1969 Mid-Antrim Tests

Photo: Esler Crawford
In the interest of medical science we reproduce this picture of the entrails of a Beach Buggy. Squeamish readers will be issued with brown paper bags at the Motorweek office. Exhibition courtesy of Robert Woodside.

Article reproduced from Motorweek 10 May 1969.


Report and pictures by ESLER CRAWFORD

The King has returned. Since he gave the Beach Buggy its driving test debut at Christmas and won three events in four appearances Robert Woodside has not been seen in action and has missed the first two rounds of the Ulster Driving Test Championship for the Hopkirk Trophy.

Playing the numbers game is Harold Hagan.

However, last Saturday he decided that the rain might hold off for the afternoon and took the Buggy to the third round, organised by Mid-Antrim Motor Club at Toome Airfield, and demolished the opposition to win by 11.6 seconds.

In second place was 1968 Champion Roger Cree who has otherwise had a bad start to the season and third was Cree’s arch-rival Harold Hagan – both driving Spridgets. There was yet another Spridget in fourth place – this time Ken Irwin, who had one of his most successful drives to date.


A very welcome face in fifth place was that of Adrian Boyd who hasn’t been seen in tests for nearly two years. He shared Maurice Johnston’s Buggy and was so impressed that he now intends to build one for himself.

Adrian Boyd, Maurice Johnston, Derek Boyd and Derek Johnston.

It was a bad day for the Cooper S exponents. Ronnie McCartney, winner of the first two rounds, didn’t seem to be at his best and with a couple of line faults could only take sixth place. Charlie Irwin also had a bad day and was away back in 13th place.

Ronnie Mullan and Ted Hobson get together for a bit of brow-furrowing.

Ian Woodside put up some very good times in his Midget and looked all set for second place when a failure in the penultimate test dropped him right back. Ronnie Mullen was right out of luck when his Cooper suffered transmission failure at the half-way mark.


Thirty-five cars turned up at Toome where six tests, two to be attempted twice, were laid out on the smooth tarmac. But eventually, due to a shortage of marshals, one of the tests was scrubbed and this left ten. The truth to tell these were not terribly interesting – it is difficult to design good tests on a featureless airfield – and involved an awful lot of circling pylons.

Roger Cree is not being rude, he always drives like that.

In the first test, Cree got off to a good start with 25.2secs followed by Ian Woodside, 0.8 slower. However, Robert Woodside got the Buggy into its stride in test two and was 0.6 faster than his brother while McCartney had a 10-second penalty. Cree then struck back in test three and was 0.2 faster than “R.J.” Woodside. In test four it was Woodside again beating his brother by 0.2 and he finished off the first half by winning the last test by no less than 1.8 seconds, again from Ian.

Beatty Crawford is just about to offer some advice to the photographer along the ,ines of “get lost”, while Ronnie Trouton and Robert McBurney look on.

At this point Robert Woodside was leading with a loss of 121.4 followed by Ian Woodside with 124.4 and Cree third, a mark further behind. On the second lap, it was a story of complete Woodside domination with Ian winning the first test and Robert setting a string of easy F.T.D.’s in the last four tests to win as he pleased.


  1. R. J. Woodside (G.P. Beach Buggy) 240.0;
  2. G. R. Cree (A.H.Sprite) 251.6;
  3. W. H. Hagan (M.G.Midget)257.8;
  4. K. Irwin (M.G.Midget) 260.6;
  5. A. J. L. Boyd (G.P. Beach Buggy) 266.0;
  6. R. J. McCartney (BMC Cooper S) 271.2;
  7. W. D. C. Grant (BMC Cooper S) 273.0;
  8. D. D. Boyd (VW 1500) 273.4;
  9. =E. Hobson (Mini) 257.2;
  10. =C. Crawford (M.G.Midget) 275.2;
  11. E. A. Lucas (Viva G.T.) 276.8;
  12. W. K. Shields (VW 1500) 280.6.
Ronnie McCartney in characteristic pose on his way to sixth place overall, and retaining his lead in the championship.

Championship positions after Mid-Antrim.

Positions in the Ulster Driving Test Championship for the Hopkirk Trophy are as follows:

  1. Ronnie McCartney (BMC Cooper S) 24 points;
  2. David Grant (BMC Cooper S) 16;
  3. Harold Hagan (M.G.Midget) 15;
  4. Charles Irwin (BMC Cooper) 13;
  5. Ron Mullen (BMC Cooper S) 11;
  6. Robert Woodside (GP Beach Buggy) 10;
  7. =Ken Irwin (MG Midget) 8;
  8. =Roger Cree (A.H.Sprite) 8;
  9. Ken Shields (VW) 6.
David Grant about to hit his Cooper S with a large joiner’s hammer.

Thanks to Ronnie Nesbitt for the copy of Motorweek.