Rain couldn’t put a damper on the Naylor Engineering sponsored Wexford Hillclimb last weekend in Castledockrell, Co Wexford. Under the shadows of Castledockrells Wind Turbines, COC for the Weekend Brendan Harpur picked a fantastic hill which had sweeping bends and sharp bends to test every driver.  It was great to see a lot of the usual suspects and some of them with new cars and fantastic to see a lot of new faces also
Practice run started dead on 11am and all drivers found the hill extremely slippy and struggled from the start to the finish. As the day progressed the hill got a little better and times improved with every run.

Class 1 on Saturday
Alan Watkins took the win in his mini followed closely by Hillclimb regular and class sponsor Trish Daly in 2nd. Seamus Hobbs took 3rd in his Nova and just .05 of a second behind him was last year’s Class 1 winner Elaine O’Reilly who was on a charge in her last run of the day but unfortunately got acquainted with a ditch just before the finish. Tonya Fortune and Aidan Courtney took the last 2 remaining spaces.

Class 2 on Saturday
With nobody to challenge him for the class win Hillclimb regular James Doherty with his impeccably turned out Toyota Starlet took the top spot in this class with a time of 40.87 and also took 7th overall.

Class 3A on Saturday
Top 3 places were separated by just 0.39 of a second. 1st in Class was Thomas Connelly in his Westfield, 2nd was Peter Boggan in his Escort who had a few problems during the practice run but clearly got to the bottom of them, 3rd was Michael Connelly who was double driving the Westfield. Finding the terrain very slippery on the day was Ian Quinn in his Minibusa who could only manage 4th in class and picking up the 5th spot was regular John Whitley, followed by Cyril McCabe and Brendan O’Mahoney

Class 3B on Saturday
1st in Class and 2nd Over all was youtube favourite Simon McKinley in his famous Connaught Powered White Escort and just under 3 seconds behind was Rory Stephens in his new SR8 carbon fibre Radical who was also finding the hill very slippery to get the rear tyres to stick. Just 0.4 seconds behind 2nd was Andrew Purcell in 3rd with his Mitsubishi Evo. Eddie Lyons was next followed by Jim Butler, Martin Flanagan, and Alex Wilsdon respectively.

Class 4 on Saturday
Mick O’Shea took class honours in his MGB GT followed by Detlef Heyer in his BMW and in 3rd was Sean Murray and the Lotus Coupe and just behind him was Edmund Cassidy and his Iona Special.

Class 5 on Saturday
With just 2 class 5 cars on the Hill Saturday it was Local Eugene French in his Formula Vee who’s first timed run was enough to take the class win and keep Gerard O’Connor in his Formula Shane in 2nd place who also couldn’t improve on his first timed run.

Class 6 on Saturday
Joe Courtney in his OMS blitzed the field in his class on Saturday and grabbed 1st place by over 5 seconds from his nearest rival and last year’s class winner John Byrne. A further second back and coming home 3rd in class was Robert Bell and his Crossle R1. In 4th place was another man who failed to get the power to the road was John Mahon who was closely followed by Emmet Dunne.

Class 7 on Saturday
Class 7 was won by Simon McKinley in his 2nd car of the weekend the extremely quick Lant. Simon brought 2 cars this weekend and took 2 class wins and 1st and 2nd overall on the day. Second in Class 7 was Paul O’Connell who made his return to hill climbing after taking a break for fatherhood last year. 3rd in Class and fastest lady on the Saturday was Deirdre McKinley in her purple Reynard with a time of 41.09. Taking up the remaining spots in the class was Thomas Rafferty, Shane Bell and Dermot Nolan.

Class 8 on Saturday
Back in action after a couple of years away and grabbing a class win was Tommy Murphy in his Honda Civic with a time of 43.64. Tommy’s time got him inside the top 20 over all times on the day but once the weather dries up and Tommy looses a few more cobwebs his times should improve. 2nd in Class 8 was David Roche in another Civic followed by John Purcell, Peter O’Brien and Alan Maloney with his Nova.

Sunday Day 2 Wexford Hillclimb 2013

Day 2 in Wexford took more casualties that a season of Eastenders. Last year’s Class 1 champion Elaine O’Reilly was unable to get the car fixed after an off on her last run on Saturday and retired for Sunday. Paul O’Connell’s clutch gave way in practice on Sunday so he had to retire and make the long journey back to Limerick. Michael Connolly in the Westfield crashed out and which left him and double driver Thomas as spectators. Simon McKinley got 1 timed run in the Lant until a release bearing went and left that car sidelined. Deirdre McKinley’s Reynard was left with just 1st and 4th gear after her runs but still managed 2nd in class and 6th overall on the day.

Class 1 on Sunday
Trish Daly’s Mini loved the dry weather Sunday had to offer and took back first place in Class 1 with a fantastic battle but had to wait till run 5 to put in her best performance of the day and pushed Seamus Hobbs in 2nd by 0.27 of a second. Alan Watkins only managed the 1 timed run and ended up in 3rd. Pj Doyle, Tonya Fortune, Aidan Courtney and Billy Power took the remaining place respectively

Class 2 on Sunday
James Doherty took Class honours again with a fantastic time of 38.97 and this also gave him 10th Overall.  2nd in Class 2 was Peter O’Brien in his Peugeot 205.

Class 3A on Sunday
With the Connolly Westfield out of action it left the Class open for Peter Boggan to grab the top spot. Just 0.28 of a second behind Boggans Escort was David James also in his Escort but behind him by a mere 3 hundreds of a second was Ian Quinn’s Minibusa. All top 3 drivers put in their best runs of the day in Run 5.  4th Place went to Ciaran Cloke, 5th was Cyril McCabe. John Whitley and Brendan O’Mahoney finished off the places.

Class 3B on Sunday
Spectators favourite Simon McKinley’s Escort took Class honours yet again on Sunday but this time he was only 0.26 of a second ahead of Rory Stephens Radical SR8 who failed to get a good start off the line in 4 of the 5 runs by stalling. (Maybe his old age is getting to him). 3rd in Class was Eddie Lyons  in his Escort Cosworth followed very closely by Martin Flanagan’s BMW who were separated by 0.08 of a second. Extremely close racing in this class also. Jim Butler in his newly acquired Clio V6 took 5th and Paddy Murphy in the Impreza took 7th in Class.

Class 4 on Sunday
Class 4 was won on time by Colin Grant in a Ginetta G15, followed in 2nd by Saturday’s winner Mick O’Shea, then Detlef Heyer, Sean Murray and Edmund Cassidy.

Class 5 on Sunday
Wexford native Eugene French took class honours again on Sunday followed by Limerick man Gerard O’Connor in second in a repeat of Saturday’s results.

Class 6 on Sunday
Joe Courtney in his OMS took top spot in Class again on Sunday and this time also took 2nd overall on the day. John Byrne and his Jedi was back in 2nd and Robert Bell’s Crossle R1 back in 3rd. 4th place was the big man himself John Mahon followed by Emmet Dunne in 5th.

Class 7 on Sunday
Even though the release bearing went after his first run Simon McKinley in the Lant took first place with just 1 timed run under his belt and 1st overall for the second day running. Second in Class 7 went to Simons wife Deirdre who even after losing gears and ending up with just 1st and 4th gear in the car. 3rd in Class went to Dermot Nolan and his Reynard 913 and 4th was Thomas Rafferty in his beautifully prepared Fiesta 4×4.

Class 8 on Sunday
Tommy Murphy shook off more cobwebs on Sunday and grabbed his 2nd class win in as many days. His nearest rival was Liam O’Neill who was just over 5 seconds behind. Taking 3rd place was Alan Maloney in his Nova and William Cecil’s 205 took up 4th.

I think special thanks must go to Brendan Harpur and his team after finding a fantastic hill this year in Castledockrell and making the 2 days very enjoyable for all and surely putting themselves back into contention for the Dick Bailey Award for the best run Hillclimb event.

Next up is the Galway / Clare Hill climbs on 20th & 21st April and by this weekend’s retiree’s the 3 weeks is needed to get the cars back ready. Will Simon McKinley be able to take 2 overall wins in Sylvie Mullins back garden? Will Paul O’Connell be able to find his winning ways again? Only time will tell!!

Article by: Paul Doyle, Championship PRO