leading the charge. However, Noel's second place was not to last as the handling of his car went away. First of all Paul Dagg found his way past, then Keith Dempsey, the youngest driver in the race at just 16 years of age, squeezed through the slimmest of gaps between Noel's car and the pit wall at the beginning of lap 3. By lap 5 Morgan Dempsey was also ahead of Roddy and this order was maintained until half distance when Keith Dempsey pulled into the pits and out of third place. The car was stuck in second gear and there was nothing the Ashbourne teenager could do except retire. A bitter blow after a fine drive!
The gremlins having disposed of Keith Dempsey's car, they started on the rest of the field. On lap eleven Jason Curran came into the pits with a misfire, although he would re-join. One lap later, Keith Dempsey's team-mate Paul Dagg's battery went flat, causing a terminal misfire and he was into the pits. His Cliff Dempsey Racing team feverishly fitted a new battery and sent him back out, several laps behind. Paul flew after rejoining, setting fastest lap on the last lap of the race and proving that he would have been a threat to Vivion if he had not had the problem. Next Noel Roddy, already suffering handling problems and with Leslie Wright trying everything he knew to find a way past, had his battery go down, dropping him even further down the order.
However, there was still racing going on. Henry O'Friel moved up to fourth while the other competitor's had problems. On lap 15 Robert Scott, still trying to recover from his earlier slip, finally fought his way past team-mate Tim Buckley and set after Henry. However, the gap was too big, and he would finish fifth.
So at the finish Vivion Daly won the first race of the new season as he had won last year's championship. However, Paul Dagg was quick in the race, Robert Scott was quick in qualifying, and Keith Dempsey impressed everyone with his ability. Add to this the good results from Morgan Dempsey, Leslie Wright, Henry O'Friel and Tim Buckley and it looks like being a good year.
The championship continues with two rounds at Mondello Park, Ireland on Monday 1 May 2000. <pre> Results: 1 Vivion Daly (Vivion Daly Racing), 20 laps, 19:28.13, 93.19 mph 2 Morgan Dempsey jr (Seam Renson Racing), + 2.04 secs 3 Leslie Wright (Leslie Wright Racing), + 8.28 secs 4 Henry O'Friel (Leslie Wright Racing), + 11.72 secs 5 Robert Scott (Status Motorsport), + 15.61 secs 6 Tim Buckley (Status Motorsport), + 18.25 secs Fastest Lap
Paul Dagg (Cliff Dempsey Racing), 57.28 secs, 95.022 mph
Championship Points: Vivion Daly 16† Morgan Dempsey jr 12 Leslie Wright 10 Henry O'Friel 8 Robert Scott 6 Tim Buckley 5 Noel Roddy 4 Tommy Reid 3 Jason Curran 2 Paul Dagg 2‡ † includes 1 point for pole position ‡ includes 1 point for fastest lap