Mayo success in Galway and Qatar Internationals.
Mayo & District Motorsport Club was out in force as they took to tarmac at The Galway International Rally and to gravel at the Qatar International Rally last weekend.
Conditions were very tough over the weekend in Galway as the stages were saturated from torrential rain on the Friday night but the sun broke through the clouds on Saturday morning and everyone was hopeful the stage conditions would improve. Saturday night/Sunday morning brought heavy frost and with icy roads on both stages the organizers had no option but to cancel the first two stages of the day for safety reasons. This gave the crews an extra chance to check through the notes as they got to drive through the stages at road speed much to the delight of the spectators.
It was last year’s Mayo Stages Rally winners Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy who took the honors in Galway, with Roy White and James O’Brien taking the runner up position, being pushed all the way to the end by Alastair Fisher and Karl Atkinson who were only 8 seconds behind.
It was an anxious start for the Mayo crews on the Saturday morning as they know from experience a finish in Galway is a win in itself. The first clubman on the road was Aaron Machale in the newly acquired Citroen DS3 navigated by Darragh Kelly. They kept up a great pace all day while still learning the new machine. But unfortunately had an incident near the end of SS8 which called a halt to their rally.
Andrew Grennan was in the navigator seat for Viv Hamill in the well-equipped Mk2 Escort and were entertaining to watch all day as they took home 6th in class 14 and 9th O/A in the National standings.
Finishing just four places behind were the all Mayo crew of Sean McHugh and Kathleen Kennedy. They filled the valleys of Galway with the incredible sounding BMW M3 compact. After a 3 year absence from competitive rallying, the crew were delighted with their highest ever result in Galway coming 21st O/A in the National category
Dawn broke over the frosty stages on Sunday morning and it was the juniors time to shine. It wouldn’t take long for the stages to heat up as Justin Ryan and Noel Murphy resumed their old battle for young driver honors.
Justin Ryan had Lorcan Moore calling the notes in the EK4 Civic. The pair commended the hard work of their service crew on preparing an impeccable car which ran faultless all day. They took home a fantastic 2nd position in the junior category.
Noel Murphy and John Burke were hot on their heels all day in their EG6 Civic, it was almost too hot as the crew had a high speed moment over a crest on stage 15. Noel suggested it was luck that got him through the slide but we all know the skill this young man has behind the wheel. They took a well-deserved 3rd in the junior class.
Mayo & District Motorsport Club had a great turnout of safety marshals willing to lending a hand over the weekend. Well done to all who braved the elements to make it a safe event. Everyone enjoyed the weekend and we know as a club that help given is always given back. We look forward to meeting you all again for The Óstán Oileán Acla / Connacht Signs Mayo Stages Rally 2017 on Achill Island.
Mayo’s Killian Duffy had a fantastic result as he navigated for Nasser Al Kuwari at the Qatar International Rally. The pairing kicked up the dust in what turned out to be a battle of endurance. Misfortune struck the GrpN Evo on day 1 with a couple of punctures and a fault with the Anti-lag. However the 10 year old car had the luck of the Irish on its side and brought the crew home to an incredible 2nd place O/A. It is fantastic to see what an almost standard car can achieve in the right hands.