Fiesta ST Championship Heats Up In Mondello

The Mondello Park promoted Fiesta Championships were the cream of the Car Racing action at Mondello Park over the weekend of June 8th and 9th as the drivers tackled the National Track in reverse for the one and only time this season. Alex Denning in ST’s emerged from the hectic action as the highest points scorers with a pair of wins each.

The Denning Cars Fiesta ST championship produced the race of the weekend and one of the best seen in Mondello Park for many seasons in its third encounter. Prior to this Alex Denning had dominated qualifying taking pole by just under half a second from David Maguire who showed some of the form which made him the 2018 champion, as he picked up second, with current championship leader Erik Holstein third.

Maguire got a good start to race one to lead at the end of the opening lap, but by the end of the second tour Denning had grabbed a lead he would hold onto till the chequered flag. Maguire took his best result of the season, with second place, while Michael Cullen got the better of an unusually off colour Holstein to take third.

For the second race Denning was sixth on the reversed grid leaving veterans Brian Flanagan and Gordon Kellett on the front row. Flanagan was muscled out of the lead by Kellett on lap one and then found himself being bumped back down the order as the faster drivers from race one followed Kellett through. The same then happened to Kellett when Cullen pushed his way into the lead and as Kellett tried to fight back a clash with Maguire gave him a puncture, leading to a lengthy pit stop, while also delaying the reigning champion.

Up ahead Denning was now right on Cullen’s tail and going into the final hairpin he dived up the inside, in a move that was never really on, hitting Cullen and knocking him off line before taking the lead. Somehow Denning was not sanctioned by the stewards for his misdemeanour and remained in the lead ahead of Holstein who had also made a move on the delayed ST of Cullen. At the flag Denning took his second win of the weekend to keep the pressure on Holstein in the championship chase, with his rival second and Cullen third ahead of Maguire.

Ross Barnes started on pole for race three courtesy of a fine sixth place in the second race. The relatively inexperienced driver made the most of his opportunity and opened up a gap at the front of the field while the championship contenders were working their way through. Cullen was the first to break free from the pack and catch Barnes but then could not get by, allowing the rest of the field to close up on them. Holstein was sitting third ahead of Denning until the half way point of the race when these two got too close, leading to Holstein spinning on to the grass on the exit of turn four. Some fantastic car control saw the championship leader quickly back on the road. having only lost a couple of places. but he was now visibly fired up and gunning for revenge.

While Holstein was recovering Cullen finally got by Barnes on the run out of Southside Motor Factors corner, sweeping around the outside at turn two. A lap later at the same point Holstein was on the tail of Denning and pulled off one of the best moves of the day as he caught Denning by surprise and enacted his revenge with a brilliant dive up the inside of turn three, a place not normally seen as an overtaking spot. Once clear in third Holstein reeled in Barnes, turning lap times more than a second quicker than the car ahead of him and took second with one lap to go. A flying final lap was not enough however, as Cullen became the first driver other than Denning and Holstein to win this season.

The Dennings Cars Fiesta ST Championship will be back in action at Mondello Park on July 13th and 14th.

Images by Carl Cleary