It’s Ian Woodside by a Whisker at Newry
This report is reproduced from MOTORWEEK dated May 9, 1970.
20 runners is not a large entry by championship autotest standards but when this includes virtually every driver of ability in the country, then it’s a good entry.
This was the set-up for the third round of the Ulster autotest championship organised by Newry motor club at Maghaberry (instead of their more usual Cranfield venue) last Saturday and it resulted in one of the most closely contested test meetings for a long time.
Right up to the last test the issue was in doubt and it was only by beating Roger Cree (Sprite) by 0.6 seconds on this test that Ian Woodside (Midget) emerged the winner by 0.2 seconds.
Third was Harold Hagan, a further 2.2 seconds away, followed by David Grant another 1.6 seconds behind. Fifth was Robert Woodside and sixth Dermot Carnegie.
Unfortunately at the time of writing the rest of the placings are not known as Dermot Carnegie, thinking that the officials had left the results behind them by mistake after the event, took them with him to Dublin for safekeeping! However they are on their way back and should be available before going to press.
Ian Woodside got off to a good start with 48.9 in the first test with Cree taking 49.8 and Albert Lucas doing a very neat 50.0 in his Mini. Harold Hagan got quite a fright here when the test official gave him a “Fail”. This was obviously not the case and after some discussions, in which other competitors testified for Hagen, the matter was put to rights.
Ray Murphy, who along with Frank Lenehan and Carnegie has come up to all championship events this season, really did incur a “Fail” when the engine quit in the middle of the test.
Derek Boyd, resplendent in a new duncher, also got a “Fail” and at the end of the day proudly proclaimed that he had done something wrong in every test!
In test two David Grant recorded 28.0, but considering that the next best time – that of Cree – was 34.0, and Grant himself took 36.4 on his second attempt, one can be fairly sure that the timing arrangements went a little awry here.
If Grant had lock on her side, then Albert Lucas redeemed the balance by clouting three pylons.
In test three Ian Woodside and Ronnie McCartney shared FTD with 30.2, with Robert Woodside next on 30.6. McCartney was driving Jim Greenwood’s quick Cooper S for the day but he did not appear to be happy at his work – for a change – while Woodside was getting used to Beetle motoring again and was finding Reggie McSpadden’s rally-wagon had plenty of poke but was a little bit short on handling.
It was the turn of Hagan to take the honours on test four from Cree and Carnegie, and then on test five the order was Robert Woodside, Ronnie McCartney, and Ian Woodside. Thus, at the halfway mark, there had been the greatest possible variety of names taking the fastest times but it was Cree in the lead from Ian Woodside with 171.6 vs. 173.6. Grant was third, Robert Woodside fourth and Harold Hagan fifth.
The second lap started off with a new name on the leaderboard with Ron Mullen (GP beach buggy) winning the first test, followed by Robert Woodside and then Grant. In test seven Ian Woodside and Hagan shared FTD with yet another midget – this time Ken Irwin’s – taking third place.
Irwin was sharing his car with John Lyons who was obviously not too happy with rear wheel drive and was making all sorts of boobs. However, he has just bought Irwin’s car and should resume his upward progress very quickly.
In test eight there was another suspiciously fast time when Ken Shields’ VW took only 25.0 while Hagan, Carnegie and Cree all required 30.0.
Robert Woodside was now getting into his stride and took the penultimate test in 28.0 with Ian Woodside, Hagan and Cree all on 29.2. At this point Cree still held his lead but Ian Woodside had reduced it to 0.4 of a second, so the final test would be the crucial one.
Woodside was first to try it and recorded 27.0, then young brother took only 25.4 followed by Hagen with 26.8. Cree was right at the end of the field and his task, requiring a time of less than 27.2 to keep his lead, did not look too difficult.
However, his time was announced as 27.6 and thus Ian Woodside was the winner by a fifth of a second the smallest possible margin in a driving test competition! With the best individual second lap score, Hagen pulled up to 3rd while Grant just managed to hold off Robert Woodside by 0.2, with Carnegie sixth.
- Ian Woodside, MG Midget, 347.0 marks lost;
- Roger Cree, AH Sprite, 347.2;
- Harold Hagan, MG Midget, 348.4;
- David Grant, BMC Cooper S, 350.6;
- Robert Woodside, VW1500, 350.8;
- Dermot Carnegie, Mini 1000, 356.6;
- Charles Crawford, MG Midget, 357.2;
- Ron Mullen, GP Beach Buggy, 361.2;
- Ken Irwin, MG Midget, 366.8;
- Albert Lucas, Mini 1000, 377.0;
- Lee Lucas, Vauxhall Viva GT, 384.4;
- Ronnie McCartney, BMC Cooper S, 385.4.