Mid Season Press Release 2005

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  • Mid Season Press Release 2005

    Dunlop Hillclimb Championship 2005 Mid Season Press Release

    The Summer Holidays may have arrived for students and teachers around the country, but its only mid term in this years Dunlop Hillclimb and Sprint Championship for the Frank Keane Trophy. There have been six rounds so far in places as diverse as Wexford, Clare, Wales and Kildare. But despite the broad variety of venues one thing has been the same at every round and that is the winner. As of yet there has been no match for the Turbo-Charged GM engined, Delta T81 single-seater of Wexfords Michael Roche.

    Michael has proved to be a very adaptable driver as the latest version of his car has required quite a change in driving style. When he won the championship in 2003 he drove in a much more attacking aggressive style frequently sliding the car around corners at mind boggling angles. Now with the increase in power you can see its more about pin point accuracy and waiting until just the right moment to give it all that power. Its this adaptability which is likely to make him a multiple hillclimb champion.

    Roche may have this years championship all but in the bag but the battle for the runner up spot is really heating up. On the surface John McNamara is on 45.5 points ahead of Peter Dwyer on 41 and Paul O’Connell on 33. But, it looks like we’ll get the full compliment of 12 events this year in which case drivers will have to drop their two worst scores. If you apply this rule to the current points for the purpose of speculation. The picture becomes very interesting. McNamara would be just 4.5 points ahead of Dwyer and O’Connell tied in third place. With the same rule applied there are two jokers in the pack too. Within 5.5 points of third position are Simon Mckinley and John Mahon who could still find a place in the top three.

    There are some great battles developing in the Saloon and GT/Sportscar classes. Ian Quinn and Stefan Walsh have been swapping positions with their mighty Mini’s in class 1. Walsh finished ahead of Quinn at the first round in Wexford and again on the first day in Clare but Ian responded to finish ahead on the Sunday. Just four points separate them with drop scores applied.

    In class 2 James Doherty has returned to dominance after being piped to the post in the championship on the final round last year in his Starlet. Tommy Murphy and Declan Cundelan are hard at it for second place Tommy is five ahead but drop scores would reverse their poisitions. John Laffey is stretching out quite a lead with his Chevette in Class 3a as is Simon McKinley in 3b. It’s a family affair in the Historic class with Matt and Helen Clark in first and second respectively.

    The open wheeled and Libre classes are just as competitive as their arched rivals. Just two points separate Ed Rynhart from Cormac O’Brien in 5a. Peter Dwyer is leading rookie single seater driver Mark Dempsey in 5b. John Mahon has a good lead over Paul O’Connell and Francis Creaven. On drop scores Creaven would be four points ahead of O’Connell. Its all single seaters in the Libre Class this year as Karl Cleary has not yet returned in his Metro 6R4 after his accidents last year. As in their overall battle Michael Roche leads John McNamara but on dropped scores the difference is only 4.5 points. A rally from McNamara in the latter part of the season could swap things round.

    At first it looks like the rally classes 8 and 9 haven’t been well supported with Dean Laffey all on his own but whats actually happened is drivers that contested those championship last year have adapted their cars to compete in the more regular hillclimb classes. Classes eight and nine serve as a perfect way for drivers with rallycars to sample hillclimbing. Every now and then there are a few more converts as drivers find the laid back yet competitive atmosphere of hillclimbing suits them.

    The next two rounds of the Dunlop Hillclimb Championship are hosted by the Tipperary LC&MCC at the Sweep near Dungarvan in Co. Waterford on July 9th and 10th . This is a very fast hillclimb with two great hairpins and excellent viewing within fifty yards of the main Waterford to Cork road. Spectators and drivers more used to rallying would do well to have a look at the latest hillclimbs as I can assure you will be impressed by their outright speed.

    Hillclimb Pro Senan O’Connor