Neil McMullen takes 2nd place in the 2021 ANICC Millers Oils Northern Ireland HillClimb Championship.

Neil McMullen takes 2nd place in the 2021 ANICC Millers Oils Northern Ireland HillClimb Championship. Following the abandonment of motorsport in Ireland due to COVID there was very few options, sometimes if any, open to drivers in the south of Ireland. A lot of drivers in turn started travelling further afield in order to compete. This saw Tipperary’s Neil McMullen sell up his Seat Leon Supercopa and turn his interest to Hillclimbing. Having registered for the Northern Ireland HillClimb Championship Neil missed the first round and from the second round onwards he took to it rather well. A new discipline in a new car can’t have been easy but he took it all in his stride. With competitive times being posted consistently there was constant competition and margins were often points of seconds. This weekend saw the last round of the championship being the Craigantlet HillClimb in Belfast run by the Ulster Automobile Club. With the class championship win already secured by Dundalk’s Dara Fay 2nd place was up for grabs between Omagh’s Dermot O’Hagan and the man that had travelled over 5 hours each way for each event! An unbelievable demand for entries saw a full entry list closed out in under 8 minutes! Unfortunately in doing so O’Hagan didn’t make it, leaving the door open for Neil to knock him off second spot.

Images credited to Declan McPhilips DMC Photo

Following some head scratching and plenty of calculations it was worked out that McMullen needed to finish the hill overlooking Stormont in 3rd place in class in order to secure second overall in the championship by one single point! The Tipp man went on to do exactly that! When asked what his thoughts were overall he replied “when I first started travelling to the north to compete I couldn’t believe how well we were accepted up here! Literally everyone welcomes you and makes you feel appreciated for supporting their championship. The officials are top of their games and run a tight ship. I’m delighted to have achieved what I have in my first year although I would rather have battled with Dermot properly in the last round. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for my wife Anne Marie and watching my kids argue over who’s turn it is to keep the trophies never gets old. One last thank you goes to Ben O’Brien from Limerick who convinced me to try hillclimbing. Here’s to hoping 2022 will bring similar success”