O’Hara wins thrilling Martin Donnelly Trophy race
Dunlop Motorsport Young Racing Driver of the Year Kevin O’Hara finally broke his run of bad luck at Kirkistown’s final event of the year. As the first of the years three highlight Formula Ford events the Martin Donnelly Trophy at Kirkistown, O’Hara was keen to get the trio of events off to a strong start.
Kevin enjoyed a strong run in pre-event testing which he was able to carry into Saturday morning’s qualifying, taking pole position and with it setting the fastest time ever around Ireland’s fastest circuit for a Formula Ford.
O’Hara won his qualifying heat from pole position. Formula Ford veteran Noel Dunne however was right on Kevin’s gearbox for the entire race and certainly wasn’t going to make it easy for the young Donadea driver. Kevin showed his class and controlled his lead to the flag to win his heat, which placed him on the front row for the Martin Donnelly Trophy Final race.
O’Hara started well in the Martin Donnelly Final and by the second lap had found a way past Formula Ford ace Ivor McCullough for the lead. Leading for a number of laps Kevin briefly fell back to third, finding himself as the meat in a Noel Dunne & Ivor McCullough sandwich coming out of Kirkistown’s Hairpin onto the main straight. Despite some light contact, the trio left the corner unscathed giving O’Hara a chance to make his way back into the lead. Kevin opened a small margin at the head of the field, which became a large advantage thanks to the demise of Noel Dunne and allowing Kevin O’Hara to take his Dunlop and Irish Sports Council supported Formula Ford home in first position to win Ireland’s most prestigious Formula Ford race, the Martin Donnelly Trophy.
A delighted Kevin O’Hara discussed what had been a very strong weekend for the Motorsport Ireland backed team, “we were confident coming into this weekend that we would go well here. Testing was positive and our pace in qualifying was superb, good enough to set the fastest lap ever recorded around here for a Formula Ford! I’m delighted to win this trophy and it gives us lots of confidence as we move onto the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in a few weeks time. I’d like to thank my sponsors Motorsport Ireland, Dunlop, The Irish Sports Council, KCMG, NoH20 and the Westgrove Hotel and Spa for their continued support this season and of course to Bernard Dolan for all his work preparing the car”.