After our successful trip to Blyton for round 1 of the Btrda Rallycross Championship it was back home for the next round of the IRX championship, but on unfamiliar ground! A new rallycross track in Ireland??? An idea first mentioned by Broderick and Keith Kerrshaawe, brought to reality after a years hard work from Colin Dowling and the rallycross committee….Tynagh Galway, May 10th was the next step in the rebuilding of Irish Rallycross.
There was so much of an unknown about the event, would anyone turn up? Would the track be any good? Would the temporary lights work? Would the burgers from the burger van be edible???
The answer to all those questions was yes, what an event. There was a buzz from the Saturday afternoon right through to heading home soaked on Sunday evening. A quick look at the entry list and you knew this was going to be something special…. 2 time European Champion Derek Tohill, Tommy “T Bone” Graham, Dolan, Coyne, Kelly, O Rafferty….These boys don’t just come out for a Sunday drive!
The heats were wet….very wet, which played into the hands of some of the lesser powered front wheel drive car but kept the racing close. I was back in my trusty Stockhatch 205 and managed to qualify 3rd for in the ‘A’ final. After a good start. I lead into the first corner only to be overtaken by Paddy Bateman who along with Ciaran Murphy were putting in some quick times all day on the new track. Paddy went a bit wide on the second last lap and I managed to ‘squeeze’ up the inside and hold him off to take the win.
What a brilliant days racing, everyone loved the track, nobody had any complaints. The weekend was a credit to the owners and organisers, the start of something good….very good for Irish rallycross.
Next on the calender was a trip to Pembrey in Wales for rds 2 and 3 of the Btrda championship. We were flat out for 3 months putting the car together especially for this event and on the Monday before we took the car to Mondello for a quick run, disaster….oil everywhere, overheating, the list went on. On the way home, in bad form after all the work id put into it we discussed pulling the entry as there was no point dragging a broken car across the Irish sea. Thankfully though with the help of the lads we got the car sorted with a few hours to spare and headed for Rosslare.
I love Pembrey, the organisers, marshals and competitors are always full of chat and great craic, the track is fast, changes with every heat and for the last corner you definitely need a well vented race suit!! Saturday was a learning curve (I was there with 200 more hp than last year) and with rx you don’t get much time to plod around and get a feel for things…its straight in, no kissing! I managed to finish 5th which wasn’t bad but there was more there so bolted on a set of slicks, softened the car a bit and after a few words of encouragement from the lads I was ready for Sundays racing.
The track got bumpy and with the heat, threw up a lot of dust on the gravel sections but I was second quickest all day behind the insane Rwd Clio of Steve Cuzens, which put me sandwiched between him and a supercharged Mini Cooper on the front row of the ‘ A’ Final. Not a great start left me in 3rd in the 10 car field but managed to claw back second on the run down to turn 2. The Clio ahead…I could catch him on the gravel but with over 400hp and spitting flames at me, he was pulling away on the straights. He went wide on lap 3 and I got ahead of him and managed to hold him and the rest of the chasing pack behind to take the flag. It was one of those moments ill never forget, pulling into the paddock surrounded by all the lads who had helped me get the car right, it made all the hard work worth it.
Next up is the Irx/MSA double header in Mondello in 2 weeks (27th/28th June) I’m back in the Stockhatch for both days- but it seems a shame to leave the modified at home!?