|Deirdre McKinley with her son Rory at the launch|
Motorsport enthusiasts from across the city were drawn to the Mansion House to check out the rare machinery on display. These cars would usually be seen racing up steep country roads during the Naylor Engineering Hillclimb Championship, which starts in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, on Saturday 25th April and takes in around all the provinces of Ireland.
The four times Irish Champion, Simon McKinley, presented his ‘Lant RT4’ racing car. With over 1.5 million views on Youtube, Simon’s driving style has attracted much attention worldwide. Clearly visible on his Formula Atlantic racing car was his F1 inspired ‘DRS’ system which was designed and engineered by the Dublin driver.
In Speed Hillclimbing, a driver will race along a country road at up to 150mph, only inches from obstacles. It’s a time trial, racing from start to finish, with just 100ths of a second deciding the winner. Can you picture one of these cars airborne at over 100mph, inches from one of the granite walls in Irelands famous Burren ??
The Classes of cars undertaking this driving challenge varies from F1 engined single seaters to priceless vintage and classic cars and on to modified “ family cars”.
This year sees the introduction of the very cost effective “Cento Challenge” class, which is a real boost for people starting out in motorsport as they can have a competitive car on the start line for as little as €1,750! It also provides a new challenge for experienced competitors, as the driver must be on the absolute limit to succeed in this Class. Dermot Nolan spoke today of his decision to race a Cento this year, opting to hop from his event-winning Reynard (300 +HP) to a Cento (70 HP) – a great coup for the Cento Class!
Rory Stephens presented his Radical SR8, a LeMans Style car with 460HP. Having finished 2nd Overall in last year’s Championship, Stephens is having another crack at the title this year. While the rivalry is intense during competition, this sport is known for the strong friendships which develop. This was evident here today as these top rivals discussed upgrades to their cars, whilst clearly enjoying each other’s company.
The purple Reynard Opel Lotus of Deirdre McKinley was also on show, sporting it’s decals from the 2014 International Hillclimb Masters (Luxembourg), where she finished 3rd of the ladies competing from around the world. Like a lot of cars in Speed Hillclimbing & sprinting, her car features many F1 parts (wings, wheels, etc). Deirdre and her husband Simon (above) brought their 11 month old son, Rory, along for the afternoon’s festivities.
The Naylor Engineering Hillclimb Championship will draw together competitors from every corner of Ireland for Round 1 in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare on 25th April next.
Spectators and new competitors are always welcome at Speed Hillclimbs & Sprints and information on upcoming events can be found on:
“This motorsport succeeds in mixing adrenaline pumping driving with a superb social side. The Speed Hillclimb community are akin to a large family, welcoming new members at each event” – Simon McKinley, reigning Irish Hillclimb & Sprint champion.
2015 Events (Each weekend is 2 rounds)
April 25th & 26th Clare & Galway hillclimbs based at Ballyvaughan Co Clare
May 30th & 31st Carlow hillclimb & sprint – Based in Co. Carlow
July 4th & 5th (TBC) Wexford Sprint Based around Carrick On Bannow
August 1st & 2nd Limerick Hillclimb & Sprint - based at Effin Co. Limerick
August 15th & 16th Dublin Hillclimb - based at Naul North County Dublin
September 5th & 6th Donegal Hillclimb – based at the stunning Knockalla