New Hillclimb Marshalls Club sponsored by Frank Byrnes Autobody Repairs
Motorsport enthusiasts and car owners from the Connaught region, involved in the Hill Climb and Sprint events this year, gathered for the first of the pre-season scrutiny events, hosted by Frank Byrnes Autobody Repair in Oranmore. The 2016 champion Joe Courtney from Dunmore flying the flag for Galway is a hot favourite again this year. With the Naylor Engineering Hillclimb and Sprint Championships kicking off in County Galway next weekend, the start of fourteen rounds at eight venues nationwide. The 2017 Motorsport Ireland Championship kicks off at the famous “Corkscrew” Hill in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare on Saturday April 22nd, followed by Ballinalacken Hill, Fanore on Sunday 23rd April.
The national committee introduced the pre-season scrutiny last year as part of their ongoing development of the sports to constantly improve all standards, in particular safety. There was a great buzz with scrutineers Jason Keogh and Pat Shiel giving their advice and a constant stream of cars of all shapes and sizes rolling in all day. ‘With safety always being paramount and our number one priority, we strive to bring the safest event venues possible and also to ensure that the competition cars are of the highest standard in terms of maintenance and repair,’ said Rory Stephens, Chairman of Hillclimb & Sprint Committee. A new Hillclimb Marshall’s Club is being established for 2017 with sponsorship from Frank Byrnes Autobody Repairs, Oranmore.
Led by Jamie O’Rourke from Limerick, winner of Marshall of the Year 2016, training will be provided to the voluntary team of marshalls. ‘The role of the hillclimb marshall is key to running a successful event. Competitors who are driving at high speed uphill depend on the dedicated flag marshalls to communicate instantly if there’s an obstruction or collision on the hill or a car ahead that has broken down, it is crucial that they are well-trained and alert at all times. This new club will add to the safety and smooth running of the championship throughout the country.’
With many drivers tweaking and modifying their hillclimb cars to improve them for 2017, and a number of new builds due out on the hills the pre-season scrutiny gave car owners the opportunity to have their cars checked out well in advance of the race days. Car owners had their cars checked in detail and discussed various aspects of safety and assembly with experienced scrutineers without the pressure of failing scrutiny at an event. The scrutineers were also on hand to answer questions on class/award eligibility, roll cage design and crash structure design. Catering for car owners in the East, John Linane Motors hosted the second pre-season scrutiny day in Rathnew, Co. Wicklow.
Frank Byrnes of Oranmore has been a long time participant and supporter of this Motorsport Ireland championship, he holds the title of Irish Hillclimb Champion 2001, 2002 and 2006 and is the only person from the Republic of Ireland to have won the Northern Ireland Hill Climb Championship (2007 and was runner-up in 2009). Frank has been acknowledged locally at the County Galway Sports Star Awards for Motorsports in 2001, 2002 and 2007. He was the recipient of the Galway Bay FM Sports Star Award for Motorsport in 2002 and won the title of Galway Motorsport Champion 2001, 2002 and 2007. Frank Byrnes Autobody Repairs ranks in the SIMI top three expert crash repair businesses in Ireland, promising excellent customer experience and cutting edge technology.