It was a mixed weekend for Monaghan crews last weekend on round 9 of the Dunlop National Rally Championship, the Oakwood Arms Hotel Clare Stages Rally. The event proved very challenging as the nine stages pushed crews to their limits. Shane Maguire and Stephen Thornton took their Mitsubishi Evo 9 to yet another Group N victory, the Ballinode man had to fight off competition from local rival Josh Moffett and John Rowan as well as Paul Kiely and Eugene Donelly. The Monaghan man led championship rival Josh Moffett and John Rowan on the opening test with Gary Kiernan and Niall Tierney, in Sam Moffett’s Evo 9 taking third. Role reversal for Paul Kiely as he had multiple Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly on the notes, they lay fourth after stage 1. On the second test Moffett managed to overhaul Maguire to lead by 3.5 seconds but a puncture on the stage three dropped them to last in class over three minutes off the lead. The second loop saw Maguire extend his lead once again but Kiernan was not letting him run away with the lead and remained within 40 seconds off the Monaghan man with Kiely in third. Josh Moffett called it a day after the second loop of stages with an oil leak forcing him into retirement. Maguire held the lead over the last three stages but had to battle a turbo issue to take the win but it was heartbreak for Gary Kiernan as the Cavan driver retired from second in Group N and ninth overall on the final stage. Maguire and Thornton won Group N by 1 minute and 53.6 seconds from Paul Kiely and Eugene Donnelly with Gary Cairns and Justin Coyle a further 8.6 seconds behind. Maguire heads into the final round in Donegal knowing a top ten finish overall will secure him and Stephen Thornton the 2014 Dunlop National Group N title.

In the modified section it was Richard Moffett and Martin Connelly who took the win by 33.8 seconds over Ed O’Callaghan and Gerard Clancy. After a disrupted stage 1 Moffett went on the attack on stage 2, to finish the test second in the modifieds and seventh overall. Heading into the first service the Starlet driver remained second behind O’Callaghan by 16 seconds. All was to change on stage 6 when O’Callaghan hit trouble. Moffett took advantage and inherited first place leading second placed Frank Kelly by 11.8 seconds. Heading into the final loop Kelly managed to snatch the lead but mechanical failure forced him into retirement on the last stage. Moffett and Connolly took the win by 33.8 seconds from O’Callaghan.

Elsewhere it was a tough day for Monaghan crews. Sam Moffett and James O’Reilly entered the event in Gary Kiernan’s Mk2 Escort but crashed out on stage 1. Niall Maguire was making a welcome return to rallying with Enda Sherry on the notes but clutch problems ruled him out on stage 1. Michael Carbin and Emmett McCooey were leading class 20 but retired on stage 4.

The event was won by Declan and Brian Boyle in their subaru, followed by Hugh Hunter and Andy Marchbank, also in a subaru. Roy White and James O’Brien took their MG ZR rover home to 3rd overall.

 

Appreciation Night for Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans

An appreciation night will be held in honour of the 2014 British Rally Champions Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans this Saturday night, the 27th of September. The event will be held outside the courthouse in Monaghan Town at 7.30 p.m. A number of dignitaries from the motorsport world will be in attendance as well as the Citroen DS3 that took the Monaghan crew to the BRC title. The night will filmed and will be presented by Sean McCaffery. Make sure and come out for an unforgettable night!

 

Monaghan Night Navigation Trial

Monaghan motor club will kickstart the night navigation season on Saturday week next, 4th October. CoC’s for the event are Michael McCluskey and Keith McConnon with headquarters in the Corduff GFC complex. Regulations and entry forms are available from motor club website on http://www.monaghanmotorclub.net and entries must be with event secretary Paul Hughes before 2nd October. As always marshals are in short supply so if you are available on the night please contact any committee member and be in Corduff GFC complex for 7.30 on Saturday 4th October.

MCKENNA AND KIERANS CROWNED BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONS

Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans have been crowned the 2014 British Rally Champions after a dramatic weekend of rallying on the Rally Isle of Man. The pair beat Welshman Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss to the title in a fascinating battle . The rally was certainly one to remember with drama from the word go. Split over three days the event would count as the last two rounds of the British Rally Championship with the final round awarding points and a half.

Thursday evening’s stages saw an expected tight affair with McKenna and Osian Pryce battling hard for the lead. The rally kicked off just after seven o’clock with the short 0.77 km blast around SS1 Villa Marina. McKenna went quickest by a mere 0.8 of a second ahead of Pryce with the two rivals third and fourth behind Arron Newby and Nigel Cannel.

Stage two saw Pryce take up the mantle shooting ahead of McKenna. The Welshman led the Monaghan man by 6.1 seconds and took the rally lead.

On stage three McKenna started his fight back, he took 1.5 seconds out of Pryce trailing the Welshman by just 4,6 seconds heading into the final stage of the night, Sand Quarry 1. The longest stage of the day saw McKenna retake the lead as he went just under 10 seconds faster than Pryce to lead the Welshman by 5.3 seconds heading into Friday’s stages.

Day 2 started with the 5.2 mile Lhoobs 1 stage and McKenna hit trouble as he punctured a tyre dropping him to second, 17.1 seconds behind Pryce. McKenna was playing catch up now and Pryce was on a charge, so much so that the two rivals set identical times on stage 6 as McKenna tried to reel back the time he had lost. Pryce seemed to have a slight edge over McKenna at this point and increased his lead by 2.1 seconds over the next two stages.

Disaster was to strike for the Monaghan man on stage 9 as he rolled his Citroen DS3 into a field. The championship win looked further away than ever at this point as the car was towed back to service, the stage was cancelled as a result of the accident. Ironically Pryce stopped on the stage also with a fuel problem but managed to escape any penalties due to the stage cancellation. As McKenna’s DS3 was fixed up in service with only seconds to spare, Pryce completed the final two stages of round 5 and despite dropping to second overall he took the points knowing that beating McKenna on the last day would be enough to snatch the championship from Daniel and Arthur.

As the final round commenced there was yet another twist in the Isle of Man story as Pryce was forced to retire on stage 15 after damaging the suspension on his DS3 at a hairpin where he hit a kerb. He would restart the Saturday stages but all McKenna had to do now was finish to become champion. Saturday loomed and McKenna knew a finish was the priority for the day. Seven stages were all that separated the Monaghan man and co-driver Arthur Kierans from BRC glory. Despite a small issue with a timing error on SS20, which was rectified, McKenna got the car to the end to become only the third Irish driver to become British Rally Champion after Billy Coleman and Keith Cronin. Amid jubilant scenes at the finish line which was thronged with supporters from Scotshouse and Aghabog who made the trip, Daniel and Arthur breathed a high sigh of relief after a tough weekends rallying but nevertheless they are 2014 British Rally Champions.

McKenna took to twitter later in the evening to say “We did it!” while proceeding to thank everyone who helped him along the journey. A proud Arthur Kierans became only the fifth Irish co-driver to achieve BRC glory. As the BRC title heads to Monaghan many questions will be asked as to what the future holds for DMK Motorsport. Only time will tell!

DMK MOTORSPORT HOMECOMING CELEBRATION

Keep free Saturday night 27th September as preparations are well underway for a homecoming and night of celebration to honour the achievements of our newly crowned British Rally Champions, Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans. This event will take place in Monaghan town so keep an eye on the social media outlets as well as next weeks club notes for full details of what is promised to be a night to remember.

MIXED RESULTS FOR MONAGHAN CREWS IN WEXFORD

Congratulations to Jim McKenna and Thomas Treanor on winning class 14 and taking 8th overall on the Wexford Stages Rally last weekend. This two day event is surely a test of man and machine with exceptionally fast stages, an example being a total of 28 chicanes on 5 stages alone! Well done also to Barry McKenna and Macartan Kierans on 9th in class 13 and 27th overall. Seamus Connolly and Gary McCrudden had hard luck on day one with engine failure but this determined bunch came home Saturday evening, built an engine, returned to Wexford and had it fitted before the Sunday stages commenced to finish 7th in class 11R and 85th overall under Rally 2 rules. Keith McConnon navigated Paddy Quinn to 10th in class 10. Paul Hughes returned to the navigators seat with Monaghan man (residing in Dublin) Alan Kane in the newly built G3 escort after a 5 year absence but they retired with engine problems on day 1 and decided not to risk even more damage on day two. Paul did however take up 00 duties on the Sunday stages.

 

Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans are gearing up for what is arguably the biggest rally of their careers so far as they prepare for the final round of the British Rally Championship, the iconic Rally Isle of Man. The Monaghan pair have had a great campaign so far in the championship with three wins and one runner up finish which leaves them with a 22 point lead over championship rival Osian Pryce heading into the Isle of Man rally.

            McKenna had a pre event test in his Citroen DS3 last Friday in Draperstown and feels ready for the Manx challenge. Speaking earlier this week McKenna said ” We’re in good shape heading into the weekend and confidence is high. In truth the preparation for this weekend’s event started back in May when we tackled the Manx National Rally in the Escort. We didn’t know at the time how important it would be but it was vital experience.”

With the cancellation of the final round, Rallye Dorset, the Isle of Man rally is actually two rallies in one. Day one of the event will be worth full championship points with Day 2 worth points and a half with Pryce needing to win both days in order to win the championship. McKenna said that despite being the pre-event favourite for the championship win he won’t let complacency become an issue “We may have the advantage going into the event but I still have to beat Osian at the weekend. I’ll need to drive hard to win the championship. We both have experience in the Isle of Man so it will be a level playing field.” Speaking about the event itself McKenna says he is raring to go because it is an event that offers a unique challenge. “Every stage has it’s own identity. You’d have to travel to rallies the length and breath of Ireland to get all that the Isle of Man Rally has to offer, it really is a unique event. The weather is unpredictable also. When the roads get slippery here they get really slippery! ”

            This year marks the 40th year since Billy Coleman became the first Irish rally driver to win the British Rally Championship and as a former winner of the Billy Coleman Award it would be a huge achievement for McKenna to become BRC champion himself. Referring to this, Daniel said “The Billy Coleman Award gave me a great springboard which led to the Pirelli Star Drive. I’d love to repay both their investments by doing the business on the Manx but there’s a lot of miles to drive before I’ll even let myself think about that.”

            The Microgaming Rally Isle of Man begins on Thursday 11th September, with the shakedown stage during the day before the event gets properly underway on the

Douglas promenade with a side-by-side spectator special stage on the opening night. The following day see the crews tackle 13 stages between 9am and 11pm, headlined by the double run through the popular Castletown stage in the evening. The action continues on Saturday, a further 7 stages building up to the traditional finale through the streets of Douglas to the finish at the TT Grandstand.

            Monaghan Motor Club and all it’s members wish Daniel Mc Kenna and Arthur Kierans the very best of luck for the Rally Isle of Man. Fingers crossed we could have club members crowned British Rally Champions!  Full report next week.

 

WRIGHT IMPRESSES IN BELGIUM

It was back to Belgium again for Stephen Wright as the Monaghan driver continued his attack on the Belgian Rally Championship in his Peugeot 208 R2. Navigated this time by Karl Atkinson, Wright was hoping for another good display and in particular against championship rival Guillaume Dilley.

            The first leg saw the competitors tackle three stages on Friday evening and after the first test Wright lay fourth in class and second in the 208 trophy. A hard push over the next two stages resulted in the Monaghan man finishing the first leg third in class but first in the 208 Trophy.

The second day was to be a real test of man and machine with fifteen stages to tackle! On the opening four stages Dilley went on a real charge and took the class lead but Wright was close on his heals and lay just eight seconds behind and second in class going into service. Over the next five stages Wright kept up the charge and managed to keep his championship rival within 16 seconds going into the next service stop. The next five stages were a fantastic spectacle as the two competitors exchanged time through the stages and heading into the final stage he lay just under sixteen seconds behind Dilley. Through the final stage and it was second in class finishing just over thirteen seconds behind Dilley and second in the 208 Trophy.

            Speaking after the event a delighted Stephen Wright said “It was a great rally I really enjoyed it. It’s a very specialised rally so it was a good feeling to run Dilley so close.” The next round of the Belgian Rally Championship is the East Belgian Rally at the end of the month.

 

MIXED RESULTS FOR MONAGHAN CREWS ON LAKELAND RALLY

It was a mixed bag of results for Monaghan crews on the Lakeland Stages Rally last weekend. The 8 stage event, which was a round of the Northern Ireland Rally championship spawned and entry list that included Kenny McKinstry, Sam and Josh Moffett and Johnny Leonard to name a few, the spectators were in for a real treat.

            SS1 saw Josh Moffett and Jason McKenna take the early lead just 1 second ahead of Donegal’s Donagh Kelly and Mark Cassidy. Irish Forestry Championship regular Pat O’Connell along with navigator Derek Gebbs finished stage 1 in 3rd just 2 seconds behind Moffett with Marty McKenna and Martin McGarrity in 4th. Moffett extended his lead over Kelly by a second on SS2 continuing his impressive start to the event. Desi Henry jumped from 5th to 3rd overtaking Marty McKenna and Pat O’Connell who dropped to 7th. SS3 saw Donagh Kelly take the lead from Josh Moffett, the Donegal man now led the Combilift Rallying driver by two seconds with Desi Henry 13 seconds behind in 3rd. A bad stage for McKenna saw him and co-driver Martin McGaarrity drop down the order to 14th as Martin Cairns and Kevin Flanagan inheriting 4th with the recovering Pat O’Connell up to 5th. The final stage of the first half of the rally saw Kelly and Moffett continue their epic battle with the Monaghan man taking a second off the Mini WRC driver to head into service just one second off lead.

            Into stage 5 and Josh Moffett went on a real charge and beat Donagh Kelly by 3 seconds to take the lead by just two seconds. Moffett extended his led in SS6 but problems on SS7 saw him drop time with Donagh Kelly taking the lead by 4 seconds. Moffett was forced to retire on the final stage, his class 20 Mitsubishi Evolution 9 suffering mechanical issues robbing spectators of spectacular finish. In the end it was Donagh Kelly ho took victory by over half a minute from Desi Henry with Martin Cairns in 3rd.

            It was a good day for Sam Moffett, the Combilift Rallying driver took the class two win and 6th overall along with co-driver James O’Reilly in their Evo 9. Marty McKenna and Martin McGarrity finished 9th overall. It was disappointment for Andy and Derek Mackerel who retired on SS3 in their Ascona while lying 5th in class 6.

Galway Summer Rally
It was another good day on the stages for Monaghan’s Josh Moffett. The Combilift Rallying driver, navigated by John Rowan, took a convincing win in Group N on the Galway Summer Rally last Sunday and has gotten his bid for 2014 National Group N honours back on track.
Moffett made his intentions clear on stage one with a time of 10:30.6 which was 14.6 seconds ahead of Stephen McCann and Paul Kelly. Championship leader Shane Maguire and Stephen Thornton were a further 10.8 seconds behind in third. By the time cars entered first service Moffett had increased his lead to 45.2 seconds over Mc Cann with Maguire not letting second out of his sight, he was just twelve seconds behind in third.
Drama was to follow on stage 4 as Stephen McCann rolled his Evo 9 out of the event and by second service Moffett was in full control and led the Group N field by over a minute and a half. On the final loop there was no let up on the charge as the Combilift Rallying driver crossed the finish line almost two and a half minutes ahead of fellow Monaghan rivals Shane Maguire and Stephen Thornton who finished 2nd in class and 9th over. Speaking at the end of the rally Josh had this to say ” Yeah we’re over the moon, it was a great rally some great stages. The result will really help with regards the championship as we missed a few rounds earlier in the year.” Maguire/Thornton’s 2nd in class was a valuable points haul as they still lead the group N championship.
Elsewhere Jim McKenna and Thomas Treanor who took 5th in class 14. Jonathan Treanor navigated Colin O’Rourke to 3rd in class 13. It was a good day for Packie Duffy and Evin Hughes who took second in class 3. Commiserations to Emmett Sherry, Justin Smyth and James McCarville who failed t make the finish.
The event was won by the Boyle cousins, Declan and Brian from Donegal with almost a minute of an advantage over top seeds and Welsh man Hugh Hunter . Roy White and James O’Brien rounded off the podium places in third in the MG ZR Rover.

National Loose Surface AutoCross Championship
Congratulations to Derek Mackarel who took his Scanbitz Nova to 3rd overall and a class win in the Carlow Loose Surface Autocross on Sunday. This result increases Derek’s overall lead of the National Loose Surface Autocross with two rounds remaining.

Clare Stages Rally
Sam Moffett and Cavan’s Gary Kiernan are to swop cars for the Clare Stages Rally. Sam will get behind the wheel of Gary’s MK2 Escort to experience rear wheel drive for the first time while Gary will have a go in his Evo 9. Speaking on Monday Sam said; “I’ve always wanted to have a go in a proper rear wheel drive car and I’m grateful to Gary for giving me the chance. We’d been talking about it for a while and Clare seemed like a good rally for us to swap. Gary was out in Germany recently doing my gravel notes and my Evo hasn’t done much rallying since I started using the Fiesta so it’ll be a good opportunity for him too.”

Night Navigation Classes
Please note that Monaghan Motor club have started their night navigation classes ahead of the upcoming night navigation season. These classes started on Friday 29th August but have now moved to a Wednesday night due to unavailability of Threemilehouse GAA complex on a Friday. Its not too late to join in these classes so if you wish to learn more about the sport of night navigations or indeed stages rallying please feel free to attend these classes in Threemilehouse GAA complex on a Wednesday night at 8pm sharp.

It was a weekend to remember for Sam Moffett, James O’Reilly and all involved with Combilift Rallying. Sam and James made their World Rally debut on Rally Germany bringing their Fiesta WRC home in a fantastic 15th overall. The pair had a good first day in the event, learning as they went along. Moffett lay 12th overall going into the overnight halt commenting that the pace at the front was incredible! On a very wet day 2 the pair struggled with tyre issues. Choosing a soft compound rubber for the very long 42km, Panzerplatte Lang stage, Moffetts tyres were down to their canvases by the finish line! Moffett and O’Reilly got over those issues and finished the day in 19th place learning with every stage mile. The final day brought better fortunes as Moffett grew in confidence. He set 13th fastest time on the first two stages of the day and set about bringing the car home on the last two stages. The pair moved up the leader board and crossed the finish line in 15th place. Well done to all of the team!

Carbin and Thornton Take Podium Spot on Sunset Rally
Michael Carbin and Stephen Thornton started their weekend off on the right foot on Friday evening with third place on the Sunset Rally. Organised by the Magherafelt and District Motorclub the event challenged crews to four forestry stages. The Monaghan crew made their intentions known on the first stage with second fastest time in their Evo IV just 2.8 seconds slower than Derek McGeehan in a Mini WRC. By the service halt Enda McNulty had taken second from him and then lost third to Martin Cairns. But the Monaghan pair managed to take the position back and rounded out the top three with a fantastic third place. Arthur Kierans had a great day navigating for Seamus O’Connell going from 12th on stage one to sixth and by the finish taking second in class 7. Martin McGarrity took second in class two navigating for Paul Britton while Emmett Sherry took the honours in class ten navigating for Tommy O’Connell. Mac Kierans navigated Alan Atcheson to second in class five and it was a solid day for Damian and Conor Hagan took third in class six.

Moffett and McKenna Take Third in Cork
Josh Moffett rounded of a fantastic weekend for the Moffett Combilift Rally team when he took third place in the Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally round four of the Valvoline Irish Forestry Rally Championship. With Jason McKenna on the notes, the Monaghan crew had a great scrap with Owen Murphy, Pat O’Connell and Derek McGeehan and their positions changed constantly between second and fourth. By the finish ramp Moffett and McKenna had settled for third place and finished 19.1 seconds behind rally winner Owen Murphy. Moffett maintained his lead in the championship heading into round five. Michael Carbin and Stephen Thornton completed a busy weekend by taking eight overall and third in class twenty. Derek Mackerel and Peter Deery brought their Nova home third in class nine. This was Derek’s first competitive stages rally and despite fuel problems on stage 3 they managed to set some good stage time’s throughout the day and used the event as a steep learning curve. Mickey Conlon made the trip to Cork also but unfortunately didn’t make the finish.

Mayo Autocross
Congratulations to Martin Tynan on winning the Mayo Motor Club Frank Harrington Challenge Cup at the Mayo Autocross last weekend in Harringtons quarry, Swinford. . The Clones driver finished second overall on the day just 0.19 seconds behind event winner Adrian Deane and won class 4 in his Evo 9. This 4 round championship was highly competitive and with an overall win, two second’s and a third Martin had done enough to lift the 2014 Mayo Autocross crown.

Night Navigation Classes
The Navigation Trial season is fast approaching and the Motor Club are gearing up for that all important kick off – the navigation classes! If you have a motor sport interest of any kind the Navigation Trials are the best form of obtaining the correct ‘foundation’ to this sport. The scheduled classes will cover the full range of topics including map reading, timing, car regulations and pace notes for stages rallies.
The classes will start on Friday 29th August at 8pm sharp in the excellent facilities of the Sean Mac Diarmada complex in ThreemileHouse. All interested persons should contact Conor on 086 1677446 and register your position on the classes. Registration on the night will also include club membership, maps, roamer and all necessary paperwork to complete the 6 week course. Classes cost 25 euro
The first event after the summer break is the October Trial on Saturday 4th. COC for the event is Micheal McCloskey and Keith McConnon and we look forward to this. Read the rest of this entry »