by Brendan Harpur

It’s the time of the year again when the covers are pulled off car’s and people get to shake the dust off cars and drivers alike in preparation for the start of the Hillclimb and Sprint season.

This year saw a change from the Carlow Car Club who normally run their Sprint in Tynagh Kart track in Portuma to move to Mondello Park.

The morning brought a damp start to Mondello which made the practice run very slippy. It seemed too slippy for John (Con) Byrne who spun off the track, but re-joined to finish his run. On the first time run it was business as usual for Sylvie Mullins in his Gould GR37 setting the fastest time by nearly 4 seconds from Simon McKinley now in Dermot Nolan’s Reynard after a misfire developed in his MK2 escort.

Sylvie set the pace for the day getting quicker and quicker finishing the day over 10 seconds clear of the field to take a clear win from Simon McKinley in second and Peter Dwyer in his Dallara F3 in 3rd.

Class 1 was won by Tom Sheehan in his Nissan Micra followed by Jack Lenihan in his Fiat Uno and Bob Rowe taking 3rd in his Fiat Uno.
Noel O Brien took the Class 2 win in his Peugeot 205 followed closely by Colm Mullin in his Fiesta with William Cecil in his Peugeot 205 taking 3rd.
Class 3a was won by Seamus Hobbs in his Mini from Vincent Deery in his Nova with Norman Fawcett a close 3rd in his Honda.
Rory (Granddad) Stephens took a convincing win in class 3B and 7th  overall in his Radical Turbo with Eddie Power in his Toyota Corolla 2nd and Noel Greene grabbing 3rd in his Evo9, with only 2 entries in Class 4 Wolfgang Schnittger in his Midget took the win over Jack Kingston in his Lotus Elan.

It was a lonely day in Class 5 with only 1 entry in the class; Cillian Connole took the class win in his Ford Whimhurst. Class 6 had 3 entries with Joe Courtney and Adrian McCallon back out after missing last year. Joe Courtney putting his 1400 OMS Hornet to good use by taking the class win with Adrian taking 2nd in his Normandale with John (Con) Byrne bringing up the rear in his 1000cc Jedi. Michael Roche took the Class 7 win in his Dallara from Dermot Nolan in his Reynard before McKinley broke it on him, with Martin Tracey taking a good 3rd in his Evo. Class 9 was won by Pat Delaney in his Sunbeam followed closely by Stephan Delaney in a Sunbeam with Con Mulcahy in his Nova taking 3rd. John Lynch took the win in his Citroen C2 in Class 9a with Thomas Rafferty taking 2nd and Thomas Lynch grabbing 3rd in his Honda Civic. Brendan Donnelly had a lonely day in Class 10 and took the win in his Escort MK2. Class 10a was won by Torsan Smyth in his MK2 with Graham Kelly taking 2nd in another MK2 and Michael Walsh taking 3rd in another MK2.

With the Wexford Hillclimb the 1st round of the Hillclimb and Sprint championship taking place on the 31st of March and the 1st of April only around the corner the dust should be well shook off cars and drivers alike and with McKinley looking for his 3rd championships in a row is there anyone to stop him we may wait and see what Wexford brings.