Wexford Hillclimbs 2006

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  • Wexford Hillclimbs 2006

    Rounds 1 and 2 hosted by Wexford Motor Club at Bunclody 1st and 2nd April.

    Miserable is the only way you could describe the weather that greeted the drivers and an army of Wexford Motor Club Marshals and Organizers on the opening round of the Premier Machine Tools Hillclimb & Sprint Championship 2006. But for Championship sponsor, Peter Dwyer, it was a perfect day. Driving his trusty Delta T85 in which he has had many class wins in the past, including last years class 5B Championship, he broke his duck on a day fit only for such creatures. Winning his first hillclimb outright he dodged the puddles to record an FTD of 57.94 ahead of a hard charging Simon McKinley in the now legendary White Escort at 58.52.
    Simon’s rear wheel drive ‘Scort was under pressure from Michael Morris in a four wheel drive Subaru who finished just five hundredths of a second further back. He in turn was just a hairs breadth ahead of reigning Hillclimb Champion Michael Roche propelled by the same GM Turbo engine as last year but now in a Mygale chassis. McKinley was the class 3B winner and Morris won class 7 both days.

    Peter Bogan sporting new Premier Machine Tools Livery was fifth overall on Saturday in his Zakspeed Escort and won his class 3A both days. Seamus Morris made a welcome return to hillclimbing down south no doubt to attempt to rattle McKinleys cage in class 3A. Seamus got the upper hand both days in Donegal last year with his Darrian T90, which has a similar engine to the McKinley Escort. This could be one of the class battles of the year. Simon came out on top on Saturday but an uncharacteristic crash on the first run on Sunday meant he scored no points on round 2 an error which could cost him dearly as the year progresses. Seamus Morris won the class on Sunday and finished third overall.

    Another hard charger was David James who drifted his rally Escort into 8th overall on Saturday. He turned up with his Focus on Sunday no doubt hoping to capitalize on the extra grip of this high tech WRC machine and to build his confidence in the newly acquired car. Fears that the four wheel drive machine might tame James’s sideways style were rapidly allayed as his sideways attitude on the second junction was remarkable. Unfortunately the Gorey driver was caught out on the same corner as McKinley. He clipped the outside bank and flipped the car spectacularly over on its side. Both car and driver were bruised by the incident but both will live to fight another day. It would have been fascinating to compare the times of top level rally machinery with the fastest hillclimb cars. Hopefully Mr. James will bring the car to another hill later in the year.

    Speaking of fastest hillclimb cars, that honour went to Galway driver Frank Byrnes on Sunday with the fastest run of the weekend on the new hill at Bunclody. Byrne’s the 2002 Champion set a time or 55.56 in his Reynard SF81. John Mahon and Andrew Herman in their motorcyle engined single seaters had a close battle for the win in class 6, claiming 5th and 6th overall respectively. Peter Dwyer was second overall on Sunday at 56.36, which was good enough to win the Wexford Hillclimb Perpetual Trophy for best time on aggregate over the two days. A just reward for a driver who has put so much into the sport. The next rounds of the Premier Machine Tools Hillclimb and Sprint Championship will be hosted by the Galway Motor Club on the 22nd and 23rd of April.

    By Senan O’Connor