2011 was a good year for Birr Motor Club and its members with another two new events introduced on top of the usual busy calander..
These new events consisted of a multi venue auto test and another loose surface autocross, that took place in August.
In February all roads led to Abbeyleix where the Birr club hosted the first round of the Dunlop national rally championship. This event was ran out of the Manor hotel in Abbeyleix, which were main sponsors of the event. A total of 161 competitors started this event with a series of overseas crews partaking. Crews from all corners of Ireland along with local competitors were all out for the action packed stages.
Meath driver and national championship winner Tim McNulty co-driven by Paul Kiely in their Subaru world rally car emerged victorious with over a minute lead after the final sixth stage. Mark Kane was the highest finishing club member co-driving for Mark Sheehan in a Citroen C2R2.Highest finishing Birr crew were Nenagh’s Andrew Slattery/Shaun Forde in a Subaru Imprezza. Knockaroo’s Bill Ryan was the clerk of the course for this event and Bill and his team will be returning to Abbeyleix on February 26 for next years stages rally.
Next on the calendar was the grass surface autocross which took place in March just outside Cloughjordan by kind permission of farmer Martin Hogan. Fastest time of the day went to Brendan Whyte in a Kawasaki special with Ger Brennan taking fastest saloon in his fiesta. Whitby Moynan in his Mazda special won his class on the day.
In August the newly introduced multi venue auto test took place in Birr. This event consisted of 10 different tests repeated twice in farm yards gravel lanes and concrete yards around Birr and Killyon. Eoin Longworth was the clerk of the course and Eamonn Byrne won the event in a Toyota starlet. We also had club members who competed this event for the first time and they were, Charlie Cavanagh,Greg Starr, Stephan Molloy, Dervla Garahy, Kieren Garahy,Tristan Horan,Trevor O Callaghan and Davey Forde.
August was a busy month for the club and its members. The Tom O Reilly memorial car treasure hunt took place in Birr. The route left Dooley’s hotel on the evening of August 8 going through the village of Riverstown back over to Shinrone, arriving back to Dooley’s later that evening. Club member Ronan Shanahan and Niamh Ryan emerged as winners with a total of 775 points.
Also in August the first loose surface autocross took place in the usual quarry at glasshouse Shinrone by kind permission of A&R Poole. Whitby Moynan was the highest finishing club member with young Birr driver Liam Higgins winning his class along with regular forestry competitor Mick Nevin coming second in his class. Charlie Cavanagh experienced some mechanical trouble but managed to finish the event. This was Pat Gubbins first event to act as clerk of the course and the day went very well.
In October the club held its night navigation trial for the second year running. Eoin Longworth was the event organiser and it was run out of the community hall in Dunkerrin village. The route went through Cloughjordan, Nenagh, and Templemore while finishing up back in Dunkerrin in the early hours of Sunday morning. Cork crew David Beamish and Muireann Hayes took the overall win scoring maximum points on the night with Davey Forde and Sean Henehan the highest placed club members. Ronan Shanahan and Robert Nolan had to settle for best Birr motor club crew award after dropping from an early 10th place to 29th following an excursion with a dyke after time point 19.
The final event of the year took place just a few weeks ago on November 20. The second of the loose surface autocrosses took place again in the Shinrone pit. Ronan Shanahan was the clerk of the course.
Club championship leader Whitby Moynan scored maximum points on this event by taking the overall win on the day. Cloughjordans Gordon Percy driving Benny Kennedy’s special took home 3rd in class 6 while Davey Forde won class 5.Young Killeen driver Johanaton Carroll in his Nova won class 7. Rathcabbins Trevor Hogan claimed 2nd in class 5 and Mick Nevin also came 2nd in class 2.
Also in November the club had some of its members nominated for the Sports Star Awards organised by the Birr chamber of commerce.
Longstanding club member Mick Boland from Killyon was nominated for club person of the year, while Cloughjordans John Cavanagh, Mick Nevin from Blueball, and Aglish’s Pat Horan were all nominated for competitor of the year. Congradulations to Pat Horan who took home the award at the recent presentation night held in the county arms hotel Birr.
This year the club introduced a club championship for its members. There were various rounds to score points on around the country either by marshalling or competing on. The provisional top 3 after the final round in Cork this weekend are Whitby Moynan on a total of 101 points followed by runner up Davey Forde on 76 points closely followed by Ronan Shanahan on 75 points. It is hoped that a presentation of awards will take place in February at the launch night for the stages rally wit some other awards to be handed out on the night for driver of the year and club member of the year to name but a few.
This year we had members who won class awards in various championships around the country. Starting with the Midlands East rally championship
Davey Forde winner of class 8,Mike Garahy/Sean Heenahan winners of class 10, Donald Powell/Robert Lewis winners of class 2 and Benny Kennedy / Brendan Ryan 3rd in class 11.
Mick Nevin /Mike Garahy claimed 2nd in class 2 in the national forestry championship, while Davey Percy won class 13 in the west coast rally championship.
Congratulations to all on their awards.