Armagh driver Darren Gass, navigated by Monaghan’s Enda Sherry took a memorable win on last Sundays Galway International Rally. Based around the sleepy North Galway town of Headford this event attracted large crowds, due to the quality of men and machines on display. After what can only be described as a dramatic finish it was Gass and Sherry who took a slender 1.3 second win in their S10 Impreza ahead of the hard charging Eugene Donnelly and Paddy Toner in the all new and impressive Mini Cooper WRC. Tim Mc Nulty had to settle for 3rd a further 5 seconds in arrears having led for most of the event. Last years double Rally champion McNulty led the field away for the first stage on the Dyke road in Galway city. Then it was on to Headford for 9 demanding stages through the stone walled roads of North Galway. McNulty drew first blood and led the event by 22 seconds at first service after stage 4 with Donnelly 2nd and Gass 3rd. The mini picked up a puncture through stage 6 and dropped almost a minute to its rivals but it was McNulty who made the ultimate mistake sliding into a stone wall and bending the steering. This mistake cost him valuable seconds through the final loop of three stages and with Gass and Sherry posting some serious times they duly obliged and went through to take the lead on ss9. Taking a cautious approach to the final stage Darren and Enda almost slacked off too much as Donnelly’s mini posted a time almost 16 seconds quicker than the Subaru. But the Armagh youngster had done just enough and they were crowned Safety Direct Galway International Rally winners for 2012. In the group N category it was Gary Jennings and Rory Kennedy who dominated the class finishing in 4th over-all ahead of this years Billy Coleman award winner Sam Moffett with James O’Reilly on the notes. Donagh Kelly took 3rd in group N but just behind was a mini battle between young Josh Moffett and Stephen Wright, both in Evo 9’s. Josh, with Ardee man Domhall Lennon navigating just edged through with a 9 second margin over Stephen and Suzanne Wright who had hired the EVO 9 for the day. Both these young Monaghan crews showing great signs for the future. In the national section of the event its was Monaghan crews who started as number 1 and 2 seeds with Daniel McKenna and Andrew Grennan leading off the field ahead of Gary McPhillips with Martin McGarrity on the notes. Unfortunately the large crowds who turned out to watch these entertaining and highly powered escorts were to be left a little disappointed as the greasy Galway roads were to account for many a victim. For McPhillips/McGarrity the rally was over before it really begun as their escort slid wide and a resulting burst fuel tank meant the escort was sidelined for the day. Mc Kenna and Grennan were posting top two wheel drive times but an over shoot into a junction on ss5 saw the Scanbitz escort hit a stone wall. At stage finish it became apparent that the oil cooler was damaged and while they managed to by-pass it they were late to next control, picking up a 2-minute penalty, which ultimately dropped them to 4th over-all in the national by the end of the day. The national section of the rally was eventually won by Donegal’s Declan and Brian Boyle, only 2.5 seconds ahead of Tom Flaherty in a similar escort. The hard charging John Hendy and Alan White were 3rd in a class 13 twin cam corolla. It was a case of pick up where we left off last year for Aghabogs Arthur and Mac Kierans as they had a superb run to finish 5th over-all in the national , almost 3 minutes ahead of there nearest class rival. Indeed worth noting that this finish was 13th over-all when all results were grouped together for both national and international competitors. A great start to the new season for the Border Champions. Jim Mc Kenna and Thomas Treanor were on a steep learning curve on this event in their all new black escort. As Jim made the transition from starlet to escort his times improved with every stage and is sure to be at one with the immaculate escort after a few more events. 2nd in class 14 and 12th over-all a great start to the year for Jim and Thomas. Martin Connolly was navigating for Donegal’s Gary McElhinney in a class 13 escort and slid their way to 18th over-all and 3rd in class 13. Although had it not been for a puncture on ss9 this result could have been a whole lot better. Next up was Barry McKenna and James McCarville in the New Holland backed escort, finishing 18th over-all, although they battled with the stone walls of Galway along the way and could have been higher up the pecking order! Brendan and Vincent Mc Aree were amongst the historic runners in their powerful Porsche RS and seemed to have a great day out. This car must be one of the top historic cars in Ireland at present and the distinct noise of the Porsche through the Galway lanes was unique. Brendan and Vincent had a great run to 3rd over-all in the historic’s and winners of class C4. That’s Galway over for another year and as the old saying goes once Galway springs into action, the rally season is well and truly started for 2012. Well done to all local crews who made it to the West. Wright’s on the Money in Donegal Brother and sister pairing of Stephen and Suzanne Wright had a superb first outing of the New Year on the recent Donegal Forestry Rally. Stephen had a faultless drive all day in the EVO 6 to finish in 2nd over-all ahead of more powerful and experienced competitors. Stephen and Suzanne were just edged out of top spot by the formidable Gary Jennings in a hired Subaru WRX. This was the first round of the Valvoline Irish Forestry championship and this result bodes well for the forthcoming season for the Wrights. Aghabog’s Arthur Kierans swapped seats for this event to sit with Colin Britton in his EVO 9. They too had an excellent run to finish 3rd over-all, just one second ahead of the hard charging Donegal man Conor Harvey in his new EVO 9. Unfortunately that’s where the luck ran out for the travelling Monaghan competitors as number 1 seed’s Vincent McAree partnered by Damian Connolly failed to finish with mechanical woes. Paul Sheridan who was navigating for the competitive Enda Mc Nulty in a Subaru WRX and seeded at number 2 also failed to make first service with mechanical problems. Andrew Grennan headed for Donegal to sit with Seamus O’Connell in his new high-powered escort but their charge faltered before it even began with a broken half shaft en route to the first stage. Brendan Cumiskey with Conor Foley on the notes failed to make it out of stage 7 while lying seventh over-all.
Carbin and Hughes Joint Winners in Cork
Michael Carbin and Evin Hughes got their National navigation title charge back on track in Skibbereen on Saturday night last. The pairing managed to keep a clean sheet throughout the night to tie for the win with local Cork men Alan and George Shinnors. Regular national contenders, Richard Cassidy and Paul Phelans bad run of luck continued with suspension problems resulting in two flat wheels. Despite Richards best efforts and driving almost 30 miles of the event on a flat front wheel they were forced into retirement. With two rounds remaining in this competitive championship it’s the Midlands novice pairing of Darren Quinn and Nigel McCloughery who hold a 12-point lead ahead of fellow midlands pairing of Packie and Colin Duffy. Michael and Evin are now up to 3rd over-all but with dropped rounds and bonus points to come into effect, all is to play for over the remaining rounds. Skibbereen and District CC 100 Isles Navigation Top 12 1 (tie) Alan Shinnors/George Shinnors (Subaru Impreza) and Michael Carbin/Evin Hughes (Subaru Impreza) 0 marks, 3 Ger Fitzgerald/Daire Hayes (Subaru Impreza) 1m 4 David Beamish/Muireann Hayes (Toyota Carina) 2m 5 Darren Quinn/Nigel McCloughry (Subaru Legacy) 3m 6 Brian O’Mahony/David Swanton (Vauxhall Vectra) 9m 7 Steven Clarke/Michelle McCarthy (Opel Corsa) 20m 8 Joseph Shinnors/Greg Shinnors (Subaru Impreza) 25m 9 Andrew Beamish/Eoghan McCarthy (Nissan Sunny) 29m 10 Alwyn White/Adrian Tobin (Mazda 626) 34m 11 Jason Coulter/Diarmuid O’Donovan (Peugeot 205) 40m 12 Dermot Whelton/Barry O’Sullivan (VW Golf) 47m
Midlands Navigation Trial
All roads lead to Drumlish, Co. Longford this Saturday night for the second midlands navigation trial of the season. This event is co-promoted by Midlands and Westmeath motor clubs and is the fourth counting round of the Squealing Pig border navigation championship. Coc for the event is Micheal Reilly and is sure to lay on a testing route. Full report next week.
Monaghan Motor Club Autotest
Once again the time is near for Monaghan Motor Clubs annual Autotest. Yet again Brendan Flynn has stepped in as CoC with the ideal surroundings of Wrights Quarry at Swanns Cross the venue. The Northern Standard will kindly sponsor this event and Brendan would ask that any marshals available on the day to please make contact with him as soon as possible. Regs and entry forms are available on the club website at http://www.monaghanmotorclub.net All club members are reminded that this is a counting round of the Traders club championship and you must be registered prior to the event to get points. Sign on is from 11 o’clock with competition starting at 12 noon sharp. All competitors are urged to send their entries in early.
Today FM Shave or Dye Charity Club member Adrian Flynn is taking part in this year’s Today FM backed shave or dye charity event. Proceeds of this fundraiser go towards the Irish Cancer Society. If you would like to help Adrian raise funds for this worthy cause just log onto mycharity.ie and click the sponsor a friend link.