4x4 Off Road Championship 2000/2001.

Round 1, Blessington, Co. Dublin.
County Kildare Motor Club, 24th September 2000.

Report by Diarmaid Drennan.

Red 90 finally gets a "COOPER" engine
..and a gearbox with more than one gear !!!!!!

Blessington County Wicklow was the venue for the first round of the 2000/01 season of the Irish 4x4 Off Road Championship. With the weather the previous few days having been wet the morning sun was a welcome sight. And speaking of sights the view from the top of the sandpit over the valley was well worth the climb. As per usual Shane and his helpers had laid out the four tests on Saturday by all accounts they had done a great job.


Green & Blue E.P.A.!!

There was the usual air of anticipation around as regular drivers watched to see what vehicles had been built over the summer months, and mind you this year a lot of people were busy. I guess there was a special offer on paint this summer as many of the vehicles were resprayed for this year and some people took more advantage of the offers than others opting for a number of colours . A couple of drivers opted for blue in their colour scheme……even if most of the blue seen was coming from the exhaust pipe.

Then there were those who just didn't bother with the look of things but opted for the performance end of things instead, lets face it the toast rack last year was enough !! But in fairness the 'wee 8' ran well in the red ninety and once again Malcolm showed Mervin how it should be done. The 'Beast' was back after it's European debut and now sporting a roof and gull wind doors looked the biz.

Having drawn the running order and introducing everyone to the new victims…….I mean drivers Shane got the show underway. The new paintwork was having a bad effect on some of the drivers with Brian Berkery putting his multicoloured Suzuki on it's side in the first test and then there was that other Suzuki that……..well enough said…….at one stage it looked like it was trying to live up to it's new nickname.

Spare for the DeLorean Anyone??

Nice paintjob THIS side!!!!

With everything well underway everyone was keeping an eye on Mervin and Malcolm in the 90. The crash bang and splutter of last year had been replaced with smooth and controlled negotiation of the sections. Not so for Richard who took a hard tumble in his Suzuki on the second test and looked like being out for the day. But in the true spirit of 4x4ing with a little help from his fellow drivers....and a hi-lift the body was pressed out enough for him to continue on. Last years champion Damien Heneghan was having a good run as was Steve Mahon in the Pajero. The Beasty boys were also going well even though the new points system which allowed them compete in the overall championship was giving them a high score.

By dinner time , which was about 3.00pm there were tales of joy and tales of woe with a couple if split tyres some dinged bodywork and even some scratched paint. But all in all everyone was having an good time. One noticeable thing was that no driver considered any part of the course dangerous or that it needed to be changed.

And so to the evening sections and once again the 90 was the one to watch. A change on one of the tests caught a lot of people out simply by the fact that they didn't see it. As expected when all was finished the 90 had come out on top in Malcolm Cooper's capable hands. Last years champion Damien Henegan Had a good solid drive to take second place and in what has to be the sweetest running 4x4 out there Steve Mahon took third in the V6 pajero.

Congratulations to all the novices who all did so well on their first day out some were driving on their own, some were double driving and some just wished they were driving on their own ( sorry Mick !!).

Forget the paint Mind the Body(?)!!

Noel takes 1st in Novice Class on his first event

Once again thanks to all the Marshals who did a great job and kept everything moving on the day. To Ivor Mc Clintock who made sure the vehicles were up to scratch, (that job doesn't get any easier !!) and to Shane Mc Meel without whom there wouldn't be a Championship. To the Land owner famous in Motorsport in his own right Dermot Carneige and to Laura for making sure all the paperwork was right. Anyone I've forgotten include yourselves now. on personal note great to see everyone back, great to see so many new faces and new vehicles and look forward to the next event.


Next round Cashel Co. Tipp Sunday October 15th

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


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