O’Connell snatches Victory in Mayo Autocross
Former National Forestry Champion Pat O’Connell showed his class to claim victory on Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s Loose Surface Autocross on Sunday. Driving a Mitsubishi Evo, he had to do it the hard way, coming from behind on the final run to beat Monaghan’s Derek Mackeral who set fastest times on the opening two runs.
A strong entry of 51 competitors had gathered at Harrington’s Quarry near Ireland West Airport for the second of four autocross events to be held this year. Clerk of the Course Paul Kennedy and his team had once again laid on a superb course, with each competitor getting three runs of two laps over the demanding route.
Young Derek Mackeral, who had taken the family Evo to Mayo after over a year of it lying idle, outlined his intentions from the start, setting a time three seconds faster than anybody on the opening run. He continued his domination on the second run, stopping the clocks ten seconds quicker than his previous and held a two second advantage over second placed, former Mayo Autocross champion Martin Tynan.
With things looking like the win was heading to Monaghan, O’Connell pulled out all the stops on his final 5km run to stop the clock at 04:01.09 and move into the lead. Mackeral suffered mechanical trouble on his final run as he tried to wrestle the last ounce out of the stately Mitsubishi and it handed the victory to the Cashel man on his first visit to Mayo Autocross.
Martin Tynan also capitalised on Mackeral’s failure, securing second overall leaving his fellow Monaghan man having to settle for third at the end of the day. Round One winner from May, Michael Tynan finished the event in fourth place, a position he occupied for all three runs. Andy Mackeral was fifth, double driving the aforementioned Evo with Derek. Fermanagh’s Eamon Mimnagh was another who was unable match his pace from Round One, having to settle with sixth overall on this occasion. Conor McCourt from Tyrone was seventh rounding off a top 7 of Mitsubishi Evo’s. Meath’s Paul McCann in his immaculate Escort RS Cosworth was less than two hundredths of a second further back in eighth. Omagh’s David Kerr was top 2 wheel drive in his Peugeot 106 finishing ninth, less than a second ahead of another Omagh man, Mervyn Galbraith in his Vauxhall Nova.
Looking through the various Classes where competition was just as fierce as the overall places. In Class 1, Fermanagh’s Ruairi Maguire in his Vauxhall Corsa took the win ahead of Tyrone’s Darren Connelly in a Nova while Ciaran McCullagh from Maynooth was third also in a Vauxhall Nova.
Class 2 was won by Top 10 finisher Mervyn Galbraith in his Vauxhall Nova, Travis Humphry from Omagh was second just ahead of Westport’s Alan Mcguire, both driving Peugeot 205’s.
Class 3 was dominated by top 2 wheel drive overall finisher David Kerr. Andrew McMahon from Enniskillen, also in a Peugeot 106 was second. Mayo club Chairman, Shrule’s Matthew Murphy was third in his Westtyre Toyota Corolla.
Class 4 honours were claimed by Tyrone’s Hugh McQuaid in his Mk2 Escort. Darragh and Declan Campbell from Tyrone were second and third respectively double driving a Mk2 Escort.
Class 5 saw Martin Tynan take first with Derek Mackarel having to settle for second with Michael Tynan in third.
Intermediate Class 8 for 16-18 year olds was won by Crossmolina’s Lorcan Moore, taking time out from his leaving Cert studies to claim more crystal in his Citroen Saxo. Bekan’s Lorcan Ronan was second in his Nissan Sunny.
Junior Class 9 for 14-16 year olds was won by Shrule’s Jason Murphy who kept his nerve in his Honda Civic after a lapse in concentration seen him slid wide on his first run, the young Shrule man on only his second Mayo Autocross event didn’t let this affect his game plan as he got steadily quicker over his three runs.
Foxford’s Stephen Doherty for the second event in a row put in a splendid drive in his recently acquired Subaru Impreza to claim the Mayo & District Club Award finishing in thirteenth place overall. Cavan’s Jenna McCann in a Mitsubshi Evo claimed the Ladies Award.
Speaking after the event, fastest on the day O’Connell thanked Mayo & District Motorsport Club for hosting such a competitive event, he praised the track and the work of the voluntary marshals while promising to return after regaining the sweet taste of victory and enjoying the Mayo hospitality. Derek Mackarel, despite his third place finish was very happy with his times, knowing that elusive overall Mayo autocross victory is within his grasp.
Two rounds of 2016 down and with two different winners the championships is wide open. Round 3 takes place on July 24th. See www.mayomotorsportclub.com for more details.
Overall Top 10
1st Pat O’Connell Evo 04:01.09
2nd Martin Tynan Evo 04:02.65
3rd Derek Mackeral Evo 04:02.87
4th Michael Tynan Evo 04:04.85
5th Andy Mackeral Evo 04:05.40
6th Eamon Mimnagh Evo 04:08.67
7th Conor McCourt Evo 04:13.63
8th Paul McCann Escort 04:13.99
9th David Kerr Peugeot 106 04:16.77
10th Mervyn Galbraith Vauxhall Nova 04:17.31