With the summer break over the crews returned to the Huttcross track between Latton and Cootehill for the 4th round of the MC Blinds Autocross Championship. With the return to action after the break there were a number of drivers eager to stamp their mark on the championship as we enter the business end of the 2017 season.
With COC Raymond Drury and his team running the running the dual direction format for the day it gave drivers and spectators alike even more bang for their buck as 5 runs of 3 laps would keep the mileage healthy on the day.
As the event got under way it would be the usual duel between Championship sponsor Mickey Conlon fresh from his run in the Bushwhacker rally the day previous with his new test engine would face the challenge of multiple champion Joe Smith in his trusty Pinto Escort.
Things started out well for Joe as he would take a healthy chunk of time out of Conlon on the opener which would give him a head start in the overall fight for the win. Things weren’t so rosy for Shane Marron who would suffer a mechanical issue and take a maximum time on the opener to leave himself with a lot of work to do for the rest of the day.
In the battle of the buggies it would be Fergal Deighan who would start as he meant to go on taking the fastest time on the first run by a sizeable margin. Buggy convert Russell Woods was making good use of the new machinery as he slotted into second place with regular Sean Coleman taking up third place in his Semog example.
Problems struck Joe on the second run as he noticed there was oil leaking from his engine, with the situation looking bleak up stepped Conlon and offered his competition a solution to drive his car with him in a show of sportsmanship that demonstrates the friendly comradery that exists between competitors in the championship. With Joe’s new mount came some added pressure not to bend his friend’s car. The battle continued with Mickey and Joe only being separated by a couple of seconds with Paddy Boyle another man who could put himself into the fight for the lead and Ben McIntyre playing support roles in the battle for the lead. On the second run disaster would befall another regular with Alan Pickens suffering from a broken suspension and incurring a maximum time which would make life difficult if he would have any hope of chasing the overall win on the day. Noel Cooke would be another man setting good times in the escort as he would hope to take the class win on the day.
After the turnaround at lunch it would be business as usual for the front crews with the pace getting ever quicker during the day as the track dried out. In class 2 it would be Noel Cooke who kept his nose clean and put in a good performance against Alan Pickens to win by 3 seconds with Alan returning after his issues to finish the day in second ahead of Kevin Mc Cann in his rare glanza shaped Toyota Starlet.
In Class 3 it would be Shane Marron who would turn around the troubles of the morning to set some competitive times and bring home the trusty escort with the class win.
Class 4 would see the battle of the Mc Intyre family with son Aaron taking the reigns of one of the family Starlets to put manners on his father Gerry by a solitary second at the end of the day. With the pair getting faster as the day went on the battle would hot up with Gerry going 2 seconds faster on the last run but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Aaron. Martin McAteer would finish the day 3rd in class in his escort.
Class 6 saw an unusual name on the sheets after Joe Smith appeared behind the wheel of Conlon’s car. At the end of the event Conlon would be the fastest man in the class and take the overall win so with that Joe would be bumped up to take the award from the class on the day. Paddy Boyle would finish off a fine run in his escort to finish 2nd in the class on the day with Cormac McElvaney swinging the big Evo 7 to finish 3rd on the day in the class.
In the Buggies it would be a fairly decisive performance from Fergal Deighan in his Casmat Buggy as he would take a start to finish victory and demonstrate a neat and tidy approach to conducting one these spectacular buggies around the track. 2nd place for Russell Woods would be a fine performance following on from his victory the previous week at another track. The Billis man has found the transtition from a mk2 to the new machine relatively straight forward and will be a force to be reckoned with going forward. 3rd place for James Cassidy was a good result for the man who wouldn’t be far away from the top spot anyways. A fast and committed performance would see him on the podium ahead of the chasing pack of Pa Bellew, Sean Coleman, Sean Casey and new comer Aidan Devlin with Paul Lennon, Michael Casey and Ronan Mackle all suffering mechanical difficulties and loosing valuable time in the morning.
In the Juniors Ben Mc Intyre would be another of the Cootehill representatives having a great run on the day to take the win ahead of Anthony McDonald in his trusty Nova as he would slide his way to 2nd in the class making full use of the handbrake during the day. Jack Brunton would bring his Honda Civic home in 3rd as he continues his learning process ahead of Andrew Moore in his little Peugeot 106.
At the end of the day it would be a well-deserved win for Mickey Conlon in his mk2 escort as he would avoid the clutches of Joe Smith and the embarrassment of being beaten in his own car. This points haul will be most welcome to the MC Blinds man as he looks to pin down the club championship along with the autocross championship this year.
Lastly to all the marshals who helped out on the day and to Raymond Drury and Gerry Smyth for running a great event with the help of Kevin and all the team all the competitors were very thankful for all the effort and hard work put in on the lead up and on the day.