Mayo Stages Rally 2010 – Pre Event
Mayo Stages Rally Is Go!
The months of preparation are almost at a close. Officials are checking paperwork one final time, Stage Commanders are conducting last-minute spot-checks, marshals are gathering their bibs and all-weather gear for a day out in the elements, and competitors are fastening bonnet clips and loading their rally cars onto their trailers. It’s time for the McWilliam Park Hotel Mayo Stages Rally 2010.
The sense of excitement is palpable as officials, spectators and competitors alike eagerly wait for 9am Sunday morning when the leading cars will be flagged away from rally headquarters The McWilliam Park Hotel. It is no exaggeration to say that this Mayo Stages Rally is one of the most eagerly anticipated motorsport events in this country for a long time.
A new location and rally headquarters, huge support from local businesses in Claremorris and surrounding regions, a host of innovative ideas, and, to top it all, a mouthwatering entry list. Combine that with the Mayo Stages Rally being the subject of two separate television programmes. Is it any wonder that anticipation is sky-high?
And what an entry! Since it was revealed last Thursday night, the rally community has been abuzz with the sheer quality and quantity of the field that is coming together to compete in Mayo. More than one observer has said that a finer entry list will not be seen anywhere this year in Ireland. Testament indeed to the hard work of Clerk of the Course Eamonn Walsh and his team at Mayo & District Motorsport Club.
Six World Rally Cars, a new Super 2000 Ford Fiesta making its debut on the National Rally Championship, a plethora of top Group N machinery and a significant overseas contingent are mouthwatering enough, but it is the modified entry list that has everyone drooling, with what is truly the finest line-up of competitive Escort Mark 2 rally cars seen for a long time.
On Saturday evening, a ceremonial start for the leading rally crews will bring glamour and excitement to Claremorris town centre. With live music from 8pm, the first cars are scheduled to arrive at the start ramp at 8.40pm, for what is a great opportunity for families to see these powerful machines up close.
All New Rally Route
Nine stages featuring three tests each run three times make up the 2010 McWilliam Park Mayo Stages Rally. The opening test Woodstock in the Ballindine / Irishtown area gets underway at 9.30am on Sunday morning. It is immediately followed by the opening Logboy stage near Brickens and Bekan at 10.10am and The Five Crossroads stage near Barranacarroll at 10.45am. Competitors then return for service in Claremorris before repeating the loop a further two times. The leading rally cars will return to rally headquarters The McWilliam Park Hotel at 5pm. Full details of the rally route and stage times will be available on the official rally programme which goes on sale in selected newsagents and service stations in the area from Friday evening, price €5.
A small army of volunteers is needed to ensure a safe running of the Mayo Stages Rally. If you would be interesting in lending your support to help out on the day, please contact Chief Marshal David Doherty on 087 2323113 – your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
The meeting points and times for marshals on Sunday morning are as follows:
Stage 1 Woodstock: Meeting at Costcutters Ballindine at 7.30am.
Stage 2 Logboy: Meeting at Costcutters Ballindine at 8.00am.
Stage 3 The Five Crossroads: Meeting at Hillside Service Station (Hunts), Ballyhaunis Road, Claremorris at 8.20am.
The Mads Ostberg Challenge
Before the main field comes through, watch out for course car 002, a Ford Escort driven by World Rally Star Mads Ostberg. The Norwegian has a special co-driver alongside him, Mark Kilgannon from Kiltimagh. Mark was selected by country music star Mick Flavin in a prize draw to sit alongside one of the best drivers in the world. He is certain to have the day of his life!.
The overall winner will probably come from the leading half dozen cars which are lead away by Mayo & District Motorsport Club member Aaron McHale, a former National Rally Champion and winner of this event in 2008. Recently Aaron has been concentrating on the Irish Tarmac Championship, but will have his work cut out to take a second win in Mayo against the quality opposition lined up against him.
Welsh visitor Melvyn Evans makes his first trip to Mayo, but the Subaru WRC driver is the man to beat at the moment, having taken victory on the Dunlop National Rally Championship’s opening round in Birr a fortnight ago. Can he make it two from two?
At three and four are championship stalwarts Niall Maguire and Kevin Barrett in their matching Triton Showers sponsored Subarus. Runner-up last year, Niall is a former multiple national champion and winner here, while Kevin has also achieved national success in the past year.
Seeded five is former Irish Tarmac Champion Derek McGarrity who has a busy week-end, competing on the Bishopscourt Stages Rally in Northern Ireland on Saturday, before heading to Mayo for Sunday’s event.
The outside bet for victory could well be car number six, the Fiesta S2000 of Kilkenny’s Craig Breen. This car forms the basis for World Championship Rallying from next year, and despite being less sophisticated and cheaper compared to the current batch of World Rally Cars, in the hands of young Breen it has been flying, beaten only by the Focus WRC of Gareth McHale on last month’s Galway International Rally. Will we see it claim its first national win on Sunday?
Kevin Kelleher from Cork leads the Group N challengers, and will face stern opposition from the likes of Danny McBride, Sean Flanagan and Trevor Bustard. All of them though may struggle to beat the leading modified crews, with any of the top six crews in class 14 alone capable of finishing in the top five or higher. It is almost impossible to pick a favourite from the likes of Daniel McKenna, Manus Kelly, Maurice Moffett, Camillus Bradley, Damien Gallagher and Trevor Mulligan, while right down into the thirties and forties are competitors who would normally be seeded in the top twenty, such is the level of competition here this week-end.
Watch out also for the cars competing in the Gerry Ronan Transport Group A Challenge. Among those who will be in contention for the prize will be the Toyota Celica of Mark Courtney, the Subarus of Richard Burke and Gary McElhinney and the Escort Cosworth of Colin Flanagan.
Local Crews Ready For Action On Mayo Stages Rally
Once again, the Mayo Stages Rally has attracted a strong local entry, all of them hoping to make an impact on their home event.
Aaron MacHale is not only the highest placed Mayo & District Motorsport Club competitor but the number one seed. Can he repeat his win of two years ago?
Mervyn Deane from Williamstown wheels out the EMP Furniture sponsored class 13 Escort at number 33. Trevor Burke co-drives.
At 41 James Culliney and Eddie McLoughlin are the leading Bekan crew in the PC Plastering, Western Brand Chickens and Roachford Motors sponsored class 12 Escort.
The red class 12 Escort of brothers Colin and Michael Loughney is at 45 with support from JJ Griffith Car Sales, Hillside Service Station and PC Plastering.
Gerry Ronan and Connie Kirrane from Bekan wheel out the class 8 Mitsubishi Evo 6 at number 58.
From Ballisodare, husband and wife pairing Andrew Mullen and Elaine Doherty compete in another class 8 Mitsubishi, this one an Evo 8 at number 60.
At 61, Bekan’s Sean McHugh’s lines up his BMW M3 Compact in class 14.
Ambrose Gaughan from Foxford and Lahardane co-driver Derek Molloy achieved a number of giant-killing results last year in class 9, but face a race against time to fit a new engine and gearbox for this week-end. Starting at number 69, their Toyota Corolla is sponsored by TreeCare.ie, DM Tyres and TDP.ie.
Barry Cuffe from Belcarra wheels out the Elverys Sports and Cuffe Car Sales sponsored class 12 Escort at number 80, while Fiachra Moran and Shane O’Brien from Castlebar are at 84 in another class 12 Escort, carrying sponsorship from Moran Butchers of Belcarra, Corrib Oil, Express Windscreens, James Doyle Tyres, and APM Alarm Systems.
At 87 and 88 are the Crossmolina contingent, the Class 11 Honda Civic of Marcus Molloy and Damien Cleary with support from Murphy’s Garage Ballina and Headford, Derek Molloy Tyres and Judges Honda Ballina just ahead of the class 7 Honda Integra of John Duffy and John Egan.
Ballinrobe’s Ciaran Walsh and Aidan Gannon from Tubbercurry are at number 91 in their class 2 Honda Civic which is supported by D. Walsh & Sons Jetting Ballinrobe, Moran Butchers of Belcarra, Corrib Oil, Enda Loughlin, Murphy John Deere and Brian Rodgers Car Sales. After a class win on last year’s Border Championship, a good result in Mayo may see another championship assault in 2010.
Another class 2 Honda Civic at number 95, that of Belmullet’s Ciaran Kennedy and Paul McGinnis from Ballina. The pair have already opened their National Championship challenge with fifth in class in Birr two weeks ago.
Sponsored by West Tyres Ballinrobe and Shrule, Matthew Murphy from Shrule takes to the Mayo Stages in his class 11 Toyota Corolla after a long break from competitive action. John Burke co-drives.
At 100 David Carney from Aughagower wheels out his Citroen C2R2 Max competing in class 6.
At 101 Kenneth McHale from Knockmore forsakes his usual driving position in his Toyota Yaris to co-drive for Donegal’s Eamonn McCafferty in a class 5 Ford Puma, while at 103 Westport’s Ed Muldoon co-drives the Citroen C2R2 of English visitor Joe Shrimpton.
Padraic Roche and Paddy O’Hora from Killala are at number 107 in their class 12 Escort which is sponsored by Fortknox Security, Max Tyres and Carr’s Ballina. Meanwhile Castlebar’s Eoin McGreal has last year’s Clerk of the Course Jonathan Rice co-driving at number 109 in a class 10 Vauxhall Chevette supported by Castlebar Tool & Plant Hire.
Niall Morley’s Escort is at 111, the Knock / Bekan man with Simon McGuinness co-driving. One place behind are Otto Gropler and Paul McGlinchey from Killala in a class 5 Ford Ka.
Chrystal Kulkeen from Castlebar co-drives for Ruairi Maguire from Strabane at number 115 in a Honda Civic, while Killala’s Fergal Loughney does similar duties in another Civic driven by Pauric McGee from Ballybofey at number 117.
Adrian and Aidan Fahy from Ballinrobe wheel out their class 11 Escort at number 121.
At number 126 Mayo & District Motorsport Club Young Driver Justin Ryan from Headford starts just his second tarmac rally in a class 11 Honda Civic. Dad John Paul Ryan co-drives.
And at number 133, Tom Jordan from Ballinrobe is out in his class 2 Honda Civic.
Best of luck and a safe day’s rallying to all the local competitors.
Entry List Mayo Stages Rally 2010
Ford Focus WRC
Two TV Programmmes On Mayo Stages Rally
The McWilliam Park Hotel Mayo Stages Rally is set to receive unprecedented coverage with the news that the rally will be the subject of two separate television programmmes.
As part of the Dunlop National Rally Championship series, the well-established motorsport programme On The Limit Sports will feature a half-hour review of the Mayo Stages Rally. This programme will be shown on Setanta and other satellite channels such as Motors and Men & Motors.
Additionally, the Mayo Stages Rally will become the first event to be featured as part of a new series on terrestrial television channel TG4. Focusing on the HASS Border Rally Championship, the programme is set to be shown at the prime viewing time of 11.30 am on a Saturday morning a few weeks after the rally, and will be repeated later in the same week.
It means the Mayo Stages Rally will be one of the most widely covered rallies ever, great news for Mayo as well as sponsors, competitors and rally enthusiasts alike.
Mayo & District Motorsport Club Launches McWilliam Park Hotel Mayo Stages Rally 2010
At the official launch of the 2010 McWilliam Park Hotel Mayo Stages Rally, Mayo & District Motorsport Club outlined information about the event and some of the exciting innovations planned. These include a ceremonial start on the Saturday evening, a special competition for Group A cars from 1987 to 1997, and an opportunity to win a prize to co-drive World Rally star Mads Ostberg on the Mayo Stages Rally.
The club also outlined details of its collaboration with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to promote road safety around the event. The RSA is bringing its Interactive Shuttle to Claremorris and will be open to the public over the rally weekend….
Speaking at the rally launch Mayo & District Motorsport Club Chairman Sean McHugh said, “It is great to welcome the rally to my own local area. Many thanks to the McWilliam Park Hotel which has provided us the opportunity to move to this location. With fresh stages for competitors to sample, it’s a new era for the Mayo Stages Rally”.
Clerk of the Course for the 2010 McWilliam Park Hotel Mayo Stages Rally, Eamonn Walsh said “Tonight’s press launch has set a precedent for the Mayo Stages Rally, and we look forward to running a successful event on March 14. Many thanks to all our sponsors who have made the running of the 2010 Mayo Stages Rally possible”.
Welcoming the rally to the Claremorris region John Cribben, Chairman of Mayo County Council said “I would like to thank Mayo & District Motorsport Club for inviting me to the launch of the 2010 Mayo Stages Rally. This is the first time the event has been held here in Claremorris. It is a huge event for Mayo and for the West of Ireland, bringing thousands of people here over the rally week-end, and will be a major boost to local businesses.”
Sales and Marketing Manager of title sponsors The McWilliam Park Hotel David Glynn said “We are delighted to be associated with the 2010 Mayo Stages Rally. There has been great enthusiasm for the event so far as evidenced by the large turnout here tonight. Congratulations to Eamonn, Killian and their team for their ambition and hard work in bringing this event to this area. We look forward to welcoming all our visitors to Claremorris and the McWilliam Park Hotel on rally week-end.”
Joe Corcoran, President of Motorsport Ireland said “It is wonderful to see a big crowd here tonight for the launch of the Mayo Stages Rally. With a young organizing team and some great sponsors in The McWilliam Park Hotel, Supermacs and Costcutters on board, the 2010 rally is shaping up to be an excellent event. The Mayo club has been to the forefront in promoting initiatives such as road safety in recent years, and having the Road Safety Authority Interactive Shuttle in Claremorris for the rally week-end, will continue to highlight this important message. I would also like to acknowledge Dunlop and Henderson Auto Sport & Spares for their continued contribution to the sport of rallying”.
Speaking on behalf of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), leading rally competitor and RSA Advocate Aaron MacHale said “It is encouraging that there has been a reduction in road deaths in Ireland recently. However a lot of deaths are still related to speed and we need to continue to get the message across to drive carefully on public roads. I would like to thank Mayo & District Motorsport Club and Fleet Transport Magazine for inviting the RSA Interactive Shuttle to the Mayo Stages Rally, and for working with local schools and communities to promote the road safety message”.