Round 5 Carlow Day 1
5 miles North East of Kilkenny City was the setting for the 5th Round of the Irish Hillclimb Championship in the Village of Johnswell. With over 20 of the regular Hillclimbers after taking to the high seas to compete in the French equivalent St. Goueno Hill Climb on the same weekend the Carlow Car Club had hard work on their hands to get a full field of competitors entered to make this event worthwhile and they didn’t disappoint. Day 1 had a field of 56 Drivers who were willing and able to tackle the 1.15km course which began just south of Johnswell Village and ran in the direction of Kilkenny City. A tight and twisty section of road but also had open straights and tight 90 degree bends to challenge even the more seasoned drivers.
1st in Class was the cheerful Nigel Bryson Hi with a respectable time of 48.01. Carlow Car Clubs recently elected Chairman Seamus Hobbs was 2nd with a time of 49.27 and following him was 3rd placed William White with a best time of 52.85. A close 4th was Damien Walsh in his Cinquecento with a time of 54.53.
Noel O’Brien took Class 2a honours with just 0.26 of a second to spare in front of 2nd place Fergal Bowes with a time of 48.52
9th overall and 1st in Class was Jim Doherty in the impeccable turned out Toyota Starlet. 2nd place went to Brian Ledwith and coming home in 3rd place was Kevin Lyons in his shiny red Box shaped Civic and 4th place in class was John Bradley with a time of 56.99
Finally getting his Minibusa to sing the right note Ian Quinn took Class honours on Saturday and 7th overall with a time of 43.47 but had to wait till his final run to claim the trophy. Battling hard all day against Quinn was 2nd placed Peter Boggan who also had his fastest run on round 3 but had to settle for 2nd with a time of 44.42. Richard Kearney was only able to manage 47.68 but this was enough for 3rd and John Whitley had to settle for 4th in class with a time of 52.18
Eddie Lyons was on flying form all day and took Class honours with a time of 46.69 but right behind him in their immaculately prepared BMW’S was Billy Coogan (2nd) and Martin Flanagan (3rd). Jim Butlers V6 Clio took 4th spot and behind Jim was John Murphy in 5th with a time of 55.69
John Farrell came out on top of this very competitive class with a blistering time of 47.88. 2nd in class was Mullinavat native Seamus Anderson in a well known white Anglia and Wolfgang Schnittger took 3rd place in Class 4. Colin Grant, Kieran White, Tony Canny, Detlef Heyer, Edmund Cassidy and Nick Bennett took up the remaining places.
With just 2 competitors this round it was Class honours for Eugene French and just over 2 seconds behind him was 2nd place finisher Ger O’Connor with a time of 49.36
John Byrne led this Class from Run 1 and never took his foot of the accelerator and took 1st Overall and 1st in Class with an amazing time of 39.55. Robert Bell pushed Byrne all day but had to settle for 2nd in Class and 4th Overall. John Mahon came in 3rd in class and was pushing the car so hard on the last run the car gave up half way through. Emmet Dunne took 4th in Class
With Championship Leader McKinley away eating frogs legs and snails this class was left open for someone else to take maximum points away from the day and it was Carlow man David Cullen who stepped up but he was pushed all the way by Hillclimb regular Dermot Nolan who as the weekend was progressing was getting faster and making his mark on the class. Thomas O’Rafferty managed only 2 runs on Saturday and his best time was 46.38
Trevor Hutton was victorious in this Class and followed closely by PJ Doyle, Paddy Cunningham, Eamonn Hutton & Ned Flavahan respectively
A time of 50.61 was enough for Gary Hade to take Class honours but he was pushed hard all day by William Cecil whose best time was 51.81. 3rd in Class went to Peter O’Brien who was followed closely home by Fiona Cullen-Driver.
1st in Class and 8th overall was another Carlow man Mark Cullen in the Darrian but hot on his wheels was Wexfords finest Tommy Murphy with a fastest time of 46.53. Mullingar man Georgie Bell came 3rd in Class and following him was Shane Hade in 4th
Fun is never in a straight line, these were the exact words going through Trevor Culbert’s mind as he raced to Class victory in his always sideways Escort on Saturday. Alan Doherty took up second place with a time of 46.95. 3rd and 4th place was the terrible duo known to regulars as Podge & Rodge or to everyone else as Jack Deegan (3rd) and Pat Murphy (4th) and the only thing that separated them was 0.06 of a second. Taking 5th place in Class was Patsy Carberry who managed a fast time of 50.41
Round 6 Carlow Day 2
Day 2 and the Championship rolled back into Bagenalstown and down by the river Barrow where it has been on previous years. This course which is liked by competitors and spectators alike as it gives lots of access to view the machines while racing parallel to the River.
Nigel Bryson made it top of the class 2 days in a row when he claimed class victory on Sunday but he had to work that little harder as Carlow’s Seamus Hobbs (2nd) and last year’s champion Elaine O’Reilly (1st) pushed him hard all day. William White took 5th and just behind him was Damien Walsh with a time of 54.68
Again just 2 competitors in this Class and this time it was Fergal Bowes who took the honours but Noel O’Brien was on his bumper all day and a mere 0.19 of a second separated them at the end of the days racing.
Championship Class leader Jim Doherty led the way on Day 2 with a fantastic time of 41.67, 2nd place went to John Bradley with a time of 49.97 but with just over 1 second behind him was 3rd placed Kevin Lyons who finished the day with his best time of 51.00.
Ian Quinn recorded yet another 1st in Class and 7th Overall on Sunday and has now closed the gap to just 3 points to Championship Leader Peter Boggan who came second on both days. 3rd place just like the previous day was Richard Kearney and Denise Ryan took 4th and pushed Hillclimb regular John Whitley out to 5th in Class.
Eddie Lyons again laid down the challenge to his Class competitors and set a blistering time of 40.34 and 10th overall. 2nd place this time went to Jim Butler with a time of 42.99, 3rd & 4th was fought out between Billy Coogan and Martin Flanagan with just 0.82 separating them.
A highly contested class and an eye opener for the young spectators to see these vintage machines racing as they were many years ago. John Farrell took the win in front of Wolfgang Schnittger, Liam Ruth, Noel Kavanagh, Detlef Heyer, Ken McEvoy, Barry Baker and Edmund Cassidy respectively.
A repeat of the previous day in this Class with Eugene French taking the win 44.75 followed closely by Gerard O’Connor 46.61
1st in Class went to John Byrne who only managed 1 timed run on Day 2. 2nd on the day went to Adrian McCallion with a time of 37.35 and 3rd placed Robert Bell had 6th overall and a time of 39.10. Taking up the remaining places in Class 6 were Little Johnny Mahon, Edwin Rynhart and Emmet Dunne.
1st overall and 1st in Class went to Carlow’s David Cullen who didn’t put a foot wrong all day. Dermot Nolan was just a mere 0.15 of a second behind him after leading the Class for most of the day but Cullen’s blistering last run claimed victory. 3rd place went to Brendan Keane 38.51 who was ahead of Thomas O’Rafferty with a time of 42.75
Paddy Cunningham took class honours this time followed home by Eamonn Hutton, PJ Doyle, Thomas Abbey, Ashling Power and Billy Power respectively.
Gary Hade made it 2 out of 2 with another Class win on Sunday and 2nd and 3rd place was also the same with William Cecil (2nd) and Peter O’Brien (3rd). Owen Gibbons took 4th followed by Fiona Cullen-Driver and David Keane.
The 3rd member of the Cullen clan Mark Cullen took the class win on Sunday but only managed 1 timed run and recorded a time of 41.04, Jason Ryan was just in behind him with a difference of 0.21. Pat Lee came in 3rd, Tommy Murphy 4th and Pat Ryan, Shane Hade and Mark Hayden took the remaining spots in the Class
Francis Kelly took 1st place in Class 9a with a time of 44.85 on Sunday followed closely home by Liam O’Neill in 2nd with a time of 45.05
Locals favourite Trevor Culbert took the win on Day 2 in Class 9b and also came in 8th overall with a time of 39.90, Seamus Doyle took 2nd place with a time of 42.24. Podge & Rodge took 3rd and 4th followed by Patsy Carberry and Kieran Curran.
2 great days racing with special thanks to Ken Treacy and his team at Carlow Car Club. Cars are back in the garages now and are been prepared for Carrick on Suir (Round 7 & 8) on July 20th & 21st.
Congrats also goes to all the competitors who flew the flag high in France and even managed to bring back trophies, hangovers and some stories following their fantastic week at the St Goueno Hillclimb Masters Event.
Article By: Paul Doyle PRO