Mooney Shines on Lee Lucas Classic Trial.
Photographer Peter Boyd rolled out of bed in Carlow at 5.30am and within an hour was heading North to Cookstown to cover the Lee Lucas Classic Trial. Even earlier than that, competitors Frank Lenehan and John Nolan were on their way from Dublin to make sure they were in time for technical inspection and documentation at the Glenavon House Hotel, and they joined over thirty other crews lining up at the start of this Reid Engineering sponsored event. In just two years, this event has become a favourite on the calendars of club level competitors.
The Autotest Drivers Club had devised a system to split the competitors into two groups, and have different starting points for Group 1 and Group 2. This would allow the event to move more smoothly during the day, although results would be a bit more challenging to calculate. Nevertheless, with the sun shining and the tops down on the sportscars, six tests at different locations were on the agenda to be done three times, and Robert Woodside Senior led his Group away towards Moneymore in his beautiful VW Beetle. Dubliner Frank Lenehan, partnered by Ballyclare’s Olwen Blair, led the other Group in the direction of Loughry College, where two tests would be run.
Crews were permitted to walk through the tests on the first lap, but thereafter would be expected to perform the test on arrival. This is quite a challenge for drivers and they have to rely on the co-driver to assist in taking the correct route. On the first lap of tests, many competitors made errors and incurred heavy penalties, including Ashley Lamont and James Wilson, both considered candidates for overall victory.
After tests 1 to 6 were completed, Robert Woodside Junior and Bruce Drummond were in the lead in their MX5, just ahead of James Wilson and Britney Wilson in their Cooper S, recovering after an error on the Ferguson’s Yard Test. Frank Lenehan and Olwen Blair were third in their Toyota Starlet, and in fourth place was the eventual winners of the Trial, Paul Mooney and Lorraine McMorrow.
By the time 12 tests had been completed, Paul and Lorraine had moved into the lead, despite two pylon faults on the second lap. Robert Woodside Junior was relegated to second place thanks to a twenty second penalty at the Euro Auto Salvage test, while the ever-consistent Frank Lenehan held on to third place. This would turn out to be the finishing order at the end of all eighteen tests.
On the third loop, Robert Woodside Senior was forced into retirement when one of the wheels on his VW Beetle failed under the pressure of doing tests on dry concrete. Poor Norman Ferguson also suffered a mechanical failure in his Mini Clubman GT when his clutch cried “enough” at one of the Loughry tests.
Sponsors of the event, Reid Engineering (Cookstown), expressed their delight at being associated with the Trial, and all competitors enjoyed the format and the smooth running of the tests. Paul Mooney and Lorraine McMorrow succeeded in bringing the Lee Lucas Trophy back to Tyrone, and photographer Peter Boyd headed back home to Carlow with 905 photographs in the memory card in his camera. A fantastic day of Club level motorsport and big smiles on all faces.
1 P. Mooney / L. McMorrow (Nova) 1081.6
2 R Woodside Jr / B Drummond (MX5) 1093.9
3 F Lenehan / O Blair (Starlet) 1109.8
4 J Nolan / O McDonnell (Starlet) 1110.5
5 A Lamont / G Lamont (MX5) 1124.6
Class 1 – James Wilson / Britney Wilson (Mini Cooper S)
Class 2 – Paul Mooney / Lorraine McMorrow (Nova)
Class 3 – Harold Hassard / Melissa Donaldson (Sunny)
Class 4 – Robert Woodside Jr / Bruce Drummond (MX5)
Class 4A – Wallace McKee / Ben McKee (MX5)
Class 5 – Boo McCurry / Allan Wright (Mini Pick-up)