1968 Omagh Autocross

Victor Lecky turned his Mini upside down to achieve this new look.

Article reproduced from Motorweek for week ending 22 August 1968


DESSIE MCCARTNEY has proved without doubt that with his Mini Sports Special he is the season’s most outstanding autocross driver in Northern Ireland.

In the N.I. round of the Player’s No. 6 National Autocross Championship, organised by Omagh Motor Club at Newtownstewart on Saturday, he outpaced the rest of an 85 strong field representing the cream of the country’s talent and must be the best bet for an Ulster win in the National Final at Silverstone in September.

Other class winners at Omagh who will be invited to the final are Will Farren, Strabane (970 Cooper S), Eddie Scott, Omagh (M.G. Midget), Paddy Heron, Draperstown (Ford Anglia), Robb Pollock, Omagh (1293 Cooper S), Robert McBurney, Ballymena (Volkswagen), and Gordon
McBurney, Larne (Ford Prefect).

Tight Course.

For this important event Omagh M.C. went to tremendous trouble and expense to procure a suitable 37 acre site at Vaughan’s Holm, Newtownstewart but unfortunately the 880 yard course was very tight and as the day wore on it cut up very badly into car damaging ruts.

As a result of this, the placings were virtually all decided on the first run while the course was still comparatively smooth.

Nevertheless, an exciting day’s racing was seen, and those “enthusiasts” who went to great lengths to avoid paying half a crown to see the fun may feel they had exceptionally good value when Victor Lecky rolled (not the victory type) his Mini in practice and Tommy Burns repeated this antic on his second timed run.

Biggest Entry.

The biggest entry was in Class 1, with 23 runners, but the 970 Coopers of Will Farren and Ashley Armstrong were out on their own and Farren just got the class by the tiny margin of 0.10 sec. with a time of 2min. 50.74sec. Local man Eddie Scott, having his first go at autocross, won the small sports car class in 2m 04.23s and Ken Carson’s 1498 Ford engined Midget didn’t have much trouble in winning the big sports car class in 2m 01.27s as it was the only starter!

Dessie McCartney also had no opposition in his class but as usual he went for an outright win and his time of 2m 36.07s was never challenged.

The nearest to this was Robb Pollock’s 2m 39.50s in winning the 1000—1300 c.c. FWD saloon class which contained a very good entry of Coopers and Ronnie McCartney had to be content
with second place in 2m 41.54s.

Out of luck was Ronnie White whose Cooper lost its oil pressure on the way to the start and John McClean had trouble with his car jumping out of gear.

There was another good entry in the rear-engined class where Robert McBurney reigned supreme with his Porsche-engined VW covering the course in 2-47.49. Jackie Murray, another VW-Porsche exponent, was second in 2—53.14 after Reggie McSpadden had lost his chance by spinning in yet another VW. Gordon McBurney’s staid looking but very rapid G.T.-engined Ford Prefect was a good winner of the last class for over 1200 c.c. front engined RWD saloons and with 2—52.68 was faster than such potent machinery as Derek Boyd’s Lotus-Cortina who was having some battery trouble – as usual! “C.B.” Curley was a disappointing retirement on the first run when the differential of his Lotus gave up.

To round off the day there was an entirely unofficial run for the eight fastest cars in which Dessie McCartney, Ronnie McCartney and Robert McBurney tied for the fastest time in 3-07.3 – showing just how much slower the course had become.


Class 1-F.W.D. Saloon up to 1000 c.c.

  1. W. Farren (970 BMC Cooper) 2 min. 50.74 sec.;
  2. A. Armstrong (999 BMC Cooper) 2-50.84
  3. 3, E. Hobson (848 Mini) 3-00.00.

Class 2-Sports Cars up to 1300 c.c.

  1. E. Scott (1275 M.G. Midget) 2-54.23
  2. M. de St. Mike (1098 Sprite) 3-06.04.

Class 3 – R.W.D. Front-engined saloons up to 1300 c.c.

  1. P. J. Heron (997 Anglia) 3-09.00;
  2. S. Kearney (1200 Anglia) 3-15.19.

Class 4-Specials.

  1. D. McCartney (1293 Mini Sports Special) 2-37.07

Class 5 — F.W.D. Saloons over 1000 c.c.

  1. R. Pollock (1293 B.M.C. Cooper) 2-39.50;
  2. R. J. McCartney (1293 B.M.C. Cooper) 2-41.54;
  3. A. Irwin (1098 B.M.C. Cooper) 2-47.43.

Class 6-Sports Cars over 1300 c.c.

  1. K. G. Carson (1498 M.G. Midget) 2-51.27
    (only starter).

Class 7 – Rear engined R.W.D. Saloon Cars

  1. R. D. G. McBurney (1584 VW-Porsche) 2-47.49;
  2. J. Murray (VW 1600) 2-53.14;
  3. J. H. McSpadden (VW 1580) 2-55.97.

Class 8 – R.W.D. Front engined saloons over 1300c.c.

  1. G. McBurney (1498 Ford Prefect) 2-52.68;
  2. D. D. Boyd (1558 Cortina Lotus) 2-56.21;
  3. M. J. Martin (1650 Cortina G.T.) 2-58.64.