Report from the Carrick on Suir Motorclub Hillclimbs, Rounds 5 and 6 of the Connaught Competition Engines Hillclimb and Sprint Championship 2011 for the Frank Keane Trophy. By Senan O’Connor.

The Carrick on Suir Motor Club returned to the Championship as hosts of rounds 5 and 6 of the Connaught Competition Engines, Hillclimb and Sprint Championship 2011, for the Frank Keane Trophy. The club ran two venues close to Piltown, Co. Kilkenny. The Saturday Hillclimb at Templeorum featured two tight hairpins while the Sunday Hill at Owning was more a test of straight line speed with some natural kinks and a few chicanes added for safety. Simon McKinley was staggeringly quick setting the fastest time of the day after only two runs. Brendan Keane and Rory Stephens had a close battle to decide the runner up spot, Keane won out by just over two tenths of a second from Stephens. Brendan also claimed the award for 1st in class 7 sponsored by Crecora Mills. Rory won 3B sponsored by A + E Motorsport.

John Mahon has finally found the beat in his DJ, with the injector problems he’s been suffering sorted. He was fourth overall and 1st in the class 6. Ray Cunningham was fifth overall and winner of class 1 sponsored by the Daly family in memory of Terence. Elaine O’Reilly claimed second having sorted the teething problems she experienced last time in her freshly tuned Mini. Elaine was just over a tenth of a second ahead of Nigel Bryson in the increasingly popular class. Stephen O’Shea had to change the gearbox on his Starlet on the night before the event, his perseverance was rewarded with fourth in the category. The remaining four drivers in the class finished within two seconds of each other. Tony Banville in a Swift. Seamus Hobbs in a Corsa, Marty Kinsella also in the Swift and Trish Daly making the switch to a Mini.

James Doherty was the fastest in Class 2 which was sponsored by the hosting club. He was also ninth overall. Tommy Murphy headed the front wheel drive challenge in the class in his Civic ahead of last years class champion John Bradley. Owen Cardiff double drove another Corsa with Shay Delaney, Owen was best by just 13 hundredths of a second. Brendan Quinn was just over a second behind them in his Corolla with Tom Kennelly chasing in his Punto, a bit further back.

Ian Quinn had his rear engined Mini back together after going off in Clare. He won class 3a, sponsored by Carnew Tyre Centre and was also 8th overall. Peter Bogan was back in the Zakspeed Escort having skipped the Co. Clare events while John Whitley continues the legend of the Golf Gti in third place.

Trevor Cullen continues the G3 story in true style, second in 3B and sixth overall. Jim Butler keeps the history books open for the Renault 5 Maxi, third in the class. The MGB of Mick O’Shea was the winner of class 4 on Handicap. John Farrell took second in his Mk1 Escort and Sean Murray was third in his Lotus Elan in the class sponsored by the Motor Enthusiast Club.

Colm Dunphy won class 5 sponsored by the Wexford Motorclub. Brid Harpur in the formula Vee was second. John Byrne was second in class 6 and seventh overall, narrowly beating Edwin Rynhart who was third. Deirdre Delaney was next and fastest woman on the day.  It was great to see Dermot Nolan back in action after his big off at the Galway event. He got the last overall point in the championship and the award for second in class 7.

Simon Reid in a Civic just edged out Patrick Haughey by six tenths of a second in class 8 sponsored by the host of the next championship rounds, the Carlow Car Club. Georgie Bell wasn’t far off them in his Civic, followed by the spectacular Escort sharing duo of Niall Fitzpatrick and John Murphy. Alan Doherty’s potent rear wheel drive Corsa finished ahead of Seamus Anderson’s Escort in rally class 9. Paschal O’Shea put in a great performance in his Escort mk2. Pierce Hendrick won class 10 in his rapid Corsa. John Hacket was just over a second behind him in his Mini and Gemma Kerley was third in her Corsa winning the Novice Award.

Results for Sunday were still provisional at the time of publishing this. Sundays hill saw the first appearance of the 1100cc Cento Challenge cars and they mixed well with the other up to 1400cc class 1 cars. John Courtney did remarkably well finishing seventh of the twelve cars that recorded times in that class. Joe Courtney was the second of these just six tenths back and ninth in class. Aidan Courtney probably showed a little too much respect for the borrowed car which incidently was driven home afterwards. He was a further 3 seconds back. Ray Cunningham continued to show the ultimate potential of a class 1 car, winner of the group and eighth overall this time.

Nigel Bryson upheld Fiat honour second in class 1 catching Elaine O’Reilly who was also surpassed by Stephen O’ Shea on the Sunday hill. William Power who works Saturdays was quick to get in the groove on Sunday. Tony Banville was sixth in the class. Trish Daly split the Cento’s fulfilling a lifelong ambition to race a mini. Marty Kinsella completed the top ten in the class and Billy Power made it a dozen finishers after Willie Fogarty rolled his Autobianchi on Sunday’s first run.

Tommy Murphy was delighted to finish just a hairs breadth ahead of James Doherty for class 2 honours on the second day of the weekend. Kieran Curran won the battle of the Corsa’s, third in class, ahead of John Bradley’s older version and Owen Cardiff sharing a similar car with Shay Delaney. Brendan Quinn was seventh in the Corolla.

Ian Quinns Mini held off two Escorts embroiled in their own battle. Peter Bogan got the better of David James in the end, by a mere six hundredths of a second. John Whitley followed them in the Golf. Trevor Cullen was fourth overall and won class 3B. Jim Butler was second this time in the Renault and Rory Stephens was third in his Radical, but some results may be subject to change. Mick O’Shea was again fastest on Handicap in class 4 from John Farrell who was fastest on scratch. Third was Sean Murray in the rare Lotus Elan + 2S.

Eugene French was back out in his Vee after being absent from the Clare/Galway events. Brid Harpur was second in her similar car. John Mahon had to play second fiddle to John Byrne on Sunday. Edwin Rynhart was third with Deirdre Delaney fourth and fastest of the women again. Patrick Haughey reasserted himself at the top of class 8. Simon Reid was second this time in the Civic. Richard Cleary was third in a Corsa followed very closely by Eddie Lyons’ Integra. Paschal O’Shea was fifth in the Mk2 Escort. Richard Moore was half a second ahead of Georgie Bell‘s Honda Civic. John Murphy and Niall Fitzpatrick could hardly be closer sharing the Mk2 Escort just five hundredths of a second was the margin in John’s favour. Ger O’Brien in his Renault Clio failed to score a time but looked quick.

Alan Doherty was pushed hard in class 8 by Seamus O’Grady in the front wheel drive Escort and Joe Lacey in one of the newer versions of  the Honda Civic, headed home Seamus Anderson’s mk2 Escort. John Hacket hadn’t far to travel to win class 10 in his Mini and Gemma Kerley was third of the women and second in the class in her Corsa.

Dermot Nolan was fifth overall and again got the award for 2nd in class 7. Brendan Keane is now the strongest challenger to McKinley in the championship and keeping the younger Dubliner honest. Keane claimed second place again by almost a second and a half from John Byrne. Simon was in top form however, his precision between the cones was remarkable as was his five second plus winning margin. It’s time for some sprints now in Carlow, in just three weeks time.