Business as usual for Carnegie


MOTOR SPORT: Dublin driver Dermot Carnegie scored the most outstanding Irish achievement in motor sport in 2003, powering his special 700 bhp Ford Escort to a record fifth British Rallycross Championship success. He also has three Irish rallycross championships to his credit.

Carnegie started his competitive career in test trials, and holds the record of 10 Hewison Trophy Autotest Championships-between 1967 and 1986. He has also scored numerous autocross and rally wins in a remarkable 36 years of competition.

Carnegie will defend his British title in 2004 and also contest the Irish championship.

He will continue to drive his Mini Special in autotest events that do not clash with rallycross.

Last year Eamonn Byrne (Delgany) won the Hewison Trophy for the ninth time and is looking good to equal Carnegie's long standing record of 10 wins.

At the half-way mark he leads Eddie Peterson by 14 points - 198 to 184.

On current form Byrne is most likely to increase his lead over the next eight rounds, commencing with Sunday's round run by the Midland Motor Club at Roscommon Enterprise Centre.

The remaining rounds are: January 17th/18th: Carrick-on-Suir Motor Club; February 1st: Co Monaghan Motor Club; February 22nd: MEC Freeman Cup Autotest; February 28th/29th: Kerry Motor Club; March 21st: Co. Kildare Motor Club. The Trials Drivers' Club's International Trophy Autotest is listed for March 20th.

The first Hewison Trophy competition was held in 1938 and jointly won by Wilfie Fitzsimmons and Charlie Manders.

Fitzsimons was the solo winner in 1948. He celebrated his 90th birthday last year and is president of the RIAC and an active member of the Motorsport Commission.

The list of Hewison Trophy winners is like an Irish motor sport roll of honour, and includes Cecil Vard (1950) and Leslie Vard (1969), Kevin Murray (1951-1954) and his son Alan (1976, 1978, 1981), Paddy Hopkirk (1955 and 1957). Shea and Steve Griffin each scored a hat-trick for a family six in-a-row (1960 to 1965). Sam Bowden was a five times winner.

Pierce Cahill and Steve Griffin hold the unique honour of being the only drivers to win both the Hewison Trophy and the Sexton Trophy (racing).

The "mud pluggers" compete in the first motor sport event of the New Year, tomorrow's MEC Freeman Cup Sporting Trial at Crosschapel, Blessington.


Saturday: MEC, Freeman Cup Sporting Trial, Crosschapel, Blessington, Co. Wicklow, 11.30am; Co Monaghan MC, Navigation Trial, starts Newbliss, Co Monaghan, 9.01pm.

Sunday: Midland MC, Autotest, Roscommon Enterprise centre, 11.30am.