The FIM MiniGP Ireland Series completed its inaugural season with two races at Watergrasshill in Cork, where Brian Hamilton was crowned as the champion. The fourteen year old from Co Antrim completed his season by adding another race win to his tally, with local rider Fionn O’Connell taking the other victory on his home track to take maximum points for the first time.
The weekend began with Hamilton needing to simply finish race one to pick up enough points to secure the top spot, while his nearest rival, Finnan Wherity, had a fight on his hands with Josh O’Brien for second place. O’Brien sat just three points behind Wherity and while the top three riders were already guaranteed a spot at the World Final in Valencia, none of them were ready to settle for their current positions.
Making their first visit to the Kartworld track, the riders were set to have five sessions in total, with practice followed by qualifying and three races. The untimed practice session was completed successfully but qualifying had to be delayed due to a coolant spillage in a non MiniGP session, which created a two hour delay. With qualifying starting much later than expected there would now only be enough time on the timetable for two of the three scheduled races.
Race one developed into a familiar pattern as Hamilton got away ahead of Wherity, O’Brien and O’Connell. Wherity’s title challenge did not last long however, as he suffered a mechanical failure while closing down the leader leaving Hamilton to cruise to his seventh race win in succession. Behind the leader Fionn O’Connell took his first FIM MiniGP podium as he got the better of O’Brien to take second. Hamilton’s win confirmed him as the 2021 champion while O’Brien moved ahead of Wherity following his non-finish.
The second and final race of the day had to be stopped due to an incident and when it restarted it was once again Hamilton who lead. The Ulster rider then suffered his own mechanical issues and failed to finish for only the second time all season, leaving O’Connell and O’Brien to fight for the win. At the flag it was the local rider who took his first win of the season, ahead of O’Brien, who took second in the championship from the unfortunate Finnan Wherity who did not make the start. The Wherity family did have a presence on the podium, as the younger of the two brothers, Max, took his first top three finish of the year.
The Irish series may be complete but for the top three riders, Brian Hamilton, Josh O’Brien and Finnan Wherity their season will continue into November as they travel to the World Final in Valencia on November 9th to 11th. The young racers will compete in the final against riders from eleven different national and regional series for a place on the Road to MotoGP programme, which could see them progress into one of a number of different FIM supported feeder series.
Next month’s World Final will give many fans a first chance to see the future stars in action as all of the Thursday November 11th races will be broadcast live. Details of where to watch the broadcast will be available closer to the event.