1970 DMC Parkanaur Driving Test

A fine array of test talent. Can you name them?


This report and pictures by Ester Crawford first appeared in MotorWeek dated 28 May 1970.

ROBERT WOODSIDE is without any doubt the “King” of British test drivers. Anyone who has any misgivings on that score should have been present at Parkanaur last Friday evening.

Here in the fourth of the Ulster Driving Test Championship organised by Dungannon Motor Club he drove his VW1500 to an overall win and beat the cream of Ireland’s best drivers all of whom were driving much more suitable machinery. Second was Harold Hagan in his usual MG Midget and third was Derek Boyd who borrowed the Woodside Beach Buggy for the evening and obviously found it to his liking.

Due to the generosity of Rev. Gerry Eakins, Dungannon Motor Club once again had the use of the Parkanaur Estate near Castlecaulfield for this event and although there were only two test sites they were able to lay out eight interesting tests. Four of these were of the tight-ish cross-roads nature and the other four were much more open and fast.


Test one involved three reverse throws at a very narrow cross-roads and despite the fact that his VW seemed almost to fill the road it was Robert Woodside who was fastest with 30.8 followed by Ian Woodside (MG Midget) and Roger Cree (A.H. Sprite) on 31.6, and Ronnie Mullen (G.P. Beach Buggy) with 31.8.

Charlie Irwin successfully achieved a job which had defeated club officials up to that point. A crowd of onlookers had insisted on standing right on the edge of the test site and would not be moved. However after Charlie had lost his Cooper in reverse and shot over the grass verge at a considerable rate of knots there was no more trouble from that quarter. Also notable was the return of Billy Morrison too, competition wearing the most gorgeous pair of shiny patent leather driving shoes!

The Maharishi of Annaghmore with a problem.

Test two was held in the front of Parkanaur House and in the wide open spaces it was Cree fastest but only by a tenth of a second from Charles Crawford (MG Midget) and Ronnie Mullen with Woodside a second slower.

Test three was a repeat of the first test and this time it was the Mullen Buggy which set the pace just a fifth fastest than the Woodside brothers and Derek Boyd who was showing good form in the Beach Buggy he had borrowed from Robert Woodside, although “the ingress of flies through the hood had troubled Mrs. B on the way down the motorway.

Indeed, hoardes of “midgies” kept everyone on the move all evening and even Billy Orr’s most persuasive talking could do nothing to make them go away.


It was the turn of Harold Hagan to take the honours in test four by just over a second from Robert Woodside with Charlie Irwin next. Then for the second time in his test career Derek Boyd achieved his ambition.  He beat the “King” in a test! This was in test five which he won from Ken Irwin and Charlie Irwin. The Midget of Crawford was not so far behind. Here Dermot Carnegie’s run came to an end with the Mini’s gearbox stuck in reverse while Lee Lucas made a rare mistake and clouted a marker. Ian Woodside did this test in Crawford’s car after his-soyvin had stripped reverse gear in test five—for the second time in as many months.

At this point, Ronnie McCartney arrived on the scene after rushing down from Belfast in a borrowed Mini but he was a bit late as half the test had been dismantled and he contented himself with doing a couple of tests. Hagan won the penultimate test from Robert Woodside and Charlie Irwin. By this time the considerable hold-ups at the restricted number of test sites was beginning to have their effect and as the cars came round to tackle the last test it was quite dark.

However, everyone got through it successfully with Woodside (R.J.) finishing off his evening’s work with another FTD with Crawford, Boyd, Irwin and Cree next.  Ken Shields finished off a rather unhappy evening by hitting a marker.

Frank Lenehan and Dermot Carnegie work out the correct approach.

While competitors, friends (and the Press!) enjoyed an excellent supper laid on by the Dungannon ladies, the results team got to work and in a short space of time these were available showing Robert Woodside the winner from Hagan and Boyd. The leaderboard was completed by Ronnie Mullen, Roger Cree and Charles Crawford.


  1. R. J. Woodside (VW1500) 301.6 marks lost;
  2. W. H. Hagan (MG Midget) 303.9;
  3. D. D. Boyd (GP Beach Buggy) 305.5;
  4. R. Mullen (GP Beach Buggy) 306.2;
  5. G. R. Cree (A.H. Sprite) 308.7;
  6. C. S. Crawford (MG Midget) 308.9;
  7. C. Irwin (BMC Cooper) 312.9;
  8. I. Woodside (MG Midget) 316.8;
  9. K. Irwin (BMC Cooper) 316.9:
  10. W. D. C. Grant (BMC Cooper S) 325.3.


After four rounds, the leading positions in the Ulster Driving Test Championship are as follows:

  1. W. H. Hagan 33 points;
  2. G. R. Cree 28;
  3. = D Carnegie 17;
  4. = I. Woodside 17;
  5. = C. S. Crawford 16;
  6. = W. D. C. Grant 16;
  7. R. J. Woodside 15;
  8. C. Irwin 9.

The next round will be at Killadeas, organised by Enniskillen Motor Club.