1962 Sport in the South

Brian Kehoe takes his Volkswagen past a start/finish in a huge drift.


This column was published in Ulster Motorist, August 1962

LAST month was rather lacklustre in Southern Sport. This is not an implied criticism of any club or any event in particular, rather it is an indication that, perhaps, we should have a “holiday period” each year with nothing more serious than the customary veteran runs. The winter and its rallying ends on a high note with the Circuit of Ireland, then we start nattering about the speed season, it arrives, and we start dashing up hills while thinking about the Park and Dunboyne. Then this hill-dashing seems pall. Or, at least it palls except for a few dedicated dashers who seem to be able to preserve their enthusiasm, thanks perhaps to Athole Harrison’s methodical compiling and reporting of the Sexton Trophy points and placings. In a word, we have too many bloomin’ hillclimbs and not enough racing every summer.

BOWMAKERS did Limerick Club handsomely for the Circuit of Munster but a little bird tells us that sponsorship didn’t necessarily improve The event. What a pity that outside help is becoming so necessary. Many things have happened to bring it along. First, of course, is the rising cost of competition. It is becoming harder and harder to find the money to run events as well as to compete in them. Perhaps one answer to this would be a rational re-assessment of entry fees, membership subscriptions, etc., etc.

Charlie Gunn does a “bucking bronco” act with his Mark 1 Sprite in the Carrick-on-Suir Autocross. Photo Brian Foley.

Money has halved in value since the war, but Motor Sport continues fo try to function at pre-war rates. Again, competitors must be starting to realise that the Sport is a rich man’s hobby. Efforts by enthusiasts to overcome this obstacle have led to “works” sponsoring of individuals. This, more than anything else, can, and will, kill the sport. Sponsors want a return for their money and WHAT one drives rather than WHY one drives suddenly becomes important. You get the ridiculous situation at some little no-account Saturday afternoon cross-roads jazz where it seems important to the participants whether their particular marque of jug-box built in Bechistan can beat the other fellow’s brand of pressure-cooker designed in Derrynasaggart: This, frankly, is not “sport.”

However, back to the Circuit of Munster. 54 entries, 32 starters, 19 of them from Dublin where the actual control location was never quite clarified and where the starters more or less started themselves. The rest left Limerick. All joined up outside Roscrea near Moneygall and did a test rough and “uphill.” Then came a little-men-with-hammers-section and Sheila O’Clery (being navigated by Viv Bryan) bent the parapet of a bridge, fortunately (and thanks to safety belts) without damage to themselves.

Many crews were caught in this section but the fact that one check near Silvermines (Coneen Hill) was unmanned allowed all those who approached it from the wrong direction to sin unseen. Two more navigation sections near Tipperary caused few headaches but bad road surfaces caused misgivings. Noel Smith lost his road book – went back 19 miles AND got it. Lucky Mr. Smith!

Rough roads and a rough section near Millstreet caught most of the entry and more than one crew visited farmyards. Then the prominent member of the promoting club baulked about six other crews when he found himself and two navigators beyond the load capacity of his OHV heckmotor on a steep hill. No names. No recriminations!

Then came a rough night in Killarney. The parc wasn’t ferme and on Monday morning some competitors started up hot engines! However, lets not criticise, it all goes to show that Munster is a nice easy-going event. (We haven’t enough easy-going, do-if-for-the-fun-of-it and to-hell-with-the-results events nowadays.)

Adrian Boyd in his Sebring Sprite missed out on the top award at the Circuit of Munster, but held on to take second place. Photo ECP

Sunday wound its way down through Bantry, Kinsale and Blarney, through the Munster Club’s preserves, too, be it noted Adrian Boyd lost valuable time in one test and probably lost the premier award at that point when he found that a Sebring Sprite is not so good at reversing up a very steep rough hill. Val Baxter lost his wallet while presiding at the test and did some very smart reverse journeying back to the test site afterwards when he noticed the loss. We don’f know if Val found his wallet, but competitors found no Val to preside at a later test which was consequently scrubbed.

When results were announced, Ronnie McCartney and Terry Harryman had collected the Premier award, proving once again that these Northern boys are hard fo beat – on home ground or off it!

WHAT else did Munster prove? It proved beyond doubt that this 24 m.p.h. average speed edict issued by R.I.A.C. last year is N.B.G. It forces organisers to pick very rough going which proves nothing except that some (sponsored?) drivers are prepared to hammer their cars where others won’t. So don’t blame Limerick for a rough Circuit of Munster. Blame the R.I.A.C.’s average speed recommendations.

Jack O’Donahue.


Results Overall:

  1. R. J. McCartney/T, Harryman (Okrasa VW), 381.0;
  2. A. Boyd/M. N. Johnston (Sprite), 352.5;
  3. J. Moore/J. Scott (Sprite), 383.3.

Class Results:

Saloons (small):

  1. B. Kenna/L. Breslin (NSU), 398.3;
  2. D. Bradley/J. Cooney (NSU), 407.9;
  3. D. Hogan/S. Cox (Austin), 499.2.

Saloons (large):

  1. R. McCartney/T. Harryman (Okrasa VW) 381.0;
  2. W. B. Kehoe/M. O’Brien (VW), 385.3;
  3. R. J. McSpadden/J. Armstrong (VW), 390.1.


  1. A. Boyd!/M. Johnston (Sprite), 382.8;
  2. J. Moore/J. Scott (Sprite), 383.3;
  3. J. Fildes (M.G.). 447.2.


  1. J. Farragher/H. MacEvoy (VW), 462.1;
  2. J. Ryan/S. Crowley (VW), 472.6;
  3. B. Curran/J. Carroll (NSU), 480.1.

Ladies’ Prize: Miss E. Ingram (Austin), 506.9.

Members’ Prize: T. O’Sul1ivan (VW), 436.6.

Team Prize:

  1. (McSpadden, Boyd, McBurney), 1,169.0;
  2. (McCartney, Bradley, Kenna), 1,182.2;
  3. (O’Connell, O’Sullivan, Moore), 1,229.7.

Navigators’ Prize: J. Cooney (with D. Bradley).