DD Motoring: The end of an era; the late Derek McMahon

first_imgHad there never been a Derek McMahon, the Donegal Motor Club would have been a boring place. Derek shot from the hip, and was on board from the start of motorsport in Donegal and was proud to put our county locally and internationally on the map. That was how “Big D” as he was known worked.The Donegal Motor Club held its first rally in the hills near Cranford outside Milford in the early seventies. It’s no coincidence that Milford, Derek’s home town was where the MotorClub’s seeds were sown.Derek was one of the top Donegal drivers in the earlier years, driving a Hilman Imp Stiletto before a brief season in a RS2000 MkI and then on to his great drives in  Avengers and Sunbeams. These brands complemented his car dealership, Mc Mahon Bros. in Milford and Letterkenny. The late Derek Mc Mahon pictured his with his son Arthur at the homecoming for Mini To Monte Carlo. The Mc Mahon’s sponsored all my fuel through Donegal Oil Co. and Shell for the charity run from Letterkenny to Monte Carlo in aid of the Donegal Hospice in 2005. Photo Brian Mc DaidThe trend in Donegal back in them years  for so many to rally Hilman Avengers and Talbot Sunbeams  was  influenced by Derek rallying these cars. Derek famously cleaned one of the old street water pumps out of its roots with his rally car while competing on the rally through the streets of Ramelton one year.For Derek McMahon his motorsport career started in Milford but Derek was a regular in motorsport sponsorship forming his racing team in the late seventies, Derek McMahon Racing . He was a familiar face around the racetracks of Europe.One of the drivers to benefit from Derek’s team was Derek Daly who was sponsored by him in the 70’s.An extract for ‘Motorsport Magazine’ in 1979 reads as follows;  “The large figure of Derek McMahon – the figure behind Derek Daly’s early career – is a welcome sight in Bolton for he is linked with a three-car equip of new Chevron B47s for Bernard Devaney (another quick refugee from FF1600 and the Emerald Isle), Swede Stefan Johansson and Marlboro-sponsored Eddie Jordan. All  were competitive at Silverstone.”Derek Daly’s journey to F1 was thanks to the support of Donegal’s Derek Mc Mahon. The other man mentioned in that passage was Eddie Jordan who went on to become the first Irish Man to have a Formula 1  racing team . Eddie Jordan never forgot Derek’s support in them early years and Derek was one of the guest invited on TV when Jordan was honoured in ‘This is your Life’. Milford’s “Big D” was as comfortable sitting in Milford as Monte Carlo and was known through out the Motorsport world and will be sadly missed.Rest in Peace Derek.This week’s car review; Hyundai launch their new hybrid the IoniqI recently tested  the Hyundai Ioniq,which was on show at the open day at Terence Diver’s showrooms in Letterkenny.  I  found it hard enough to find the Ioniq parked in a row of new Hyundai i35s,  apparently that’s just the way Hyundai want it. They want their hybrids to look main stream like the rest of their range.  There were two versions on show; the hybrid version and the all electric version. I managed to get a drive in the Hybrid in between customers waiting to get a spin in the new motor. The hybrid is very stylish on the road and seemed to get a lot of attention.The classy looking Hyundai Hybrid which we gat a chance to drive this week. Photo Brian McDaidWhen I am in a hybrid it never seems that bad sitting in a traffic jam because the car is not wasting any fuel and the automatic gearbox comes into its own to move the car with the least amount of  pressure on the driver. We soon are out on the open road and the Hyundai produced a good turn of power from the combination of it 1.6 petrol engine and electrical motor.The interior of the new All Electric Hyundai which is on show at Diver’s Hyundai in Letterkenny. Photo Brian McDaidThe manufactures claim over 80 miles per gallon in ideal situations which will be one of the great benefits of running this car day to day. The other big benefit will be how little impact it will have on the environment,  which is a big concern to everyone unless you’re the president in waiting of America,  Donald Trump!I will be doing a longer test in the Hyundai Ioniq in the new year, but for the short time a had the car away from  the busy showroom at the weekend, I was well impressed. Our car was finished in a beautiful white and the the over all shape is just class looking especially around the tailgate. The other thing that makes this car very normal to drive is the option on the six speed automatic gearbox  to switch to manual which in turn converts the speedometer to rev counter in the middle of the dash. It puts the driver in control. It’s worth saying and a sign of things to come that now the new automatic gearbox which by the way  does so much more now than just changing gears are easier in fuel in a hybrid than even the manual mode is.And finally .. racing McRea round McAdoo’s I recently came across an old photo I took of the late and great Colin McRea when he graced our county to compete in the Donegal Rally a couple of years back . On the week running into the rally my editors were asking me to keep an eye out for  the Scotsman so we would have a photo of him for the front of our local papers to preview the upcoming rally that weekend.I wasn’t having much luck getting him and was in the process of picturing Donegal’s big hopeful that year, Paul Harris. I arranged to meet Paul in Ramelton, telling him my about my lack of luck with McRea. As I was taking his picture Paul let a roar out of him, ‘there he’s there, there he’s there!’I looked around  and we could see the famous Scott going whizzing past us. I quickly took Paul’s picture and made a hopeful pursuit in the chance of catching McRea.  On the straight out of Ramelton I could see the Lexus than McRea was driving passing the slower moving traffic. Every time he passed a car I was able to slot into the space he overtook from. By the time we got as far as McAdoo’s corner at the end of the long straight I was on his bumper.A relived Colin McRea pictured as he poses for a photo outside the Milford Inn many years ago when he competed in the Donegal Rally. His is pictured with his co-driver Nicky Grist who both through the person looking for to take their photo was the police. they were pictured with Dermott Hannigan from Letterkenny. Photo Brian McDaidSo now I am thinking how am I going to get him stopped?  I could see what look like his famous co-driver Nicky Grist in the passengers side looking at a map, but now he was looking at the map as it they were tourists! As we arrived on the outskirts of Milford , McRea made a late decision to turn off into the Milford Inn and I made an even later decision to follow him.They sat in the car for a while before getting out. I decided to leave the camera behind me and go over and ask their permission to take a photograph of them, rather than grasping a fan-like photo of them, I knocked on the window on the Lexus they were driving and Colin McRea rolled down his window, introduced myself from the local paper,  and asked if I could get a photo of them  “Aye Nah problem”,  was the reply for the famous Scott .Then he bust out laughing, and with a relived voice he said ‘he thought you were following us cause you were the police!’It was great to meet Colin and his co driver Nicky Grist that day who were pictured with local man Dermott Hannigan.Happy motoring folks.DD Motoring: The end of an era; the late Derek McMahon was last modified: November 17th, 2016 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *