Joe Courtney (Reynard, defending Champion) and Sylvie Mullins (Gould, 2012 Champion) had an epic battle on Sunday at the Mondello Park Sprint, Rounds 11 & 12 of the Naylor Engineering Championship hosted by MEC. Mullins took the honours on Saturday and Sunday went right down to the wire. (Title image Sylvie Mullins, Gould, photo with thanks to CaoraDubha.com)
Joe Courtney, Reynard. Photo credit Caora Dubha
Run 5, Sunday, Mondello International Loop… As Mullins and Courtney line up at the start, crowds gather at the best spectating spot, from where you can see the start, mid section, finish and all important time clock. Mullins went first, with 600bhp his Gould roaring off the line. As always, he looked lightning quick, despite struggling with some mapping issues throughout Sunday. Next onto the start line is Courtney. With roughly half the horsepower of his rival, he was a man on a mission. The crowds were cheering both drivers on as Mullins passed by at the midpoint of his run. As Courtney came into view, looking super fast and smooth, the crowd were on their feet. The drivers disappear out the circuit again for their second lap. Next we see Sylvie approaching the finish line, all eyes dart to the time clock, which reads 85.19, the fastest time of the day so far… “Come on Joe” roar the underdog supporters… Joe rounds the last corner, flashing through the finish. Has he done it? All eyes go to the time clock once again. 85.18!!!!!!!!!!! Joe has won it by 100th of a second. What a memorable last run!
Sunday’s win gave Joe another valuable ’10 points’ in his Championship campaign. Michael Connolly is Joe’s competition for the Overall Championship win. Sylvie Mullins very generously invited Michael to double drive his Gould on Saturday, to keep Michael in contention for the Championship. He certainly did this, finishing 2nd Overall.
Michael Connolly, double driving Mullins Gould on Saturday, 2nd Overall.Photo credit Caora Dubha
So who is your money on? Michael would have to win both of the remaining rounds (obtain 2 more ‘perfect 10’s) to beat Joe Courtney. Joe’s new aero package and tyres are clearly working very well – he won’t be easily beaten. We also have to take into account the newly resurfaced Knockalla, which will likely see new records set. Of course, these two might not have the top of the time sheets all to themselves, as Sylvie Mullins may compete to defend his Hill Record.
The story will reach it’s conclusion on 3/4th September at Knockalla Hillclimb, Donegal. Join us there!
Final Times from Saturday HERE
Final Times from Sunday’s big battle HERE
With many thanks to CaoraDubha.com for sharing their images with us.