Autosport (UK)

Blackburn and Greenan among the Bishopscou­rt stars

- PAUL GROGAN

BISHOPSCOU­RT BARC 18-19 MAY

Garry Manning and his team put on a superb weekend of motorsport action at the annual Bishopscou­rt Motor Races in County Down last weekend. The event has become a favourite of many classes, but a date change early in the year – owed to the movement of the North West 200 bike race – prevented it from attracting some of the bigger grids that have been seen in recent years.

Neverthele­ss, the on-track action and value for those who made the trip was clear for all to see, with the Irish Formula Vee Championsh­ip putting on a superb display of close racing throughout the field on Sunday. Colm Blackburn put his Leastone on the top spot in qualifying for both races, which he successful­ly converted into a brace of wins.

It was certainly no easy feat, with the customary slipstream­ing for which Bishopscou­rt has become renowned used to full effect by his rivals. Blackburn spent the most part of both races in a threeway battle for the lead with Jack Byrne and Gavin Buckley, but in each race Buckley suffered an unfortunat­e spin to rob him of a deserved podium. Instead, it was Andy Keogh and Kieran Hannan who snared a third place apiece.

The Formula BOSS Championsh­ip made a welcome return to Bishopscou­rt having been absent in recent years. While the overall numbers were a little down from previous rounds, the quality was there, with local driver Tony Greenan setting his stall out during practice and qualifying to suggest that the outright circuit lap record held by Limerick’s Paul O’connell was looking under threat.

Sure enough, Greenan in his Dallara F317 broke the lap record not once, but

five times over the course of the two races to lower the bar by over a second to a new time of 1m02.358s at an average speed of 105.82mph. Behind the all-conquering Greenan, Martin Daly’s World Series Dallara machine was the only other car to remain on the lead lap in the opening bout, and he was twice runner-up.

Veteran racer Michael Cullen comfortabl­y won both Stryker races. It was almost a family lockout with his son Victor on each occasion, only for Jonathan Taylor to find a way past in the closing stages of the second race to relegate Cullen Jr to third.

Only Cameron Fenton was able to deny Peter Drennan a clean sweep over the three Irish Global GT Lights races, while Patrick O’malley’s Honda Civic put on a dominant display in Future Classics – crucially inside the championsh­ip’s barrier time – to twice take the spoils over Raymond Melia’s Toyota Celica.

 ?? ?? Greenan lowered the lap record on five occasions
Greenan lowered the lap record on five occasions
 ?? ?? Blackburn resisted Buckley’s Formula Vee attacks to twice win
Blackburn resisted Buckley’s Formula Vee attacks to twice win

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