4x4 Off Road Championship 1999/2000.

Round 1, Ardriston, Tullow, Co. Carlow.
County Kildare Motor Club, 19th September 1999.

Report by Diarmaid Drennan.

"Laois" Man finishes "Hire" than the Rest!!!

The 1999/ 2000 season of the Irish 4x4 Off Road Championship got underway in Tullow Co. Carlow on Sunday 19th Sept. With the rain bucketing down and the terrain very wet it looked set to be a good day’s trialing. Even though it tried, the rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the drivers. There was an air of anticipation around the site as drivers watched and waited to see what their fellow competitors would turn up in for this years Championship.

I`ve won!! I`ve won!!

Alan & Stuart in their
new Suzuki

First on site and with a change of vehicle were Stuart Wallace and Alan Gettings with a Suzuki SJ410 in place of last years Land Rover. Novices James and Niall O’Meara were there early also obviously keen to get going after their first taste at the end of last years Championship.

‘The Beast’ also arrived early looking the same as last year but with one major modification which the lads hoped would be a major improvement. Over the summer the lads had their welder out and had welded the back diff!!

Last years Champion, Karl McCarthy arrived with his Jeep CJ7 and it was obvious he’d not been idle during the summer layoff. Most notable were two large stainless steel exhausts mounted on the rear of the American Monster.

Stephen Mahon arrived in a Pajero V6 3000 , another ex Land Rover driver. Newcomers Michael and Richard Dee arrived with their very clean SJ410, so clean in fact that they drove it to the site! Keith McCoy arrived with Stephen Mahon’s Land Rover, as Keith’s new Landcruiser isn’t ready yet.

After the driver’s briefing and draws for numbers 31 competitors took to the tests. Shane McMeel and Ivor Mc Clintock had laid out a very good mix of terrain in the spills of rain on Saturday.

Test one proved to be tricky but still resulted in a good amount of zeros, test two was also tricky and ended with a great climb up the side of a sand bank. In the morning this was a failing point for nearly everyone except Karl Mc Carthy who did make it up the bank but only to find out he had hit a gate on the way up, and of course he ended up on his side at the top. Stephen and Orla Mahon were going well in the Pajero with Orla getting the hang of the trials very quickly.

Up Up And Away!!!

The O`Meara boys have fun

Tests 3 and 4 were equally tricky and again a great mix of terrain. It never ceases to amaze me how Shane finds different ways of setting tests in this site. Stuart Wallace and Alan Gettings were busy in the paddock at the start of these tests trying to sort out a fuel problem while other drivers were doing damage on the tests. Stephen Mahon stopped half way through test 3 with a broken back axle and newcomers Tom Condon and Seamus O’ Grady were out with a broken front driveshaft. Other novices James and Niall O’Meara were going well in the Land Rover as were Michael and Richard Dee in the Suzuki.

At the lunchtime break there were stories of what went wrong and what went right. Edwin Pratt complained of memory loss Ivor said he just didn’t like left turns, Ivor was on a score of 1 while Edwin was on 8. Karl Mc Carthy was on a score of 3 despite that roll on test 2 and Malcom Cooper was also on 3.

Brothers Damien and Jonathan Henegan were having a very good run with Damien on 3 points and Jonathan on 6. Veteran 4x4 driver Trevor Lyons was having one of those days with being caught out with a 10 on test 1 and rolling halfway through test 4.

Lunch or breakfast as it was for some was finished quickly due to the amount of spectators and the willingness of the drivers to entertain. Test 7 saw a repeat performance of Jonathan Henegan’s achievements in Cork last year when he succeeded in doing what everyone else failed to do by getting a zero. Stuart and Alan in the Suzuki having fixed their fuel problems broke a driveshaft and retired. Stephen Mahon having broken the back axle took full penalties for the morning and returned to his old Land Rover for the afternoon with Keith McCoy.

McCoy`s new Toyota!!!


Ivor Clegg took the honours in Class 5 with Edwin (I must remember to turn left) Pratt in second and Paul O’Byrne in the beautiful Eagle in third.

Novices Niall and James O’Meara were eager to get driving in the morning and it showed with them taking 1st and 2nd respectively in class 4 with Michael Dee taking 3rd. Last years Champion Karl Mc Carthy took class3 with Jerry Desmond in 2nd and John Franklin third. Malcom Cooper beat co-driver Mervin Colton to take Class 2 in their familiar looking 90. A new addition to it this year is the ‘roll back on the wheels’ rollcage which Malcom fitted for Mervins benefit (after the Stradbally Demo I can’t blame him, the chap would try to turn anything over!!! Hi Merv!!!)

Gordon Cantwell had a great drive to take 3rd in Class 2. Brian Berkley in his ‘go anywhere endup anyway’ Suzuki kept it together to win Class 1 followed home by Trevor Lyons and Larry Wickham in 3rd.

And so to the overall results for the First Round. In third place and once again proving that he can boldly go where no other driver can was Jonathan Hennegan. Renowned in Cork for being thanked by Jonathan as his mechanic and proving that he can beat little brother Damien Hennegan toke 2nd overall. And in the beautiful ‘Hummer Look’ Suzuki, Diarmaid Drennan took 1st overall.

A great days trialing was enjoyed by all and thanks to Ivor McClintock and Shane for setting the tests and working all a day Sunday also, to the marshals who came along and to the competitors who having retired signed on to marshal to give others enjoyment even though they were out.

To the site owner generous as always , Motorsport Ireland Steward Pat Fox on the day and last but not least Laura McMeel for sorting the mound of paperwork.

Last year`s Champion
Karl McCarthy

Next round Oct.10th in Cashel. See you there.



Production Overall
1st Diarmuid Drennan 3
2nd Damien Heneghan 6
3rd Jonathan Heneghan 13
Class 1 Suzuki
1st Brian Berkery 15
2nd Trevor Lyons 21
3rd Larry Wickham 27
Class 2 Landrover,
1st Malcolm Cooper 13
2nd Mervyn Colton 17
3rd Gordon Cantwell 22
Class 3 Daihatsu
1st Karl McCarthy 12
2nd Jerry Desmond 14
3rd John Franklin 16
Class 4 Novice
1st Niall O`Meara 39
2nd James O`Meara 45
3rd Michael Dee 63
Class 5 Specials
1st Ivor Clegg 3
2nd Edwin Pratt 15
3rd Paul O`Byrne 17

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


An image BACK