18 year old James Roe, from Naas in County Kildare, was on top form at one of the biggest Formula Ford 1600 races of the year, the Martin Donnelly Trophy, held at Kirkistown Circuit in Northern Ireland at the weekend.
The first race for the weekend was a round of the Dawson-WAM Northern Ireland series, a class which has been particularly competitive in 2017. Having made some changes to his Bernard Dolan tended Van Diemen, James was confident of a strong showing and he backed this up with fastest time in qualifying, earning him the coveted pole position for the opening race. When the lights went out, the young Naas driver made no mistakes to lead the field away and went on to score an impressive victory at the high speed former airfield venue, setting fastest lap in the process.
The next race was a heat for the Trophy race and having again taken pole position, Roe led away once again, before becoming embroiled in a scrap with former MI Young Driver of The Year Kevin O’Hara. O ‘Hara managed to get the lead, but Roe went back at him and at the flag it was O’Hara, by just two tenths of a second. This put the Kildare duo on the front row for one of the biggest FF1600 races on the calendar. O’Hara led away with Roe happy to sit in second in the early stages- until disaster struck. Contact from the rear from another competitor bent the suspension of his car, completely destroying the balance. Adjusting his driving style to compensate for the damage, James was able to hang on for an eventual fourth place at the flag.
“Just one of those things I suppose! The car was perfect and it all went to plan in race one. Kevin (O’Hara) just pipped me in the second race but I was confident for the final. Sitting in second place, I was playing the long game- and then came the contact. The balance was gone and it was all I could do to bring it home in fourth. To draw on the positives, it’s great to have my pace back in the run up to the Formula Ford Festival! Once again, I would like to thanks my sponsors and team, without whom none of this would be possible”
James is supported by Dennison Trailers, Robinson Low Insurance Ltd and Goodfellas Pizza.