McCullagh victorious on Mayo Autocross

Reigning Mayo Autocross champion Peter McCullagh carried on from where he finished 2011, with victory on Mayo and District Motorsport Club’s Loose Surface Autocross on Sunday. The Maynooth driver was the class of the field in his Mitsubishi Evo 9, recording a comfortable winning margin of over two seconds over his rivals after a fine final run over the challenging 4.6 kilometre circuit at Harrington’s Quarry, The Valley, Swinford.

Double winner in 2011, Williamstown driver Derek Deane upheld local club honours with second in his JB Buggy, while James Lannon from Boyle, another former winner, took the final podium place.

Mayo and District Motorsport Club attracted a strong field of 44 competitors for its opening autocross event of 2012, with some of the leading autocross and rally drivers in the country arriving to compete on what is increasingly regarded as one of the best autocross tracks anywhere. Among them was the first appearance of a state of the art World Rally Car in the hands of Tyrone’s Martin Cairns. He took a little time to acclimatise to the challenging Mayo track, but the potential of the Subaru WRC was plain for all to see.

Dry but blustery weather made for challenging conditions, with many drivers reporting a lack of grip on the opening run of three. McCullagh set the early pace, with Deane and Lannon in close contention, these three the class of the field. On the second run though, Deane held the advantage with a second in hand over the rest. It pointed towards an exciting conclusion, but while his rivals struggled to better their times on the final run the rain started to fall, McCullough managed to extract nearly four seconds from his previous best to reaffirm his dominance of recent Mayo Autocross events.

David Fallon from Galway was best of the rest in his Buggy, a collision with a chicane on his final run putting paid to his chances of challenging the leaders. Monaghan’s Martin Tynan took fifth in his Mitsubishi, with Gerard Farmer from Enniskillen next up in a similar car. Walter Burke from Williamstown was seventh and won class 4 in his Ford Escort, while regular Wexford visitor Joe Cullen was one place behind in his JB Buggy. Martin Cairns took ninth in the Subaru World Rally Car, with another JB Buggy, that of Ian Barrett from Maynooth, rounding out the top 10. Ciaran McCullagh, brother of the winning driver, put in a fine performance in his Vauxhall Nova to win class two - and take 11th overall in the process. Glen Irwin from Castlederg claimed class one honours, while Cavan’s Noel Lappin did the same in class three.

Reigning Mayo Autocross Young Driver Champion Alan Moran from Foxford was once again raising eyebrows with his committed driving in his underpowered Opel Astra. In what must be a strong contender for the Drive of the Day, he finished 21st overall, in the process beating no fewer than nine much more powerful and specialist four wheel drive and buggy machines. Round two of Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s Loose Autocross season takes place on June 10, 2012.

Higgins Storms to national rally win in Carlow

Kiltimagh’s John Higgins claimed his first overall national rally success on Sunday when he co-drove Cork’s Brian O’Mahony to victory on the Carlow Stages Rally, round four of the Dunlop National Rally Championship. The Subaru WRC pairing won by 14 seconds from the similar car of Thomas Fitzmaurice and Fionn Foley. The win puts the Cork/Mayo duo into a strong position to challenge for the 2012 Dunlop National Rally Championship title, with four rounds still to run.


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