Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans teamed up last weekend to win the Midlands Motor Club Moto Stages Rally. With Daniels regular navigator Andrew Grennan sidelined for a few weeks, Arthur jumped at the chance of navigating and they pulled off the win by a narrow margin of only 2 seconds after 9 stages. Donegal’s Declan and Brian Boyle were also on a serious pace throughout the day and any minor mistake would have been enough for either crew to relinquish the lead.
Daniel and Arthur started with a blistering time on the first stage, 6 seconds ahead of the Boyles with Donagh Kelly 3rd in an EVO 9, but Donagh would later retire with gearbox problems. By first service their lead was cut to 3 seconds after three stages and on the middle loop despite their best efforts the Scotshouse/Aghabog pairing could only stretch the lead to 4 seconds as the Boyle brothers piled on the pressure. Just behind the top two there was an even more personal battle going on between Maurice Moffett/Patrick Brides and son Richard Moffett/Martin Connolly. Richard was quickest of the Moffett’s through the first loop in the infamous starlet but the threat of being beaten by his son spurred Maurice and Patrick on to eventually take 3rd overall, albeit in a more powerful class 14 starlet. Back in front, Daniel stretched his lead to 6 seconds through stages 7 and 8 but on the last stage of the day the Boyle brothers threw caution to the wind and pulled 4 seconds back but this wasn’t enough. Back at the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon Daniel Mc Kenna and Arthur Kierans were crowned 2012 Midlands Stages winners. Incidentally this is the second year running Daniel has won this event.
To quote the wise words of a local “hero” there were two Kierans’ navigating for two Mc Kenna’s in two Millington powered escorts! Young Mac Kierans got the call up late in the week to sit with Jim McKenna but their day wasn’t quite as straightforward. Jim’s immaculate class 14 escort bared all the hallmarks of a high-speed spin but nevertheless they got away with only cosmetic damage and finished 12th over-all and 3rd in class 14. Cavan’s Paddy Boyle and Marty Sherlock made a return to the stages after a lengthy 3 year sabbatical but refound their form and set some great times as the day progressed to finish 14th o/a. Next of the locals was Jack Maguire and Stephen McElroy in 15th o/a. Mickey Conlon had Darren McCague on the notes and they too had a troubled day, picking up a puncture and dropping at least two minutes to finish in 17th over-all. Maudabawn men Mervin Wedlock and Damien McCabe were next up in 18th o/a in their class 13 escort. Martin McPhillips and Ciaran Tynan had a steady run in the McPhillips Engineering backed twin cam to win class 11 and finish 20th over-all. Martin and Ciaran had been involved in a great class battle with Carrickmacross men Johno Doogan and JP McAree but unfortunately the South Monaghan crew encountered alternator belt problems through the middle loop which ultimately forced them into retirement.
Local midlands crew and regular night navigation contenders Packie Duffy and Michael Reilly had a good run on their home event to win class 3 in their Type R Honda. Colin Duffy and Sam Johnston would usually be rivals on the night navigation scene but teamed up for their local stages event. Unfortunately their challenge came to a sudden stop on stage 2 after setting a great time on the opening test. Cavan’s Brendan O’Reilly had Mark Hamill on the notes and they had an enjoyable run through the narrow Roscommon roads to take 2nd in class 9 behind Pa Bellew and Andres Reid.
Not to be outdone by the Moffett battle at the head of the main field, David Moffett and Andrew Spears, in the 3rd of the Moffett starlets, took stage wins on all 6 stages of the Junior Rally to take a convincing win. Not only this but David’s time on the opening stage was a 5th fastest time in the main field with brother Richard setting 4th fastest, such was the pace of these youngsters. Longford’s Barry and Sean Brady were 2nd in the junior rally in their civic ahead of another local crew John Collum and Caitriona Spollen also in a civic.
So another win for the Scanbitz escort and an almost perfect day in the Moffett stable. Best of luck to all travelling local crews for this weekends circuit of Kerry Stages.
MIDLAND MC STAGES RALLY TOP 10
1/ Daniel McKenna/Arthur Kierans (Escort) 56m 48s
2/ Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Escort) 56m 50s
3/ Maurice Moffett/Patrick Brides (Starlet) 59m 37s
4/ Richard Moffett/Martin Connolly (Starlet) 59m 50s
5/ Neil Tohill/Gerard Tohill (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 60m 41s
6/ Michael Curran/Sean Hayde (Escort) 60m 49s
7/ Alan Sheridan/Gerry Conlon (Escort) 61m 05s
8/ Andrew Mullen/Elaine Doherty (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 61m 35s
9/ Daniel Conaghan/Terence Magee (Escort) 62m 06s
10/ Marc McDermott/Damian Flanagan (Civic) 62m 19s
1/ David Moffett/Andrew Speares (Starlet) 41m 06s
2/ Barry Brady/Sean Brady (Civic) 43m 53s
3/ John Collum/Catriona Spollen (Civic) 44m 57s
Club member Emmet Sherry made the trip to Wales at the weekend to contest the Bulldog Rally as navigator for upcoming Fermanagh driver Jon Armstrong in a LHD ST Fiesta. This was only Jon’s second ever pacenote event and following a 13th overall result on the recent Omagh Spring Rally confidence was high in the Armstrong camp. Jon and Emmet started well, just 7 tenths of a second off the fastest overall BRC Challenge competitor after taking it reasonable steady through the first stage. On stage 2 Jon and Emmet had a good charge through the 8-mile stage and were 12 seconds faster than the nearest Challenge competitor. Unfortunately stage 3 was to be their last, unaware that they had picked up a puncture on a rough cut up hairpin Jon entered a tight right hand corner following a series of fast flowing corners and soon realised they were in trouble. The car just would not turn in at all and the result was slipping the car off a drop and rolling 2 times. The accident ended Jon and Emmet’s event, as the car was too far off the road and had a fair amount of damage, a disappointing end after a great start. Jon and Emmet plan to continue their assault on the BRC challenge and hope to have their car ready for the Jim Clarke Rally.
Squealing Pig Border Navigation Prize Giving
Keep free Friday 13th April for the annual Squealing Pig Bar & Restaurant Border Navigation Championship Prizegiving. Proceedings will kick off at 8.00pm sharp in the Squealing Pig with meal followed by prizegiving. Final border championship points will be available shortly so keep an eye out; you may just be a winner. If not come along anyway to support this popular championship with a guaranteed night of banter and reminisce about the season gone past. To book tickets please call or text Andy on 087 2558957
Monaghan MC are urgently looking for marshals for the Circuit of Ireland on Easter weekend, particularly Easter Saturday. Anybody available and willing to help please contact 047-81139 after 7pm or e-mail Monaghan Motor Club at firstname.lastname@example.org