McKenna/Grennan out of luck on Monte Carlo Rally

Posted: January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Daniel McKenna & Andrew Grennan made their JWRC debut on the Monte Carlo Rally last weekend. The pair made a sensational start by going fastest on two of the first three stages before gearbox problems forced them into retirement at the end of the second day.

Monte Carlo is a unique event in the calendar. The Alpine passes, which make up the majority of special stages, are partially covered with snow and ice and the constant changing road conditions tests drivers & navigators to the limit. Daniel & Andrew had a brief chance to sample the conditions with a short shakedown stage on Wednesday. The following evening, the event began with two stages in darkness on the run from Monte-Carlo to Gap. To the surprise of their rivals, it was the Monte-Carlo novices from Monaghan who set the fastest time on the opening stage by 11 seconds! The pair were then 2nd fastest on stage 2, but their early joy would be short lived as they were given a 2 minute, 20 second time penalty which demoted them to 7th in class overnight. With the chance of a class win out of the question, the pair looked to regain as many positions as possible over the remaining stages.

They began Friday as they had on Thursday night, posting fastest class time on stage 3. However, gearbox problems had begun to set in and the loss of 3rd gear left them at a major disadvantage. The pair struggled through the rest of the day’s stages but still held 6th in class at the end of the day. A replacement gearbox could not be found in time and they could not borrow from fellow competitors, which left them with no option but to retire. Despite this major disappointment, Daniel & Andrew can take much satisfaction from the promise they showed which caught the attention of many within the WRC community. The rally was won by defending world champions, Sebastian Ogier & Julia Ingrassia, who led home a Volkswagen 1-2-3. The next round of the JWRC is the Rally of Portugal in May where Daniel & Andrew will hope to make up lost ground on their championship rivals.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

 

Daniel McKenna & Andrew Grennan’s appearance at Monte Carlo was the first by Monaghan Motor Club members in over sixty years at this iconic event. Brian McCaldin competed on the Monte-Carlo Rally several times in the early fifties. In those days, competitors on the Monte started at various points in Europe and then converged on Monte-Carlo. It’s hard to imagine crossing the Alps in the middle of winter in a 848cc Morris Minor or even in the heavier Hillmans and Sunbeams that McCaldin used. These cars were very nearly standard and had to endure up to 1000 miles of hard non-stop driving over roads that were in bad condition after two world wars. Service teams were unheard of so all spares and equipment, suitcases etc. had to be brought along for the ride. Quite often the crew was made up of three; driver, navigator and mechanic, but all would have taken turns at the wheel. Then when they arrived in Monte Carlo they had to do the “Special Stages” which equates to the present day rally as faced by Daniel & Andrew last weekend!

Donegal Night Navigation Trial

 

Donegal Motor Club hosted the third round of the Squealing Pig Border Night Navigation Championship last Saturday night. COC Barry Boyle laid out a challenging route through classic terrain in Mid-Donegal. Local men Paul Reid & Kevin Gallagher took overall honours on a clean sheet from defending Border Champions, Colin Duffy & Sam Johnston. Another local crew Joe & Aiden Friel completed the top three finishers. Monaghan club members, Aaron Duffy & Laurence Keenan took 2nd in the Semi-Expert class. Eoghan Corr & Ruadhri Nash took victory in the Novice class despite a close call with a black bullock. Luckily, neither the animals inside or outside the car were harmed! Michael Carbin & Darragh Kelly had been having a great battle with Corr/Nash but were forced to make a mercy dash for fuel which dropped them down the leaderboard. Keith McConnon/Micheal McCluskey took advantage to claim 2nd in class. Colm & Conor Mohan continued to impress in their first season navigating, by taking the Beginner’s class win from Emmet McCooey/Conor Boylan. Paddy & Oisin Sherlock finished 4th in the same class despite car problems near the finish.

Donegal Forestry Rally

 

The opening round of the 2015 Valvoline Forestry Rally Championship takes place this Saturday.

The Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran is HQ for the event which will comprise of six forestry stages in south Donegal. Monaghan competitors on the entry list include Sam Moffett, Josh Moffett & Jason McKenna, Michael Conlon/Ciaran McPhillips and Derek Mackarel/Peter Deery. Paul Sheridan is once again sitting with Enda McNulty and Mac Kierans is navigating for Alan Smyth. Full report next week.

Skibbereen Night Navigation Trial

 

The fifth round of the National Night Navigation Championship takes place this Saturday night near Clonakilty. COC Eric McCarthy plans for an 80 mile route with the event kicking off at 11.15pm. A small contingent from Monaghan are planning on making the trip down for this one.

Forthcoming events:

February 6th‘/7th Galway International Rally

February 14th/15th Midland Navigation Trial

February 15th Monaghan Autotest

February 21st Fivemiletown Forestry

February 22nd Birr Stages Rally

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