Donegal Hillclimb Weekend Review
Rounds 11 & 12 of the Naylor Engineering Hillclimb & Sprint Championship 2013
Heavy winds and rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Hillclimbers as they descended on Knockalla for the last two rounds of the Naylor Engineering Hillclimb & Sprint Championship 2013.
Round 11 on Saturday in Donegal may have resembled a monsoon, due to the amount of rain that was falling. The wind didn’t ease up all night and looked like it was going to be a miserable day. Times all day were slow and it wasn’t till the 4th run that things started to look up. The rain eased and there was water remaining on the road but with Championship points at stake drivers started to push the cars even more than they wanted to and tried to gain maximum scores!!
Class 1 on Saturday
Nigel Bryson took the top spot but it wasn’t until the road dried out a little before he took the honors. Gary Cunningham pushed Bryson all day and was ahead until the 5th run when Bryson got ahead and Cunningham settled for 2nd. Trish Daly kept up her solid time reducing runs and got her best on the 5th run to settle for 3rd in class. Gary Egan took 4th spot ahead of Senan O’Connor, Billy White (who tried a weight reducing measure of driving straight into the hill and lost his front bumper) and Damien Walsh in 7th.
Class 2 on Saturday
A lone competitor in the Class was Kelvin Lyons who took the win with a great time of 58.77
Class 3a on Saturday
The Championship was coming to an end for Ian Quinn and Peter Boggan this weekend and it was Quinn who was ahead by just a mere 2 points. Boggan started the day with a time of 59.28 and Quinn who was struggling with the wet couldn’t come anywhere near that and in the end had to settle for 4th with Vincent Deery taking 2nd and Adrian Mulholland taking 3rd.
Class 3b on Saturday
Nine competitors entered this class on Saturday but it was Simon McKinley who came out on top in the Escort. 2nd place went to Barry Morris who loved the wet surface. 3rd in class went to the ever sarcastic Rory Stephens who due to his age was showing some of the younger drivers how it was done. Eanna Carroll powered his Turbo Civic into 4th ahead of 5th placed Eddie Lyons. Paul O’Connell made a return to the hills and double drove Denis Hogan’s M3 BMW and piped Hogan into 6th and Hogan settled for 7th. Celebrity chef Dermot Nolan took 8th place just ahead of Galway’s Michael Melia.
Class 4 on Saturday
Mick O’Shea took class honors on Saturday ahead of John Farrell and made sure the race for the Championship title went all the way to Sunday.
Class 5 on Saturday
Another Class with just 1 entry and it was John Whitley and his newly acquired Formula Ford who took the win and used the day to gain experience in the ex Colm Dunphy motor
Class 6 on Saturday
Joe Courtney was smiling on Saturday as he came out on top of a 7-car battle for the Class win. Rupert Bell took 2nd ahead of John Byrne in 3rd. 4th place to 7th place was John Donnelly, Thomas Corey, Catherine Donnelly and Emmet Dunne.
Class 7 on Saturday
Husband and wife duo Simon and Deirdre McKinley were lone entrants in Class 7 on Saturday. It looks like Simon has never heard the saying “Ladies First” as he took 1st place followed by Deirdre in 2nd.
Class 8 on Saturday
Back in Donegal competing for the first time since 2006 was Tommy Murphy who claimed Class 8 win ahead of Georgie Bell in 2nd.
Who ever prayed for good weather for Sunday had their prayers answered. Blue skys and sunshine greeted all drivers when they descended on Knockalla for the 2nd and last day of the weekend.
Class 1 on Sunday
Gary Cunningham powered his ex Garda Punto to a class win but that didn’t dampen the smile of Nigel Bryson’s face as he claimed the Championship win with his 2nd place. Trish Daly took 3rd in Class and also got 2nd overall in Class 1. Gary Egan took 4th in class followed in by Senan O’Connor, Billy White and Damien Walsh who may have took 7th on the day but was 3rd overall in the Championship.
Class 2 on Sunday
Again Kelvin Lyons was alone in the Class but bet his Saturday time by over 3 seconds.
Class 3a on Sunday
Quinn was back on top on Sunday in the dry conditions and took class honors ahead of Boggan by just .38 of a second. This was enough for Quinn to claim his hat trick of Championships in as many years. Boggan settled for 2nd in Class and 2nd in the Championship. Vincent Deery took the remaining sport of 3rd in class.
Class 3b on Sunday
Rory Stephens gained an “Escort Killer” sticker on Sunday when he powered his Radical SR8 home ahead of Simon McKinley’s Escort in 2nd by over 2.5 seconds and also earned a hill record by beating his old time set in 2011 by 0.81 of a second. Eanna Carroll took 3rd and managed 5 timed runs without taking any traffic cones home with him. Denis Hogan showed Paul O’Connell how to drive an M3 on Sunday and gained 4th in Class. Eddie Lyons took 5th followed in by O’Connell in 7th and Adrian Mulholland in 8th. Dermot Nolan’s cooking left a lot to be desired and powered the McKinley prepared Cosworth home in 8th in Class.
Class 4 on Sunday
John Farrell got ahead of Mick O’Shea on Sunday and this also gained Farrell a Championship 1st while O’Shea settled for a Championship 2nd.
Class 5 on Sunday
John Whitley gained more experience on Sunday and even had another driver to contend with. Whitley took Class honors and bet newcomer Padraig Halvey by half a second.
Class 6 on Sunday
Joe Courtney again took 1st in class but this time John Byrne was snapping at his heels in 2nd place. Rupert Bell had to settle for 3rd and it was the little man John Mahon who managed to get his car out of the trailer who took 4th place. John Donnelly came home in 5th place followed by Thomas Corey in 6th, Catherine Donnelly in 7th and Emmet Dunne in 8th.
Class 7 on Sunday
Again Simon McKinley was been selfish and took the Class win ahead of his wife Deirdre McKinley but Deirdre pointed out her time on Sunday bet Simons Escort time by over a massive 5 seconds.
Class 8 on Sunday
Tommy Murphy gained another 1st place finished on Sunday, which also handed his the Championship win ahead of Georgie Bell who settled for 2nd in Class.
A special mention of thanks must go to the Donegal Motorclub’s stewards and marshals who stood out on Saturday in the rain all day and still managed to get the drivers 5 timed runs.
As the curtains have come down on the Championship for another year all drivers will be getting the suits and dresses dry cleaned for the Championship awards night which will take place on Saturday 26th October in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise. Tickets are available from Helen on 087 9194886 any day between 7pm – 9pm only. This promises to be a great night and not to be missed.
Also another date to mark in your diary is the Forum, which will take place on Sunday 22nd September in the Midway Maldron Hotel, Portlaoise at 2pm. The more ideas to promote the sport and attract new drivers and make the sport run more smoothly the better.