CLASSIC HOT ROD MEETING REPORT
IRISH SERIES ROUND FOUR
Seven drivers Mage the trip to the far north track of Aghadowey on Saturday 13th August for the fourth round of the Irish Series for the Classic Hot Rods. A slightly disappointing turn out but the quality of the racing certainly made up for the lack of quantity.
The grading looked oddly imbalanced too. #TheLeopard 671 Alan Leonard from Co. Meath in the Republic was the lone white grade representative in his Pinto powered Kadett. The rest of the field was made up of Blue and Red grade drivers of a very high calibre.
National Champion #TheDiggerMan 671 Clive Richardson was one of the more local men to this northern outpost oval, and lining up alongside him in a Blue Grade was 19 Anthony Morgan. Both men were buoyed by recent success, Richardson with his Championship win at Ipswich and Morgan with his heat and final double at Tipperary. Both men were keen to try and erode the points lead the 966 Thomas Dilly currently had in the Irish series, and Dilly himself was starting this race immediately behind them.
The drop of the green on this opening sixteen lap event predictably saw Leonard into the lead, a lead from his half lap handicap advantage, he enjoyed for half of the race. Having got the from on his Southern rival Morgan into lap lap one, it was all about Richardson’s high speed pursuit of Leonard with Morgan and Dilly in close attendance, followed by #TheIrishThoroughbred 25 Trevor Cusack, the 2015 points champion who had travelled the length of Ireland to compete, and Clive’s brother, #JR Jeff, piloting car 981. 925 Gary O’Neil, racing his bright yellow Anglia brought up the rear, but was by no means off the pace.
Behind Clive Richardson’s chase of Alan Leonard, there were some changes, with Dilly skill fully getting past Morgan and O’Neill out foxing Cusack but the fireworks really erupted when the 976 Escort finally caught up with the 671 Kadett. Choosing the outside line to out race Leonard into turn one, both champion and white grader powered into the corner as fast as they’d dare, and rubbed door handle to door hand through the apex. Richardson on the outside looked to power out the bend first, however, whether it was down to his pace unbalancing his Kadett, or down to his long established banger racing instincts, but Leonard spun Richardson out midway through the straight! Clive was incredibly lucky not to be collected by Dilly and house following, but in the seconds that followed, the meeting steward had no hesitation in issuing the black flag to the Meath man. It may well have been a perfectly executed move in banger racing, but has no place in Classic Hot Rods!
The race proceeded as Leonard retired to the infield with the recovering Richardson rejoining the back of the high speed procession.
The second half of the race saw a fantastic battle for the lead between Morgan and Dilly, with the 19 pilot vigorously defending lead from the points leader’s attack at the wheel of his Crossflow powered #Spanker. Despite Morgan’s power sliding defence, Dilly successfully won the number one slot and in the final laps it was a closely matched chase from Dilly, Morgan, Jeff Richardson, O’Neill, Clive Richardson and Cusack, and that’s how they crossed the line.
HEAT ONE RESULT
966, 19, 981, 976, 925, 25
Heat two saw the absence of the Opel Kadett of 671 Alan Leonard but the remaining six drivers still put on a good show. From the start the national Champion took the lead and once again Morgan put up an exciting defensive battle against Dilly until the Ulsterman finally got through. 925 Gary O’Neill was soon to retire from this one and a high speed chase to the flag coloured the race to its completion.
HEAT TWO RESULT
976, 966, 19, 981, 25
The twenty lap clutch start final was smoothly and quickly taken up with Morgan this time getting the drop on Richardson, but the man with the Irish tricolour on the roof his car had his glory short lived with Richardson firmly making the mov through on lap two. With Morgan’s balance and momentum unsettled into the outside line, Dilly wasted no opportunity in copying the move and Morgan was soon demoted to third.
Immediately behind the top three, the latter three were having their own finely balanced battle with #TheYellowPedril 925 Gary O’Neill in his Anglia looking particularly impressive. Charging up to fourth place, the local man from Limavady, made use of his home track knowledge to strongly challenge 19 #CaptainMorgan. Calamity struck however as Morgan typically powerslid to the wall out of turn turn two and O’Neill saw an opportunity to dive on the inside. Morgan tried to shut the door at turn three only to be tagged by O’Neill and getting spun out. Far from deliberate, O’Neill was still to retire within a lap with steering damage. The yellow flags allowed O’Neill to remove his car from the racing line and the restart saw Richardson from Dilly. Jeff Richardson was now in third ahead of Cusack and the recovering Morgan.
This was how they were to the flag, with the National Champion taking a some what overdue first final victory on home soil.
976, 966, 981, 25, 19
Our next meeting in Ireland will be the feature Irish meeting of the year, the Irish Grand Prix on Saturday 3rd September at Tipperary, where we expect the biggest ever field in Irish Classic Hot Rod history with visitors from England and Scotland coming to take on the Irish at home. Don’t miss it!
- Rob Hughes