Tragic End to Killarney Forestry Rally

Posted: February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

The Motorsport Community was left shocked and stunned after the tragic death of a competitor following an incident at the Killarney Forestry Rally last Sunday week. Unfortunately, Eoin McCarthy, the driver of the car sustained serious injuries during SS4 of the rally following an accident. He was taken to Cork University hospital where he sadly passed away Sunday night. The co-driver Daniel O’Brien was also taken to Cork University hospital with non-life threating injuries. The event was immediately halted as emergency services delt with the accident. The members of Monaghan Motor Club would like to extend their condolences to Eoin’s family and friends at this difficult time.

While the rally was halted from SS4, results were declared after SS3. Portglenone’s Desi Henry with Paddy Robinson on the notes took victory over Sam Moffett/Keith Moriarty with Jordan Hone/Paul Hone finishing 3rd. Stonebridge man Derek Mackarel with Cork’s Eamonn on the notes finished first in Class 20 and 7th OA. Michael Conlon/Paul McPhilips finished 2nd Class 14 and 12 OA. Marty McKenna/Kaine Treanor finished 8th Class 5 and 15th OA and David Condell/Paul Kelly finished 4th Class 14 and 16th OA.

Kirkistown Stages

Stephen Wright finished the top Monaghan man on the opening round of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The Orchard Motorsport Kirkistown Stages Rally took place on the Kirkistown racing circuit in County Down. At the end of the six stages, Wright finished 4th overall, 15.3 seconds off the lead in what was a disappointing finish after a positive start to a very wet rally.

Wright with Ger Conway on the notes took the lead after a soaking wet Stage 1 which included catching another car and being momentarily held up. Jonny Greer/Darragh Mullen finished the stage second fastest in their Citroen C3 just 1.4s slower than the Ford Fiesta of Wright/Conway. Greer had his own dramas on the stage, when he was held up by Kenny McKinstry/Sean Topping who had a steamed up window and were unable to negotiate the stage. On SS2 rally leader Wright again caught another car, this time for a full lap of the circuit which cost him almost 9s seconds. This huge time loss allowed Greer to go into the lead, some 7.3 seconds faster than Wright.

Wright/Conway had a dramatic start to SS3 when a sensor on their Fiesta R5 started to give trouble and the crew only just managed to reach the stage start on time. Greer again set a fastest time to extend his lead to 10.6s. Wright set a 4th fastest stage time and this left only 0.2s between himself and Philip Allen/Emily Turkington in third. On SS4 Derek McGarrity/ Graham Henderson set the fastest time on a very slippy stage. Greer only managed to set the 3rd fastest time on the stage to have his lead trimmed to 9.1s over Allen who had overtaken Wright who struggled on the shiny tar and could only set a 5th fastest time. Wrights poor time dropped him to 4th OA with McGarrity also overtaking him to go into 3rd.

On the penultimate stage, McGarrity/Henderson once again set the fastest time to cut the distance to Allen/Turkington to 1.1s. Greer/Mullen set the 3rd fastest stage time to hold an overall lead of 8.6s with just one stage to go. Wright again could only set a 5th fastest stage time to leave just 2.1s between himself and Darren Gass/Marc McMillin in 5th.

 On the final stage McGarrity set his 3rd fastest stage time of the day to overtake Allen and finish 2nd, just 4.6s off Greer who backed off over the last stage to avoid any last minute drama like what had happened him during a rally the previous year, when a final stage puncture cost him the victory. Allen commented after the stage that he tried too hard and this resulted in silly mistakes which ultimately cost him time. Wright could only set a 6th fastest time on the stage but luckily enough Gass only set a time of 0.2s faster, so Wright was able to hold onto 4th overall.

Gary McCrudden navigating for Alan Smith finished 29th OA and 2nd Class 7.

Fivemiletown Rally

Desi Henry and Paddy Robinson made it two wins in a row at Omagh Motor Clubs Samsonas Rally Fivemiletown. Fresh off their win in Killarney, Henry/Robinson took a beginning to end lead to eventually finish 18.9s quicker than local man Cathan McCourt with Cork’s Liam Moynihan on the notes. Vivian Hamill/Lorcan Moore finished 3rd, a further 17.4s behind.

The event took place in the forests just over the Monaghan/Tyrone border and began with the Famous 7.1 mile Jenkin stage. On the opening pass Henry set the pace setting a time of 6:49.5 in his Fiesta R5. McCourt finished the stage 5.4s slower in his ex McKenna Motorsport USA 2.0 Fiesta. Mark Donnelly/Stephen O’Hanlon also in a Ford Fiesta finished the stage with an identical time as McCourt to be joint 2nd OA after SS1. A short trip over the road followed for SS2 Mullaghfad. The short but demanding stage seen Henry extend his lead to 8.6s. Hamill in his Mini Cooper WRC set the 2nd fastest time to go into 3rd after a poor stage from Donnelly where he only set the 13th fastest time dropped him from 2nd to 4th. McCourt could only set a 4th fastest stage time but still held 2nd, just 1.2s in front of Hamill.

Crocknagrally forest was the location for SS3 and Henry was the man to catch as yet again he set the fastest time to make it three stage wins from three. This increased his lead to 11.5s over McCourt who again could only set the 4th fastest time. Hamill set the 3rd fastest time on the stage to close the gap to McCourt to just 1s. Monaghan’s Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan set the 5th fastest time on the stage to go into an excellent 4th overall before a short regroup in Fivemiletown.

After Regroup it was into the 2.33 mile stage of Doon. A new stage winner emerged in Cathan’s brother Conor McCourt navigated by Caolan McKenna. They finished the stage 0.6s quicker than Henry/Robinson in their Skoda Fabia R5. Hamill only set a 5th fastest stage time which was good news for Cathan as he increased his advantage over him to 3s. Unfortunately, Conor McCrossin/Arthur Kierans would go off the road resulting the stage being stopped. This resulted in Carbin/Mohan being dropped to 7th OA through no fault of their own as all cars caught up with the accident received Shane McGirr/Denver Rafferty’s stage time.

SS5 was a repeat run of the Jenkin stage and Desi Henry once again got back to winning ways getting his 4th stage win of the day, Cathan set a 2nd fastest stage time to put 5s between himself and Hamill in 3rd place. This stage ended Carbin/Mohan’s day as an impact with a rut on the stage upset the car and caused them to slide into a drain. A very unfortunate end to what was an excellent drive up until this. From SS5 it was into service for a well needed break after five very demanding stages. At service in Fintona the top three were as follows; 1st Desi Henry/Paddy Robinson 21:09.4, 2nd Cathan McCourt/Liam Moynihan 21:24.7 (+15.3), 3rd Vivian Hamill/Lorcan Moore 21:29.7 (+20.3).

Four more stages lay ahead after service starting with a repeat run of Doon. This time it was Cathan McCourt’s turn for a stage win. A stage win much needed to keep the pressure on Henry and show him that he wasn’t giving up without a fight. Hamill could only set a 5th fastest time, a full 4.3s slower than that set by McCourt. Cathan’s brother Conor set the 3rd fastest time to reduce his deficit from Hamill to less than 10s.

On SS7 the third pass of the Jenkin stage, Cathan would once again set the fastest stage time leaving him just 10.4 seconds off the overall lead with just two stages to go. In the battle for 3rd Hamill would beat Conor to put 13.7s between them. Henry managed to put a stop to Cathan’s charge on SS8 Mullaghfad 2 by setting the fastest time. There was to be no change in the battle for 3rd as amazingly both Hamill and Conor McCourt set identical stage times.

With a 12.3s lead going into the last stage, and it being only 3.35 miles long, one would have been expecting Henry to back off and consolidate the win but this wasn’t to be the case as Henry went on to set the 2nd fastest stage time. Cathan could only set the 6th fastest time to end all hope of a last stage upset. Hamill managed to hold off Conor and comfortably hold onto his 3rd place overall.

Derek Mackarel/Thomas Wedlock would go onto finish 9th OA and 1st in Class 8. David Condell/Paul Kelly finished 15th OA and 2nd Class 7. Marty McKenna/Kaine Treanor finished 16th OA and 2nd Class 10. Bryan Jardine/Declan McKenna finished 48th OA and 6th Class 5. Unfortunately, Niall Connolly/Paul McPhillips retired on the road section between SS4 and SS5 with a broken diff while running 66th OA.

PRO: Oisín Sherlock    oisinsherlock97@gmail.com

Top 10 Fivemiletown Results:

1st Desi Henry/Paddy Robinson (Ford Fiesta R5) 33:40.7,

2nd Cathan McCourt/Liam Moynihan (Ford Fiesta) 33:59.6,

3rd Vivian Hamill/Lorcan Moore (Mini Cooper WRC) 34:17.0,

4th Conor McCourt/Caolan McKenna (Skoda Fabia) 34:30.8,

5th Jason Mitchel/Paddy McCrudden (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 34:44.5,

6th Mark Donnelly/Stephen O’Hanlon (Ford Fiesta) 35:06.4,

7th Gareth Mimnagh/J Barry McCarney (Ford Fiesta R5) 35:45.4,

8th Niall Henry/Barney Mitchell (Ford Fiesta) 36:03.7,

9th Derek Mackarel/Thomas Wedlock (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 36:23.3,

10th David Crossen/Aileen Kelly (Ford Escort MKII) 36:30.5.

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