Derek Deane returned to winning ways on Sunday, taking victory on Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s third Loose Surface Autocross event of the year. Despite having to curtail his final run because of overheating problems, the Williamstown driver was the class of the field, piloting his familiar JB Buggy to victory by just over a second from the similar car of Ian Barrett from Maynooth.
Heavy rain showers interspersed with sunny spells made conditions difficult for competitors and officials alike at Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s regular autocross venue at Harrington’s Quarry near Swinford. With drivers trying to second-guess when the next shower might arrive before committing to their run, it was reigning Mayo Autocross champion and winner of the previous two events Peter McCullagh who was fastest out of the blocks on the opening test. The Maynooth driver set a benchmark time of 4:23.98, three and a half seconds faster than his nearest challengers in his Mitsubishi Evo 9. Derek Deane was second, while hot on his heels was his brother Mervyn, double-driving the same car. Ian Barrett was fourth at this stage, ahead of son and father pairing Martin and Michael Tynan from Clones in their shared Evo 5.
Run 2, and Derek Deane responded in a most emphatic manner to the challenge laid down by Peter McCullagh, taking almost eleven seconds off his previous time to storm to the top of the leaderboard. With McCullagh shaving only a tenth of a second from his opening run, it allowed Ian Barrett to also move ahead, the Maynooth man also improving his previous benchmark by eleven seconds. Martin Tynan moved ahead of Mervyn Deane into fourth after the latter was penalized for hitting a chicane, with Micheal Tynan ahead of the impressive Stephen Dixon from Tyrone, who was pedaling his little class 2 Vauxhall Corsa with indecent haste in the slippery conditions.
Having opened up a lead of over five and a half seconds, all eyes were on the leading trio to see if Derek Deane could be overtaken on the final run. First up was McCullagh, but mechanical troubles brought his run to a premature halt, ending his hopes of adding to his three successive victories on Mayo Autocross events. Ian Barrett was next up, but despite taking four and a half seconds from his previous best, stopping the clocks on 4:17.96 wasn’t quite enough. It meant that Derek Deane’s second run time of 4:16.72 was sufficient to claim the overall win, a fact he was without doubt highly relieved about when an overheating engine forced the early curtailment of his final effort.
Behind the top three of Derek Deane, Barrett and McCullagh, Martin Tynan retained his fourth place from run 2, with Mervyn Deane and Michael Tynan also holding station in fifth and sixth. Another Buggy driver, Gerard Doherty from Banbridge, claimed seventh on his final run ahead of what must rate as the drive of the day by Stephen Dixon. The top ten was rounded out by the class 4 Escort of Williamstown’s Walter Burke, and the Buggy of Joe McHale from Maynooth.
Category winners included Glen Irwin from Castlederg once again claiming class 1 in his Vauxhall Nova ahead of Nigel Mills from Trillick, with Foxford’s Alan Moran upholding local honours just 0.34 seconds further back in his Opel Kadett. Behind the dominant Stephen Dixon in class 2, the Honda Civic of Fermanagh’s Dominic Leonard was second, with Simon Hemphill from Castlederg third in his Vauxhall Nova.
Local competitors dominated class 3, with Matthew Murphy from Shrule overtaking the similar Toyota Corolla of Kilmaine’s Peter Conroy on the final run for the category win. Patsy Curran from Manorhamilton driving a Ford Escort was third.
Walter Burke was the class 4 winner, beating the Escort of Neil Harron from Enniskillen and the Focus of Ronan Campbell from Trillick. Peter McCullagh took the class 5 win ahead of Martin and Michael Tynan, with Ian Barrett, Mervyn Deane and Gerald Doherty taking the prizes in the class 6 Buggy category. The Mayo & District Motorsport Club award went to Noel Murphy, the young Shrule driver putting in another strong performance in his Honda Civic
Finally a mention for David Jordan from Westport. An experienced rally official, including a spell as Clerk of the Course for Mayo Autocross events, he got a different insight into the sport on Sunday, making his competitive motorsport debut behind the wheel of a class 2 Toyota Corolla. Steadily improving times on each of his three runs suggest he may be back for more….