Autocrosses 2009


Report on Oct 11th event
Justin Ryan clinches the Young Driver Championship title for 2009 in his honda civic.
Eamonn Mimnagh wins the final Mayo and District autocross for 2009.



He came, he saw he conquered.
Well, another year draws to a close for the Mayo Loose Surface Autocross and what a year it has been, we have seen local man James McGreal return to winning form and a massive track expansion that has made the Mayo autocross venue one of the best in the country. With all credit due to Brendan Walsh and his Team.
On Sunday it was new man Eamonn Minmagh that would take the victory. He came, he saw and he conquered the 2.5km Mayo Track driving his Mitsubishi Evo 5 finishing the event just 0.4 of a second ahead of local man James McGreal. James in his ageing Subaru put in a sterling effort to finish such a small distance behind just showing how tight the racing at Harringtons Quarry can be.

Brian Dunlop was the first 2wd home. The Clogher man piloted his Mark 2 Escort to a fine third overall just 4 seconds behind James McGreal. James Lannon brought his immaculate Mitsubishi Evo 9 home in 4th just 0.5 of a second behind Brian. The red Evo popping and banging its way sideways around the Mayo circuit. Williamstown Walter Burke finished in 5th just 2 seconds behind James Lannon. Mervyn Galbraith put in an incredible drive to finish 6th in his class 2 Nova The Omagh man drove the door handles off the car all day to finish a mere 5 seconds behind Walter Burke. Patrick Barrett brought his beautiful Mark 2 escort home in 7th 2 seconds behind. Gerry Ronan set the early pace leading after the first stage his flamboyant style was evident as usual as he flung his Evo through the corners but unfortunately the car cried enough on the second run. His first time was enough to net him 8th a small consolation for what promised to be a very good day for the Bekan driver.
Now that the 2009 Mayo Autocross has come to an end it leaves us all begging for more. It has been an incredible year in Harringtons Quarry Swinford. The Mayo and District Motorsport Club would like to sincerely thank the Harringtons for the use of their quarry, the marshals who turned out in all weathers for the five events and especially the team who ran the events during the year.
Until next year!

Sean Hassett


Report from August 9th

McGreals Hat trick

James McGreals run of good luck continues as he annihilates the competition at round three of the Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s loose surface Autocross at Harrington’s Quarry near Swinford.
Since his first win James seems unstoppable as he now makes it three wins in a row. McGreal put in an incredible time on the second run of the day to be over 3 seconds ahead of Shane McGirr in his Starlet. (Remember that 4wd cars incur a 2.5% Penalty on their times.)
Shane managed to fend off the challenges of Mark Kennedy in his impressive Kartcross Buggy to finish second. Williamstown’s Walter Burke took 4th just .8 of a second ahead of Conor Kelly from Tyrone in his Nissan Sunny. Brian Dunlop entertained his way to 6 in his ever-sideways Escort Mark 2.

In 7th position was Killian Duffy, Killian swapped his usual passenger seat for the drivers seat and proved his worth in the Derek Jobb Evo 6. James Lannon from Boyle brought his Mitsubishi Evo 9 home in 8th while Derek Jobb and Conor Mckenna rounded out the top 10.
With one round left in October 2009, James McGreal is the man to beat following his hatrick of victories. Hopes will be high in the Mayo club that for the first time since its inception, a Mayo driver can claim the prestigious Frank Harrington Award for overall Autocross series champion.

Written by Sean Hassett


Report from July 5th

McGreal’s Got That Winning Feeling

They say in sport getting the first win is the hardest, that once that elusive inital victory has been achieved, subsequent success is easier to come by.
James McGreal might not agree about the easy bit, but what is without argument is the fact that having waited nearly fifteen years to achieve success on his local autocross, the Foxford man has now made it two wins from two in quick succession.
Just three weeks ago, McGreal dominated Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s loose surface Autocross at Harrington’s Quarry near Swinford, setting fastest time on each of the three runs. On Sunday however, on the third Autocross event of the season he had to work much harder, clinching victory in his Subaru Impreza only on the final run of the day.

Making him work hard for that win was another Mayo competitor, Gerry Ronan from Bekan. The Mitsubishi driver was flying on the early runs, holding a lead of over six seconds ahead of the field going into the final timed test, a lifetime in motorsport terms. McGreal meantime was struggling, failing to set a time on the first run when his car lapsed onto three cylinders, and not happy with his performance on the second test which saw him down in fifth position, over eight seconds off the pace.
On the final run Gerry Ronan took another 1.5 seconds off his previous best time but it was not to be enough for the Bekan driver. Feeling that his chance of victory had gone, McGreal decided to adopt a smooth and tidy approach, eschewing his normal flamboyant style. It proved remarkably effective, the red Impreza scorching to victory by over two seconds.
Fermanagh visitor Gerard Farmer took third in another Mitsubishi, another competitor to put in a strong last run, finishing just 0.13 of a second behind Gerry Ronan, while in fourth was Adrian Donnelly, the Escort driver taking the award for class 4 into the bargain. In fifth was Wexford’s Mark Kennedy in a Kartcross Buggy, the first time for one of these purpose-built specials to compete on a Mayo Autocross.
Conor Kelly from Tyrone took sixth and the class 3 award, while a trio of local competitors were next up. Sean McHugh from Bekan sliped down the order after holding second in his Impreza following the first run, while Williamstown’s Walter Burke took over that position after run two but the Escort driver was unable to improve sufficiently on the final test. In 9th position, Castlebar’s Brendan Corcoran put in one of the drives of the day, not only bringing his Honda Civic into the top ten, but winning the hard fought class 2 in the process. The top ten was rounded out by the Mitsubishi of James Lannon from Boyle, while Noel Lappin scooped the class one award despite only recording one time for the day, the Cavan man beating Foxford’s Alan Moran for the prize.
Five local competitors in the top ten despite competition from all corners of the country, and many more local drivers competing throughout the field, the popularity of Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s Loose Surface Autocross continues to grow. With two further rounds to run in 2009, and James McGreal the man to beat following his brace of victories, hopes will be high that for the first time since its inception, a Mayo driver can claim the prestigious Frank Harrington Award for overall Autocross series champion.

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Many thanks to Sean Hassett for his photos. Check out his website at for more photos from the event.

Report from June 14th
McGreal The Maestro Of Mayo Autocross

James McGreal did on Sunday what he has been threatening to do for a while – take overall victory on a round of Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s Loose Surface Autocross.
It marks a significant milestone for the popular Foxford man, a long time competitor and Mayo Motorsport Club stalwart, who counts the 2000 Border Rally Championship title among his many achievements. Only last year he had feared that his days of competing might have been over, after sustaining a back injury following an accident on the Galway International Rally.

Thankfully a full recovery was made, and on Sunday’s event, driving his self-prepared Subaru Impreza, McGreal was on inspired form, setting fastest times on each of the three runs to finish nearly four seconds ahead of his nearest challengers.
The second round of Mayo & District’s 2009 Loose Surface Autocross series was held as usual at Harrington’s Quarry near Swinford, and attracted a strong entry of nearly fifty competitors, including a large contingent from Northern Ireland. The Mayo venue is highly regarded as one of the best autocross tracks in the country, and once again Clerk of the Course Brendan Walsh and his team had laid on a challenging circuit to test drivers to the limit.
With McGreal storming to a highly popular local win, the runner-up spot was taken by Fermanagh visitor Gary McBrien, winner of last month’s opening round at the same venue. Keeping it in the family, Gary’s brother Sean finished in third position, the siblings sharing the same Mitsubishi Evo 6.
Tyrone’s Brian Dunlop was fourth overall and the highest placed runner in class 4 in his Ford Escort. He finished just ahead of the similar car of Walter Burke, the local club member from Williamstown a former winner of the event. Another multiple former winner was sixth overall, Conor Kelly from Tyrone having to be satisfied this time with class 3 honours in his Nissan Sunny. And demonstrating the popularity of the event, two further visitors made it a worthwhile trip from the east of the country, Maynooth’s Ciaran McCullagh winning class 2 and taking 7th overall ahead of Oldcastle’s Lauris Zdanovcis by a mere 0.6 of a second. Benny Quinn and Mervyn Galbraith rounded out the top ten finishers, while Longford’s Tommy Donlon, a regular visitor to the Mayo track, took another victory in class 1.
Other local competitors to score strong results included Alan Moran from Foxford who finished 3rd in class 1, while in class 3 Peter Conroy from Kilmaine, Headford’s Allen Higgins and Eoin McGreal from Castlebar fought it out to finish second, third and fourth in the category.
But this was undoubtedly James McGreal’s day. Receiving his trophy at the prizegiving he thanked Frank Harrington and his staff for the continued use of their excellent venue. Reminiscing that it was about fifteen years since his last overall success at a Mayo Autocross event, he promised to be back to defend his title on the next round in July. If he can replicate Sunday’s form, few would give odds on another fifteen year wait.

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Report from May 17th

Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s first loose surface autocross event of the year got off to a strong start on Sunday, with some close racing and plenty of action throughout the field.

Held at Harrington’s Quarry at The Valley near Swinford, 30 competitors gathered to do battle over the extended track, widely acknowledged as one of the best loose surface autocross locations in the country.

Overall victory went to Gary McBrien from Enniskillen driving a Mitsubishi Evo 6, one of a number of competitors from Northern Ireland to take part in the event. Indeed on a day when the Fermanagh football team successfully launched its All-Ireland championship bid, the county’s motorsport fraternity were not to be out-done, claiming the top three spots courtesy of the similar Mitsubishis of Gerald Farmer and Sean McBrien.

Fourth overall was the top local driver James McGreal, the Foxford man making a return to competition following his accident on the 2008 Galway International Rally. Driving a Subaru Impreza he was instantly on the pace, holding second overall after the second run. Unfortunately for supporters hoping for a local victory that was as good as it got. On the final test the Impreza lost power for a few vital seconds after a jump, and with others improving, James had to settle for fourth.

Tyrone visitors Conor Kelly and B. Dunlop led the two wheel drive contenders home in fifth and sixth, in the process taking category wins in classes 2 and 4 respectively. Two more local drivers were close behind, Bekan’s Sean McHugh taking seventh in his Impreza followed by Claremorris driver Gerry Ronan in eighth driving a Mitsubishi.

Former Mayo & District Motorsport Club Young Driver Champion Allen Higgins from Headford was another competitor setting impressive times in a Toyota Corolla, finishing 9th overall and 1st in class 3.
Rounding out the top ten finishers was Longford’s Tommy Donlon who also took the prize for fastest runner in class 1 in his Peugeot 206.

Mayo & District Motorsport Club will be holding a number of further autocross rounds during the year with the next event scheduled for 14th June.

Action photos courtesy of Sean Hassett

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