Friday 19 January 2018

Third in Killarney

Super show from Howlett in Escort

Liam Howlett and Enda Kennedy scaled new heights at the Killarney Rally of the Lakes
Liam Howlett and Enda Kennedy scaled new heights at the Killarney Rally of the Lakes

Wexford driver, Liam Howlett, and co-driver Enda Kennedy finished an amazing third overall in the national category at the Killarney Rally Of The Lakes in their Ford Escort RS Mk2, behind Eugene Meegan in the BMW 1M and Jack Newman in the Ford Escort Mk2.

This was a result coming for a very long time. Well done guys.

The Wexford Motor Club Youth Academy was launched earlier this year to give children an introduction to motorsport, along with the opportunity to win a works drive with Italian race team, CRG, at the end of the season.

Workshops are held monthly and 50 children are currently enrolled in the academy. The aim has been to give the children the knowledge and practical experience to facilitate their entry into the world of motorsport - rallying, karting, sprints and rallycross among others.

The children have come a long way since the first workshop back in February, and have learnt a variety of new things including changing engine parts, working the pits stops, marshalling, working as part of a team, and of course, there's been lots of fun along the way.

There was also a visit arranged recently to the White River Park karting racing circuit in Louth, during the weekend of round two of the Irish Karting Championship.

Things are progressing well and Youth Academy members have sat the Motorsport Ireland-endorsed youth driver theory test at R-One Karting in Wexford, with members achieving a 100% pass rate.

The day was also an opportunity for the children to sit in a competitive kart for the first time and put into practice what they had learnt about race lines and track position. They started out in the Junior classes and moved up to the Cadets with sub-19 second laps racked up in both classes throughout the day - the future of motorsport in Wexford is in good hands.

Wexford Motor Club would like to thank Roman and his team in R-One Karting who have gone above and beyond to help the children get the best karting experience.

Interviews have been taking place with members and this will be the last chance to score points before the top ten will go back to White River Park, Co. Louth, Ireland's top karting venue, to take part in kart testing.

Wexford Motor Club would like to thank all the volunteers who have given their time and energy to the Youth Academy in its inaugural year and helped make this worthwhile venture a success.

To keep updated on the Youth Academy as the children progress to the final stages, check out the Wexford Motor Club Facebook page.

The club hosted rounds three and four of the Naylor Engineering Irish Hillclimb and Sprint Championship recently. The event took place near the village of Clohamon.

It was the first time Wexford Motor Club had ran the event in this location since 2006, so the 1.2 mile hill was a new challenge to many competitors.

More than 60 competitors tackled the course over the two days with competitors getting five runs up the course each day.

The location was convenient for many because 27 of the competitors were stopping off in Wexford on their way to catch a ferry to France early the following week to compete at the Saint Goueno Hillclimb.

Sylvie Mullins, winner of rounds one and two in Clare, and the championship leader going into rounds three and four, didn't make the trip to the south-east so it was left to the second- and third-placed drivers, Michael Connolly and Joe Courtney, to fight it out for the win in Wexford.

On Saturday, Courtney took the lead on his second run in the Reynard. Connolly didn't complete the run, but on the third run he responded with what would be the fastest run of the weekend.

In the interest of keeping the cars in the best shape for France, and knowing that they would be competing again on the Sunday, Courtney pulled out after three runs, as did Rory Stephens in the Radical SR8.

Connolly's winning margin over Courtney was an impressive 1.63 seconds on Saturday, while Stephens fell into third with a time that was over two seconds slower than Courtney.

The three battled it out again on Sunday, with the drivers finding more pace. Connolly led the pack, taking his second win of the season ahead of Courtney and Stephens.

Peter McKinley came first in the 3B Class in the Ford Escort. The strongest threat to his position was Jim Doherty in the class-winning Starlet, who was just barely over a second behind by Sunday evening.

Peter Boggan was the strongest Escort challenger on Saturday, and found himself in great competition with David James in the Escort on Sunday. David came out on top by a little over two-tenths of a second and was the winner of Class 15 overall.

Paul O'Connell made his debut in the BMW E30 V10 over the weekend. There were a few teething problems but he acknowledged that it was a bit of a learning curve for him coming from single seaters to a big, heavy car like the BMW. He ended up in third in the 3B Class on Saturday but failed to finish on Sunday.

It was only Emmet Dunne's second weekend with the Dallara, and he finished fourth overall on Saturday, just ahead of John Mahon in the DJ. The DJ came first in Class 6 for the day, but Alex Wilson Jnr. returned to win that class on Sunday. John Con Byrne was fifth in the Jedi on Sunday.

Brendan Keane was eighth overall on Saturday in the Westfield and finished eleventh overall on Sunday, with second place in Class 3B. John Donnelly took eighth place in the Reynard and fourth in Class 6.

John Farrell won Class 9 both days in the Escort Mk1. Tomás O'Rourke was second in Class 9 on the Saturday. On the second day, Robert Swaine took that position.

Anthony Redmond was the fastest in Class 13 in his Honda Civic on Saturday, while Simon Reid was the fastest on Sunday.

Paul Doyle won Class 14 in his Mk2 Escort, though he had been trading places with Seamus Doyle all weekend in his similar car.

Thomas Walsh was the winner of Class 12 both days in the Peugeot 205 GTI, and Ian Roche took first in Class 10 in an Opel Corsa.

John Whitley saw continued success in Class 5, taking first place in the Swift Formula Ford ahead of Gerard O'Connor in the Sheane.

Seamus Anderson was fastest both days in Class 4 in the Ford Anglia, ahead of Mick O'Shea in the MGB and P.J. Gannon in the Mini.

David Byrne in a Vauxhall Nova won Class 8 on both days but had close competition from Tom Gardiner in the Honda Civic.

There was a battle in Class 2 between the near identical Peugeot 205s of Gary Graham and Tony Banville. Gary came out ahead on Saturday, but Tony finished ahead of him on Sunday.

William Power won Class 1A in the Mini on Saturday but a differential problem stopped him from continuing to challenge Deirdre McKinley on Sunday.

Gary Egan was dominant again in Class 1B and he finished in first place, ahead of Neil Bradbury and Danny Herlihy.

The weekend was deemed a great success, with competitors praising the course and the organising of the event by Wexford Motor Club.

Wexford People

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