Oct 03, 2016
Jordan Dempsey travelled to Kirkistown last weekend for the first of this years trio of Formula Ford trophy races. This time however, Dempsey would have an all new perspective as he had just last week been chosen by Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland to race their car for the blue riband events.
Getting his first taste of the much newer Van Diemen LA10 in the days leading up to the event, the 16-year-old appeared to settle in very well to his new mount, with unofficial times even suggesting he could be one of the main contenders to lift the Martin Donnelly Trophy.
On Saturday morning, Dempsey’s pace was confirmed. Setting the third fastest time in the session, Jordan was one of three drivers who were split by just tenths of a second over the course of the 15-minute session.
Starting the heat two race from the inside of row two, it was all action on the opening lap. Pole sitter Niall Murray fell back as he appeared to struggle for pace which allowed Dempsey to move up to second at the end of the first lap. Now locked onto the gearbox of James Roe, Jordan was ready to cease the opportunity to take the lead at any moment. By lap five, Dempsey looked like he was ready to make a move. A strong exit off the hairpin gave Jordan a superb run down the main straight with the timing screens showing Jordan in the lead as they crossed the start/finish line. However back in the mix now was a recovering Niall Murray who capitalised on the leaders battle later in the lap to pass both Roe and Dempsey to lead at the end of lap six. All three drivers were now running nose to tail, but coming into the Hairpin, James Roe was last of the late brakers, and sighted just in time by both Dempsey and Murray as he ran straight on at the Hairpin to avoid any incident. From there, Jordan maintained his position to the end, finishing just fourth tenths of a second behind the newly crowned British Champion, Niall Murray.
Despite using the event as an extended test session to learn his new car, Dempsey had already left a big impression on those around him, but now had the opportunity to impress even further as he lined up on the outside of row two for the Martin Donnelly Trophy Final. A good start as the lights went out allowed Jordan to remain in fourth and the end of lap one. A superb run into Colonial one at the start of lap two then allowed Jordan to move up to third past Roe.
However the race was then neutralised with a safety car for two laps before the action resumed on lap four. Now in third, Dempsey wasn’t done just yet, closing in on Alan Davison for second, Jordan was keen to find a way past. Coming into the Hairpin on lap seven, Dempsey pulled off what was becoming a trademark move for the youngster, getting a better run out of the corner and passing Davison on the main straight to move into second. A recovering Kevin O’Hara was now coming into the mix on the road, but as he was carrying a ten second penalty, he wouldn’t affect the overall result at that point. Clearly very comfortable behind the wheel of his new car, the Team Ireland driver was now able to maintain his position and a clean run to finish would see Jordan take second place in his first participation for the Martin Donnelly Trophy, just behind teammate Niall Murray.
Jordan Dempsey – #49 Bernard Dolan Racing Van Diemen LA10:
“We had a great run today, I wasn’t expecting it really. Going into this weekend there was no pressure, I was hoping to be in the top five or six as we were just learning the car and testing for the festival races in the UK. Then when we saw that we were second or third fastest in testing I was like, maybe we stand a chance at this now, so I am absolutely delighted to come away with a podium finish. A very big thanks to Bernard Dolan and the team for giving me a great car, and helping me get up to speed so quickly. But in particular, thanks to Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland for this amazing opportunity. It’s a great car to drive and I can’t wait for Brands Hatch now!”
Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival, Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd October 2016
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