The Irish National Rallycross Championship is one of the longest standing championships in Irish Motorsport. Irish Champions date back as far as 1982 in the form of Colin Howard, he was followed by many legends of Irish Motorsport such as Kenny McKinstry, John Moloney, Dermot Carnegie, Denis Biggerstaff & Lawrence Gibson to name but a few!
Rallycross is a dynamic, sprint style of racing and is widely regarded as a highly entertaining form of Motorsport. It was originally invented by ABC for Television during the 1960’s in the UK. Rallycross was born in Lydden Hill, Kent when a group of Rally Cars were raced against each other on gravel and asphalt. The event was by Vic Elford in a showroom Porsche 911, the event made for fantastic television and the rest as they say is history.
Rallycross developed initially in central Europe and then blossomed in Scandinavia in the 1980’s. The sport fell into the hearts of all petrol heads when Group B SuperCars were banned from World Rallying. Cars such as the Ford RS200, Metro 6R4, Peugeot 205 T16, Audi Quattro S4 became extinct overnight, the cars were simply too quick. But, as soon as they were banned they quickly found a home in Rallycross and the fire spitting monsters were driven in the 1980’s & 1990’s by European superstars such as Martin Schanche, Matti Alamaki, Per Eklund & Kenneth Hansen. Many Irish Rallycross fans will remember when the European Rallycross Championship visited Mondello Park, just Google “European Rallycross Ireland” and you’ll get a taste of what the most exciting sport in the world has to offer.
Rallycross today is developing into a Global sport as it has now hit America with events such as the “X Games”. In 2011 the Global Rallycross Championship was launched with the view to creating a Championship across Europe, North America and possibly other continents. At present Rallycross is still strongest in the FIA European Rallycross Championship but the rest of the World is quickly taking notice of the sports potential and some European drivers are beginning to also compete on the other side of the Atlantic.
Irish Rallycross Championship
The Irish Rallycross Championship is run as a Winter Championship between October and March. The Championship is currently run by both Co. Kildare & Carlow Motor Clubs over 6 rounds with 5 to count. In an attempt to keep costs down all events this season are being run at Mondello Park, Co. Kildare, traditionally the Championship held one event in the UK.
Events are made up of one practice session, three qualifying heats and if you’re fast enough a C, B or A Final. If a driver wins the C Final, they qualify for the back of the B Final, if they win the B Final they qualify for the A Final and then drivers have an opportunity of an outright event victory. There are normally between 6 and 8 cars in either a heat or final. Races last an average of four minutes so action tends to be fast and furious! Drivers must possess strong skills in racecraft and also have the ability to drive very quickly on both tarmac and loose surfaces. This all results in a Sport made for spectators with quick fire action consisting of over 60 races per day and an average of 80 drivers.
The Irish Championship offers a number of classes in order to appeal to everyone and all forms of budgets.
0-60Mph in 1.9 seconds!
Supercars is the top level of the sport and is where you will find the four-wheel drive, fire breathing monsters for which Rallycross is best known. These are serious race cars; faster than an F1 car to 60mph, and running up to 870 BHP & 900 NM of torque, the general rule of thumb is that if you need to ask how much it costs you probably can’t afford it! Examples of modern day Super Cars include the Ford Fiesta MK.7 T16, Citroen Xsara/C4/DS3 T16, Ford Focus T16, Mitsubishi EVO T16 etc.
Super Modified is for two-wheel drive cars and sees a wide variety of cars. This class proves very popular as there are few restrictions to how far these cars can be modified and tuned. There is a minimum weight limit of 800kg (including driver) and the engine must have the same number of cylinders as the original car and remain in the original position. Examples of modern day Super Mods include the Lotus Exige, Volvo S40 RWD, Vauxhall Nova, BMW M3, Ford Fiesta MK.7 RWD Touring Car, Toyota MR2 etc.
The Stock Hatch category is for 1600cc 16V production cars with model restricted to not more than 10 years old. These cars do not allow variable valve timing and essentially accommodate for lightly modified Hot Hatch cars. These cars more often than not give the quickest of Super Modified cars a run for their money. Examples of Stock Hatch 16v cars include the Citroen Saxo VTS, Citroen C2, Peugeot 106 GTI, Peugeot 206 GTI etc.
Stock Hatch 8v
The Stock Hatch 8v category is an entry level senior class in the Irish Rallycross Championship. The regulations are the same as the Stock Hatch 16v class apart from number of valves per engine and weight limits. This class offers cheap, highly competitive entry level Motorsport. Many European & British Champions cut their cloth in this class; examples include 2010 European Rallycross Champion – Derek Tohill (IRL) and 2011 British Rallycross Champion – Julian Godfrey (GB). Examples of Stock Hatch 8v cars include the formidable Peugeot 205 GTI, Citroen Saxo VTR, Peugeot 106 XSI etc.
The Irish Junior Rallycross Championship is a relatively new class to the sport and caters for drivers aged between 14 and 16 years of age. This class has proved extremely popular since its inception and offers young drivers a great opportunity at learn very good car control in a controlled environment. European Rallycross star Liam Doran & British Touring Car Driver Andrew Jordan both began their careers in Motorsport in Junior Rallycross. Examples of Junior cars include the trusty Nissan Micra, Toyota Starlet, Peugeot 106 etc.
The Irish Championship package also includes a class for Rally Cars. Drivers compete against the clock only in their heats in a similar style event to a Rallysprint. The Rally Cars then get to drive a final against each other which can result in some interesting results and racing. All forms of Rally Cars are catered here with separate classes based on 2WD or 4WD and engine capacity. The list of type of vehicles is endless.
The Irish Championship package also includes the RX150 ‘off-road buggies’. With 150bhp and weighing less than 600kg, these 1000cc Honda Fireblade engined rear-wheel drive racers are fast! Driven by drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel & Sebastian Loeb at the Race of Champions (ROC), this machines offer Super Car performance at a fraction of the cost. For more information please visit www.rxracing.co.uk.
New for 2012, the Retro Rallycross Challenge will consist of 2 Rallycross Categories; Pre 1982 and 1982-1987. Permitted cars will be those that have, or of a type that have, been used in Rallycross in the relevant periods i.e. a genuine old Rallycross car or a replica built to period specification, which takes us back to the Historic cars that entertained with thrills and spills over 4 decades ago, and will allow for Group B Machinery. In addition a Historic Rally Car class is also catered for.