4x4 Off Road Championship 2001/2002.

Round 1, Bruff, Co. Limerick.
County Kildare Motor Club, 23rd September 2001.

Report by Diarmaid Drennan.

Hogan takes 1st Overall on first Event!!!

After an extended off season this year due to FMD the Irish 4x4 Off Road Championship started a new season on Sept 23rd. For the start of this years championship Shane Mc Meel, Championship co-ordinator, decided to bring us to a new venue. Bruff in Co. Limerick, about 20 miles south east of Limerick City was the chosen site. Some of the competitors who live in the area had found a site and it was decided to give it a go. On entering the gate to the site no trailing ground was evident, however a short, almost overgrown laneway opened the way to a very interesting site. The local lads has brought a digger into the site in the previous few evenings and with an odd 'rub of Barry`s bucket' had created some very interesting tests.

THANKS Steven!!!!!!!

Bucket Barry`s Tipp Bus

The ground under foot had a bit of everything, from sand on the right to rock on the left and a marsh at the bottom. With the weather having been good leading up to the event the marsh area had dried enough to be drivable without causing any problems. The tests were set out in order to try and use as many different surfaces as possible and the layout worked very well. As the championship came to a premature end in Cork city the previous March it was noted the considerable number of new drivers getting involved in the sport and it was hoped that interest would continue.
In the weeks coming up to the event it was rumoured that there were and number of new drivers interested in joining the fun and the entry on the first day reflected this. Forty-nine drivers in all signed on for competition a good increase from the first round last year. There were a number of new vehicles around also mainly Suzuki's and for the first time in a while a Lada. Class 5 also had a new competitor, yes we finally got predator running, however considering it was driven out of the workshop for the first time at 3.00pm on the previous day it wasn't expected to be a serious contender against the beast. We decided to bring it for a test run and see what happened!!



As the midday sun rose into the clear Limerick sky proceedings got underway. Despite some initial objections to a section of test 1 the majority of the vehicles managed to clear the test with no penalties. The rest of the tests were not as clear-cut with the scores varying from tens to zeros. By dinnertime there were tales of joy surprise and woe! Two novices held the joint lead with the more experienced drivers lagging behind. A score of two was leading and the fact that the guys leading were on their first day out was a surprise indeed. Mervin Colton and Malcolm Cooper's Land Rover 90 had refused to go even before the first test. The 90 refused to remain running when hot and rather than cause delays on the tests the guys decided to call it a day.
Predator was also in dry dock suffering from first day blues. A combination of problems had put an early end to the days testing. Firstly a CV joint and an oil seal in the front axle had given up. This was followed by an oil seal in the auto gearbox failing and lastly bent rear axle mounts called a halt to proceedings. The 'Beast' was have the day all to itself in Class 5 with the only problem being lack of brakes which was sorted at lunchtime. With the weather continuing good the afternoon sections went off quickly. Damien Heneghan, last years Champion had made an uncharacteristic mistake in the morning giving him a nine and dropping him out of contention for the lead.


Benny Smith going well

Brian Berkery was holding steady in second and dropped just one point in the afternoon to hold on to second. Brian was separating brothers Pat and Liam Hogan who were first and third. Liam had the lead at lunchtime with a score of two while Pat was on three but a two on test five, dropped Liam from first to third and Pat took the overall win for the day. Class two this year has been changed with the Daihatsu's joining Land Rovers in this class. With the V8 powered 90 of Mervin and Malcolm retired James and Niall O' Meara in their Diesel powered 90 were the only Land Rover in class. John Franklin in a Daihatsu won the class with James O'Meara taking second and Robin Lyons in another Daihatsu taking third.

Next round of the championship takes place in two weeks in Cashel Co. Tipperary.

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


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