From Marshal to Driver – June 2018

The sun is shining and temperatures are soaring but the racing goes on writes Ruth Nugent

 Anti-Clockwise Race Meeting at Mondello Park

The 9th and 10th of June we all gathered back to the home grounds of Mondello Park for the next round of the Fiesta Zetec championship. This time around though, the track was run in the anti-clockwise direction for the first time in 21 years, so most of us had no idea what to expect! Luckily, thanks to my friend Mark Meenehan, I made it to testing on the Friday before the weekend for a half day. I don’t know whether it was the amazing weather or Marks car (it had to be his car!), I loved the track layout. I felt excited for the race weekend ahead of me for the first time this season.
All of our championship races were run on the one day (Saturday) so it was a busy enough day. I went into qualifying in my little orange bean of a Fiesta with the mind-set of just going out and enjoying it and it worked. For the first time this season and ever, I didn’t qualify last but 13th. That alone made me feel accomplished for the day! With that bit more confidence I headed into race one with a surprisingly great start and ended up right in the middle of the grid by the second corner but unfortunately half way through the second lap a fellow novice accidentally took me out of it causing me to lose positions, struggle to catch up and finish back where I started in P13. As I crossed the finish line the car cut out and wouldn’t restart. I had to get towed into the paddock by the FIV vehicle which was very entertaining to most seeing as I’m usually one of the ones driving it and towing cars in. It turned out to simply be a disconnected battery cable but between the heat and how hard I was driving the car, the tyres were wrecked so we had to do some swapping and manoeuvring to get them to a decent state for the second race and last race of the day.
I also got lucky with my start in race two. It gave me a good push up the grid in the first few corners and there was some really good competitive racing and for once, no accidents or issues. I finished P11 out of 18 cars and I was over the moon. This was a big achievement for me and I surprised myself by how quick I’ve managed to adapt to everything.
The next day as I wasn’t racing, I got to join my marshals back on the banks for my first car event of the year. It was exciting to be back out with them all after watching them cheer me on from the banks the previous day and it was interesting to watch some of the lines and approaches other drivers were taking to corners. It was my favourite race weekend so far as I was lucky enough to do two of my favourite things, marshalling and racing. And with some of my favourite people.

Driving the eCar in Dublin PRIDE 2018 parade

I work for ESB Networks and am a proud BeMe@ESB (our LGBTQ+ ally programme) ally and this year we have been putting in a lot of work in preparation for the PRIDE 2018 parade in Dublin. This year eCars were kind enough to lend us their ‘171 Hyundai Ioniq eCar for the parade. We were asked if anyone was interested in getting trained in on how to use the car and of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I had never even driven an automatic car no mind an electric car before so I was very sceptical about what to expect!


So, a few facts about the car

1)   The car itself is a fully electric car, not a hybrid.
2)   It’s average range is from 190-200km and about 180km on a motorway.
3)  It has a 28kwh lithium ion polymer battery.
4) It’s asking price for new is €28,995 and its annual road tax is €120.
5) It has all the usual mod cons such as rear camera parking, satellite navigation, bluetooth, etc.
6) When I was asked what it was like to drive all I could describe it as was like a very quiet, very large kart! It was very comfortable to drive through the city and I was pleasantly surprised as to all it’s capable of. Thanks again to eCars and ESB for giving me the chance to drive it and get my first experience in a fully electric car!

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Ruth Nugent

3rd July, 2018

Author: Ruth Nugent

Ruth Nugent a 23 year old from Gormanston has been volunteering as a Motorsport marshal at Mondello Park in Co. Kildare for nearly 12 years but for 2018 she is moving from marshal to driver and will race in the Fiesta Zetec Championship in 2018. You can follow Ruth on twitter @roothnoogent

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