The heat is on! Wexford Hillclimb Weekend Review
What a weekend of scorching action in Wexford. The fine weather that was promised came in abundance and with temperatures in the high 20’s all weekend the heat was most certainly on for rounds 5 and 6 of the Connaught Competition Engines Hillclimb and sprint championship 2010.
The Saturday hillclimb was a new hill in Duncannon. This challenging course proved tricky and bumpy but quite rewarding to drive. With the heat, the grip levels suffered as the tar began to melt later in the day but 4 runs were completed. Dublin’s Simon McKinley came out on top on the bumpy hill setting some great times in the first and second run driving the Connaught Warrior engined Lant. He chose to forego any more running afterwards when the tar began to melt. Paul O’Connell finished second, after a high speed spin on the second corner in his Pilbeam. He missed his 3rd run after hitting the chicane and needed his fourth run to finish within 0.58 of the leader. Seamus Morris was 3rd in his beautiful Pilbeam Mp62. He’s really settling into single seater life and is getting quicker and quicker. Brendan Keane appeared on Saturday unexpectedly and true to form hit the pace straight away. He did well but could not find an elusive second to catch Morris. David James returned to hillclimb action with a mighty rallycross Mitsubishi Evo 6 with upwards of 600bhp this mighty beast required all David’s legendary sideways skill to tame and he brought it home a creditable 5th overall. John Byrne in the Leastone formula 5 finished just over a second behind David in 6th overall. Much more to come from John when he returns with his Jedi hopefully for Dungarvan. Eanna Carroll continued his giant killing performances and finished 7th overall in the over 400 Bhp turbo fwd Honda Civic. Wexford’s own version of Sebastian Vettel, Brendan Harpur finished just behind Carroll. After some confusion over turning left or right at the junction he improved his times steadily to end up 7th in the 1.8 engined Delta. Stephen Gillis was snapping at Brendan’s heels and just 0.26 seconds separated the two. John Mahon in his Dj hayabusa revved his way to 10th overall!
1 Simon McKinley (Lant RT2) 46.92s,
2 Paul O’Connell (Pilbeam MP58 Hart) 47.50s,
3 Seamus Morris (Pilbeam MP62-Vauxhall) 50.74s,
4 Brendan Keane (Swallow DR14 F3) 51.71s,
5 David James (Lancer Evo 6) 52.10s,
6 John Byrne (Leastone F5) 53.60s,
7 Eanna Carroll (Civic Turbo) 54.78s,
8 Brendan Harpur (Delta T81 Ford) 55.00s,
9 Stephen Gillis (Westfield SEI-GM) 55.26s,
10 John Mahon (DJ-Hayabusa) 56.84s.
Ray Cunningham (Mini) 58.76s, Niall Whitty (Corolla) 62.78s, Stephen Gillis, Eanna Carroll, John Farrell (Escort) 45.52s (net), Laura Eustace (Sheane VW) 70.46s, John Byrne, Paul O’Connell, Ken Treacy (Peugeot 206) 60.80s, Seamus O’Grady (Escort) 58.59s.
Sunday saw more of the same roasting weather. After some rehydrating on Saturday night at the prize giving the action started after mass on Sunday. With scorching hot weather there were some safety concerns about the tar on the first corner causing a delay as sand was applied after the first run. McKinley had opted to sit this one out saving his car for a trip to France next weekend. So it was down to Paul O’Connell to deliver and he duly did with a time of 44.81 and new hill record. The big Pilbeam Mp58 proving quite adept at fitting through the narrow chicane! He was followed closely by Seamus Morris in his Pilbeam Mp62 all day but David James in his Rallycross Evo hit the pace in a big way and edged him out to claim 2nd overall on a time of 48.22 and Morris on 48.31! A slightly bad start on his last run costing Seamus dearly. Joe Courtney returned in his Oms Hornet to finish 4th overall his best performance to date just under a second behind Seamus Morris. John Byrne edged out Brendan Harpur to finish 5th, pushing Harpur down to 6th. After the banter of the previous day Brendan was delighted there were no junctions on the hill! Eanna Carroll continues to defy logic in his turbo civic finishing 7th overall. The little blue civic is fast becoming a favourite on the hills. Stephen Gillis in his Westfield was just behind by 0.20 Secs in 8th overall. Denis Hogan was 9th overall in his BMW M3 as he continues his ever improving run of finishes putting the pressure on Carroll. Ray Cunningham in his mini rounds out the top 10 despite only doing one run on the day.
All credit to Wexford Motor club for running a successful event despite a myriad of unforeseeable problems on both days. Best of luck to those competitors that are taking a trip to France next week.
1 Paul O’Connell (Pilbeam MP58 Hart) 44.81s, (Hill record),
2 David James (Lancer Evo 6) 48.22s,
3 Seamus Morris (Pilbeam MP62-Vauxhall) 48.31s,
4 Joe Courtney (OMS-Suzuki) 49.29s,
5 John Byrne (Leastone F5) 51.35s,
6 Brendan Harpur (Delta T81 Ford) 51.54s,
7 Eanna Carroll (Civic Turbo) 52.57s,
8 Stephen Gillis (Westfield SEI-GM) 52.78s,
9 Denis Hogan (BMW M3) 53.29s,
10 Ray Cunningham (Mini) 53.39s.
Ray Cunningham, John Bradley (Corsa) 58.34s, Stephen Gillis, Eanna Carroll, John Farrell (Escort) 41.95 (net), Laura Eustace (Sheane VW) 64.12s, Joe Courtney, David James, Ken Treacy (Peugeot 206) 56.96s, Johnny Murphy (Escort) 53.92s.
Full results are available in the Calendar and Results Section.
Irish Hillclimb & Sprint TV by: Vantage Point Video
All images supplied by Onsite Event Photography