Sligo Stages Rally
Tyrone driver Paddy McVeigh and his Donegal co-driver Garry McElhinney in their Subaru Impreza WRC claimed victory on the Herron Auto-Sligo Park Hotel Rally, in a wet Sligo on Sunday last. They finished the event 4.4 seconds ahead of the Escort of Damian Toner and Denver Rafferty while Enda McCormack and Colin Fitzgerald were third in another Subaru Impreza WRC.
Castlebar’s Barry Cuffe repeated his 2015 feat of top Mayo crew across the finish line. This year he had Westport’s Stephen McGing alongside in his Ford Escort Mk2, finishing an excellent 23rd and claiming 3rd in Class 11R. Achill’s Brian Lavelle put in an excellent drive in his Honda Civic to take top spot in Class 1 and finish in 26th place overall. Crossmolina native Brian Moore who works as a mechanic for Bentley Motorsport in the Uk took time out to return west and it proved fruitful as he won Class 2 and finished 31st overall also in a Honda Civic.
Next Mayo member to finish was Darragh Mullen who was navigating for Gary Cooney in a Subaru Impreza finishing 33rd and taking second in Class 15. Pat McGuiness who had Cian Gorman alongside in his Subaru Impreza finished 42nd and 3rd in Class 15. Pat also celebrated the amazing achievement of being the only competitor taking part in 2016 that also competed in the event 30 years ago in 1986.
Crossmolina’s John Duffy and John Egan missed out on winning Class 3 by seven hundredths of a second having to settle for 2nd and 45th place overall in their Honda Integra. Paul and Kathleen Kennedy made a return to tar in their Honda Civic and claimed 3rd in Class 2 and 50th place overall. Ballina’s Tony Langdon and Brendan Greavy brought their Honda Civic across the line 6th in Class 11F and 54th overall. Foxford’s James McGreal and Chris Mitchell took advantage of Rally 2 rules after breaking a shaft in their Mitsubishi Evo on the opening loop to re-join the event and finish in 57th place and 4th in Class 15. The pair were also the winners of the Sligo Pallets Border Drive of the Day, a fitting reward for the Mayo crew.
Other locals taking part in the main field that were not so lucky included Aidan Gannon who was navigating Anthony O’Brien in a Mitsubishi Evo. They retired on the opening loop with mechanical trouble. Derek Bolton and Lorcan Moore crashed their Subaru Impreza out on the final stage surrendering valuable championship points.
In the Junior category of the event Foxford’s Alan Moran who had David Loughney on the notes put in another superb drive in their Peugeot 206 to take second place on the podium. Ballina’s Keith Jacob and Michael Carr brought their Ford Ka home 5th while another Ballina man, Derek McCarthy who was navigating for Stephen Reynolds retired from the event on the second stage.
James McGreal & Chris Mitchell celebrate Drive of the Day with Andrew Mullin (Sligo Pallets) on left and Brendan Flynn (Border Rally Championships) on right