Saturday 11th May 2019
Well, here we are, almost ready to go.
The sun has come out and competitors & officials are arriving in Castlemartyr in dribs and drabs before the main influx tomorrow.
The Castelmartyr GC clubhouse hosted a few first-time Leinster visitors who availed of their facilities to watch the European Rugby Cup Final between Leinster and Saracens. They were disappointed as ultimately Saracens ran out comfortable winners.
See you all at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
(Maybe a bit later than that.)
See you then.
Sunday 12th May 2019
In the pub last night, Jacky Hall, who is artistically inclined in both painting and sculptural fields, revealed she is reluctantly (she is better than she gives herself credit for) putting some of her work into an exhibition in Rock, Cornwall (just across the estuary from Padstow) soon. It would be worth a visit if you are in the vicinity!
The formalities this morning were completed smoothly and expeditiously by Mary, Zuzana, Sue, Cathy, Aoibheann and Val at sign-on and by Timothy & Brendan at scrutiny. Motorsport remains resolutely in the past with the “women” undertaking the more domestic chores while the “men” act out their knights of the road roles. I suppose, given the age of the cars, that this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
The only slight hiccough was the location of the competitors’ briefing which oscillated between two rooms during the morning. At the end of the corridor offers a certain ambiguity. Anyway, it served to offer the navigators an opportunity to get their brains ticking over.
At the briefing there were pertinent queries from Philippa Bailey and Clifford Auld which didn’t come as a huge surprise.
The Competitor Liaison Officer will be instantly recognisable tomorrow as he will be wearing sackcloth and ashes to atone for his Regularity 1-1 ideal time catastrophe. When preparing the speed table from which the ideal times are extracted, he assumed the time point was at the junction after the one at which it was meant to be. The ideal time ought to have been 10:06. Penalties have been calculated using this time. As the incorrect time may have discombobulated too many folk, penalties for the second TP have been scrubbed. On reflection, the CLO may not appear at all tomorrow – he could be sent home – and you will just have to liaise amongst yourselves.
The first mechanical casualty was Andrew & Ann Boland. I heard that a significant U-bolt had been extended beyond its design limits. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gilbertsons’ Vauxhall 30/98 might not be next, given Willie’s struggles to engage gears successfully! Gareth Burnett & Ali Procter spent an hour or more rectifying a mechanical malfunction. This has left them further down the order than might have been expected. Chris Abrey & Sarah Banham were seen at the end of a tow-rope later in the day.
The triangles near the end of Regularity 1-2 seemed to induce an outbreak of widespread disorientation and significant penalties were accrued by many.
Best in the tests, which were well received by those I spoke to, were Martin & Olivia Hunt and Bill Cleyndert & Jacqui Norman.
At the head of the posse overall is Nick Ward & Clifford Auld.
Monday 13th May 2019
I hadn’t realised that Bertie and Charlotte Van Houtte’s Frazer-Nash BMW had let them down on the way to the event. They are to be congratulated for getting a taxi home to pick up their MG TB in which they are doing well.
With yesterday’s results having been posted relatively late in the day, there was a possibility that there may have been a few queries this morning. Fortunately, this transpired not to be the case. Maybe competitors were using the time to brush up their map reading skills.
The cars set off on another glorious morning after the first test in Castlemartyr. This had unreasonable bogey/max times which have now been adjusted to the relief of some who had incurred what seemed to be harsh penalties.
The first regularity start was at the entrance to the Irish Distillers whiskey maturing sheds (there’s probably a more technical term). Where I was officiating we ended up with an enthusiastic group of local spectators who really enjoyed the spectacle (a young milk lorry driver, who had been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, parked to enjoy the view. Unfortunately, on another part of the route there was a gentleman who was not quite so enthusiastic and gave some competitors grief – he was not local. It seems to me that, in general, the ‘natives’ really enjoy diversions like ours but the ‘blow-ins’ are not as supportive.
I received some sagacious feedback regarding the end of this regularity. There was an inviting track on the left, just before the intended one. The sage pointed out that maybe it was a bit unreasonable to expect the “trip” to distinguish between 17.62 miles for the first lane and 17.64 miles for the second, especially when the “trip” is a Halda. There was a twist to their misfortune when the next car saw them exiting the wrong slot and so avoided the same error. Next year this sort of anomaly should be avoided.
Today’s map regularity seemed to be more manageable than yesterday’s although the presence of two Brides Bridges did cause some magnifying glass deployment and head scratching.
We were delighted that so many of you were appreciative of our arranging the hedge cutting tractor on the approach to the first Time Point on the Dripsey Castle regularity. Your passage relieved his monotony to a degree.
I have some other news from today’s jaunt –
Robert Ellis suggested that he and Paul Carter had had an average day. (They are now leading!)
Marina Goodwin was happy that they hadn’t ended up in a barley field as they had done yesterday.
Simon Echlin has been struggling with an intermittent Brantz which necessitates the ignition being switched off before it starts working again.
Christian & Matthew Brash would have done better if Christian had paid better attention to son Matthew’s instructions!
Richard & Michael Squire did some shepherding just before the finish of the last regularity when they came upon about 15 sheep on the road.
Andrew Bailey’s Dolomite was suffering from an intermittent misfire. His plug change before the last test ensured satisfyingly rapid progress up the hill.
If anybody feels left out because they haven’t been mentioned, please feel free to regale me with tales – tall or otherwise – of your Shamrock Challenge odyssey so far.
To conclude, there is some good news. I am informed that James and Aoife Rosenmeyer will be back in our midst again soon after running repairs following their unfortunate “off” this morning.
Tuesday 14th May 2019
Peter Banham was busy in the carpark at 8:00 am resuscitating steeds reluctant to start. Hans Kuipers & Robert Doornbusch had to retire with irremediable gearbox issues while Chris Abrey & Sara Banham made the best of their situation by chauffeuring photographer Gerard Brown around in their tow wagon – their BMW 328 suffered a terminal transmission malfunction.
Despite having applied lots of deodorant and after-shave/perfume, quite a few crews chose to give us a wide berth at TP3/1A. They had omitted to go the long way around a triangle and thus missed us. There was a primary school just beside us and the children were allowed to stand and watch the cars go by (from the safety of their playground!). This they did with lots of cheering.
We did get a call from the Freys as the last cars were coming through. They had suffered an electrical problem. Help was dispatched but they managed to fix the issue themselves and got going again.
We paused for refreshment in Mannings of Ballylickey and had an interesting conversation with the proprietor, Val. His ‘Val’ was Valentine, not to be confused with my ‘Val’ – Valerie.
The Inisbeg regularity proved to be very challenging. Despite the slow speeds demanded, everything seemed to happen more quickly than could be coped with comfortably. The “NO” boards were seen by many. An attractive feature of the regularity was that competitors were able, while they partook of their lunch in the marquee, to watch those running behind them on the road as they completed the test.
Zuzana Houlihan ended up on the test when she arrived at Inisbeg – against the advice of Mary Jackson. It’s not that she can’t reverse – she just prefers not to. She ended up in a field in an attempt to rectify the situation.
Competitors had passed Mount Gabriel before they encountered us on a windy hill at TP3/4A. We were worried when Mickey Gabbett hadn’t appeared at the time we expected him – we then realised we were looking at the schedule for tomorrow! Michael Kuntz arrived early and when I mentioned this he responded “Oh yeah, speed demon me!”
I meant to mention this yesterday – When setting off for this event on Saturday we were making good progress through the Curragh when we were passed by a Bentley Jeep, 1 PN. We wondered could it be Peter Neumark. Sure enough, when we arrived at Sheen Falls a couple of days later there it was in the carpark.
Other news from today’s frolics –
Bill Cleyndert and Jacqui Norman had a great day in accumulating a larger number of penalties than is their usual habit.
Matthew Brash didn’t get lost!
Urs and Suzanne Muller’s Bentley misbehaved.
A hiccough in the morning was the only fly in Simon Brien & David Gomes’s ointment.
Clifford Auld bemoaned the anodyne descriptions in the Jogularity.
Graham & Marina Goodwin’s day was a tale of two halves – 17th in the morning to ninth at lunch to 19th at the end of proceedings.
When Sandra Thomi exclaimed “not another map” on receipt of her Day Book, Mary Jackson suggested that she consult the adjacent Frank Hussey for advice. Mary reckoned she looked more confused after the consultation than before! (Accents, expletives or both?)
Dave Kirkham left his Time Cards at reception last night. Because they hold him in such high regard, Lee Vincent and Chris Bruce, who had retrieved them, made him sweat before returning them!
Willie Gilbertson was all set to forego breakfast this morning so that they could start on time, until Sholto pointed out that they were scheduled to be last to leave – he could eat at his leisure.
Gavin Millington said his day was “alright”. This is a word like “nice” which can be interpreted to suit your mood/the occasion as you see fit. I would suggest he wasn’t particularly enamoured with how his day panned out especially his encounter with the road digger-uppers.
Reto Mebes and Hansjurgen Benze had generator woes – they enjoyed the scenery!
The Squires were in a slough of despond according to Richard. While there were peaks of greatness son, Michael suggested that they oscillated between catastrophe and disaster. At one stage he threw his pen out of the car.
Irvine Laidlaw & Tony Davies now leading.
Last day tomorrow – reverse seeding so anything could happen – make the most of it.
Wednesday 15th May 2019
The suggested route to the first regularity saw Lorenz Imhof’s Ford getting rather het up on the steeper bits. It wasn’t really possible for him to go back the way he had come, so there was a bit of a delay. There was plenty of opportunity to claw back time when the main road was reached.
Nigel Odlum’s Riley suffered mechanical maladies which neither “sweep” nor Peter Banham could rectify. The AA has been summoned.
Willie & Sholto Gilbertson decided not to go through the formalities and headed straight for the lunch halt in Castletownbere.
The first regularity – another map – caused a few problems. The most discommoded were Rob & Jeanne Jeurissen who missed both TPs.
After lunch the “normal” regularity and jogularity gave all the opportunity to finish on a positive note. We were on the first one from which we had a gorgeous view. Not so gorgeous was the reaction of a local mother who felt she and her two daughters were in danger as they walked back up the hill from the school bus. I suspect that it was the noise of some of the cars that created this impression. Certainly all the competitors that passed me were appropriately sedate on both approach and departure.
After completing our duties we stopped for a quick cup of coffee in the Beara Coast Hotel and the only evidence of the Challenge’s visit was some tyre tracks in the gravel at the side and back of the hotel. The staff had enjoyed the stopover.
Circumstances prevented me from canvassing folk as they finished so I am a little bit short on stories from the day. It did, however, strike me that Richard Squire is at a decided disadvantage having son, Michael sitting alongside. His height is such that his effect on the aerodynamics of the Bentley must be compromised hugely. Has Michael any shorter brothers or sisters who would be as competent as he is at navigating?!
Gerard Brown has now finished snapping away again today. Do have a look at his selection – it is terrific – please click here
Thursday 16th May 2019
And so it’s all over for another year. Well done to Irvine & Tony on their win., made all the more meritorious by virtue of the quality of the competition that all of you provided. We look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it in 2020.