Eighteen year old Justin Ryan from Headford Co. Galway was recently crowned the Mayo & Districts Motor sport Club young Driver Champion.
Justin who is studying Arts in N.U.I Galway managed to clinch the title by one point on the final round of the four round series based in Harringtons Quarry Swinford.
The battle commenced on the 17th of May the first event of the Mayo & District Motor Sport Club’s Loose Surface Autocross. This was to prove a steep learning curve for the Ryan Motor sport Team. During the winter layoff from competition Justin and his father John Paul, upgraded their 1.4 Honda Civic to a 1.6 this was to prove a decisive move for the pair and the championship.
On the first round the father and son duo were joined by Justin cousin Llyod Moran. Each family member got three runs* over the 2.5km quarry circuit, (One run equaling three laps each*) The day began badly for the three as on the first run John Paul rolled the car. Luckily it was only cosmetic damage and Justin and Llyod managed to complete their three timed runs. Justin overcame the damage and steadily got to grips with the extra power from the new engine. By the end of the day Justin was putting in some scintillating times.He ended the event in 20th place overall and managed to bag seven young drivers points. This was to be a very good start for Justin and it would set him up well for the championship.
Round two took place on the 14th of June where Justin was to face stiffer opposition with over twenty people competing in his class (Class 2) eventually he finished 26th overall and 10th in class. He was lucky to secure a big points haul receiving 10 points towards his championship campaign. This was to put him in fourth in the Championship. He was now bedding into the car and on the next event on the 9th of August he was to take the maximum points haul putting him in a commanding position for the championship.
Round three, was to be a pivotal day in Justin’s championship as he showed his true speed finally getting comfortable in the car. He finished an incredible third in class and 21st overall, this was to put him joint second in the championship just one point behind his neighbour Alan Higgins going into the final round.
D-Day, The final round on the 12th of October, after competing on their local Rally “The Galway Summer” Justin and John Paul had fitted bigger brakes to the Honda Civic along with brand new tyres. Every measure was taken to make sure Justin went as fast as he could and that’s what he did. When dropped scores came into effect after the event Justin was to win the Championship just one point ahead of Kilmane’s Peter Conroy. Peter who was teammate with Alan Higgins beat Alan by one tenth of a second on the final run of the day this meant that Alan lost two points giving Justin the win.
Justin: “It wasn’t until the Tuesday after the event that I got the news that I had won” “I didn’t believe it at first but its great to win” “we were all sure Alan had taken the championship so it was even better to beat him! As he is probably the best driver out there”
Well with a bit of luck on his side and some incredible driving during the year Justin proved that he is defiantly a force to be reckoned with for next season.
Justin would like to thank his father John Paul for maintaining the car for him all year, and his sponsors M&R Motors Shrule and West Tyre Ballinrobe.