There was great excitement as Mayo & District Motorsport Club gathered in Óstán Oileán Acla on Saturday evening for the launch of the Óstán Oileán Acla/Connacht Print & Signs Mayo Stages Rally 2018. Locals and Sponsors got a preview of what’s in store on Rally weekend as they inspected a fine array of rally cars on display in the car park for the launch.
Clerk of the Course Trevor O’Connell kicked off proceedings by officially welcoming everyone to Óstán Oileán Acla, which will be Rally Head Quarters for the weekend of the 10th and 11th March. He welcomed all the sponsors and had a special welcome for Andrew Mullen, MD of ‘Sligo Pallets’ who travelled from Sligo for the evening. Trevor thanked Cathal McLoughlin and his staff in the Óstán Oileán Acla for all their assistance and support in the lead up to the event, and also thanked joint title sponsor, David Devers, Connacht Print & Signs for his ongoing support of the Mayo Stages Rally.
This year in addition to being the opening round of the ‘Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship’ the Mayo Stages Rally is also the opening round of the ‘Triton Showers National Rally Championship’ this will attract some of the bigger cars from around the country and overseas. Trevor thanked Brendan Flynn from the ‘Border Championship’, Aidan Kelly, Chairman of the National Rally Championship and Kevin Barrett, Triton Showers for all their support. Also in attendance at the launch were Sean Molloy of Achill Tourism who joined with local County Councillor Paul McNamara in welcoming the event back to Achill for the second year running. Trevor thanked An Garda Síochána and Mayo County Council, in particular Gerry McDonnell and Councillor Paul McNamara who have been very helpful.
Trevor explained that the final touches are being put in place to ensure the Rally runs as smoothly as possible and that it will be a weekend to remember for the competing crews, spectators, sponsors and most importantly the local residents who have been so accommodating and welcoming to all. He added that without local support and sponsorship, it would not be possible to run the Mayo Stages Rally and he thanked everyone who has come on board – sponsors of Service Area, Marshal Meeting Points, Programme Sponsors, Stage & Scrutiny Sponsors. The weekend is a free family friendly event, one not to be missed and he asked that everyone support the sponsors as without their generosity events such as these would not be possible.
Wrapping up the formalities Trevor thanked his team for all their support and hard work and said they were all looking forward to the big event on the 10th/11th March.
Launch of the Óstán Oileán Acla / Connacht Print and Signs Mayo Stages
Rally 2018 takes place 6pm Saturday 17th February in Óstán Oileán Acla.
Voting lines now open for Readers’ Choice in Sports Awards
Readers’ Choice Award – voting details
To cast your vote and vote for Jason for the Readers’ Choice Award, please text the word CONTEL 12 to 57199. The voting lines are open now and will remain open until midday on Thursday, February 15th, 2018.
The 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship gets underway with Carrick on Suir Motor Club’s Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally. The first major Irish rally of the year incorporates the Michael O’Brien Plant Hire J1000 series for 15-19 year olds which enters its second season and last year’s champion Jason Murphy will be going to Carrick to begin the defence of his title in his Peugeot 107, but before the Murphy Motorsport team loaded up and headed south east there was a very important engagement to attend in Shrule.
Pupils from Lolly and Robins Montessori got a special opportunity to learn first-hand about general Road Safety and the differences between a Rally car and their parent’s road cars. 17 year old Jason, accompanied by his uncle and navigator Matthew gave a demonstration of safety equipment on board a rally car and the importance of wearing seat-belts. This fun and memorable display was very well received with lots of questions and much excitement about the forthcoming J1000 rally series and while none of the audience would qualify under the regs for this years series, one young eager fan was quick to work out he only had 11 more years to wait before he could drive!! After having a go behind the wheel the pupils coloured pictures and made Rally cars out of Lego before waving off their local Rally driver on his adventures.
The nine stage Forest rally event begins at 11am on Saturday for Jason and Matthew and will see the first six stages done in daylight, with the real sting in the tail being the final three stages are completed in darkness. Leaving cert student Jason faces stiff opposition with Aoife Gahan also gearing up for her first full championship season in a Chevrolet Spark while British Rally Championship regular Peter Beaton from Scotland is entered, also in a Peugeot 107.
The championship offers an attractive first overall prize of €1500 along with various other incentives and awards on each of the rounds.
The 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship got underway with an exciting opening round on Saturday last with Carrick on Suir Motor Club’s Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally. The first major Irish rally of the year incorporated the Michael O’Brien Plant Hire J1000 series for 15-19 year olds which entered its second season and last year’s champion Jason Murphy from Shrule took up where he left off last year, dominating the event winning 8 out of the 9 forest stages.
The traditional Irish Forestry series opener took place a couple of weeks earlier this year, filling the void left by the Galway International Rally which announced last November that it would not be running in 2018, but this did not detracted from the quality and quantity of entries with 80 crews crossing the start ramp on Saturday morning.
17 year old Jason who had his uncle Matthew in the co-drivers seat of his 1litre Peugeot 107 faced stiff opposition with Aoife Gahan geared up for her first full championship season in a Chevrolet Spark and British Rally Championship regular Peter Beaton from Scotland taking part, also in a Peugeot 107.
The opening stage in the Faugheen forests seen Beaton quickest out of the blocks but with only 3.6 seconds separating the top 3 of Beaton, Gahan and Murphy in that order, fans of the J1000 series knew they were in for a cracker. On Stage 2 which seen the crews head for the Anner Forest area Murphy exerted his ability stopping the clocks 12 seconds faster than Beaton and moving in to an 8 second lead, a lead which he refused to relinquish and when Aoife Gahan retired after an off road excursion resulted in her damaging the steering in her Chevrolet on stage 6, the last 3 stages which were ran in the darkness were a battle between Ireland and Scotland. Although Murphy held a lead of 40 seconds over Beaton, this could change instantly as the crews bolted on the lamp pods to their cars and headed into the most challenging part of the rally for the competitors and the most exciting for all the spectators.
Shortly into the first night stage disaster struck for the young Scotsman when mechanical trouble forced him to pull over his Peugeot during the stage and relinquish any chance of a fightback, with this the Murphy’s knew that all they had to do was to hold their nerve and concentrate on getting to the finish line. A task that may sound easy but with almost 20 km of gravel stages yet to compete they knew any lapse in concentration could prove detrimental in the dark, and it almost ended in misfortune for the them as they carried to much speed into the final corner of the penultimate stage, resulting in their Peugeot sliding wide off the track and colliding with a tree stump on the outside of the corner, but fortunately for the South Mayo crew Mother Nature had offered assistance as the tree stump was decaying and luckily for the crew it disintegrated upon impact with the passenger’s side of the Peugeot 107. Thanking their lucky stars they went on to complete the final stage and return to the finish ramp in Carrick on Suir ecstatic with their performance in Tipperary and looking forward to round two in Limerick on the first weekend in March.
After an exciting and competitive 2017, Mayo & District Motorsport Club are delighted to announce that the 2018 Mayo Stages Rally will return to Achill Island for what promises to be another exciting weekend of motorsport and entertainment for all the family. After the success of the 2017 event, the club can now confirm that Sunday 11th of March 2018 will be the opening round of the Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship in addition to the opening round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
Trevor O’Connell, last year’s Clerk of the Course is taking up the mantle once again; he has a number of new additions to his team this year and they will bring a combination of experience and local knowledge to the event and will be the driving force behind the weekend.
Feedback from last year was overwhelmingly positive, with both competitors and officials commenting on the fantastic welcome, along with the challenging stages, stunning scenery and a location which lends itself so well to the running of a rally. The groundwork put in by the organising team last year has paved the way for a bigger and more high-profile event and the 2018 Mayo Stages Rally will not fail to impress. Óstán Oileán Acla is back on board as Rally HQ and the preparations are well advanced, with more announcements to come in due course.
The event will comprise of 3 challenging stages, totaling approximately 110km. Each stage will run 3 times, with service after every 3 stages. The loop is compact, with approximately 130km of liaison road sections. Supplementary Regulations and Entry Forms will be available in the coming days via www.mayomotorsportclub.com.
Mayo & District Motorsport Club and the local community look forward to welcoming rally crews from near and far for the weekend of the 10th – 11th March, for what promises to be an exciting event for both competitors and spectators alike.
Enquiries can be made to Deirdre Burke, Event Secretary, on 087 2380376 or by email at email@example.com.
Club Monthly Meeting.
Friday 5th Jan @9pm
Venue: Ivy House Hotel, Castlebar