Donegal 2014 Review
So we have reached the end of the Naylor Engineering Hillclimb & Sprint Championship for 2014. Our final 2 rounds were based in the picturesque Knockalla Hill in Donegal, a perfect setting for a weekend away. A massive thanks to all in Donegal Motorclub for yet another great 2 days racing and the weather played ball also. Small drop of rain on Saturday but overall a fantastic weekend. On Saturday all drivers got a Practice run and 5 timed runs.
The only competitor to score a maximum in every round of the Championship was none other than Gar Cunningham who eventually brought his wife to see what he gets up to on weekends away with the lads. Gar Claimed yet another Class win on Saturday and even though his dress sense is questionable there’s no doubting he is a worthy winner of Class 1. Second in Class was Joe Courtney who needed to finish at least 2nd on both days to qualify for the Masters in Luxemburg in October. 3rd in class went to the Angry man Neil Bradbury who was just over a second behind Joe. 4th went to Gary Egan who managed to keep his car upright for the day but his no hands driving technique might not catch on with other drivers (kids don’t try that at home). Aidan Courtney took 5th spot with his extremely quiet Cinquecento, 6th went to Damien Walsh, Senan O’Connor was in 7th in Class, Ivalo Linder took 8th place on Saturday followed closely by Ben Deithrick in the Nolan Seicento in 9th.
Been the only Class 2 car on Saturday Brian Ledwith scored a maximum 10 points in the Championship and 1st in Class.
Vincent Deery raced his Nova home in 1st place just ahead of Adrian Mulholland in the RS2000. Timothy Duggan grabbed 3rd in Class with over a second to spare on Paul McDermott in 4th. John Kennedy in the Dax Rush took 5th place in Class on Saturday.
Alex Wilsdon (Jnr) is proving one to watch in the future as he grabbed 1st in Class on Saturday. Eanna Carroll was showing all competitors how quick he was able to remove his gearbox, fix it and replace it must of Saturday but still had time to race and grab 2nd in Class. Eddie Lyons brought the Escort Cosworth home in 3rd just ahead of Martin Flanagan in 4th. Ben O’Brien’s smoky 330 Diesel grabbed 5th just ahead of Michael Melia’s Nisworth.
One of the more popular classes of the weekend with 10 entries on Saturday and it was Matt Clarke’s V8 TR7 that grabbed the Class win. Johnny Wilhare’s Mg Midget grabbed 2nd in Class, Detlef Heyer took the BMW 328 home in 3rd. John Farrell’s MK1 Escort came home in 4th, David Millar had a great day and drover the Jag XK140 home in 5th. Pj Wilhare double drove the Mg Midget home in 6th ahead of Sean Murray’s Lotus Elan in 7th, which was attacked by a trailer during the day and suffered some battle scars. In 8th place was Mick O’Shea in the MGB GT. Ken McAvoy brought the Riley 1214 TT Sprite home in 9th position just ahead of Edmund Cassidy in the Iona Special in 10th.
A lonely John Whitley was the only competitor in Class 5 on Saturday and gained 1st in Class and maximum Championship points for the day, which proved vital for the end of season standings
Robert Bell is used to attacking bales and Donegal was no different for him but he still managed to grab 1st in Class on Saturday. John Mahon was just under a second behind in 2nd spot. John Donnelly grabbed 3rd in his Reynard F2000. Thomas Corey grabbed 4th just ahead of his double driving partner Catherine Donnelly in 5th spot.
Simon McKinley will try convincing you that his Lant is unbreakable but managed 2 breakdowns over the weekend, 1st a drive and then a suspension strut. In true Hillclimb fashion both were fixed before the next timed run. Simon grabbed 1st in Class and of course 1st overall. Rory Stephens “never spins” but of course when a camera is put on his car he spun and then tried to blame the camera. Still after all his antics Rory grabbed 2nd in Class and 2nd Overall. Seamus Morris made a welcome return to the Hillclimb Scene and grabbed 3rd in Class, Dermot Nolan grabbed 4th in Class 7 even though he broke yet another car in the process. Deirdre McKinley was less than a second behind Nolan in 5th position. Thomas O’Rafferty was having a great days racing until mechanical issues forced his to retire but still grabbed 6th in Class.
Wexfords finest took up the 3 places in Class 8 with David Byrne grabbing the bragging rights in 1st position, William Cecil took 2nd in Class and closely following them was Peter O’Brien in 3rd.
Jack Deegan powered his Peugeot 205 GTI to Class 9 win on Saturday ahead of Ernest Stewart in the Hillman Hunter.
The sun was shinning on Sunday morning and all talk should have been about the days racing that was to come but a lot of talk around the pits were about the 3 cross dressers that appeared during dinner the night before. You never know what you will get at a Hillclimb prize giving. Eanna Carroll was hoping the gearbox demons were gone, Dermot Nolan was hoping for a car in just 1 piece and Simon McKinley wanted no more breakages as his unbreakable car couldn’t handle it or could his bank balance.
It was a repeat performance from Saturday of the placing’s in Class 1 on Sunday, Gar Cunningham (dressed in normal clothing) grabbed the Class win, Fr Joe Courtney grabbed 2nd spot and guaranteed his spot on the Luxemburg team for the Masters in October. Neil “angryman” Bradbury grabbed 3rd in Class, Gary “upsidedown” Egan in 4th, Aidan “quietman” Courtney in 5th, Damien Walsh in 6th, Senan O’Connor in 7th, Ivalo Linder in 8th and finally Ben Deithrick in 9th in Class.
Brian Ledwith was yet again the sole competitor in the Class and came away from the weekend with a massive 20 Championship points and 1 in Class on both days. With Brian turning up to Donegal meant he leap frogged into first in Class in the Championship.
Vincent Deery took Class honors in Class 3a on Sunday, 2nd in Class went to Adrian Mulholland in his RS2000, John Kennedy took 3rd in Class and Timothy Duggan grabbed 4th in the Seat Ibiza. Paul Dorrity took 5th in Class in his Peugeot 205
Alex Wilsdon Jnr powered his Radical PR6 home in first place ahead of Eanna Carroll’s Turbo Civic. Eddie Lyons grabbed 3rd in Class in his Escort. Martin Flanagan in the E30 M3 came home in 4th but only .5 of a second behind Lyons. Ben O’Brien cleared out the smoky engine to grab 5th in Class and Michael Melia’s Nisworth grabbed 6th.
It was Matt Clarke who grabbed his 2nd win on consecutive days in Class 4 ahead of Detlef Heyer in 2nd spot. David Millar grabbed 3rd and Ken McAvoy 4th. John Farrell powered his Mk 1 home in 5th position. Mick O’Shea was next in 6th in the MGB GT. Sean Murray in the Lotus Elan +2 was in 7th just ahead of Edmund Cassidy in 8th place.
John Whitley was the only driver flying the Class 5 flag on Sunday but gain maximum Championship points to grab 2nd in Class in the Championship.
Rupert Bell avoided the bales after the first timed run and did enough to grab the Class win on Sunday ahead of 2nd placed John Mahon in his DJ ASD1. John Donnelly grabbed 3rd spot ahead of Thomas Corey in 4th. Catherine Donnelly powered her way to 5th in Class.
Simon McKinley kept the demons at bay and managed to go the whole day with out breaking something and grabbed 1st in Class and 1st Overall. Rory Stephens was knocking at McKinley’s door all-day and finished in 2nd place just 1.3 seconds behind. Seamus Morris only managed 1 run on Sunday before mechanical errors and still grabbed 3rd in Class. Deirdre McKinley came home in 4th spot ahead of Dermot Nolan in 5th in the Reynard who was only able to manage 2 timed runs before he retired his car.
Again it was an all Wexford affair in Class 8 on Sunday and a repeat of the finishing order of Saturday where David Byrne grabbed 1st, William Cecil was 2nd and Peter O’Brien came home in 3rd.
Jack Deegan came out on top and proved to his double driver for the day Thomas O’Rafferty that he cannot be beaten in his own car. Rafferty came 2nd in Class just a mere 0.76 of a second behind Deegan.
Thanks, Good Luck & Prize Giving
That’s ends our Championship for another year. A massive thanks again to Danny, Mick and Sam in Donegal who worked tirelessly over the last number of weeks to make this Hillclimb a massive success. With 5 timed runs on Saturday and an unheard of 6 timed runs on Sunday meant over the 2 days close to 900 cars ran up Knockalla Hill. This in itself is a massive feat and a benchmark for other clubs to watch.
I would like to also take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to Simon McKinley, Deirdre McKinley, Rory Stephens, Eanna Carroll, Joe Courtney and Robert Dwane who will head to Eschdorf, Luxemburg in the coming weeks to take part in the FIA Hillclimb Masters 2014. Safe trip and keep the Irish flag flying.
Lastly please remember our Annual End of Season Hillclimb Prize Giving / Dinner will be held on Saturday 1st November in the Seven Oaks Hotel Carlow. Tickets came be got from Paul Doyle (086-0262015) or Ken Treacy (087 6854587) Please order them from us asap so we can get an idea on number attending. If you need to order a room please contact the Hotel directly on 059 9131308 and mention Hillclimb Prize Giving for a reduced rate. Hope to see you all there.
That all from me for another year! Many thanks,
Paul Doyle PRO/Registrar