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Sweeney Racing originated from Sean Sweeney's (Dad!) rallying and race experience. Sean was succesful in both forms of motorsport, taking class wins in his Mini Cooper S Rally Car and Fiat Ritmo race Car.
Sean is lucky enough to have four sons and as they came of age (i.e. "when they were about 5"!!) they were thrown in the back of the tow car and headed off to the next race or hill climb. As time went by the interest levels increased and it wasnt long before Ian (the eldest) decided he wanted a go at this racing lark. This was around 1998.
After some long negotiations a contract was agreed between Sean and Ian - Ian would do well in his school exams, fund the entry fee and fuel himself, prepare both cars and adhere to the "bend it and you mend it rule". In return he got to take the choice of the two race cars and got to race for the first time.
At the time Sean had two race cars, a Fiat 3P and a Fiat Ritmo....at the time the Ritmo was the car to have. The car looked a little like the one in the picture although it was in the traditional black and green Sweeney Racing colours.
Ian's first race was at Mondello Park (location of Irish round of BTCC, British F3 And FBMW) at the end of the season. He was joined by a big group of friends to watch his first outing. And they were in for some excitment!! Ian qualified last, almost two seconds slower than he had gone the first time he ever drove the car. When the lights went green Ian made a good start but found himself on the outside going into the first corner. He ended up on the grass!! and definetly in last place. He got back on track and managed to complete the first lap.
Racing drivers have a term called the "red mist". It refers to this strange mist that comes over a driver when they're pissed off. Ian was just about to experience if for the first time. Coming onto the main straight, in last place, Ian deciede it was time to make a move up the field. The move consisted of braking ludicrously late to attempt to go inside a fellow competitor. The result of course wasn't an overtaking move but two badly damaged cars! The on looking fans of course found this hilarious, much to Ian's chagrin.
Happily, Ian's preformance improved thereafter. In his first full season of racing in his own Fiat Ritmo, he finished 3rd in the Championship with a win and a couple of podiums as well as taking an intervarsity karting championship competing for his University. After moving to Ausrtalia for a couple of years he moved back to Ireland and bought a Formula Vee. Another succesful year saw him take 3rd in the rookie championship with two wins.
In late 2000, both Ian and younger brother Gavin moved to the US. Gavin to Chicago and Ian to San Francisco. Once settled Ian started Formula Vee racing in the San Francisco Region and took 3rd place in the championship despite missing two races while he got married. Also that year, Ian made an appearance at Oulton Park in the UK for a once off race, qualifying 4th in a new car and track.
Since 2003, Sweeney Racing has concentrated succesfully on National Formula Vee racing, competing in the SCCA Runoffs 3 times as well karting in the HPV Class with Gavin. 2006 was spent chasing a seat and backing in US Formula Ford 2000. We got very close to signing a deal but decided against it due to the pressures of the real world!
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