James Roe Jr has teamed up with Bernard Dolan for the 2017 season. Roe, part of the Team Ireland Foundation, is competing in the Dawson-WAM NI FF1600 Championship, which is an official feeder series for the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 scholarship shootout. Speaking before the weekend, Roe said “Teaming up with Bernard Dolan was a strategic decision to battle at the sharp end. Bernard has an unrivalled understanding of Formula Fords and the plan is to win”. “This is a new car and a new team and I am excited for the challenge ahead”.
The first double header of the championship took place in Kirkistown Race Circuit in Co. Down. Roe qualified 2nd for both races. This was an exceptional performance, given this was the first race meeting in the car.
Roe has got to grips with the start, as he launched his Van Diemen RF99 off the line to take the lead in both races.
Race one was a very closely contested battle with O’Hara only conceding the lead after being overtaken on a late move in Colonial. Roe battled tirelessly to finish in a gallant second place, seven seconds clear of the rest of the field.
Race two again saw Roe out in front off the line. A missed gear saw O’Hara take the lead and with only three laps to go, Roe out-braked himself into the Hairpin due to oil on the track which put him back to fourth over the finish line.
This impressive performance saw Roe picked as the ‘Driver Of The Day’. Speaking after the race, Roe said “I’m happy with how the weekend went. It’s good to start the year with a new car and new team at the front which means we can only build on that now. All I had to do was get in and drive the car. It’s a credit to Bernard. To get the driver of the day award was also great and I’ll be looking forward to that shootout now.”
Roe, 18 from Naas Co. Kildare, has had a vast range of experience in Irish and international motorsport already. He started his career in the Ginetta Junior Series, moving to Formula Ford last season, as well as taking part in the Formula 4 UAE Championship in Dubai.