Round 1 of the Irish Rallycross Championship kicked off on a very positive note this year. The announcement of a new sponsor in the form of Parts for Cars just a week before the first event was a fantastic boost on top of the greatly increased numbers. 67 cars made their way to the country Kildare venue to contest the 2016 National Championship and despite some early morning sleet, conditions remained mainly dry for the day although bitterly cold. There was good close racing through out the day in all the classes with the 14 Zetec Fiestas providing some of the best entertainment as well as the usual door to door action in the Modified and Stockhatch classes. After a lengthy delay between the heats and the finals due to a number of timing problems, the finals eventually got underway but with day light running out the organisers were under pressure to get all the finals run.
Derek Tohill dominated the time sheets for the day in his World RX spec Olsbergs Fiesta. It was no surprise to see him on pole for the Super car A Final which he won comfortably.
Again Tohill put the Parts for Cars backed Ford on pole for the super final and was the firm favourite to come away with the victory and the Championship lead but then disaster struck. The Dubliner stalled the car as the lights went out and was left sitting on the start line for over 10 secs. John Kelly seized the opportunity with a fantastic start and got his Sportchip.ie Evo to the first bend first. The Longford based driver got the head down from there and drove a superb and flawless race leading it from start to finish. Thomas O Rafferty chased him all the way but found it hard to get close enough to pass as Noel Greene piled the pressure on him from 3rd.
There was nothing between the 3 drivers for the whole race and they put on a fantastic show for the spectators. It was Kelly first day back for 2 years and couldn’t believe his luck as he took the chequered flag.
Tohill eventually made his way through the field and just pipped the current Champ, Willie Coyne, on the line for 4th. Pearse Browne came home in 6th, Lloyd Spendlove came 7th and Pat Ryan took the final spot in his Nova after retiring his new 4×4 Colt earlier in the day.
Willie Coyne was the quickest of the modifieds winning the A final with Lloyd Spendlove in 2nd and Pearse Browne in 3rd.
Derek Lenehan won the 16v class with a great launch off the line from the outside beating both John Ward and Eoin Murray to the first bend. Ward Finished 2nd and Murray was 3rd.
Dan Dowling was leading the 8v Final only to have it red flagged as Steve Jess rolled his 106 in RX3 and wrote it off. Dowling showed great composure and did it all again leading the race all the way. Damien Farrell was a close 2nd and Ciaran Murphy an even closer 3rd.
Dan McDonnell was the best of the fiestas which provided great entertainment all day in a very closely contested class. Dave Griffin and Kevin Doran made up the rest of the podium.
Morgan Quinn won the Junior A Final from debutant Shane Duggan with Ben Mullins having to bow out with mechanical issues.
All in all it was a great days racing and it was great to see the numbers coming back up again in Irish Rallycross.
Round 2 of the Parts for Cars Irish Rallycross Championship is on the 1st of May in Tynagh Co Galway and anyone looking for entry forms should contact Colin Dowling on firstname.lastname@example.org