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TDC History
TDC (Trials Drivers’ Club) was founded in 1954 by a group of like-minded enthusiasts including Wilfie Fitzsimmons, Barney Manley, Jimmy Millard, Maurice Cavey and Jack Toohey. Paddy Hopkirk is reputed to have made occasional appearances at committee meetings. Some of the other clubs rather cruelly suggested that TDC stood for The Drinking Club and certainly all of the members of motor clubs in existence at that time would not have been as abstemious as is the case nowadays.

The logo is alleged to have been inspired by the label of the committee’s favourite whiskey - Hewitt’s. To facilitate this tendency, committee meetings originally took place in hotels convenient for the majority of the members and then they used to take place in the RIAC in Dawson Street on the first Tuesday of every month, before moving back to hotels when traffic congestion became an issue. The meetings are now held on the first Thursday of every month in the comfortable surroundings of Club President, Frank Lenehan’s home in Sandyford where a bunch, just as enthusiastic as the original group, lay plans for the club’s activities. Frank is pictured here in his trusty red Starlet.

The club ran test trials, mud-plugs, navigation rallies, autocrosses, treasure hunts and occasionally had an input into race meetings and stage rallies when they were introduced. All the work seemed to fall to the same people (some things never change!) and over the years the range of activities reduced. While TDC may have had a low profile in its early years, it has certainly been one of the premier clubs in Leinster for the last ten years. It has had some illustrious names as members. An appropriate person to feature first is Dermot Carnegie.

Dermot began autotesting in September 1961 and never looked back. Whatever discipline of motorsport he chose to compete in, he was a force to be reckoned with. The list of his achievements, only some of which are mentioned below, is long.

Hewison Autotest Champion (RIAC Irish Autotest Championship) 10 times between 1967 & 1986
RIAC/MI National Irish Rallycross champion 7 times between 1991 & 2006
MSA Rallycross champion 4 times between 1994 & 2004
BRDA Rallycross champion 4 times between 1999 & 2003
Dermot continues to compete regularly in Multi-Venue Test-Trials, Targa Rallies and Classic Rallies. Earlier this year, he was third in his Volvo PV544 on the HERO Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo.

Two more luminaries are featured in this instalment (the third).

Frank started in test trials and navigation events in 1964. He then took to the stages and entered his first Circuit of Ireland in 1967. The following year he finished eighth overall with Frank O’Donoghue in an NSU TT, losing to Dermot Carnegie’s Escort by just one second. For more than a decade he was a serious stage competitor in a variety of cars. In the late 80s he turned to Classic and Retro events - both here, the UK and the continent. No matter where the location, he was a regular winner in a fabulous assortment of cars, including a Mini, a Volvo Amazon, a Mercedes 300SE and an Alfa Romeo Giuilia.

He was responsible for the introduction of the International Trophy Autotest in 1975 - the Irish equivalent of the UKs Ken Wharton event. This was televised on RTE1.
He was similarly innovative with his pioneering of the TDC Irish Classic Retro.

While Larry has, by now, hung up his driving gloves, in his time, he did everything - autocross, autotests, navigation rallying, stage rallying, hillclimbs and racing. He was a consummate performer in all of these disciplines.

He is probably most associated with Beetles - he was captain of the Republic of Ireland Ken Wharton team for the first thirteen years of its involvement in the event - he was instrumental in the RoI being invited to take part. (Dermot Carnegie was a member of the team latterly). He raced a Mk1 Golf GTI for seven years and won his class all but once (the throttle cable broke).

About the TDC events
The piece below was written many years ago. It is worthy of mention that, as you will see from the new item above and the subsequent instalments which will appear in dribs and drabs over the next while, the club’s philosophy has changed little since then.

The club currently runs 12/13 events throughout the calendar year, which include the Club Autotest Championship, the Howard Wilde Memorial Autotest, Production Car Trials and Multi-Venue Autotests/Autosolos. Our events attract competitors from all over Ireland and the UK. The TDC is also involved in promotional events at Mondello Park where our members perform displays in the interest of promoting the club and attracting newcomers.

We have a wide spectrum of membership from all avenues of motorsport including Autotests, Stage, Navigation and Retrospective rallies, Saloon Racing and Rallycross. Included in our current membership are multiple Autotest Champions, Eamonn Byrne, JJ Farrell and Peter Grimes. Also involved are multiple Autotest and Rallycross Champion, Dermot Carnegie, 19 times National Navigation Champion and ex-Billy Coleman co-driver, Paul Phelan and Monte Carlo historic rally winner, Frank Fennell. These members have won over 50 championships between them. However, it is hard to top the achievements of our most famous ex-member, the legendary Stirling Moss.

The TDC is focused on organising quality motorsport events throughout the year with the inclusion of championship and fun events. The Club has a committee made up of very experienced competitors who are always willing to give expert advice to both beginners and experts. New members and drivers are always welcome and anyone wishing to get involved in motorsport should contact us immediately as we are more than willing to help newcomers to the sport.

TDC History in Photos
Some Photographic History of the Trials Drivers Club



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