Ollie McCormack took the win in class4. Photo: Richard Cassidy
By Ruaidhri Nash
The 2012 club loose surface autocross championship has been one of the most fiercely contested championships in recent years with the championship looking set to go to wire and be decided in the winter months.
Round 4 of the Mervyn Wedlock championship brought 31 entries to the newly developed track after the summer break. A gathering of familiar and new faces entered the service area in the morning ready to see the new smoother track in all its glory.
A glorious morning made life easier for Coc Raymond Drury and all the marshals who turned up to help out on the day. It also took the guess work out of choosing tyres for the day. With all the changes somethings remained the same with Mickey Conlon and Darren O'Brien resuming their struggle which had been on hold since April. Conlon got the jump on O'Brien who was using a new car he had only just taken delivery of the day before the event. With a lead of just .39 of a second after the first run it was up to Darren O'Brien to make his mark on the second run with the best 2 of 3 runs to be counted for each driver it was very much all the play for on the 2nd and 3rd runs. Also in the hunt after the first run were Mel Mulligan, Mervyn Wedlock and Ollie McCormack.
For the second run Darren O'Brien came out all guns blazing to set a startling 3:04 for his 3 laps of the track, With Conlon and Wedlock managing a 3:08 this catapulted O'Brien into the lead of the event with one run remaining. Mel Mulligan set a 3:10 along with Seamus Cooke in his 1400 escort.
In the class battles it was as competitive further back the field as the overall race.
In class 1it was Tullyvin's Alan Pickens who held a commanding lead all day in his Vauxhall Nova with Andrew Mc Mahon finishing 2nd in his Citroen AX and Gerry Greene 3rd .
In class 2 it would be a close battle between 3 very well prepared Escorts with Seamus Cooke eventually taking the win on his way to an impressive 5th overall in the end from Shane Marron who took 2nd in class from Noel Lappin who had a spin on the final run to drop him to 3rd in class.
Darren O'Brien was the cream of the crop in Class 3 which saw him setting times to beat the 2 litre cars in his new civic. He won the class from Aiden Nicholl who had a comfortable gap between himself and 3rd placed Adam Faulkner
Class 4 saw Ollie McCormack take the win as he was the only man in the class on the day and took 6th overall.
Class 5 saw Mickey Conlon take a 2 second win from championship sponsor Mervyn Wedlock with Mel Mulligan 3rd and Richard Cassidy 4th.
Class 6 saw an unusual entry in the form of mk2 escort man Joseph Smith trying out a buggy for the first time in the special bike engine buggy class in the quarry due to his car not being ready. A steep learning curve was the order of the day but Joe didn't take long to get dialled into the machine setting a 3:11 on his last run to finish 12th.
In the juniors it was a close competition with Brian Brady taking the win in the end by 2 seconds from Mark Mc Aleer with Adam Faulkner 3rd. Colette Rooney took the Ladies award in her Susuki Swift.
Conlon had it all to do on the last run with O'Brien taking the initiative on the 2nd run. A storming drive saw him set a 3:01 a great time and fastest time of the day. O'Brien was matching the time until he succumbed to gearbox troubles with the car jumping out of gear he lost precious seconds and had to settle for second overall on the day. Mervyn Wedlock set the second fastest time of the day to seal 3rd from Mel Mulligan and Seamus Cooke in 5th place.
A great day was had by all drivers who commended the club for the work that had been done to provide a new surface to the track with most cars going home and not even having to be washed after the event.
The next round of the Mervyn Wedlock Championship is on Sunday, October 21 at the Hutt Cross track in Latton. All are welcome to this spectator and family friendly event. Check out www.cocavanmotorclub.com for more information.