Brian O’Mahony was top Skibbereen and District Car Club driver at Autocross
By Martin Walsh
ALTHOUGH both Ballyvourney’s James Lucey (Subaru Special) and Clonakilty’s Paul O’Driscoll (Semog) took top three places in the Skibbereen and District Car Club’s Loose Surface Autocross at Derryleigh near Leap, they had to yield to the pace of Laois driver and event winner Anthony Culleton (Semog Buggy). Lucey finished 1.29 seconds behind Culleton and 3.14 seconds in front of O’Driscoll.
A superb entry of 44 crews, the biggest entry of a Skibbereen-club promoted autocross in recent times, enjoyed a good day’s racing and the track with its improvements was praised by all competitors.
The event was a counting round of the 5 Star Catering National Loose Surface Autocross Championship and Culleton demonstrated his position as series leader with an impressive opening run time of two minutes and 1.73 seconds. Ennis man Declan O’Regan (Semog) was 7.51 seconds in arrears in second spot followed by O’Driscoll, who was 0.62 seconds further behind, however that time included a five-second penalty for clouting a chicane.
On the second run and with the track a little slippery after some light rain, Culleton failed to improve on his first time as he clipped a chicane and incurred the mandatory five-second penalty. However, none of the 43 other competitors beat his original time and he remained in control.
The event was also a counter towards the Barrett Transport/Daly Motor Services Munster Autocross Championship with pre-event leader, Wexford’s Paul Furlong (Semog), eighth on the opening run, moving into second with a time of two minutes and 7.8 seconds. O’Regan, who also improved on his opening run time to record a time of two minutes 8.4 seconds, dropped to third.
O’Driscoll had a disastrous run and was over 15 seconds slower than his previous time. Elsewhere both Rosscarbery’s Brian O’Mahony (Semog) and Lucey showed better form with O’Mahony slotting into fourth followed by O’Driscoll (first run time) and Lucey.
Amazingly, Culleton’s third run time was well off the pace but his first run performance proved to be enough. Lucey had a great final run that promoted him to second while O’Driscoll also punched in his personal best on the same run to secure third. Furlong came home fourth and increased his lead in the Munster series to 12 points. Vicarstown’s Dermot O’Riordan (Semog) in fifth was followed by O’Regan and O’Mahony.
Cullenagh’s Timmy McCarthy was the only other local top ten finisher. He sampled the four-wheel Semog Buggy for the first time and his respective times were 2m 20.18s; 2m 13.41s and 2m 09.84s, and he won the ‘Best Newcomer’ award.
The saloon category was won by Killarney’s Michael O’Donoghue (Subaru). Drimoleague’s Garry Lordan (Honda Civic) was fourth in the category with Ballyvourney’s Garry Kelleher (Opel Corsa) sixth.
Brian O’Mahony (Semog Buggy) was the top Skibbereen and District Car Club driver while class winners included James Lucey (Subaru Special), Paul O’Driscoll (Semog Buggy), Leap duo Diarmuid French (Suzuki Special) and Ciarán French (Toyota Corolla) and Dunmanway’s Ger O’Connell (Toyota Celica). Bantry-born Catherine Shinnors (nee Levis) won the Ladies award.