Limerick Sprint Weekend Review
Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of August saw Rounds 7 & 8 of the Naylor Engineering National Hillclimb & Sprint Championship move to Effin, Co. Limerick. A fantastic challenging route was selected by the Limerick Motor Club and had a return road, which came as a delight to all competitors.
The rain stayed away on Saturday morning and all drivers were greeted with blue skies. During the day the tricky route caught out some of the competitors, Class 3a leader Rob Dwane had some mechanical difficulties, which brought an end to his weekends racing, Simon McKinley snapped a driveshaft on route back to the pits, but with the help of other competitors he was back out for the next run. Seamus Anderson blew the engine in his Anglia but the Mullinavegas native dashed home and returned back with his spare Anglia and was ready to compete for Sunday.
The outrageously loud Gar Cunningham was again in flying form in his brightly coloured Punto and took the Class win on Saturday with a time of 77.49. Following behind in 2nd place was William Barrett in his Ford Fiesta. Lisa Delaney had a great run to grab 3rd place with a time of 84.87. The first on the Cinquecento’s came in 4th driven by Joe Courtney and 5th to 11th place was as follows, Gary Egan, Senan O’Connor, Billy White, Damien Walsh, Ivalo Linder, Chloe Quinn and Philip O’Connor. Great to see so many entries in a single class.
The ever-youthful James Doherty and his gorgeous Starlet were in fantastic form all weekend and on Saturday claimed yet another Class win with a time of 67.04. Not to far behind in 2nd place was Brian Ledwith in his Twincam and behind him in 3rd was Tony Banville in the Peugeot 205.
Peter Bogan capitalized on Rob Dwane’s mechanical error and claimed the Class win for Saturday. Rob Dwane had laid down 1 timed run and that was enough for 2nd on the day, John Kennedy in the Dax Rush grabbed 3rd and Jack Deegan followed up in 4th.
Alex Wilsdon Snr powered his way into top spot on Saturday on 69.48, Martin Flanagan in his M3 was under 3 seconds behind him in 2nd, Eddie Lyons took 3rd spot, Denis Hogan Jnr followed close behind in 4th ahead of Jim Butler in 5th and Dan Mulcahy in 6th.
Old man Mick O’Shea in the MGB GT raced into top spot and grabbed the Class win on Saturday (and bet Gar Cunningham to even the scores in the Island Plate) Barry Smith in his Escort grabbed second spot ahead of Sean Murray in the Lotus and 4th place went to Seamus Anderson who suffered mechanical difficulties on Saturday.
With no less than 6 entries in this Class the competition for 1st place was going to be tough. Eugene French waited until the last run of the day to set the fastest time and grabbed first spot with a time of 76.03. Extremely close behind by 0.5 of a second was Johnny Keating; John Whitley kept himself in the trophies by grabbing 3rd spot. Newcomer Ben Deithrick followed close behind in 4th; Gerard O Connor was suffering engine trouble during the day and had to settle for 5th ahead of his driving partner Adam Craughan in 6th.
With just 2 cars in this Class it was Robert Bell and his Crossle Busa in 1st place and John Mahon in his DJ ADSI in 2nd with a time of 69.24
Daddy Cool Simon McKinley set the fastest time of the day and grabbed top spot in Class with a time of 58.50. Rory Stephens pushed his Radical Sr8 as hard as his could but had to settle for 2nd spot. Back on the scene in his Delta Paul O’Connell took 3rd spot ahead of Deirdre McKinley in the Reynard. Another newcomer to Hillclimbing Gary Graham in his Formula Ireland raced into 5th ahead of Dermot Nolan in 6th.
Another big entry Class and top spot went to Peter McDonnell in his Honda Civic, Colm Doherty grabbed second spot ahead of Conor Walsh in 3rd. Tadgh O’Connell grabbed 4th place, Eoin Melia in 5th, William Cecil in 6th, James Kissane in 7th, John Hackett in 8th, Denis O’Connell in 9th and finally Michael McDonnell in 10th.
Just a single competitor in this Class on Saturday, Pat Barry in his Ford Sierra Cosworth took the Class win with a time of 75.46
Even though there was rain over night, all competitors woke up to blue skies. The early call to drivers briefing caught a few drivers off guard but everyone welcomed the early start (maybe something other clubs could look in to and follow suit). No real mechanical problems on the Sunday and all drivers got in 5 runs.
Gar Cunningham loves to blend into the crowd and not stand out what so ever was in top form on Sunday after a good night sleep and claimed Class honors with a time of 75.47. William Barrett again took 2nd spot but it was William Meade’s turn to grab 3rd. Again the first Cinquecento home was Joe Courtney who’s car was on song the whole weekend in 4th. Edwin Walsh came home in 5th followed by Lisa Delaney in 6th, Gary Egan in 7th, Damien Walsh in 8th, Billy White in 9th, Senan O’Connor in 10th, John O’Connell in 11th, Philip O’Connor in 12th, Ivalo Linder in 13th and finally Chloe Quinn in her second ever event is getting to know her car and with more experience will be challenging the lads in 14th.
James Doherty again powered his way to top spot in Class 2 and held of Brian Ledwith in 2nd place by less than 2 seconds. Taking 3rd spot was Tony Banville.
Peter Bogan nursed his damaged clutch for the day and held on to the Class win with a time of 69.14. John Kennedy in the Dax Rush claimed second spot.
Alex Wilsdon Jnr took every run to his advantage and learn from the previous to set a blistering time in his last run to claim the Class win with a brilliant time of 59.16 and 2nd overall. Denis Hogan was also flying and grabbed second in Class, Dan Mulcahy in his Cosworth grabbed 3rd spot. Local man Matt Shinnors held onto 4th just ahead of Martin Flanagan in 5th. Eddie Lyons was less than 0.2 seconds behind in 6th and Jim Butler was less than 0.5 of a second behind in 7th. Ben O’Brien arrived on Sunday to race and grabbed 8th spot but valuable Championship points.
It was Barry Smiths turn to take top spot in Class ahead of Mick O’Shea in 2nd. Sean Murray held onto 3rd spot just ahead of Seamus Anderson’s replacement Anglia in 4th.
Adam Craughan in a borrowed Formula Vee was another driver who was learning as he was driving and waiting for the 5th run to set his fastest time and grabbed top spot in Class. Johnny Keating took 2nd spot but was only 0.02 of a second behind 1st. Eugene French came in 3rd ahead of John Whitley in 4th. Ger O’Connor will look to Craughan for some tips came in 5th and finally in 6th spot was Ben Deithrick.
Robert Bell may have been tapping some of the bales all day but still managed to claim the Class wins on Sunday. John Byrne was a new arrival on Sunday and claimed 2nd in Class ahead of the big man John Mahon in 3rd.
Fatherhood seems to be the best thing ever for this man as Simon McKinley yet again grabs top spot in Class and 1st overall with a blistering time of 56.79. Paul O’Connell is getting to grips with his car again and took 2nd spot ahead of Rory Stephens in 3rd. Gary Graham who’s enjoying Hillclimbs in his Formula Ireland grabbed 4th spot ahead of Mrs. Deirdre McKinley in 5th and Dermot Nolan bring up the rear in 6th in his Cinquecento.
Derek Butler and his Civic claimed the Class win narrowly ahead of Ger Lyons in 2nd place, Colm Doherty grabbed valuable Championship points in 3rd ahead of Conor Nash in 4th. John Hackett brought his Marcos home in 5th spot. Derek Flynn was next in 6th place ahead of William Cecil in 7th. Declan Gannon brought his Escort home in 8th place and finally Maurice Gannon came home in 9th.
Jack Deegan, back in his proper Class, claimed the Class win ahead of John Collins in 2nd and Henry Nash in his Opel Manta in 3rd.
A special thanks must go to Limerick Motorclub who went above and beyond to ensure drivers have an excellent road to race and the food and beverages were top notch, they really didn’t leave any stone unturned to make sure it was a brilliant weekend.
Next rounds of the Championship take place in Naul Co Dublin on the 16th and 17th August. Regs can be sent in online via the MEC Motor Club website or by downloading the regs via the Irish Hillclimb Website
Article by: Paul Doyle – Championship PRO