The Naul Hillclimb, as Rory Stephens so eloquently put it during his speech outside Killian’s Pub last Saturday night, is Simon and Deirdre’s hill. Simon McKinley pushed hard to have the hill run in North County Dublin and in 2010 he got his wish. Everyone got the Simon push and/or offers of help. Even roundy roundy racers like me were coerced into cars and lined up at the startline. (I must state here that “roundy roundy” is a name used by hillclimbers and rallymen to describe circuit racers, and is nothing to do with my current slightly rotund form!) I remember Simon asking me on Sunday evening- “Now! What do you think of hillclimbing?” I replied that I loved most of the things about it- the paddock banter, the slagging, the endless wind ups and the craic over a pint in Killians afterwards. When he asked which bit I didn’t like, I said “Well, driving up the hill!” Typically, Simon grinned, threw his eyes to heaven in despair and walked off!
With the Naul Speed Weekend running two rounds of the hillclimb series over the weekend, this means that the hill had been run 10 times since its inception. Incredibly, but I suppose unsurprisingly, the only winner before last weekend was Simon McKinley. The hillclimb community, probably one of the most closely knit in Irish Motorsport have conducted themselves with great dignity in the wake of the shocking incident that befell them earlier this year and aptly, the Naul event showcased this perfectly. On the Saturday night, at a gathering outside Killian’s, after Rory’s aforementioned speech, the competitors released balloons into the air. The three colours symbolised the colours of Simon’s three cars- the yellow Cinq, the red Lant and of course the famous white Escort. It was also wonderful to see Deirdre competing in her new Nova and Peter “Mad Dog” McKinley at the wheel of said Escort. Both drove superbly, with Deirdre keeping up McKinley tradition at the Naul by winning her class and Peter well up the overall order. Simon would have approved…
Joe Courtney won the event overall on both days in his beautifully presented and driven ex-Dermot Nolan F3 Reynard. Perhaps fittingly, however, he didn’t manage to eclipse Simon’s hill record. As Rory said, it’s Simon and Deirdre’s hill……
Main Image from Fran Hollywood/Autosportpics.com
MOTOR ENTHUSIASTS’ CLUB HILLCLIMB AT NAUL, CO MEATH (ROUND 6 OF NAYLOR
ENGINEERING NATIONAL HILLCLIMB/SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP) (DAY 1):
1 Joe Courtney (Reynard 913-Peugeot) 39.00s,
2 Seamus Morris (Pilbeam MP62-Vauxhall) 41.28s,
3 Rory Stephens (Radical SR8 Hayabusa) 41.93s,
4 Robert Bell (Crossle 30F-Hayabusa) 42.83s,
5 Eanna Carroll (Civic Turbo) 42.86s,
6 Martin Tracey (Lancer Evo) 43.59s,
7 Bob Dwane (Falcon Mini) 43.86s,
8 John Mahon (DJ-ADS1 Hayabusa) 44.62s,
9 Peter Bogan (Escort) 44.92s,
10 Brendan Keane (Westfield SE1) 45.43s.
Class winners: Deirdre McKinley (Nova) 51.66s, Gary Egan (Seicento) 52.15s,
Gary Graham (Peugeot 205) 49.19s, Bob Dwane, Eanna Carroll, Barry Baker
(Buckler) 36.04s (nett), John Whitley (Laser FF1600) 51.54s, Robert Bell,
Seamus Morris, Georgie Bell (Civic) 46.81s, Tomas O’Rourke (Civic) 47.17s.
MOTOR ENTHUSIASTS’ CLUB HILLCLIMB AT NAUL, CO MEATH (ROUND 7 OF NAYLOR
ENGINEERING NATIONAL HILLCLIMB/SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP) (DAY 2):
1 Joe Courtney (Reynard 913-Peugeot) 38.38s,
2 Seamus Morris (Pilbeam MP62-Vauxhall) 39.45s,
3 Rory Stephens (Radical SR8 Hayabusa) 40.54s,
4 Alex Wilsdon Jnr (Radical PR6) 41.05s,
5 Robert Bell (Crossle 30F-Hayabusa) 41.41s,
6 Richard McGimpsey (Busa Turbo) 41.46s,
7 Eanna Carroll (Civic Turbo) 42.29s,
8 Martin Tracey (Lancer Evo) 42.37s,
9 John Mahon (DJ-ADS1 Hayabusa) 42.78s,
10 Bob Dwane (Falcon Mini) 43.94s.
Class winners: Deirdre McKinley (Nova) 50.95s, Gary Egan (Seicento) 52.09s,
Gary Graham (Peugeot 205) 48.80s, Bob Dwane, Eanna Carroll, Tony Canny
(Riley TT Sprite) 34.69s (nett), Eugene French (Sheane VW) 47.04s, Alex
Wilsdon Jnr, Seamus Morris, Georgie Bell (Civic) 45.98s, Tomas O’Rourke
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