1970 Mid-Antrim Autocross

FTD went to Roy McBurney in the family Beach Buggy.

McBurney Tops at Shankbridge

This report and pictures by Ester Crawford appeared in MotorWeek on 30 July 1970.

Last Saturday is Mid-Antrim autocross at Shankbridge near Kells had the double distinction of counting both for the Ulster Autocross Championship and the Players Number Six championship. Because of this, it attracted a reasonably good entry of 40 cars in a season when autocross seems to be very much in the doldrums. The course was much the same as that used earlier in the year, being short and tight. Neat rather than enthusiastic driving was at a premium as marker flags were very easy to collect.

One of the few people who did manage to avoid hitting anything on at least one run was Roy McBurney, and as a result was a somewhat surprising recipient of Fastest Time of the Day in his Porsche powered Beach Buggy.  Hot favourite, Ronnie White, had a bad day in his very functional Cooper S and after marker penalties on both runs, finished well down the field. 

Mike de St. Paer gets the Sprite a bit sideways.

White was out in the first heat of the afternoon and set the pace with 1 minute 46.0 seconds, but a marker penalty brought this up to 1 minute 51.0 seconds.  Roy McBurney did 1 minute 53.6 seconds in his second car, the Porschewagon, but brother-in-law, Brian Rowan had a spin in the beach buggy.  

In the next heat, Malcolm Boyd took the lead with an penalised 1 minute 48.6 seconds in his Cooper S, but the 1 minute 49.0 of Hubert Smith’s 999 Cooper was an exceptionally good time.  After apparently getting over his nuptials successfully, Dessie McCartney made a welcome return to competition and managed 1 minute 49.2 seconds in Kevin McDonnell’s Mini special.  Jack Kyle continued the good form he has shown at Eagles Rock with 1 minute 46.3 seconds in his 1293 Cooper  S in a rerun, after being baulked, but had to add a 5 second marker penalty to this.

Dessie McCartney made one of his rare appearances in the Kevin McDonnell Mini Special.

M. McBride created a bit of a diversion at this point but almost inverting has tatty wheel-tramping Anglia but returned safely to all four wheels. Tommy Murry’s buggy did not seem to be handling at all well and could only manage 1 minute 53.6 seconds.

Roy McBurney, then got his buggy, motoring, nice sunny despite a bit of trouble trouble and did what was to be the winning run in 1 minute 46.8.

A very good effort was that of Ronnie Wilson who flung the ex-McCartney “Cawoods” Cooper S who beat White’s time of 1 minute 44.6, but unfortunately collected a flag in the process. Michael McCrory looked like running Hubert Smith close in the class placings with 1minute 49.8 in the Ron Patton Minisprint which was having its last outing before being sold.  

On a course which definitely suited cars with the power unit over the driven wheels, the best “conventional time” went to Jimmy Boville’s Escort Twin Cam with 1 minute 59.8, during a rerun on which he suffered considerable embarrassment from Peter Shannon’s Cooper-engined Mini Estate.

Billy Lennox Beetle driving.

On the second run, Ronnie White had a real go at retrieving the situation and recorded 1 minute 45.0, but also took two markers with him, as well as nearly rolling, so he was well out of the running and here was a big chance for the lesser lights!  Malcolm Boyd was consistent with a run only 0.2 seconds slower than his first effort, but one minute 48.4 was not good enough to put him in the lead. 

Hubert Smith was also a bit slower with 1 minute 50.5, but Dessie McCartney speeded up to 1 minute 48.4, putting himself in second place behind McBurney.  Among the other fancied runners, Jack Kyle was slower with one minute 53.2, but Ronnie Wilson got round without touching anything in 1 minute 47.2 to move ahead of McCartney, but still behind McBurney.

Keeping close company are William Elliot (Midget) and Jimmy Bovill (Escort TC) on a right-hander.

McBurney himself collected a flag on his second run and was much slower, but this of course did not affect his position.  Nobody else managed anything spectacular and so Roy McBurney run out a convincing winner with Ronnie Wilson second, and Dessie McCartney third.

Results – Overall Classification:

  1. R. McBurney (GP Beach Buggy) 1m 46.8s;
  2. R. Wilson (1293 Cooper S) 1m 47.2s;
  3. D. McCartney (1293 Mini Special) 1m 48.4;
  4. M. Boyd (1293 Cooper S) 1m 48.6s;
  5. H. Smith (999 Cooper S) 1m 49.0s;
  6. M. McCrory (999 Minisprint) 1m 49.8;
  7. R. White (1330 Cooper S) 1m 51.0;
  8. R. J. Kyle (1293 Cooper S) 1m 51.2s;
  9. G. McCallister (999 Cooper) 1m 52.2s;
  10. Dermot Boyd (1293 Cooper S) 1m 52.5.

Class Winners:

R. McBurney (VW) 1m 53.6s;  H. Smith (999 Cooper S) 1m 49.0s;  Mike De St Paer (AH Sprite) 1m 57.0); R. McBurney (GP Beach Buggy) 1m 46.8s;  R. Wilson (1293 Cooper S) 1m 47.2s.