“The Honda Civic is easy to drive, easy to fix, and inexpensive to run.”
When the 2014 season of Irish Rallycross begins in February, the organizers are hoping that some recent changes will rejuvenate the series. Due to the economic downturn, Irish Rallycross has diminished to the point of possible cancellation.
One exciting change for next year is the addition of a new class of Honda Civic rallycross cars.
Colin Dowling, who helps run and promote the Irish Rallycross Championship, as well as being a competitor, had the Civic epiphany after seeing success of the ‘budget class’ in another racing discipline.
“Mondello Park decided to launch a budget class for track racing using 1.2 Ford Fiestas,” explained Dowling. “The results were amazing. Twenty cars lined the grid for the first event and 46 cars lined out for the last event. It was obvious that there was still an appetite for motor racing in Ireland. It simply needed to be affordable.”
“We analysed the second-hand market and found it awash with EK4 Honda Civics. It was very easy to find a car for less than 500 euro and second-hand parts were in plentiful supply, too. It’s an iconic car here in Ireland. It’s very popular with young motoring enthusiasts, and combined with Honda’s renowned reliability and simplicity to work on, the EK4 Civic was the clear winner. Having built one car myself already and another in the workshop, it’s very possible to build a competitive car for less than 3000 euro,” he said.
Dowling reports that after demonstration races were held at the last three events of the season, there has been huge interest in the new class.
“We now have two cars completed, six cars under construction, and a further four drivers starting their builds in the coming weeks. The interest has come from a variety of different places. We have two drivers moving from the rallying scene due to cost. We have two more coming from Auto Grassing and we have some newcomers who are starting out in motorsport for the first time. We also hope to attract some of the drivers from our junior class who are now too old,” said Dowling.
The goal is to start the season with 16 cars, two grids of eight cars each.
The new Civic RX Challenge will be added to the other seven classes of the Irish Rallycross Championship. The cars will run in their own heats and have their own finals. There is also a 2500 euro prize fund for the 2014 Championship sponsored by the County Kildare Motor Club. The class will be open to three-door Civics built between 1996-2001 with a 1.4 litre SOHC fuel-injected engine.
The other seven categories, according to the Irish Rallycross Championship website, are as follows:
Stockhatch 16v – 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, and Peugeot 206 GTI.
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.
Junior Class – The Irish Junior Rallycross Championship is a relatively new class to the sport and caters for drivers aged between 14 and 16.
John Kelly and Andrew Morris are the two men at the top of the points table in the SuperCar class. Five points separate the pair who are longtime competitors in the championship.
Rally Car Class (9,9A,9B) – 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 rally sprint. 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.
Kartcross / RX150 – This class caters to space-framed tubular vehicles generally with 600cc motorcycle engines.