The Galway Motor Club will host its annual hillclimb in Ballyvaughan this Saturday and Sunday. The event will form the opening two rounds of the Naylor Engineering National Hillclimb and Sprint Championship 2017.
This year’s championship takes place over seven weekends, 14 rounds taking in some of the most scenic parts of Clare, Carlow, Wexford, Limerick, Waterford and Donegal.
The organisers welcome back M Fitzgibbon Contractors Ltd as title sponsors of this year’s event, which will have its headquarters at Monks Pub, Ballyvaughan. Competitors will start arrive on Friday afternoon for an optional scrutiny, which will take place in Mooney’s Emo service station between 6pm and 8pm, where everybody is invited to view the cars and speak with the drivers.
On Saturday morning, the drivers will head to the world-famous Corkscrew Hill. The 1.5km ribbon of tarmac winds its way up the famous hairpin section before opening out to a fast sweeping road. This provides a huge challenge for all the competitors!
Sunday heads out the coast road through Fanore and on to Ballinalacken. The 1.7km test is technical but also extremely fast in places. The diversity in the two different sections of road will give the competitors a full weekend of challenges.
Reigning champion Joe Courtney will be hoping for a good event to get his championship defence off to its best start. He will have stiff competition from the likes of Sylvie Mullins and Rory Stephens. Frank Byrnes in his V8 Pilbeam and Peter Dwyer in his Lola single seater will be making a return to the Ballyvaughan hills after a long absence, along with Paul O’Connell, who will be debuting a Norma Sportscar.
Clare man Robert Dwane will also be debuting his new OMS single seater. Other competitors include Francis Kelly from Tulla in his recently-acquired Honda Civic and Christy Carey from Kilkishen, also driving a Honda Civic.
In the saloon class, Ben O’Brien is hoping to debut his new BMW touring car, with Seamus Morris bringing his rapid new Darrian T90 GTR.
Local crews competing include Patrick Curley in his Honda Civic, Derek Daly and Brian McMahon in their Formula Renaults, Maurice and Cathal Gannon in a Ford Escort MK2 to name just a few.