This report is reproduced from Motorweek 31 May 1969
Report and Pictures by Unknown.
ROGER CREE DOMINATES UAC SLALOM
Last Saturday the Ulster Automobile Club ran the 1969 version of their annual ORMEAU Park Slalom, an event which always provides something of a change from the usual run of the mill rally, autocross or driving test meetings.
Basically this Slalom, which is quite a bit different from the Continental type, is a cross between a Sprint and a very long driving test, all of it being tackled in a forwards direction — for most people anyway. Although perhaps a little on the narrow side, the Ormeau Park course is a very interesting one. About half a mile in length, it consists of 10 approximately 90-degree corners linked by shortish straights with a clockwise loop of a bandstand thrown in for good measure. Using his driving test prowess to the maximum. Roger Cree dominated the proceeding to score a clear cut victory in his 1300 Sprite.
As this was a speed event, a practice session was held in the morning so that the 40 competitors could familiarise themselves with the circuit. Despite the fact that several people were still licking their Texaco wounds, and a couple were out in the middle of the Irish Sea (not literally) on the Manx Trophy Rally, the entry was quite a good one with a number of the sports ‘names’ present, although neither Lee Lucas Viva G.T. nor the Scott brothers Eddie and Erie (M.G.Midgets) turned up.
As it turned out, practice was a rather damp, slippery affair with numerous people collecting the course marking cans or having excursions on to the grass. Cree showed that he was the man to beat with some very neat driving although David Grant (1293 S) was not very far behind him. Ronnie White, who had got the front end of his 1293 ‘S‘ sorted out after his ‘Texaco shunt’, found that ‘Racers‘ weren’t the answer on this kind of surface, but his time was to come later in the day when things dried out considerably.
In fact, almost immediately practising was over, the sun came out and apart from a few muddy patches, the course was soon in near perfect condition. After lunch, the official runs got off to a prompt start at 2.30 p.m. with the Mini brigade first to perform in front of quite a sizeable crowd. Unfortunately for John Wilson (848 Mini) he was the only runner in his class and he found himself thrown in with all the Coopers, and Mike Ford-Hutchinson,, who is making a welcome return to motorsport after a brief lay-off, made the early running in his English registered, and probably lightened, 1293 S with a time of 71.6 secs which showed by just how much the practice times were going to be beaten. David Grant equalled Mike’s time almost immediately but Ronnie White was surprisingly slow, his time of 74.0 secs suggesting an excursion somewhere. Mike Adams took his Triumph 1300 round quite sharply but his three markers had incurred a 15 secs penalty – 5 secs per can.
Classes 4 and 5 for the different engine sizes of rear-engined cars were both undersubscribed and were therefore amalgamated and here it was Peter McConnell who set the pace in 71.8 secs in his rapid 998 Rallye Imp, 1.2 secs ahead of his nearest class challenger, Bobby Curran, (1600 Beetle). The orthodox drive cars came next and this resulted in a really varied selection of machinery with Escort TCs, Cortinas, and Anglias.
Terry Harryman had a very slow first run due to an inlet manifold breaking on his NSU TTS but some hasty work between runs with a spring, length of wire and some masking tape got things back to something like normal and his second run in 71.6 secs was just good enough to give him the class win from McConnell and Curran. In the other saloon class Dennis McKeag got his time down to 73.6 but this still wasn‘t quick enough to better Hill Scott’s 72.8 which he repeated on his second run.
Ken Shields surprised a lot of people when he recorded 71 secs dead in his Viva G.T., but unfortunately he too had touched a marker – a rare thing for Ken. Tom Murphy improved on his first time by 0.6 secs in his latest acquisition, a Willment Savage (a Cortina with a 3-litre V6 motor). Dennis McKeag was the early pacemaker here in his quick Escort TC in 74.8secs but this didn‘t last long as similarly equipped Hill Scott took two seconds off this with a very neat run. Ken Shields put in a very nice second run in his Viva GT for a time of 73.8 secs, this being equalled soon after by Murphy in the Savage so that the eventual Class order was Scott, Murphy and McKeag.
The sports cars were next, and Brian Mitchell took his 1300 Midget round in a very good 71.8 secs., a time which surprisingly gave him the class lead alter the first runs. The reason for this was that Cree had collected a can, although his time of 68.6 secs was nearly three seconds faster than anyone else.
Of the 4 ladies competing, Isobel Thompson was quickest by 3 secs with a second run in 76.6 in her Sunbeam Imp.
CAN FOR CREE
After a short delay to give everyone a bit of a breather, the second runs got under way with competitors running in the same order. Ford Hutchinson tried just a little too hard to beat his earlier time and was a fifth of a second slower and hit a marker.
Aubrey O‘Hara )1293 ‘S’) also tried just a little too hard and a spin resulted in a much slower time than his earlier 73.8 secs. David Grant however, motored very nicely in contrast to his antics during practice, and reduced his time by a second to take over the lead. This lasted only a minute or so as Ronnie White extracted everything he could from his ‘S’ and brought the time down to 70.4 seconds to win the class from Grant and Ford-Hutchinson.
In the rear-engined class, Peter McConnell looked to have things all sewn up. Possibly feeling this himself, Peter had a bit of a ‘throw’ but unfortunately he clobbered a marker only feet from the finish line and so gained nothing, his time also being slightly slower. Bobby Curran could only equal his first time of 73.0 secs while Reggie McSpadden couldn’t
And so to the sports cars again. Brian Mitchell clipped a fifth of a second off his earlier time but he too argued with the ‘tinware‘ and incurred a 5-second penalty. Cree however, made no mistakes this time and scorched round to repeat his first run of 68.6secs to win both his class and overall quite comfortably. Mitchell took second place in the class while Fred Bell drove his Triumph GT6 very well indeed to take third place in the class with a second run of 72.6 secs.
As the whole thing had been run off very slickly, there was a bit of time to spare and anybody who wanted could have a third run which didn‘t count in the results. No times are known for these runs but hairy motoring was witnessed. Immediately after this most of the awards were presented in little ceremony in the finish area, this bringing a very enjoyable afternoon sport to a fitting close.
- G. R. Creee (1275 Sprite) 68.6 secs;
- R. White (1293 ‘S’) 70.4 secs;
- W. D. C. Grant (1293 ‘S’) 70.6 secs;
- =M. Ford-Hutchinson (1293 ‘S’) 71.6 secs;
- =T. A. Harryman (NSU TTS) 71.6 secs;
- =P. G. McConnell (998 Rallye Imp) 71.8 secs;
- =B. Mitchell (1275 Sprite) 71.8 secs.
Front-wheel drive Saloons:
- R. White;
- D. Grant;
- R. Curren (1600 Beetle) 73.0secs:
- W. H. Scott (Escort TC) 72.8 secs:
- T. Murphy (Willment Savage) 73.2 secs:
- D. McKeag (Escort TC) 73.6 secs:
- R. Cree;
- R. E. Bell (Triumph GT6) 72.6 secs;
- Mrs. Isobel Thompson (Sunbeam Imp) 76.6 secs.