Mid Summer Off Road Madness....

Bohernabreena, Dublin.
Organised by Garda Motor Club
23rd June 2001.

Report by Diarmaid Drennan.

While the recent Foot and Mouth epidemic had an adverse effect on motorsport in general the old saying ‘It’s an ill wind that doesn’t bring some good’ comes to mind. With pressure on available ground and the need to run events, the different disciplines of motorsport here in Ireland are trying new ventures in an attempt to keep things going. So far it’s working very well and in time we may see the of new types of events becoming the morm. One such event took place on June 23rd. Shane Mc Meel having had to declare the Irish 4x4 Off Road Championship over this year after only 6 rounds was anxious to keep the recent interest in the sport going.

We'll beat these Landies next season!!

Hope my ROLL CAGE holds out!!.

So after long consultation with Pat Fox who heads the Sporting Trials it was decided to hold a joint event just outside Dublin. 4x4 drivers first learned about the event at their annual driver’s forum and immediately drivers were keen to enter. And so with the groundwork done we all arrived in the disused quarry for our first event in four months. The organisers had come up with a format for the event, which was keenly approved by all the drivers. There would be 2 tests for Mudpluggers only, 2 tests for 4x4’s only and 2 common tests where every vehicle would run the same course.
It was also decided that at the end of the day the top 2 4x4 drivers and the top 2 mudpluggers would run off with each driver having to driver a 4x4 and mudplug. The winner for the run off would be champion for the day. It’s unusual for a 4x4 event to be held on a Saturday except when it’s a two-day event but this concession was to suit the mudpluggers. Having spent all week in an attempt to get ‘Predator’ out for this event I arrived on site not knowing what the day would hold. ‘Predator’ my new prototype wasn’t quite finished and without any testing done I decided not to bring it along. So I was without a drive for the day…….. but wait, in stepped Irish 4x4 Champion Damien Heneghan to offer me a double drive for the day.

Non Smoking O`Meara`s???

Brian Berkery in action

Damien’s regular driving partner, his brother Jonathan had broken his ankle and was unable to sit in the Suzuki let alone drive it. So having thought long and hard about the offer………for about 2 seconds I say YES!!!! And so back in the driving seat of a Suzuki for a days trialing. As I said earlier we had 4 tests to run and we would complete them 3 times during the day giving a total of 12 tests. The first two tests started side by side and crossed over each other immediately after the start……just to confuse the drivers.
Test one banked right, up a small hill followed by a couple of hillocks where gates had been placed in just the right spot to catch you out. Then it was around the edge of a bank of sand, over a roadway and three gates uphill before doubling back and again assaulting the hill for the 0 gate. Test two banked left over some small mounds to a 40’ decent and at the bottom you turned to come up the other side, over some more hillocks and once again a 30’ decent before turning again for the 0 gate uphill with a large rut at the bottom just to stop you making a run at it. Then it was on to the common tests.The first common caught everyone out at the bottom of a tight climb.

Better than a 90 any day..ED!


The 4x4`s because they just couldn’t make the turn and the mudplugs because they couldn’t make the climb!! This was changed for the 4x4’s on the second run and the rest of the test was a mixture of tight drains and off camber climbs.The second common test was more a mind game than anything else. Mudplugs had the advantage here as some very sharp turns just weren’t in reach of the 4x4’s . There was a mixed reaction from the 4x4 drivers to the mudplugs. I don’t think one driver said they’d prefer competing in the mudplugs than the 4x4’s but still there was a common appreciation for the skills needed for both disciplines.
The one issue that the 4x4 drivers had with the mudplugs was how they were allowed drive with flimsy rollcages and no helmets. This said two competitors in the mudplugs pulled out of the competition because the thought it too difficult and indeed during the day one mudplug flipped over breaking off it’s rollbar, this could have been more serious only the driver jumped clear of the vehicle. All in all everyone was enjoying themselves. This event being non championship gave people a chance to relax and take time to have a chat. I was have a royal time driving Damien Heneghan’s Suzuki until Damien decided the Suzuki needed a re-shell on the second round of the tests. On a right-handed turn uphill the Suzuki clipped a bank and rolled twice.

Nice paint job lads

Damien after full 360 TWICE!!!!

The roll was made worse by the fact that we went down a 4-foot bank on the first roll. But in the true skill of being the Irish Champion Damien rested the Suzuki on it’s four wheels and didn’t even knock a gate. All essential items checked he fired up the Suzuki and we left the test. There were a few other rolls on the day also but none so dramatic.‘The Beast’ was on it’s own in competition for this event and also with a new pilot. Mervyn Colton and Edwin Pratt had swapped drives for the day with Edwin driving the V8 90 for the day. Unfortunately Edwin got the raw end of the deal as the 90 developed ignition problems half way through the day and was forced to retire.
So with all 12 tests completed we assembled in the parking area for a monster Bar-B that had been organised for the day. With the results calculated it emerged that Damien Heneghan and Brian Berkery were the top two 4x4 drivers and that Siobhan Mc Cann and John Bolton were the top two mudpluggers for the day. The two vehicles selected for the drive off were the ‘Beast’ for the 4x4 and a VW based Mudplug. Having finished practising the drivers each took to the two tests in the vehicles, each driver having to complete the two tests in both vehicles. Having had an enjoyable run off the clear winner was Siobhan Mc Cann who scored two zero’s . As usual thanks to the organisers of this event, Shane Mc Meel CKMC and Pat Fox GSMC and all their helpers. Since the reaction to the event was positive it’s planned to hold another such event in the future.

Watch Bryan!!!!

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