Peter McCullagh is rapidly gaining a reputation as Master of Mayo Autocross. On Sunday the Maynooth driver extended his winning streak on Mayo and District Motorsport Club’s challenging circuit to three, with a dominant performance in his Mitsubishi Evo 9. On current form it will take a determined effort from his rivals to prevent back-to-back Mayo Autocross titles heading back to Kildare.
After the cold and blustery conditions experienced on last month’s opening round of Mayo Motorsport Club’s four round series held at Harrington’s Quarry near Swinford, more clement weather was the order of the day as a healthy field gathered to battle for overall and class honours on round two. With the top three finishers from round one of McCullagh, Derek Deane and James Lannon all back in action, a close contest was eagerly anticipated.
Deane was fastest out of the blocks, the Mayo and District Motorsport Club member from Williamstown setting a time over two seconds faster than McCullagh on the opening run in the screaming JB Buggy. Lionel Piercy from Nenagh and Ian Barrett from Maynooth in another brace of Buggys were next up, with Boyle man James Lannon making a relatively slow start, six seconds off the pace.
Run two, and both Deane and McCullagh slashed significant lumps from their previous times, with Deane continuing to hold an advantage of under one second – although McCullagh was penalised for hitting a chicane on this run. Piercy maintained third, albeit over seven seconds off the pace, with Lannon now up to fourth.
All to play for then on the third and final run, and Peter McCullagh had the bit firmly between his teeth as he shaved a further six seconds off his previous best. Whether Derek Deane could match him became a matter of speculation as the JB Buggy ran into mechanical trouble, failing to set a time. This allowed James Lannon into second, with Deane’s time from his second run good enough to claim the final podium position ahead of the Mitsubishis of Martin Tynan from Clones and Gerard Farmer from Enniskillen, Lionel Piercy failed to improve on his final run, dropping him down to sixth in the overall standings.
With Derek Deane and James Lannon claiming category wins in classes six and five respectively, David Dennison from Omagh took class four in his Vauxhall Astra. A late entry from local competitor Niall Morley proved profitable, the Knock man putting in a fine drive to win class three in a triple-driven Ford Escort.
Ciaran McCullagh, the brother of the overall winner, put in another giant killing performance in his class two Vauxhall Nova to not only take the category award, but finish just outside the top ten overall. Another familiar name topped class one, Glen Irwin from Castlederg beating the local duo of Foxford’s Stephen Doherty and Alan Moran, with Doherty holding the advantage on this occasion. Also putting in a fine drive was Achill’s Joe Healy, who claimed the Mayo Motor Club Award in his class 2 Honda Civic. Two events down, two wins for Peter McCullagh. Can anyone stop the Kildare man on the two remaining Mayo Autocross rounds of 2012?