As the day dawned and the mist lifted over the Achill hills the first round of the Sligo Pallets Border Championship kicked off in style. The early stages were challenging due to overnight rain but once the sun came out and the stages dried up the drivers got into their own rhythm and their confidence increased as the day went on.
First off the mark was Joseph McGonigle with Ciaran Geaney in their Skoda Fabia R5, despite struggling early in the morning, the team recovered in the third stage to maintain their lead for the rest of the day. Late entrant Frank Wray and Joe McNulty in their Subaru Impreza were second overall, narrowly piping Adrian Hethrington and Ronan O’Neill in a Ford Escort to the post with just split seconds between them. Recently returned from Australia, Pauric Duffy with Kevin Glynn in their Ford Fiesta R5 (class5) had a good day out, they challenged McGonigle all day and were in the lead for the first loop of stages. Their luck was short lived and after a driveshaft broke which caused a spin and they dropped to 6th place but gradually climbed back up and gained 2 places by stage 5. They finished the day in 4th place overall and were the first Mayo & District Motorsport Club members home to take the Margaret McGreal Perpetual Cup.
In fourth position overall was Pat Donegan and Alan Kenna in a Ford Escort Mk 2, they also claimed first place in class 14. Mayo navigator Andrew Grennan took teammate Vivian Hamill home to 2nd place in their class and 7th overall. Monaghan’s Mickey Conlon who is no stranger to the Mayo Stages with his navigator Martin Byrne took first in class 13 and were 6th overall in their Ford Escort Mk 2.
James Mc Greal and Chris Mitchell in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6, continued their success of 2016 and claimed 1st place in class 15 and 33rd overall in their first outing of the year. We hope that the success of 2016 continues again in 2017.
John Duffy and John Egan in their Honda Integra had a relatively trouble free day, an early encounter with a stray ditch did not upset their day too much as they crossed the finish ramp with a 2nd in class 3 and 32nd overall.
Local man Brian Lavelle and his navigator Darren Curran were very unlucky when gearbox trouble in their Honda Civic forced them to retire after the first stage on home turf.
Foxford duo Stephen Doherty and Alan Moran in their Subaru Impreza (class 15) were troubled from the start with a misfire and despite their best efforts in first service they were unable to fix the problem and retired on stage 3.
Belmullet’s Ciaran Kennedy and Killala’s Paddy O’ Hora in their maiden voyage with their blue mark 2 Ford Escort, had a good day and after a number of small issues which were sorted by their mechanical team in service, they were back on track and came home 3rd in class 12 and 37th overall.
David Moran and John Sweeney finished 3rd in class 10 and were 46th overall in their Citroen Saxo.
After an electrical fault put them out of Birr last week, Ronan Denning and Karl Egan enjoyed their second trip out in a Peugeot 106 cup car, coming first in class 2 and 35th overall.
Trisha Greevey with navigator brother Brendan in their Honda Civic claimed 4th in their class, 43rd overall and took home 2nd place Mayo & District Club award. Her other brother Terry and his navigator Martin Hastings were not as lucky when they made contact with a stone at the end of stage 1 bringing their Peugeot 106 to a sudden halt ending their day but thankfully escaping with nothing more than minor damage to their car.
Liam Walsh who was on the notes for Florin Niedermueller in a Toyota Corolla and they finished 7th in class 11R and 25th overall.
Father and daughter team Pat and Shauna McEveney had a good day in their Toyota Corolla GTI. They had a bit of a moment on stage 4 where a bump tried to end their day, however they recovered nicely and went on to finish the event and came home 5th in their class, 45th overall and took home 3rd place in the Mayo & District Club awards.
Young jetsetter Lorcan Moore just off the plane from navigating in the Malcolm Wilson Rally the previous day in Cumbria, was back on duty with Shane Buckley in his class 13 Honda Civic. Unfortunately after climbing to 7th place after the first 2 stages, they had a disappointing end to their rally weekend when they clashed with a chicane on stage 3. But they did not go home empty handed as Shane Buckley took home the Eddie O’Hora award for the fastest Mayo & District driver on stage 1.
Another clubman who had a good day out was Ed Muldoon who navigated for Derek Jobb in a Mitsubishi Evo 9, they finished 2nd in class 4 and 36th overall. Colm Connor and James Connor finished 3rd in class 11F and 41st overall in their Toyota Corolla GTI. Well done to Keith Jacob and Michael Carr who took 1st place in the Mayo & District club awards in their Honda Civic, they came 4th in class 16 and 36th overall.
Mayo and District Motorsport Club would like to thank joint title sponsors Óstán Oileán Acla and Connacht Print & Signs, in addition to their many local sponsors, marshals and officials who helped out over the weekend, Midwest Radio and the local residents who were so welcoming and accommodating. We look forward to returning to Achill again in the not too distant future.
The 2017 Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship was launched on Sunday in the Sligo Park Hotel, the first round of the championship will take place in next Sunday at the Mayo Stages Rally.
Presenting a Cheque to North West Hospice from Fund Raising at last years Prize Giving are James McGrale, Padraic Roche, Bernadette McGarvey (North West Hospice), John Duffy, Lorraine Munnelly, Brendan Flynn (Border Rally Championship), and Andrew Mullen (Sligo Pallets). Photo: James Burke
The Border Rally Championship Committee with Sligo Pallets have just announced that any registered competitor starting in 4 or more rounds this year will be entered into a draw for €1,000 to be presented at the Sligo Pallets Border Championship Prize Giving. It’s not too late to enter round 1, The Mayo & District Motorsport Club Stages Rally.
After much deliberation on the running order of competitors, the entry list was released last Saturday night in the lead up to the Óstán Oileán Acla, Connacht Print And Signs, Mayo Stages Rally which takes place this coming weekend. Entries are still coming in for this motorsport spectacular and Mayo & District Motorsport Club are looking forward to welcoming over 80 crews in addition to the numerous Motorsport fans who will be descending on Achill Island.
There will be plenty to do for all ages on Saturday evening in the vicinity of Óstán Oileán Acla and Mayo & District Motorsport Club would like to welcome everyone to a fun filled evening commencing at 6pm. There will be live music with Michael S Togher, bouncy castles and prize giving for the winners of the recent road safety colouring competition from all 7 national schools. At 8pm we will welcome some of the top rally cars on to the island, in true Achill tradition they will be escorted across the bridge by the Achill Pipe Band together with teams from Achill GAA and Achill Rovers Soccer club. The top ten rally cars and all local competitors will then cross the start ramp outside the hotel. This will be a great chance to meet with the drivers and navigators and also an opportunity to get up close to the competing cars. We look forward to soaking up the wonderful hospitality that Achill is famous for. Tom McGinty will be providing music in Rally HQ from 9.30pm and he will keep the atmosphere going until the early hours.
Sunday, it will be down to business with roads closing early that morning and first car will appear on Stage one at 9.55am. These fantastic stages chosen by Clerk Of The Course, Trevor O’Connell and his team will be a joy to watch with amazing backdrops along the Wild Atlantic Way. Service will be held at the Sandy Banks Caravan Park in Keel, which will be accessible to all to wander around and admire the crews as they put in the hard work keeping the cars in check for the following stages. After all the stages are run, competing cars will return to Óstán Oileán Acla at approximately 4.50pm, where the crews will celebrate as they cross the finish ramp, followed by prize giving.
Remember there is still time to get your entry in. Contact Deirdre Burke on 0872380376.
We hope to see you all this coming weekend in Achill for the Óstán Oileán Acla/Connacht Print And Signs Mayo Stages Rally 2017.
Aaron MacHale didn’t quiet make the end of day one because of an off. Andrew Grennan navigated for Vivian Hamill in a mark2 and finished 9th O/A In the national category. Sean McHugh and Kathleen Kennedy finished 21st O/A In the national category. Noel Murphy took 3rd in the juniors after a scary stage 15 with John Burke navigating. Justin Ryan and Lorcan Moore took the runner up spot in the juniors. Well done.
Killian Duffy navigating for Nasser Al Kuwari in the Qatar international Rally where the pair picked up a pretty amazing 2nd O/A In a pretty standard Evo9
Lorcan Moore received his Connaught Telegraph young sports star of the year merit award. He kept his head as he was on the road early in the morning for the Willie Loughman Forestry Rally.
Willie Loughman Forestry Rally:
Birr Stages Rally (Nenegh):
Road safety schools day:
Mayo members once again took helped keep our roads safe for the future. This time they went to Coláiste Pobail Acla to promote road safety to the students and teach them why our sport is safe and our equipment is something you wont find in a road car. Its a very informative course.