The PartsforCars Irish Rallycross Championship shared the stage with the hugely popular Drift Games series last weekend as part of Mondello Park’s Retro Mania weekend.
As well as the usual Rallycross classes, the event heralded the highly anticipated launch of the Retro Rallycross Ireland class, with many cars and drivers returning to Mondello Park for the first time in years. Double European Champion Derek Tohill is currently leading the British Rallycross Championship and, using the Irish rounds to hone the setup of his PartsforCars Fiesta Supercar, headed the timesheets all weekend.
The Junior class, for drivers aged 12-16 is always fiercely contested and true to form, they provided spectacular battles. Brandon McCaughan, Christopher Grimes Jnr, Jack Byrne and Michael Ryan all took heat wins, but McCaughan took the honours in the final courtesy of an inspired switchback move at the first corner. He was followed home by Byrne and Farrell.
Much interest centred on the new Retro Rallyclass class and, on their debut weekend, the drivers and cars didn’t fail to entertain. Peter Faulkner is a former Rallycross and Saloon Racing star and he was tempted out of retirement by the offer of a drive-in Coly Loughlin‘s iconic ex John Farrell box-arched Mark 2 Escort. Seamus Hobbs joined the Escort on the grid in his lightweight Metro, the pairing evoking memories of days gone by at the Kildare circuit as they battled furiously in the heats.
Upfront though, former Irish Rallycross Champion Barry Mc Ardle, having dusted off his trusty Peugeot 205, was setting the pace, despite the best efforts of local man Pat Ryan, who has been racing in the UK in recent times. Come the final, the pair provided what many judged to be the battle of the day, as they went at it hammer and tongs. McArdle took the win, with Ryan being awarded the Diamondbrite Drive of The day for his spectacular efforts to wrest the lead away!
The Buggys were back in action too and after hectic action in all of the heats, Russell Woods drove superbly to take the honours in the final. Patricia Denning took another Rallycar class win at the wheel of her Mistubishi Evo 9, from Thomas O Rafferty‘s giant-killing Nova.
Reigning Fiesta Zetec Champion David Maher was unbeaten all weekend and took the class final from Denis McCrudden and Oisin Keane. Padraig Leeson (above) returned to the Kildare circuit after a long absence and was on top form, his Nova pipping Peter McGarry‘s Vauxhall VX220 in a thrilling Modified final. Willie Coyne was right there in third, too. Predictably, Tohill took Supercar honours and also dominated proceedings in the Superfinal, crossing the line well clear of Noel Greene’s AMF Mitsubishi Mirage. Peter McGarry was third driving superbly to pass Michael Morris‘ Subaru on the final lap.
The PartsforCars Irish Rallycross Championship returns to Mondello Park on October 19/20th.