TWO local co-drivers, Bandon’s Karl Atkinson and Macroom’s William Lynch, were the recipients of top awards at the Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Championship at the presentation ceremony hosted by the Munster Car Club in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island.
Atkinson partnered Monaghan’s Sam Moffett to overall victory in the six-round series while Lynch was co-driver to Donegal’s Kevin Eves as they won the modified category.
The awards ceremony marked the end of the four-year sponsorship term of Clonakilty Blackpudding, however, speaking at the ceremony, chief executive Colette Twomey stated that the company would like to stay involved with the Tarmac Championship in some form or another.
During the four years it’s been a phenomenal success for both parties. From a local perspective, the highlight was the inclusion of the West Cork Rally as a counting round. While Donagh Kelly has won all four events in Clonakilty during the sponsorship of the series, there have been four different tarmac champions – on-board four different makes of cars.
Atkinson is only the second Cork co-driver to win the overall award, in 2000 and 2002, Dromtarriffe’s James O’Brien partnered Armagh’s Andrew Nesbitt (Subaru WRC) to overall success.
For Macroom’s William Lynch it was a proud moment when he secured the co-driver’s title in the popular Modified category at the start of the Acesigns Cork “20” International Rally in his native Macroom. Interestingly, in previous seasons Lynch had co-driven for Ed Twomey.
Meanwhile, other local award winners included Kilcrohane driver Jer O’Donovan (third in ITRC2) and his Union Hall co-driver Derek Tobin (second in ITRC2) and Carrigaline’s Eric Calnan, third overall in the Junior category. Meanwhile, Darren McCarthy is to continue his role as clerk of the course for the Quality Hotel West Cork Rally, the 2018 event will take place on March 17/18 next.
Meanwhile, turbo failure 90 minutes from the end of the sixth and final round of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) in Portimao ended the LMGTE title hopes of Ballincollig’s Matt Griffin and his Spirit of Race team mates Aaron Scott and Duncan Cameron.
Griffin qualified on pole and gained an extra point for the team and within 30 minutes of the start of the four hour race they led the way and were on course for the title as their rivals were no higher than third.