The 8th & 9th July saw the 7 Race Series head overseas for the fourth round of the season. Mondello Park was the destination, and what a weekend it was. We were made to feel very welcome immediately, and we’re sure all of our drivers and teams will join us in thanking all at Mondello Park for their kind hospitality.
Onto the racing and this time we start with the 310R Championship. With a mixed grid at Mondello Park, the 310R cars sat behind the 420R cars as they headed out for the first of three races. Saturday’s qualifying session saw David Baldwin secure pole position ahead of Caroline Everett, by just 0.004 seconds. After managing a 30 second or so gap to the 420R grid, the 310R cars navigated their way around the Mondello Park circuit, ready to thunder into action as they crossed the start line.
At the drop of the Irish flag, they were off, with Baldwin managing to hang onto his pole position advantage around the opening lap. Despite fierce competition from behind, Baldwin was on course to secure his second victory of the season.
As the end of the race came into sight, the safety was scrambled to rescue a stricken car, however with just a few minutes left on the clock the red flag signalled the end of the race. It was Baldwin who crossed the line victorious, ahead of Everett and Stephen Clark, who progressed from his fifth place grid spot. Behind, Don Henshall narrowly missed out of third place, finishing just over half a second adrift of Clark, with Ben Winrow just 0.2 seconds behind him. John Shiveral and Jake Poole rounded out the top seven.
With race one finishing positions dictating the grid for race two, it was a familiar sight on the front row, as Baldwin and Everett led the way around the formation lap.
Once again, it was Baldwin who led the way during race two, until a mid-race safety car period neutralised the pace for a number of laps. At the restart, Baldwin soon found himself embroiled in a battle for the lead, with Clark and Henshall hot on his heels.
With the gap to the 420R race now diminished due to the safety car period, the trio battled their way around the back of the 420R grid, vying for position lap after lap. As the chequered flag fell, it was Baldwin who doubled his Mondello Park success, ahead of Clark and Henshall.
The third and final race saw Jake Poole start from the head of the field following a grid reversal from the race two finishing positions, with Ben Winrow alongside.
At the start, it was Henshall who fought his way to the head of the field, however his pace soon simmered with the release of the safety car due to an incident up ahead in the 420R race. At the restart, it was Winrow who managed to weave his way ahead, to lead the way towards the chequered flag, some 1.5 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger. Behind, Poole claimed his maiden Caterham podium, finishing second ahead of Shiveral in third place. Baldwin was next across the line in fourth place, ahead of Everett, Clark and early leader Henshall.
This weekend saw the return of our 2022 420R Champion Phil Jenkins, and what a return he had. Jenkins has joined us at each round, however this was his first time back behind the wheel competitively. He soon showed he had lost none of his prowess, claiming pole position on Saturday, ahead of an exciting opening race.
Onto race one, and it was a familiar sight at the head of the field, as Jenkins led the way from pole position to the chequered flag, eventually crossing the line some 1.5 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Anthony Barnes.
After a strong performance on his 420R debut last time out at Snetterton, Jamie Winrow returned to the podium once more, finishing third. Jay McCormack claimed fourth place, ahead of Mark Stansfield and Karl Leonard.
A safety car towards the end of the race called for a slightly earlier finish than planned, when the red flag ended proceedings a few laps early.
It was a thrilling battle in the second 420R Championship outing, as a five-car battle for honours made for excellent viewing. After 10 laps, it was eventually Mark Stansfield who held off the opposition to claim success. With mere millimetres between the top five, Barnes narrowly missed out on victory once again, finishing second, with Gary Smith, Justin Armstrong and Andy Perry behind.
With one final opportunity to race at Mondello Park, a reverse of the top 10 finishing positions from race two formed the grid for this last outing. With Philipp Nagel on pole position the stage was set for a great showdown.
As the race began, an incident into the first corner caused a reshuffle of the order. With cars stricken on circuit, the safety car was called for a number of laps, before racing resumed. Determined to double his weekend’s success, Stansfield was looking strong for another victory, however local driver, Karl Leonard was hot on his heels, as was Barnes.
As the lap few laps approached, Gary Tootell found himself beached on the edge of a gravel trap, immediately calling for another safety car. With the action back underway, Leonard saw his opportunity on the final lap of the race, as he made a bid for honours just in time to see the chequered flag. Barnes completed a trio of second places, ahead of Stansfield in third place. Jose Magalhaes, McCormack and Lewis Tootell completed the top six.
Next stop on our 2023 racing calendar is our prestigious Silverstone GP event during 29th – 30th July, which is set to be a superb weekend! We look forward to seeing all there.