Irish Hillclimbs announce plans for 2016
The Naylor Engineering Hillclimb & Sprint Championship will take place over 14 thrill packed rounds in 8 superb venues nationwide. It all looks good for the 2016 Hillclimb & Sprint season!
At a launch event and photoshoot in the RDS in Dublin, details were announced of the 2016 Naylor Engineering Championship. The highlight of the Launch was the announcement of the search for the 4 strong team that will represent Ireland at the FIA International Hillclimb Masters in October in Ecce Homo, Czech Republic. Last year’s Championship runner-up Rory Stephens, explained how this biannual event is the pinnacle of this discipline. Irish competitors can qualify for this event by achieving high rankings in their class in this year’s Irish Championship. Ireland attained 6th Overall in the 2014 event so the expectations are understandably high for Ireland’s 2016 performance. Competitors from Rallying and Racing are joining regular Hillclimbers this year as they endeavour to qualify and make the journey to the Czech Republic.
To show the large crowd how Hillclimbing looks in practise, the Championship organisers also launched a previously unseen video, produced by Vantage Point Video, showing the speed discipline in both on-board and roadside action footage. The video can be viewed on HERE and it’s guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping!
Ex-Champion Paul O’Connell will be campaigning his new 5 litre BMW E30 M3 V10. This will be an beast awesome to watch on the hills. Paul will have his hands full harnessing 530bhp through the back wheels, with one eye on the Simon McKinley Fastest Saloon Trophy. How will last year’s winner, Eanna Carroll, respond to this challenge in his 450bhp Turbo Civic?
John Naylor’s Naylor Engineering company continue to partner the popular championship. As sponsor for 4th year running, he explained his passion for the sport and said that Hillclimbing will always be close to his heart and the association, through his Naylor Engineering firm, is one he is very proud of.
On behalf of the competitors, Rory Stephens spoke about the camaraderie enjoyed by the Hillclimb community as a whole and the concept of a “weekend away” for families at each event. Rory also paid tribute to multiple Hillclimb Champion, the late Simon McKinley, who he said Irish Hillclimbing will always remember. Simon was the instigator of the Cento Challenge, which gained hugely in popularity in 2015.
Speaking about the Cento class, Billy White and Gary Egan explained that a car can be ready for competition for around €1,500- making Hillclimbing one of the most accessible disciplines for newcomers. This Cento class also welcomes experienced drivers in search of a challenge in this ultra-competitive class, where only tenths of a second separate many positions. 2015 Overall Champion Joe Courtney spoke about how enjoyable the sport is, but also how it is hugely competitive on the hills.
In front of the large crowd, Motorsport Ireland President Martin McKenna explained the importance of the discipline and the alluded to the fact that it travels all around the country during the championship season.
After a Championship Warm-Up event in Wexford on April 9th, the 2016 Naylor Engineering Hillclimb & Sprint Championship kicks off at the famous “Corkscrew” hill in Ballyvaughan in county Clare on April 23/24. The Championship will be contested over 14 rounds (7 double-header weekends).