At the launch of the Westmeath and District Motor Club hillclimb were (from left) Shane Bell (club chairman and competitor), Declan Tansey (club treasurer), and Peter McKinley, competitor.

Glenidan hills will echo to sounds of racing engines

The hills of Glenidan and Collinstown will be echoing to the sounds of racing engines on Sunday March 12 next when Westmeath and District Motor Club host a hillclimb there.

The event was launched at Doyne’s of Glenidan on Saturday week last, when around 60 people, competitors, organisers and fans, attended.

Included among them was Tommy Gardiner, who brought his Honda Civic, and Peter McKinley, father of the late Simon from north County Dublin, who was the nearest thing Irish hillclimbing has had to a superstar.

Peter brought along the family MkII Escort, a car that would be well known among motorsport enthusiasts (if you like club motorsport, search ‘Simon McKinley on YouTube and you will find footage depicting masterful displays of committed driving).

That fact that there was a strong attendance at the launch augers well for the event in March, and Georgie Bell, club PRO, said the organising team are optimistic they will get a good entry.

Georgie is one of a number of members of the Westmeath and District Motor Club who will be taking part; his competition car is a Honda Civic 1600cc. Shane Bell, club chairman, is taking part in his Subaru Impreza.

The March 12 hillclimb is being run as a one-day event, and if it goes well and meets the approval of the authorities, the club will get a slot in the national hillclimb championship for a two-day event next year.

Georgie said the drivers will start the day with a briefing, then complete a practice run on the course. “The aim then is to get three timed runs in the day and it’s your fastest run that counts.

"We have a return road, and that works a lot better, because when you complete your run, you go straight back to the paddock – you’re not hanging around at the top of the hill, waiting for everyone to complete their runs and then all going back down together.”

Georgie said the club would welcome people, including those not familiar with motorsport, to visit on race day. He said the paddock (on the road to Dromone) is open and spectators are welcome to wander around, enjoy the atmosphere, and chat to the competitors. He said arriving from the Fore side is probably best for ease of access.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to help as a marshal or in another capacity should contact Darren Moore on 087 953 5184.

Georgie thanked Doynes for hosting the launch, and expressed the gratitude of the club to: main sponsors – Bell Homes, Buckley’s SuperValu, Machinery Warehouse, Makool Refrigeration, Tech360, Lough Owel Motors, and Pack and Pallet. The class sponsors are Thin Stone, Casey Coatings, Mullingar Plumbing Supplies, Pollard Karting, Noel Doyne, Sean Dolan, Aira Technology, KDS, and Gardiner Plant.

Westmeath and District Motor Club on Facebook

Map of the hillclimb course - see below for details.