McGarrity Wins Circuit of Ireland Rally

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 Easter weekend past saw the traditional running of the Circuit of Ireland Stages Rally based at the Armagh City Hotel. Saturday’s 10 stages were spread throughout northArmaghwith a unique spectator stage through the streets of Lisburn. This was a big hit with spectators as an estimated 15,000 people turned up to watch the 1 kilometre stage. Easter Sunday’s 6 stages moved west around the Aughnacloy area with 2 full stages in Co. Monaghan just North of Emyvale and Carrickroe.

With No. 2 seeds Tim Mc Nulty opting to sit this event out in favour of the Killarney stages next weekend it was number 1 seeds Derek McGarrity and James McKee who held their nerve in a Subaru S11 to win the event by 41 seconds from Kenny McKinstry and Kenny Hull after 16 competitive stages. The Triton showers- backed Subaru of Kevin Barrett and Sean Mullally took 3rd overall. The 2-wheel drive category was a close affair with the Darrian T90 GTR of Wales’ John Dalton taking a 1.8 second win over the red Escort of Hereford’s Phil Collins with Adrian Hetherington in 3rd.

As always Monaghan Motor Club were well represented on a number of fronts with Enda Sherry alongside Markethill’s Darren Gass at number 2, fresh from their Circuit of Kerry win. Unfortunately their weekend was short lived with gearbox trouble forcing their retirement at the end of stage 1. Damian Connolly got a late call up to navigate for Phillip Morrow in an EVO 9 and were leading their class after the first few stages but fuel pump gremlins set in, pushing them back down the leader board.  Sam Moffett and James O’Reilly were seeded at 28 in their EVO 9 and had a great run to 8th overall and 3rd in class 2. Sam reported brake problems towards the end of the event. Next up at 41 was Raymond Conlon and Darren McCague followed by Michael Conlon and Aidan Boyle at 42 in their MC Blinds Escort. Raymond and Darren had a troubled run throughout the weekend to eventually finish 16th o/a and 2nd in class. Michael and Aidan however had a better run, finishing a superb 11th o/a and topping the class. Emmett Sherry once again partnered Amy Cox in her immaculate G3 escort and they too had a fine run to 23rd overall and winning their class, Amy showing some real talent on only her 2nd real tarmac stages event. Barry and Jason McKenna finished 29th overall in their blue Escort.     

The Circuit of Ireland 2 wheel drive Sunday run took in the last 3 stages of the event and proved a popular category among the spectators. Cootehill’s Mervin Wedlock and Damian McCabe came out on top but were pushed all the way by Monaghan’s Ciaran (Bilko) McCarra and Conor McGinnity who finished 2nd just 15 seconds adrift. This result surely helps to make up for the disappointment of a broken drive in Monaghan the weekend before. Bilko did experience some difficulties with no brakes towards the end of stage 1 but did manage a fastest stage time on the 2nd stage by 3 seconds to eventually finish 2nd and take the class win.

Monaghan Motor Club took on the challenge of managing stage 11 and 14 of the event which ran northwards from Emyvale towards Aughnacloy. Paul Hughes and Barry McAree were to the fore in overseeing the smooth running of this stage, taking control of stage set-up and deployment of marshals. True to form everything ran like clockwork and a big thank you must go to all the marshals who turned up to help out, and to the residents along the route and to everyone who helped out in any way, big or small.

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