Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan victorious at the International Rally of the Lakes

Posted: May 3, 2022 in Uncategorized

Devine Conquers Rally of the Lakes

Last weekend after a gripping battle with Circuit of Ireland winners Alister Fisher/Gordon Nobel throughout the two day event based around Killarney. Devine/O’Sullivan took the win on the very last stage after Fisher got caught out under breaking and slid the car off the road and out of the rally.

In second place was local man Josh Moffett with Andy Hayes navigating.

The action got under way Saturday morning with the first pass of the Kilsarcon stage. A noteworthy change as the event usually starts with infamous Molls Gap. Devine/O’Sullivan set the pace on the opener finishing 2.5 seconds faster than second place Fisher who complained that he had selected too hard of compound tyres. Moffett went third fastest a further 0.2s back and commented that his tyres were going off over the last few kilometres. On SS2 ‘Banard’ Fisher got the stage win and moved into the lead of the rally despite saying at the stage end that he drove too cautiously. Devine went third fastest and mentioned at the stage end that he was losing time on the breaking. Moffett went second fastest despite saying that he never got going in the stage and had a bad rhythm throughout. Gortnagane was the location of SS3 and Fisher again went quickest and extended his lead to 6.3s over Devine. Callum commented again after the stage that he could have pushed harder. Moffett set the fourth fastest time still battling the wrong tyre choice.

A repeat run of Kilsarcon was SS4 after service and Moffett went fastest after going with a harder compound tyre for the afternoon loop. Devine was second fastest. Fisher went third fastest but still only 1s down on Moffett’s benchmark and reported at the stage end that his tyre compound was too soft and that he needed to let the pressures down more. Fisher then went fastest on SS5 despite a few warning lights appearing on the dash of his Polo GTI. Devine was third fastest and again reported that he could have pushed harder.

 On the final stage of the day ‘Gortnagane 2’ Fisher was fastest and extended his lead to 7.7s over Devine. Moffett went forth fastest, 5.1s down on Fisher’s benchmark and remained in 3rd place overall but 15.2 off the lead going into day two.

Moll’s Gap was the beginning of the second day and Devine hit the ground running setting what would be his first of six stage wins on day two. In fact, he beat the bogey time on the opener by 0.1s. Second fastest was Fisher, 1.5s down. Moffett went third quickest and commented at the stage end that he went on the wrong tyre choice.

 Ballaghbeama was next up and once again Devine went quickest despite not finding a good rhythm throughout. Fisher wasn’t far behind, finishing just 0.4s further back, while Moffett went forth fastest and like Callum, complained of not finding a good rhythm through the narrow and twisty stage. It was into service then and after the opening two stages of the day Devine had closed the gap to 1st place to just 5.8s.

There would be no change in times between the top two over the second pass of Molls Gap 2 (SS9) and Ballaghbeama 2 (SS10) as both Fisher and Devine would beat the bogey on SS9 resulting in both receiving identical times. SS10 was cancelled after a Junior competitor crashed on the previous pass and the stage was still blocked.

SS11 ‘Shanera’ began the second half of day two, and just like earlier, Devine was the man in form and once again went fastest from Fisher to reduce the deficit to 4.5s. Moffett had to settle of the fifth fastest stage time but still maintained 3rd place with a gap of 25s back to 4th. Caragh Lake was up next and Devine took a further 0.2s out of Fisher. Sixth was Moffett who commented at the stage end that he never drove as bad in his life!

With just two stages left after service, a repeat loop of Shanera and Caragh Lake, it was all to play for. On SS13, Fisher could not stop Devine’s charge and dropped 1.2s to have just a 3.1s advantage going into the final 14.26kms of Caragh Lake 2. Unfortunately, on the final stage the pressure of trying to keep Devine at bay got to Fisher and he got caught out on breaking and slid the car off the road and out of the event as the car was stuck preventing him from re-joining the road. Due to Fishers retirement, Devine/O’Sullivan took the last gasp win with Moffett/Hayes moving up to 2nd, 1:09.8 off first place. Jonathan Greer/Niall Burns moved up to 3rd overall and finished their weekend on a high, taking a stage win on final test.

In the National Rally, local men Robert Duggan/Ger Conway took the win in their MkII Escort. They finished with 48.9s to spare over Kevin Eves/Chris Melly. In 3rd place was Conor Murphy/Sean Collins, a further 2:13.1s behind.

Daniel McKenna/ Andrew Grennan had a problematic weekend and eventually retired with power steering failure. Raymond Conlon/Damien Fleming finished 7th OA and first in class 13. Richard Moffett/Darragh Kelly had been in 3rdOA but stopped on SS7 and retired after. Arthur Kierans navigating for Aidan Caldwell failed to make the finish, retiring after SS7 while 22nd overall.

May Day Stages

Stephen Wright/Martin Connolly took the overall win at the Jennings Fuels May Day Rally at St Angelo’s Airport outside Enniskillen on Monday. The pair finished with 7.8s to spare over 2nd place Derek McGarrity/Derrick Jobb.

Paul Sheridan navigated Jonathan Pringle to 9thOA and 3rd class 7 and Mickey Conlon navigated Alan Atcheson to 28th OA and 7th class 7.

PRO: Oisín Sherlock oisinsherlock97@gmail.com

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