First Runs

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Fourth Runs

Drift Cars

Mallow Funsprint
2 JANUARY 2017

Download full Funsprint results

It's becoming a tradition for us to start our year's motorsport at the Mallow Autograss hosted Funsprint, being held this year for the sixth time at the Kartworld Adventure Centre at Watergrasshill, just north of Cork City. This year, with the event held on Monday 2 January, we didn't quite manage the earliest possible start to 2017, as New Year's Day Hot Rod events had been staged in the UK, at Angmering, and in Ireland, at Rosegreen, but Watergrasshill again proved an ideal way to start the season. In bright sunshine, if rather chilly, a full day of friendly competition helped slightly to dispel the deep sadness that was naturally pervading the Irish racing community.

Once again the varied entry was drawn from most Irish motorsport disciplines, although it was left to the Junior Specials to represent the Autograss world. The usual mix of Hot Rod, Rally and track day cars were joined by increasing numbers of the very rapid Autocross buggies. Overall honours, for the second year running, went to the 600cc JB buggy of Chris O'Callaghan. An inspired series of drives brought second overall to the 1600cc 8 valve Hot Rod of Waterford Raceway chairman David Wall, beating all the other open wheelers as well as the National Hot Rods that had dominated the first four years' events here. Third overall was the National and Munster Autocross champion, Sean Cahill, in another of the impressive JB buggies. The event was again sponsored by McNamara Motorsport, with the class trophies sponsored by Browne's Mobile Homes.

The slickly run event gave everyone a practice lap followed by four timed runs of four laps of the tight three quarter mile track. One tweak this year was to place the finish line in the track exit lane, preceded by a very tight chicane. This worked well as only one car managed to take out the timing beam! As usual the results were determined Rally-style on the aggregate time for all four runs, rather than on fastest times like a normal Sprint, although the top four overall also recorded the four individual fastest times of the day. Completing the now familiar format of the event, a quartet of top Drift cars turned out to provide entertainment and passenger rides.

Out of the capacity entry of 81 drivers, 20 were Juniors, designated as CLASS 1, comprising 19 Micras and one Starlet, all Hot Rod cars apart from the Junior Rallycross car driven by Karting champion Aaron Whelan. There were some familiar names at the top of the times; last year's winner Caoimhe Keily led after the first run but Conor Shanahan was knocking at the door of the top twenty overall in the next three runs to take the win from Caoimhe with Shane O'Shea in third. 

The Junior Specials were again given their own class as CLASS 2 with Carlow's Michael Ryan repeating his win from last year. James O'Riordan took second ahead of three more Carlow cars, piloted by Daryl Culbert, Dylan Harrington and Jack Brennan.

CLASS 3 catered mainly for the Class 1 and 2 Hot Rod machinery, up to 1300cc, with Stephen Healy's familiar Fiat-powered Starlet coming out on top. Second went to Peadar Wall, who completed three runs in his usual rally-prepared Nova before setting his quickest time on the last run in Mick Boland's Starlet. Third went to Patrick Boland's Micra, the hardest worked car of the day with James English and Antony McGinty also sharing the driving of the Red Bull-liveried car. Hard luck stories in this class included event sponsor Charlie McNamara, whose Starlet went well after expiring on the first run, Sean O'Connor, whose borrowed Starlet only finished two runs, trophy sponsor Declan Browne, who broke son Adam's Micra on the first run, and Connor Cotter, who put his Starlet on its roof.

CLASS 4 was again the best supported with 21 entries in the 1600cc division, mainly Rally cars apart from the Waterford Raceway standard Rod of Tony Kenny. Jason Ryan, last year's winner in his Starlet, again came out on top at the wheel of a Civic, ahead of the similar cars of Jason O'Brien and Derek Butler. Further down the order Alan O'Riordan appeared at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia, Eric Calnan made spectacular progress in a Peugeot 106 and Sean Fleming's RWD Fiesta rivalled the Drift cars with its cornering angles.

CLASS 5, up to 2000cc, drew ten Rally cars and one Hot rod, the classic Mk2 Escort of Trevor Cusack, who took the top honours ahead of Munster Autocross class champion Lucasz Czapnik's Impreza and John Jo Williams' spectacularly driven Mk2 Escort.

CLASS 6 was for Specials, and with the Autograss boys seemingly having given up the struggle to get round the tight right and left hand hairpins, six of the rapid 600cc Autocross buggies made up the class. With Chris O'Callaghan and Sean Cahill both taking overall trophies, Peter Brennan was promoted to the class win ahead of Class 6 Autograss ace James Sinnott, enjoying a complete change in his borrowed buggy.

CLASS 7, the Hot Rod class, saw the amazing performance of David Wall, turning in four consistently quick runs with the 1600 8-valver. As David claimed the second overall trophy, this left the class win to the quickest of the National Hot Rods, Damian Mulvey, while David's co-driver in the 1600 Peugeot, Ger Connors, also went well to take second in class from Tom McSweeney's National.