Oh so close for Higgins as Morley takes Drive of the Day on Kerry Rally
Kiltimagh co-driver John Higgins lost out on success on Sunday’s Kerry Stages Rally by the narrowest of margins, after he and driver Brian O’Mahony finished the eight stage event in a dead heat with the similar Subaru WRC of Thomas Fitzmaurice and Fionn Foley from Kerry. It was the local crew though who were to claim victory on tie-break rules, after setting a time one second faster than their rivals on the final stage.
Nonetheless this was a battling performance from the Cork / Mayo crew, who see their Dunlop National Rally Championship challenge back on track after a disappointing retirement on the previous round, the Mayo Stages Rally. After a slow start, including a spin on the opening test, they had dropped 37 seconds to Fitzmaurice by first service, but thereafter put in a series of blistering times to move into the lead of the rally by a single second after the penultimate stage. On the crucial final test though, Fitzmaurice and Foley put in a huge performance to stop the clocks one second faster than their rivals. With both crews having recorded total stage times of 53 minutes and 23 seconds, tie-break rules had to be brought into play, handing victory to a delighted Fitzmaurice and Foley, their second win in three events on this year’s National Rally series.
Behind the understandably disappointed O’Mahony and Higgins, Niall Maguire and Enda Sherry – winners of the Mayo Stages Rally last time out – took third, ahead of a trio of hard charging Escorts headed by Frank Kelly and Liam Brennan.
There were smiles at the finish though for Knock’s Niall Morley who was co-driving the class 2 Honda Civic of Sligo’s Adrian Cannon. The pair dominated the category, winning by 1 minute and 48 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals. In recognition of this excellent performance, Cannon and Morley were jointly awarded the Dunlop Drive of the Day by the championship organizers.
Moran Continues Rallying Adventure With Strong Run on Midland Rally
Fresh from a successful stage rallying debut two weeks ago on the Mayo Stages Rally, Foxford’s Alan Moran continued his learning curve with a battling run to eighth in the Junior category on Sunday’s Midland Stages Rally. Co-driven by Trevor O’Connell from Ballina, Moran revelled in the fast flowing stages on the Roscommon based event, setting very competitive times in his Opel Astra, and gaining valuable experience in the process.
Ballisodare’s Andrew Mullen and Elaine Doherty were the leading Mayo & District Motorsport Club finishers, taking eighth overall and second in class 4, while Sligo’s Padraig Mullen had club member Ian Henry from Tubbercurry co-driving, the Peugeot 206 crew finishing forty-fifth overall and third in class 6.
Adrian and Aidan Fahy from Ballinrobe had a strong run in their Ford Escort, thirty-fifth overall after the first stage, but suffered from misaligned steering after hitting a bale on stage four, before the gearbox eventually expired on stage seven.
Other Mayo & District Motorsport Club members who failed to make it back to the finish included Derek Deane and Martin Flynn from Williamstown who retired after stage three while fifth in class, while Kenneth McHale from Knockmore who was co-driving the Ford Escort of Eamonn McCafferty in the Historics category didn’t make it past stage two.
The rally was won by Daniel McKenna from Monaghan ahead of the similar Escort of Donegal’s Declan Boyle. Another Monaghan driver Maurice Moffett was third, ahead of his son Richard, father and son both in Toyota Starlets.
Fire Marshal Training
Fire Marshal Training conducted by John Elliott took place on March 4th in Claremorris. A large group of Mayo Club members attended and were trained in the correct use of fire extinguishers at rally events. The slideshow below has a selection of photos from the day.
Young Driver Champion Moran Faces New Challenge on Mayo Stages Rally
The date: June 12th 2011. The venue: Harrington’s Quarry near Swinford, where Mayo & District Motorsport Club was running its second loose surface autocross event of the year. Having completed their opening runs, the drivers were keen to see the times, to find out who the pace-setters were on this particular day. Multiple winner and reigning Mayo Autocross champion James McGreal scanned up and down the sheet before pointing to a name near the top of the leaderboard. “Look at his time. That lad is on some serious pace in that car”.
The lad in question was Alan Moran, and throughout the course of 2011 the young man from Foxford regularly raised eyebrows with his speed and committment. Wringing every last inch of pace out of the twenty one year old Opel Kadett he shared with his friend and rival Stephen Doherty, it became a regular occurence for Moran to embarass drivers in far faster and more sophisticated machinery. Always in the battle for class honours, his target in just his third year of competing was to challenge for the Young Driver title – the championship organised by Mayo & District Motorsport Club geared specifically for young drivers starting out in motorsport. Maximum points on three of four counting rounds ensured the title was his, his only defeats coming at the hands of of his team-mate Doherty.
“Yes, having Stephen driving the same car as me definitely drove me on” smiles Alan, recalling the closely fought battles between the two. “You always want to beat your team-mate so we just pushed each other really hard. He’s a very competitive driver so it was great to come out on top – this time.”
That was then, and while Alan definitely hasn’t turned his back on autocross, a new challenge is looming for the twenty year old mechanical engineering student. In less than two weeks time on March 11th, he is planning to make his stage rallying debut on his home event, the Mayo Stages Rally. It promises to be a very different experience and Alan is under no illusions about the challenge ahead.
“My aim is just to finish the rally, get as much experience as I can.” he explains. “So much is new, from driving on tarmac, to having a co-driver and using pacenotes.” Speaking of co-drivers, he has yet to get one. Just one more thing to sort out in the rush to be ready for the event. Using his trusty autocross car, getting it ready for stage rallying has required work on the roll-cage and a respray to freshen its appearance. Mechanically though it is unaltered from its last autocross outing in October.
Alan is grateful to his sponsors for supporting him in his motorsport career to date, with MD Roofing Services of Kiltimagh, Moran’s Nurseries Foxford, Deacy’s Garage Foxford and Murphy’s Bar Lahardane among those backing him. After the Mayo Stages he is hoping to tackle another stage rally or two before the year is out, but his priority once again will be autocross. He believes it is the ideal motorsport disipline for anyone interested in getting involved in the sport. “Autocross is a very affordable form of motorsport, especially when you share a car like Stephen and I have done. The Young Driver Challenge is a great opportunity for young drivers, and I want to say a big thank you to Mayo & District Motorsport Club for setting up this initiative. The prize money I won last year has helped me move forward into stage rallying by entering this year’s Mayo Stages Rally, and I’m really looking forward to that, but I certainly plan to keep competing in autocross for the forseeable future”.
Gass times for Darren with victory on Galway International Rally
Mayo competitors feature strongly
Photos by Sean Hassett and http://www.fordefotos.com/
Armagh driver Darren Gass claimed his first international rally victory by the narrowest of margins on Sunday’s Galway International Rally, with a number of Mayo competitors also recording strong results on the opening round of the 2012 Tarmac Rally Championship.
Traditionally a two-day event, the Safety Direct Galway International was shortened to a day rally for 2012. In doing so it attracted one of the strongest entries seen on Irish events in some years, with large crowds thronging to the stages based around Headford in the north of the county, following the opening spectator special stage through the City centre.
A host of new drivers debuted new cars on the event, not least among them five times former champion Eugene Donnelly, The Derry man, with Paddy Toner co-driving, had one of the latest generation World Rally Cars, a MINI John Cooper Works WRC at his disposal, but had to give second best early on to reigning Tarmac and National rally champions Tim McNulty and Paul Kiely. The Meath driver, competing in his familiar Subaru WRC, had established a comfortable lead until the fifth of the ten stages when he clipped some bales at a chicane. He continued, but with damaged steering and suspension, was unable to maintain his earlier pace. Donnelly was also in trouble with a puncture on the following stage, allowing Darren Gass and his Monaghan co-driver Enda Sherry, competing in an older Subaru WRC, to move ahead.
With one stage to go, Gass had overtaken McNulty for the lead, but Donnelly, now some seventeen seconds back was on a charge, having taken chunks of time off the young Armagh driver on the previous two tests. His challenge fell just short though; despite another fastest time by 15.8 seconds on the final stage, Gass managed to hang on by a mere 1.3 seconds, to record the biggest result of his career to date. McNulty brought his ailing Subaru home in third ahead of the leading Group N competitor Gary Jennings from Fermanagh. Donegal’s Declan Boyle won the National section of the rally, while English visitor Ernie Graham was victorious in the Historic category. (Click on photos to enlarge)
Local competitors keep Mayo flags flying
The top Mayo finisher was David Carney from Aughagower who, with co-driver Ray Fitzpatrick, finished 15 overall in the International Rally, and the leading competitor in a Citroen C2 R2. Competing in the National Rally, Shrule brothers Matthew and Noel Murphy pushed hard all day to finish 33 overall and 6 in class in their Toyota Corolla TwinCam, a lack of power their biggest gripe on the day.
Finishing just four places behind them were a delighted Justin Ryan from Headford and his Ballinrobe co-driver Andy Walsh. Debuting a new Honda Civic, they got progressively quicker throughout the day as they fine-tuned the handling of their car, to finish a strong 9 in class 16, Andy even finding time to update Mid-West Radio on their progress in between stages! Also going well were father and son team Adrian and Aidan Fahy from Ballinrobe who had a new engine and gearbox fitted to their Ford Escort, and were happy to get to the finish in 50 overall and 6 in class 13.
Bekan’s Sean McHugh and his co-driver Liam Healy from Achill had been having a strong run, up to 21 overall in the National Rally, before the Achilles Heel of their MBW M3 Compact – a broken driveshaft – brought early retirement on the eighth stage. Mechanical failure in the form of a broken gearbox was also the cause of retirement after four stages for Claremorris co-driver Seamus Coffey in the Subaru of John McGeehan.
National and Border Prizewinner 2011
Liam Devaney, a Mayo club competitor, is pictured below receiving his award for 2nd place Class 10 in the Sligo Pallets Border Championship 2011. Liam also won 3rd place in Class 10 in the Dunlop National Championship 2011. He is delighted with his awards and would like to thank all who navigated and helped out with service throughout the season. He would also like to say thanks to John Munnelly Haulage for the use of his premises during the year.
Club Members compete at Carlow Rallysprint in Mondello Park on 27th December
Photos courtesy of Liam Mac Con Iomaire www.caoradubha.com
Club Person of the Year and Marshal of the Year announced at Club AGM Dec 2011
Pat Mc Guinness accepting Marshal of the Year award from Club President Tom Walsh
Club Person of the Year Cathal Doyle accepting his award from Club President Tom Walsh
Mayo racing driver Sean Hynes makes the podium
Mayo driver Sean Hynes secured his first ever podium finish when he claimed a hard-fought second place in the Formula Sheane race in Kirkistown in Belfast on Saturday last. Following his win in the inaugural ‘Mondello Park Become A Racing Drvier’ competition earlier this year, the Foxford driver – who is sponsored by Wick-low based carmaker Sheane Cars – competed in his first year in the very competitive Formula Sheane Championship. He was placed fifth on the grid after an eventful morning qualifying session.
Following a poor start he found himself demoted to last place in the scramble of cars which stormed into turn one. His difficulties were compounded at turn two when an excursion across the Ards peninsula grass damaged the nose cone which dragged along the track for the remainder of the race. The young Foxford racer stuck to his task however and, following a storming drive, he had climbed back up to fifth place when the safety car was deployed on lap six. He gained a further two places on the resumption of full-blooded racing and at the start of the final two laps found himself vying with veteran racer Brian Hearty for second place.
The two engaged in an extended wheel-to-wheel joust with Hynes coming out ahead on an extended passing manoeuvre on the long run into Colonial. He defended his position for the remainder of the lap to register his best result to date in the championship, chasing race winner Anton Savage to the chequered flag.
The Formula Sheane Championship reaches a conclusion with the doubleheader Leinster Trophy meeting in Mondello Park on September 17 and 18 next. It promises to be a spectacular meeting with racing across the full range of classes and is a must visit event for all motorsport enthusiasts.