Treanor Keeps Pressure on O’Donovan

Posted: February 14, 2023 in Uncategorized

Ryan Treanor has kept the pressure on current National Championship leaders Derek Butler/Denis O’Donovan with a 3rd place finish on last weekend’s 100 Isles Navigation Trial in Skibbereen. Ryan navigating for Shane Dalton finished the 80 mile event with a loss of just four minutes. Overall winners on the night were the Novice class pairing of Brian O’Mahony/Amy Gallwey. They completed the event with a total of 1 mark from the ITC section near the end of the event. 2nd overall went to Butler/O’Donovan who were also down just 1 mark, but lost out on the win due to the Novice beats Expert tiebreaker rule.

The navigation began just north of Skibbereen on the R637 and then headed toward the villages of Leap and Drinagh. At Time Point 3 competitors were handed plot and bash for the location of TP4. The p&b was in the form of a route card with the TP4’s grid reference muddled between other plots for TPs received before the event start. The approach and departure directions were also swapped around, making it imperative that navigators read the instruction on the top of the sheet. The exact same format of p&b was handed out at TP5 for the location of TP6. TPs 4 and 6 were both located on farm lanes at Cloonkeen. Most crews managed this section without any problems apart from dropping time due to the narrowness and slippiness of the farm lanes as well as the limited time allowed to plot the locations and get there.

Martin Swinburne/Gretchen Swinburne made their first trip south after Gretchen took up the sport at the start of the season. They unfortunately missed Via 1 and instead continued to TP3 and therefore received 20 marks. They also picked up 2 marks at TP4 and 1 at TP5.

Apart from TP9, accessed via a short farm lane at Ballyriree the next few check points were all on public roads which caused no issues for a majority of the entries. The biggest issue here was to make sure navigators didn’t check in too early to the check points and receive 50 marks. This error did occur to two crews during this section.

TP13 was very nearly unlucky for Dalton/Treanor as the TP was located in a farm yard. They missed the entrance to the farm yard and Kelly/Sherlock actually arrived to the TP first. Luckily for the pair the timing was quite relaxed and they didn’t pick up any penalties as they were still within their allowed time.

TPs 14 and 15 were located at a farm near Corran South. Heading into the farm the first time, competitors had to go around the front of a house to receive the correct approach before departing right, down an extremely narrow overgrown former public road. Kelly/Sherlock were losing some time through this section following a slight overshoot and Butler/O’Donovan overtook them the during the second pass through the farm when they took a left turn too early going to TP15.

 Kelly/Sherlock were unable to overtake Butler/O’Donovan on the way to TP16 or make back any time due to the short distance and as the approach was through a very muddy and twisty farm lane which included a river crossing. Time did eventually catch up with them during the p&b herringbone diagram that was handed out at TP16 for TP17. The distances on the tulip diagram weren’t matching perfectly for them through this section and they took their time to make sure they didn’t make any mistakes through the farm at Knockavoher and receive a wrong approach or miss the time point completely. They dropped 1 minute here and a further minute into TP18. Dalton/Treanor also lost their clean sheet here when they picked up a 2 mark penalty for lateness.

Kelly/Sherlock’s night would take a turn for the worse during the last p&b section. They caught up to and overtook Dalton/Treanor (it took them longer to plot the locations of TP21,22 and TP23) on the way to TP21 but unfortunately, they clipped a rock hidden in the undergrowth through another extremely overgrown former public road at Ballyroe, which immediately deflated the driver side front tyre. Luckily Dalton/Treanor were able to get past when the track widened out as Kelly/Sherlock would drop 3 minutes as they continued the mile and a half journey on the flat. They would also drop 4 minutes on the way to TP22 as they changed the wheel after TP21. Butler/O’Donovan would pick up their only mark of the event in this section as they arrived a minute late to TP22, mostly due to how slippy the grey farm lane was on the approach to the TP at Madranna.

The ITC section began at the relaxed TP25, and on having taken back the full allowed 5 minutes, Kelly/Sherlock found the road completely blocked by the other competitors who had got passed when they were changing the wheel. Having been signed for to start the ITC section at 01:04 they weren’t able to leave the until shortly after 01:06. Luckily for them, the hidden ITC check car was located over nine and a half miles away and they managed to make most of the lost 2 minutes up and received only 1 mark for being between 10-19 seconds too late. Dalton/Treanor would drop 2 marks on this tricky ITC.

From the end of the ITC section, it was a straight forward run as the event headed back towards Skibbereen and the final control.

In the end O’Mahony/Gallwey scored their first ever event win together with only one mark to their name. Butler/O’Donovan would rue the minute they dropped at TP22 as it cost them what would have been four wins from four in the County Cork events this season. Dalton/Treanor finished 3rd on 4 marks with Kelly/Sherlock 5th overall on 7 marks. Their penalties along with everyone else’s were scrapped for TP21 when it was found out that the shortest route was in fact using a farm lane right beside the TP. Some crews went this route only to find the farm lanes closed off which dropped them considerable time. The Clerk of the Course correctly scrapped this TP as a non goer should have been given out before the event began.

The Swinburne team finished an excellent 2nd in the beginner class, finishing on a total of 72 marks. A bulk of their marks were from missing Via 1, TP17 and TP22.

The Munster Navigation Championship came to a close with the 100 Isles event. Butler/Donovan finished 1st overall with Dalton/Treanor finishing 2nd and Kelly/Sherlock finishing 3rd.

The National Navigation, and Border Navigation Championships

continue this weekend with the Midland Motor Club event. Patrick Brides and Sam Johnston have laid out a 65 mile route based out of Creggs National School on the Roscommon/Galway border. Late entries will be accepted.

Entries can be sent via email to

Both championships continue the following weekend with Cavan Motor Club hosting the penultimate round of both championships. Sean McConnell and Anthony McDonald have laid out an 80 mile event in the greater Crosskeys area. Entry forms are available now. 

Eamonn Kelly and Conor Mohan had a challenging opening round of the Junior World Rally Championship.

The Swedish event which takes place on snow got off to a great start for them with a 4th fastest stage time on the Thursday Night Umeå super special stage. They settled in well on Friday as they continued to learn the car and the gain experience at this level. A 3rd fastest time on SS4 (even with a spin) showed just how quickly they were picking up the pace against far more experienced competition, they even beat Grégoire Munster through this 25.81km test. Munster was voted the World Rally Championship’s most improved driver in 2022 and back in December was announced as one of the lead drivers in M-Sport Ford’s WRC2 campaign this season.

At first service they held 5th overall but unfortunately on SS6 they clipped a snowbank almost flat in 5th gear. The impact with the bank catapulted the car into the air and sent them off the road and caused significant damage to the car and gave the Eamonn and Conor quite a scare when the car scooped a large amount of snow in through the collapsed front window. Luckily, they both were fine and the M-Sport Poland mechanics go the car repaired overnight and they were able to restart on Saturday morning.

With any hope of a good result gone, they spent Saturday getting the confidence back up after the crash and battling some mechanical issue which was causing the car to stall and cut out at times, but they persevered and even managed another 3rd fastest stage time on SS12. On SS13 the light bar on their car would break off over a jump and left them with very poor visibility over the two remaining night stages which added up to just over 27kms.

Bad luck was back again Sunday morning when a large stone imbedded in a snowbank hit the car and bent a wishbone forcing them to retire for good.  Despite all the hardship endured they are already looking forward to the next round in Croatia. The tarmac there will be a bit more familiar. The Croatia rally takes place from the 20th to the 23rd of April.

The Sligo Pallets Irish Forestry Championship

Kicks off this weekend with the Killarney Forestry Rally. Top Monaghan seed is Derek Mackarel along with his Cork navigator Eamonn Creedon. They are seeded number 8 in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. Arthur Kierans is navigating for Ryan Caldwell seeded number 15 in a Skoda R5. In the two wheel drive category Michael Conlon and Paul McPhillips lead the way in their MkII Ford Escort. Steven Corey/Ella Ryan are seeded just two places behind them also in a MkII Escort and Ryan Farrell is making the trip south, navigating for Dylan Eves in their Ford Fiesta.

Monaghan Motor Club are hosting an open meeting on Wednesday night the 22nd of February.

Topics include the introduction of a marshal’s points system for competitors, the 2024 Monaghan Stages Rally, Pedal Car event and Navigation and Endurance Trials.

The open meeting will take place in the Four Seasons Hotel and starts at 8pm sharp.

PRO: Oisín Sherlock 


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