The forthcoming June Bank Holiday weekend sees rounds 3 and 4 of the Naylor Engineering Irish Hillclimb & Sprint Championship 2015 taking place in Co Carlow.With a 5 week layoff since the Clare / Galway events, our drivers are ready and rearing to go.
We will be without our good friend, fellow competitor and current Irish Hillclimb and Sprint Champion Simon McKinley. His absence devastates us. However, knowing Simon as I did, I feel that he would want us to compete at the highest level that we can, and enjoy ourselves. We will do our best !
Saturday’s venue (round 3 of the championship) sees us back at “The Moat”, Ardscull, on the Dublin side of Athy. It is a venue I have not competed at for quite some time and, in fact, was the location for my first ever Hillclimb/Sprint event. As I recall, it is fast off the start line with total commitment as far as a 90 right, followed by some fast flowing corners and an uphill sprint to the finish line. Interestingly, one of my favourite pieces on YouTube of the “Master McKinley” in his white number 25 Escort is on that piece of road. You see total commitment through the series of corners just after the 90 right. Once over the finish line there is the unusual comfort of a return road back to the pits.
On the Sunday we are back at Bagenalstown for a trip along the riverside. We have been known to start on a downhill section (not sure if this is the start this year), and into a 90 right; then full on along the very picturesque riverside to a chicane, another sprint that you can make up a bit of time on, followed by another chicane; and then flat out to a 90 right with a steep uphill twisty narrow section (that some may catch some air on!) to the finish. Once again we are afforded the luxury of a return road. One of the interesting things about this particular venue is that its very location, and access to it, mean that there are always good spectator numbers. That’s great if you are going well, but if you get it wrong, or out of shape, they will be very vocal in letting you know! All in good spirits of course.
We are aiming for a good turn-out for the event — the Carlow folk, in particular the rally people, always give good support. This year we have quite a few Carlow natives registered for the championship, and they will be out to impress. I also hear through the grapevine that former champion and local man Richard Kearney may come out for a run. That’ll keep some of us on our toes!
The new “Cento Challenge” class – a class pioneered by Simon Mc Kinley — could well be the biggest and most competitive class at the events with a broad mix of newcomers, mid-range and experienced (old like me) drivers, all competing for honours. At the last event there were 13 competitors in the class with under 1 second splitting the top 5 !
Competitors, please get your entry in as soon as possible. Spectators, we look forward to seeing and meeting you all at both the Saturday and Sunday events. Don’t be shy if you have any queries, or would just like to see into a car, or find out more information about cars, classes or hillclimbing in general. Just ask — we are a friendly bunch!
Very best of luck, and thanks in advance to the Carlow Car Club, in particular to the two COC’S, Richard Kay and Des Ryan, and their teams, especially the post marshals.
One last thing, folks: Registration for the Naylor Engineering Irish Hillclimb & Sprint Championship 2015 closes on Sunday May 31st. Please make sure to come and see me for registration.
Dermot Nolan