Tipperary LC & MCC, Dungarvan Hillclimbs, 9th & 10th July 2005 Press Release

With the golden sunshine which spread across the country over the weekend a certain amount of festival fever must have overcome us all. There was Oxygen for the music lovers and the Tall Ships for the boaties. But for motorsport fans Dungarvan in county Waterford was the place to be. The sun was splitting the stones and even boiling a few radiators here and there. In the paddock of the latest Dunlop Hillclimb Rounds, run by the Tipperary Motor Club, cars were pushed out from under marquis’ and gazebos to make space for deck chairs and barbeques. With many competitors opting to stay overnight in the paddock using converted trucks and motor homes, a real carnival atmosphere was created. For the spectators who made use of the simple access, to the upper hairpin, from the N25, they were treated to some fantastic action. The drivers inspired by the grippy conditions were fully committed and displayed some incredible cornering speeds. With the intense pace the heat may have gotten to some heads as there were also some spectacular overshoots and spins. But in tribute to the club and the safety officers their was no harm done.

Once again Michael Roche was electric in his Turbo Charged Delta Single Seater, winning on both days and surely making this years championship his own. There was a fascinating battle for second place between two Clare men John McNamara and returning ‘98 and ‘99 hillclimb champion Donal Griffin. John was sharing his V8 Cougar with Donal, who has been tinkering away at some kind of secret weapon, in an aircraft hangar up in Shannon recently. Rumour has it that this project is nearly ready and his choice of machinery to double drive could give an indication of the kind of power plant he’ll be using. McNamara was quickest of the two on Saturday but Griffins time on Sundays final run was just 8 hundreths off Saturdays winning time and good enough for second on day two.

Another old canine having his day, was Mad Dog Peter McKinley in the Lant Rt4 that’s been winning all the Libre races at Mondello. He was delighted to finish ahead of his son, Mad Pup, Simon McKinley, whose been doing the driving in Mondello. Simon was using their awesome Warrior engined Mk2 escort which has been by far the fastest Saloon Car in this years Hillclimb Championship. Peter is another man whose been tinkering away behind closed doors over the last few months and its likely that he’s been developing some oldschool grunt in opposition to the high revving bike engined cars which set the pace last year. A welcome addition to the leading pack was roundy-roundy man Dan Daly in his F3000 Reynard. Hopefully we’ll see him again as the wail of his 3.9 V6 Holden engine is very reminiscent of Formula 1. The circuit driver didn’t seem too put off by the solid walls and trees along the route, he was last seen drifting out of the upper hairpin.

The contrast between the competitiveness of drivers and the uniquely laid back atmosphere of the hillclimbers behind the scenes was never more apparent than on Sunday. Their was semi-naked Mini Driving from Sundays class 1 winner Stefan Walsh who stripped to the waste while driving the return road. Kevin Flanagan won that class on Saturday. After a night in his motor home the winner of Class 6 both days arrived into the paddock in his boxer shorts on Sunday Morning. You can work out who that was from the results sheet.

Not only were bodies on display over the weekend but there was also some glistening bodywork. The immaculately prepared cars of the father and son Doherty Team finished highly overall. Both with 1600 Vauxhall engined rear wheel drive cars. James won Class 2 in his Starlet while son Alan won Class 9 in his Modified Corsa. Cormac O’Brien in his golden yellow Ray Single Seater won class 5a both days and Peter Dwyer finished seventh overall, winning class 5b each day. Peter Bogan was back in his Zakspeed Escort to win class 3a over the weekend.

As well as the regular hillclimb field there was also a strong influx of rally drivers to the Dungarvan Hill. Tommy Kiely in his Escort was the fastest of these 10th on Saturday and 11th on Sunday and winner of class 9a. Lloyd Hutchinson was spectacular in his little mini. On Saturdays Run2 he took the long left of the Sweep on two wheels with the tail hanging right out. Regular Junior rally driver Seamus O’Grady came out and took the two wins in class 8.

Helen O’Grady from Wexford was the fastest lady over the weekend sharing a Civic with Tommy Murphy. In the historic class Brian Corbett made some great sounds in a Porche 911 winning on Scratch both days and on Handicap on Saturday. Sean Enright in a Mk1 Escort won the historics on handicap on Sunday. The weather and the location made it a classic weekend, we look forward to the next couple of rounds over the bank holiday weekend in August run by the Limerick Motor Club. Last year they had an excellent barbeque at the Woodlands Hotel. So, party on!

Senan O’Connor