Warrenpoint Formula Vee driver JB Farrell is celebrating after winning his first Championship title at Mondello Park last weekend.

Both JB and his Dublin-based Cicoda Racing team are competing in motor racing for the first time and JB has seen off many more established competitors in his class to win the title, underlining a stunning debut campaign for both team and driver.

With two podium finishes required from the weekend's two races, JB set about his business with a brilliant qualifying session on Saturday morning, claiming pole position by more than half a second from nearest competitor Philip Sheane. He converted this into a 3rd place finish in the afternoon's race, taking a mature approach to bring home the points.

J.B. Farrell celebrates his first Formula Vee win at Mondello Park.
J.B. Farrell celebrates his first Formula Vee win at Mondello Park.

"Prioritising the championship was the key thing for me", said Farrell after the race. "There was no point in taking risks fighting other cars too hard and maybe getting taken off, so the sensible thing to do was to resist the temptation to bang wheels and think about the bigger picture instead."

A miserably wet Sunday afternoon saw the second part of the double-header at the Kildare circuit. JB again started from pole position, his fifth of the season, underlining his impressive pace over one lap. However, as the race loomed, so did the weather. Constant rain created a new challenge for the 'Point man. "I've never driven a single lap in the wet before - not even in practice - so the race to decide the championship wasn't an ideal time to learn!" continued Farrell. "Almost everything I've learnt this year about driving a racing car went out the window, so it was a steep learning curve to understand how the car would behave in the conditions."

With grip at a premium, many of the Formula’s more experienced drivers took off-track excursions throughout the race but JB kept his car pointing in the right direction in 2nd place. Tension grew as the laps counted down but with the Cicoda driver unchallenged from behind, anxiety turned to joy as he emerged from the spray to cross the line and claim his maiden title. 

"This has been a fairytale for both me and the team," he commented afterwards. "Almost exactly 12 months ago we had no experience in motorsport, just a dream that we wanted to pursue and we made the decision to go for it. I'm excited now to see what we can achieve in 2020 and how far we can go in the sport."

Cicoda Racing founder Ron Healy was understandably delighted for his driver and for SM Racing, the Kildare-based race engineering team who provided mechanical expertise and support throughout the season. 

“I have always believed that, if there is something you want to do and the opportunity presents itself, it would be irrational not to take it,” said the Dubliner. “At the same Leinster Trophy weekend at Mondello Park exactly a year ago, a chance meeting led to that opportunity for Cicoda Racing and JB. None of those involved could realistically have believed that a Championship was on the horizon. Ultimately, with consistent finishes among the best in the Formula and only one non-finish, it was that consistency that won the Title.”

The attentions of both JB and Cicoda Racing were already looking forward to 2020, with thoughts turning to the possibility of the team running a second car to be piloted by another up-and-coming racer. However, first they will be competing in the final round of the season this coming weekend at Kirkistown before the winter break. 

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