4x4 Off Road Championship 2001/2002.

Round 2, Dualla, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.
Tipperary Motor Club, 14th October 2001.

Report by Diarmaid Drennan.

Timmy "Bog Standard" leads `em in!!

Our twice-yearly trips to Cashel, Co. Tipperary are one's I enjoy. The site gives some excellent trailing and it's only an hour from home. After a late night at a wedding the previous day and an early start to get everything loaded, the usual suspects gathered in the Horse and Jockey Restaurant only a couple of miles from the site to have Breakfast. This was 8.30 am and by now the rain was coming down good and heavy. There was a lot of interest in one very clean Suzuki parked on a trailer outside. Finally (only kidding Dec.) Declan Brown had finished his Suzuki and planned on giving the trailing scene a go. Declan, as some of you will know has been involved in off roading for a number of years in the winch challenge and recreational end of things and last year was co driver for Peter Cooper in the Rain Forest Challenge in Malaysia where they finished eighth.

First of many????????

Ready to go?

By 9.30 we were assembled at the entrance to the site awaiting the key. Rain was still belting down and various comments were being thrown in my direction, as Predator is still open top. At 9.45 the key arrived and we started to get set up. The site didn't look to have changed much since we were last here this time last year. After passing scrutiny and packing away some of the gear were headed off for a look round the various tests. The site in Cashel, located to the left as you approach Cashel from the Dublin side about five miles out, is an active quarry. The rock here though is a brown shale type, which crumbles under foot leaving gravel. At the top of the site there's an area big enough for three tests consisting of a sand and clay mixture underfoot.
The tests were set in order to use the best mix of the ground. Two of the tests started at the bottom of the site from the gravel/ shale mixture and progressing to the clay surface above.One of these two tests finished back down in the gravel after the circuit in the upper part. The other two tests started in the top area and generally stayed up there on the sand/clay mixture.At 11.30 the drivers briefing was called and starting positions announced. The first test, which remained on the upper part of the site, consisted of some slick clay climbs where power was the order of the day. A section of overgrowth provided a challenge to see through and was very boggy under foot. Various different gates gave different problems throughout the test. The second test, which was downhill from the first started on the lower, level and after two gates progressed to the upper level with a power wrenching gravel climb.

Imagine if we rolled it? What do you mean "WE"??

On reaching the plateau one was faced with some axle twisting mounds before once again descending to the lower level to a deep gully where there were two gates before the final zero gate on the climb out of the gully. One of the first drivers into this test, Larry Wickham came to grief on the axle twisters on the top of the test. Forces of gravity dictated that the Suzuki should fall over …and over…..and over before coming to a stop perilously close to the cliff edge. After some ten minutes of recovery, which included the Suzuki being spun like a top on it's roof! the test was cleared and competition continued. But more was to come. Enter Declan Brown in his nice newly built virgin Suzuki. Edwin Pratt, an experienced trialer decided to sit in with Declan to offer his expertise in traversing the test. So which of the two inside the vehicle were to blame for what happened next is anyone's guess!!!Having completed the first section and the top section with ease the decent was to cause a problem. The Suzuki stalled going downhill and dropped it's front left into a hole big enough to bury the Suzuki, which caused the Suzuki to pirouette on its front left wing and bonnet before coming to a halt with all four wheels on the ground in the hole. Shaken but not stirred Dec fired up the Zuk and proceeded off the test. The second two tests of the morning were equally eventful. Test three at the top of the hill didn't prove too much of a problem in relation to rollovers. This test was mainly climbs and descents about 15 – 20 feet high with a nice tight axle twisting finish which was next to impossible to complete clearly. Test four was a different matter. The start to this was half was up a gravel climb. This climb is about 200 feet long on about 30 degrees of an incline. Having gone the 100 feet to the top one had to turn 180 degrees and come back down the hill turning left across a gravel mound half was down before continuing to the bottom. From there it was another 200 feet to the top before crossing the top which was full of axle twisting mounds and back down the other side of the hill. After a number of gates on the bottom section the zero gate was positioned about 15 feet up a 45 degree bank where the objective was to get the vehicle through before reversing off the hill. The middle section of this test was where all the problems were. The first few drivers through the gate where the gravel mound was just slid into the gate eliminating themselves in the process. A number of drivers also rolled at this point. While having lunch in the car park we watched Anne Berkery roll her Suzuki three times off this mound.

KING ZERO - Master of the Beast

With lunch over the four tests were regigged and we were off again. Test seven with it's very tight finish proved to be a problem for the 'Beast' . The lads having fitted fiddle brakes for this year were busy using them on the end of this test when it all went wrong. The 'Beast' while trying a hard right turn lost balance and tipped on it's side. When the spectators righted the vehicle and the lads tried to proceed the reason for the fall over was found. The weld holding the fiddle brake calliper in place had broken away causing the calliper to jam in the wheel. Some minor adjustments and the 'Beast' was up and running again. Declan Brown and his Suzuki came to grief once again on test eight. At the same point where Anne Berkery and others had rolled, the Suzuki rolled one and a half times finishing off Declans project in creating a really authentic looking trialer !!

At the end of the day once again it was the Novices who took the honours Tim O'Dwyer took first place overall with fellow novice Neill Ryan second and old hand Brian Berkery still keeping in there taking third overall. Liam Barry another novice took first in Class 1, Suzuki, with Damien Heneghan, last years champion taking second and brother Jonathan taking third. Class two which now contains all other production vehicles saw a mix of Land Rovers, Daihatsu's a Land Cruiser and a Lada Niva. Malcolm Cooper in the V8 LR 90 won this keenly fought class. Second was former Irish Champion Vincent Dorney in his Daihatsu and third was Mervin Colton also in the V8 LR 90. Class 4, novices, was won by Peter Hogan, second was Brendan Ryan and third was Chris Hanley.

Very clean long may it last!!!


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