4x4 Off Road Championship

Round 4, Rockgrove, Coachford, Co. Cork
Cork Motor Club, 22nd November 1998.

Report by Robin Lyons

Round four of the 1998/1999 4x4 Championship was held by the Cork Motor Club Ltd., on Sunday, November 22nd at Coachford. Co. Cork on the Off Road training centre at Rockgrove by kind permission of Tony and Mima O'Dwyer.

Another great day had by all. As usual, competitors came from all parts of the country. A bit disappointing not to see some of our Northern friends in the sport so far this season. As we say down this side, we were "haunted" with the weather on the day - the sun all but shone after a wet week, made for ideal ground conditions, dry overhead and plenty of water and muck on the ground.

Rockgrove - a beautiful, old stately farm set in the heart of prime agricultural country, rich with mature trees, rivers, hills and valleys. An abundance of cover for wild life with hills to climb, rivers to cross, rocks to contend with, trees to avoid and a fairy fort or two to go around, put marshals and gates here and there and you have a wonderful 4x 4 venue.

Four wheel drive jeeps of all makes and models, some not recognisable, arriving on board trucks, cars with transporters, jeeps with transporters, some been driven and even some been towed, arriving from early morning. As they say, "Big convoys move slowly" so proceedings started a bit late.

A large entry of 39 competitors on the day, a great turn out. Eight challenging and varying types of tests to separate the men from the boys and the big from the small, and maybe "Black" is not so beautiful after all. Beet fields to be avoided, stubble fields to be crossed, long roadways between tests,gave a safari type look to the event. As usual, there are the Great Contenders at every 4 x 4 outing.

Kildare man Trevor Lyons came 1st overall with a grand total of 1 penalty point. Beautiful driving.2nd overall came Pat Kiley - whose demise was greatly exaggerated - who came out of retirement to show us how it should be done in his Suzuki with 4 penalty points. 3rd overall Damian Heneghan, 9 penalty points, in his ever reliable Suzuki and class driving.

1st in Class 1 - David Hanlon, on 10 penalty points. David must be the most exciting and entertaining driver on the circuit. It seems he has to leave some part of his left-hand drive Suzuki at every venue. I am told that Rockgrove is its final outing. A new Suzuki in '99.
Dave`s last outing in his lefthand drive
1st in Class 2 - Mervyn Colton, on 16 penalties. Down from the Kill, Co. Kildare, a great days driving once again in his Land Rover.

1st in Class 3 - Vincent Dorney, on 11 penalty points. In his Daihatsu 4 x 4 jeep, what more can we say about the "King of 4 x 4", our reigning All Ireland Champion only what a driver and such consistency. Though his attempt at uprooting a Christmas tree from Rockgrove to his home in Courtbrack came to no avail!!!
Vincent "Lumberjack" Dorney!!!

1st in Class 4 - Tadgh O' Sullivan, on 25 penalties. This is a man who came out of no where driving Tom Twomey's Suzuki.

Class 5, a special class. Three men in a class of their own. One man who could be said is in a league of his own is Edmond Pratt with a magnificent 0 faults in his souped up, home built magnificent machine. I do not know how else to describe it but anyone familiar with it will recognise what I`m talking about.
First vehicle to ever record a Zero Score ably driven by Ed Pratt
Ivor Clegg's fine driving in the same vehicle with a result of 3 came third in the class.The third man in the same class, flying like an eagle in hot pursuit of E. Pratt was Paul O' Byrne with 2. Paul, I think, is a better flyer than test builder.

What a performance by Damien Heneghan's young brother, Jonathan,who came second in Class 1. It is a sport comprised of endurance, skill, consistency and ,maybe, a bit of luck, and at every event, you will have the regular few that are always there in the ranking and, as usual, they came to the fore at Rockgrove

Such as Karl McCarthy turning over Black Beauty but still got a score of 20. Malcolm Cooper, 21. An event is never the same if Jack Geyer is not there,in at 13. Another appearance by Brian Daly. Class 2. 21. John Keohane, in his Daihatsu, at 22, was nipping at Karl's heels. In Class 4, a lovely driving performance by Michael O' Meara, at 26, and Diarmuid Drinnan, at 29. Not to forget all the rest of the young and old pretenders. Budding Kings of 4 x 4 such as the McCoys and the Lombards from Dublin, Brian Berkery & John Franklin from Limerick, Mick O' Shea and Gerry Desmond from Cork. An endless list of possibilities, maybe even another Lyons!!

One of the shortest days of the year. Dark closing in fast, many competitors has yet to finish their four tests. Competitors who have finished dig in and assist the marshals.The last test done with lights and some even with no lights. But what a climax.

All competitors who started the day finished. It was a non-damaging course. All summed it, it was a good days sport.

The "Men from the Boys" and the "Big from the Small" still remain to be separated but, I think, Rockgrove has once again proved that "Power" is not all important.

Gerry Murphy and his team of organisers and marshals have to be thanked for organising such a massive event. As usual, good to see Shane McMeel. His presence adds a degree of officialdom to the event and his dedication and professionalism is appreciated. By the way, I think there should be a supporter's prize.

A nice round up to the day at the Village Inn in Coachford. A good spread laid on by the proprietors - many thanks. A special thanks to the owners of Rockgrove - Tony and Mima O'Dwyer - for letting us over their lands - much appreciated by all. Our sincere condolences to them both for their loss during the year and for whom a minutes silence was observed earlier in the day. Looking forward to 4 x 4ing in 1999.


Production Overall:
Place Driver Points

1st Trevor Lyons 1
2nd Pat Kiely 4
3rd Damien Heneghan 9

Class 1
1st David Hanlon 10
2nd Brian Berkery 12
3rd Jonathan Heneghan 13

Class 2
1st Mervyn Colton 16
2nd Brian Daly 21
3rd Malcolm Cooper 21

Class 3
1st Vincent Dorney 11
2nd Karl McCarthy 20
3rd John Keohane 22

Class 4
(Novice drivers):
1st Tadhg O`Sullivan 25
2nd Michael O`Meara 26
3rd Diarmuid Drennan 29

Class 5
(Modified vehicles):
1st Edwin Pratt 0
2nd Paul O`Byrne 2
3rd Ivor Clegg 3

These pictures were created by Ivor Clegg Photographer to the sport!!!


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