Pictures by Tony O’Brien, Brenda Flynn
Virginia man Chris Armstrong with Tommy Clinton alongside him took an emphatic win last week after a titanic battle with Rodney Wilton and Conor Mc Mahon on the Midland Stages Rally in Roscommon.
The rally which isn’t a round of any major championship still pulled in a top entry of very competitive crews of which some of the mark 2 stars from Cavan made the trip across to take up the challenge for an outright win after the terrible weather in the north east prevented some of the WRC machinery from making it to the start. Even with the cold weather it ultimately stayed dry which suited the big powered 2 wheel drive cars.
From the word go it was a Cavan man in front with Rodney Wilton storming through the first stage to take a 6 second lead over the chasing pack led by Pat Donnegan with Kiernan in 3rd and Armstrong 4th on the opener.
On stage 2 disaster struck for Kiernan who had Brother Gary on the notes for the day, the car developed a chronic misfire that couldn’t be cured on the side of the road or in service afterwards so they decided to pull out before they did damage to the engine. Wilton still lead the rally with Armstrong climbing up to third and Stephen Mc Cann climbing up to 4th overall with Breen Mc Namee on the notes. A puncture on stage 3 dropped the A plus Skip Hire Evo back down the leader board before another puncture on stage 5 caused the pair to slip off the road and get stuck in the bog which spelled an early end to a day that could have delivered so much.
Out in front the battle had come down to Wilton and Armstrong with Pat Donnegan and Alan Keena keeping touch to pick up the pieces should either of the front pair get it wrong. From stage 4 onwards Armstrong took into a flat out approach to chip away at Wilton’s lead with the lead never being more than 6 seconds it was to come down to the wire between the two Wilton Waste Recycling cars. As they went into the final stage the pair were on equal time so it was winner takes all. Chris Armstrong made the decision to throw caution to the wind and go for it on the last stage taking big risks to eke out every tenth of a second he could find over Rodney and it paid off as he and Tommy Clinton came out of the last stage 3 seconds ahead of Wilton to take his maiden win and put to bed the gremlins of his Galway accident. It was a good day for Wilton Waste Recycling who backed the top 2 cars and a good day for the County Cavan Motor Club. It was a touching tribute paid by Wilton at the prize giving who said that Armstrong was going to be the man to beat for years to come and likened him to the late great Rory Galligan who Tommy Clinton had navigated for in the past.
It was similar success in the junior section of the rally for Mountain Lodge man Darren O’Brien in the S.N.S. Hardware Civic. Darren who is only competing in his first full season on the stages had Jonathan Rooney on the notes and ahead of the chasing pack. It was a straight run from start to finish in the lead and even with local aces the Brady brothers keeping in relative touch over the opening stages once O’Brien and Rooney got comfortable with their pace they stepped it up another gear to pull clear and win the juniors by an impressive minute and a half.
Also in the juniors it was a successful debut for Phillip and Ciaran Grail in their Opel Corsa. Firm supporters of the autocross championship in Hut cross they made their stages debut and with a couple of moments along the way it was mission accomplished as they rolled across the finish line 8th in the juniors and with a taste for more stage rallying.
Back in the main field and class 12 had a good representation from the County Cavan Motor Club with 3 crews taking the start in the 2 litre 8 valve class. It was 2 times border champions Arthur and Mac Kierans who took a start to finish win. The father and son team who were using the event as a run out ahead of the Monaghan Stages Rally had a good run with no major problems and steadily climbed their way up the overall leader board as the day went on eventually finishing in 10th overall after mixing it with some more powerful opposition. Another crew to take a fairly level but fast approach to the day were James Cassidy with Karen Kelly calling the notes. The pair started the day off steady with a recent run of bad luck to put behind them they started 2nd in class and finished 2nd in class and like Kierans upped the pace as the day went on to beat a lot more powerful opposition they finished the day 14th overall on Karen’s home rally. Pauric Sheridan and Gary Gallagher were another crew out looking for a good performance in a Pinto powered Escort. After a steady run over the opening loop and a change of tyres and suspension settings the pair started to set some good times to start to make inroads into the overall classifications when a bit of a moment on stage 6 caused some damage to the car and fearing a possibility of doing more harm than good the crew sensibly called it a day.
Cavan invasion for the first round of the border
The 2nd weekend of March each year spells the start of the Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship. Ballina County Mayo was the setting for this most competitive championship which would take in Cavan as round 3 later on in the year. The championship is very competitive due to its points scoring system, there are no overall points awarded for each round it is split up into classes with the winner gaining 10 points per round. Due to this at the end of the year there is always at least a 3 way fight for the championship and it opens up the possibility for the clubman to win.
The morning that greeted the crews at the start of the rally was more akin to Siberia than the west of Ireland, this would make tyre selection for the crews a difficulty with the stages being tight, twisty with patchy muck and dampness it was no place to be unnecessarily brave.
In class 9 there were two crews from Cavan who made the trip west. Justin Smyth and Gregory Mc Quillan were joined by Damian O’Reilly and Damien Mc Cabe. Justin and Greg set about their usual giant killing antics in the little 1400cc Escort they led the class after stage 1, a lead they were never to lose until the finish ramp. With Damian O’Reilly being put out of the running with damage sustained on stage 2 before returning under the new super rally rules to set some good times over the last loop to finish 2nd in class and 52nd overall. That left Justin and Greg free to push on to bigger things in the overall picture. A moment on stage 2 and having to complete stage 6 with a broke gear lever did not slow down the Latton man on his quest to the top 15. The pair put up a great show matching a beating some more powered cars to eventually finish 15th overall and 1st in class to take maximum points for the first round.
In class 10 it was one half of the Kiernan Milling Rally Team that took the class win. Gary Kiernan with James Fulton calling the notes had a good solid run amongst more experienced company. The pair started cautiously trying to get the 1600 escort dialled into the conditions and post some solid times without taking any big risks. After the first loop they were 3rd in class when they decided to step up the pace to gradually chip away at the class 10 leaders before going into the last loop leading the class. From there on in they didn’t look back taking a convincing win in the class and finishing a respectable 21st overall.
In class 12 it was 2 times border champions Arthur and Mac Kierans who were back to make it 3 in a row. They had been pushed hard last year by new kid on the block Enda Haran but were in no mood to let him make life hard again this year. From the word go the two crews picked up where they left off trading seconds here and there over the opening stages with Haran leading by 2 seconds going into first service. A change of tyres brought about a change of mood and Kierans went on an all out attack through the following 3 stages. A big moment on stage 5 showed how hard he was pushing but it all paid off when Haran suffered a puncture on stage 6 and dropped way back down the order leaving Arthur and Mac to pick up where they left off in 2012, leading the way in class 12.
Also in class 12 were James Cassidy and Declan Smith they started the day off well running in a solid 4th in class whilst mixing it in the top 30. The crew were beginning to come on song towards the end of the first loop climbing up to 22nd overall and starting to put in times close to the lead battle when disaster struck and the gearbox gave up. This was a disappointing end to the pair’s season opener and with no spare box they could not avail of the new super rally rules to rejoin the fight.
In Class 13 it was basically to be titled ‘The Battle of Cavan’ with no less than 5 crews taking to the start that morning. The big battle as predicted was between the escorts of Russell Woods with Gary Gallagher and Jonathan Pringle with Martin Byrne calling the notes. Supporting roles to this battle would be played by Patrick Kiernan and James Mc Carville, Paul Clarke and Patrick Cunningham and Mickey Conlon and Niall Connolly.
On stage one it was Pringle who take first blood making his intentions clear by taking a 6 second lead over Woods with Kiernan 3rd, Clarke who was having his first taste of class 13 for the day setting a credible 7th in class and 16th overall and Mickey Conlon who started off steady with 8th in class just a second behind. This trend continued over the following two stages with Donegal man Declan Gallagher making his way into 2nd in class ahead of Woods. On stage 3 we lost Paddy Kiernan and James Mc Carville with the car breaking the differential and spelling instant retirement a big disappointment to the Bailieborough mans border aspirations. Going into service it was Pringle and Byrne who led the way with Woods not far behind in 3rd, Clarke in 5th and Conlon who suffered a technical problem on the 3rd stage of the loop had dropped well down the field to 10th in class and 35th overall leaving himself a lot of work to do to clamber back up the order.
On the 2nd loop Woods put the hammer down and charged through the field with the red mist fully on his mind. Over the following 3 stages between that and Pringle easing off the pace slightly Woods turned a 4 second deficit into a 8 second lead going into the 2nd service of the day, not only to lead the class but to hold an impressive 3rd overall in the rally. Paul Clarke had moved up to 4th in class and 8th overall in a good run with Conlon still playing catch up in 9th in class but had moved up to 22nd overall.
With 3 stages to go it was going to be all or nothing from the 3 leading 2 wheel drive crews with Woods hoping to hold on to his lead and Pringle looking to enact revenge over Declan Gallagher for losing out in Birr it was a furious pace set over the final loop. With 2 to go Pringle moved ahead of Gallagher by a slender 0.6 of a second to lead the class but was still 7 seconds behind Woods, On stage 8 Declan Gallagher moved ahead of Pringle once more to take the lead by 2 seconds with one stage to go. The atmosphere was electric as the crews entered the last stage with only 6 seconds separating the top 3 crews it couldn’t get any more intense. Through the final stage they gave it their all and as the crowd waited at the end of the stage for the times it became known that Billis man Russell Woods with Gary Gallagher on the notes had taken the 2 wheel drive honours and to make it even sweeter 3rd overall. Jonathan Pringle with Martin Byrne did manage to stay ahead of Declan Gallagher to win the class and finish 4th overall. Paul Clarke had a good run all day to finish up 4th in class and 9th overall with Patrick Cunningham on the notes and Mickey Conlon with Niall Connolly on board finished a disappointing day 8th in class and 20th overall.
Great runs all round from the County Cavan Motor Club members with 4 class wins from the competitors a very useful haul of points for the championship which sees the next Round in Monaghan in April.
Photos by Joe Lagana
Sunday the 3rd of March saw the Moonraker Rally, second round of the Valvoline Irish Forestry Championship take place in earnest around the foothills of Lismore on the Cork/Waterford border. This has been a good proving ground for the championship rivals in recent years and shows the way of how the rest of the championship will go. Three crews from the Cavan Motor Club made there way down to the sunny south east. Two crews out for honours and one man still trying to figure out if he enjoyed the woods or not!
The first men out of the blocks were the 2wd crew of Mickey Conlon and Ciaran Mc Phillips this was due to the fact that in the woods the two wheel drive cars run ahead of the bigger four wheel drive machinery. This didn’t mean that the Castleblaney man was going to have an easy time of it as he was embroiled in a battle for class and overall honours with Fermanagh crew Shane Mc Girr and Jackie Elliott which saw the crews never be sepperated by more than 7 seconds throughout the course of the day with the Escort and Starlet not being able to be separated on 2 stages. In the end Conlon and Mc Phillips put the head down and went on a charge through final stage to take the 2 wheel drive win by just 7 seconds and 10th overall in the MC Blinds Escort.
Sam Moffett was out to continue his learning curve on gravel and build on his success on tarmac in Birr the previous weekend in his Combi-Lift Sponsored Evo 9. For this event he drafted in local navigator David Moynihan to read the notes.
Sam and David started off the day with a steady but quick run over the first stage to lie 7th overall and just 3 seconds behind a WRC car and beating more experienced crews, a steady and mature drive followed as Sam gradually increased his pace taking minimal risks on the stages. The end result for the crew was an impressive class win and 5th overall.
Stephen Mc Cann and Breen Mc Namee took their Evo 7 to Lismore off the back of a very impressive debut in the Limerick woods a couple of weeks previous. This was the A Plus Skip Hire Teams 2nd ever venture into the forests and they were hoping to build on the momentum from Limerick. The opening stage went well for the pair setting a competitive and safe time of 17th overall and 1st in class. They continued their good pace through a bumpy stage 2 only to have disaster strike on the third stage when a heavy landing damaged an oil pipe and caused a small engine fire which was quickly extuinguished. With the risk of damaging the engine on the teams mind they wisely pulled the plug on the days proceedings and retired to regroup ahead of the teams return to tarmac on the Midland Stages in a couple of weeks.
The first round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship saw the crews of the County Cavan Motor Club make the trip to Birr to set out their intentions for this year’s championship.
Out for group n honours this year was Sam Moffett and James O’Reilly in the Combi-lift Lancer Evo 9. They opened their account by taking a slow and steady approach on the first stage setting the 4th fastest time in group n amongst very accomplished opposition.
From then on it became a dominant demonstration of pace and control and as Sam moved ahead of His Brother Josh and Kerry man Alan Ring to lead the category to the finish in a close run affair taking the win by 11 seconds and 9th Overall to open his account in this year’s championship with maximum points.
In Class 14 Rodney Wilton aimed to start his championship with a full complement of points in Birr. For the weekend he had drafted in the skills of Tommy Clinton to navigate for him. From the word go it was a competitive run in amongst good company trading times with James Stafford and Jim Mc Kenna. It was a close battle with all 3 trading times all day with Wilton getting the edge over his rivals at the end of the day to take a momentous class victory.
In Class 13 there were a number of crews who took the start. Last year’s Junior National Championship runner up Chris Snow and Sean Brunton were debuting their new 2 litre engine in the Honda Civic. With a few teething problems during the opening stages the crew were starting to gain speed when a slippy square right on stage 4 caught out the crew and they damaged the car off a telegraph pole and spelling an early retirement from the rally.
Jonathan Pringle and Martin Byrne were left to take the fight to fellow Cavan Crew Patrick Kiernan and James Mc Carville along with Donegal’s Declan Gallagher and Ronan Murrin. From the start Pringle and Gallagher were battling and trading seconds with Kiernan keeping a close eye on proceedings from 3rd place waiting to pounce should the leaders make a mistake. With 2 stages to go Pringle lead Gallagher by 6 seconds when the Donegal man started to mount a fight back. Throwing caution to the wind he pulled out an advantage against Pringle after Jonathan had a close call on the 2nd last stage running wide on a muddy right hander and nearly getting stuck in the ditch. With the momentum in his corner Gallagher held on to win the class with Jonathan Pringle taking 2nd and Paddy Kiernan 3rd both taking a good haul of points for the year ahead of round 2 in Monaghan.
In the juniors it was Mountain Lodge man Darren O’Brien who was back to prove a point that his outstanding pace in Galway was no fluke. With Gary Kiernan on the notes the pair started off with a good clean run in the S.n.s. Hardware backed Civic taking no risks and posting the 7th fastest time. From there on it they upped the pace dramatically to get stuck into the fight for the lead with Robert Duggan and Conor Moore. With the 3 crews within seconds of each other the plan was to go flat out unfortunately the plan back fired with Darren sliding off the road on a slippy square right junction and getting stuck and spelling the end of the day.
Mixed results for the Cavan Crews in Birr which set some up for a good championship campaign and others with a bit of work ahead of them. All crews though have miles under the belts now and with some heading to Mayo this weekend for the opening round of the Border championship this should also leave them in good stead.
Coc Thomas Wedlock and his team have put together a challenging and demanding route which will start from Gallonreagh House , Maudabawn on Saturday the 2nd of March, The Regs and Entry forms for the event are listed below.
Cavan Night navigation illuminates the National Championship
Maudabawn between Cootehill and Bailieborough saw the running of the penultimate rounds of both the National and Border night navigation championships.
With Clerk of the Course Thomas Wedlock putting together a tight but testing route that would see the crews traverse many of the lanes and farm passes in the Maudabawn, Tonyduff, Mountain Lodge and Termon Cross areas. The big talking point of the night was the fact that the young organiser had managed to find 6 new lanes that had never been used before, an impressive feat when you take into account that night navigations have been running in the area for the past 40 years.
The event started in and around the back of maudabawn which led the crews straight into a “plot and bash” section, this is where the crew don’t know where they are going next until they are handed a set of co ordinates in the window and have to plot on the move to find their next time point. This section brought them on a loop back around to near the start of the event and across the Cootehill to Canningstown road before trailing up through a complex series of farm passes which caused all bar a couple of crews to gain penalties for being late to their next time point. The crews then moved to the mountain lodge area taking in some of the wind farm tracks and service roads on the mountain before a challenging section not far from the cross itself which saw the crews tackle a confusing series of lanes and passes that were all within 200 yards of each other and made it hard to read on the map. This complex caught a number of teams out and opened up the results with a number of penalties gained for wrong approaches and being late trying to figure out where they were going.
A series of great driving lanes brought the crews across to the Tonyduff and Termon Cross Roads area, this part of the course was kind to the competitors and didn’t cause too many hastles with just a few of the less experienced crews dropping time or being early by their own making and mistakes.
The section that caused alot of problems for crews was a series of lanes that looped around each other on a wind farm just north of Mountain Lodge with one time point only being visited by 6 crews in total and the following time point seeing alot of crews arriving late due to the complex nature of the gravel lanes that were negotiated.
Just when the finish was in sight there was a plot and bash section that brought the competitors into Wedlocks own farm where he had constructed a new pass in the weeks before the event which stumped a few crews and was taxing to the most experienced of crews due to having no previous knowledge of the lane. This was followed by another series of runs around 2 more farms over the road and a pass that was difficult to read on the maps.
After this it was back to the safety of the Gallonreagh House for some much needed refreshment and to find out who were the main men on the night in the results. A big thanks goes out to all the residents on the route,land owners who gave permission to use the lanes, to the staff in the Gallonreagh for the use of the hall and providing food and of course to all the time keepers and other marshalls who helped out on the night.
1 Andy Mackarel/Liam Higgins (Subaru Impreza) 7 marks,
2 Colin Duffy/Sam Johnston (Subaru Impreza) 14m,
3 Pakie Duffy/Nigel McCloughry (Subaru Impreza) 16m,
4 Ashley McAdoo/Francis Keenan (Subaru Impreza) 26m,
5 Bobby Sharkey/Macartan Kierans (Subaru Impreza) 28m,
6 Mickey Tynan/Ciaran Tynan (Subaru Impreza) 28m,
7 Dermot Keenan/Laurence Keenan (Subaru Impreza) 30m,
8 Martin Tynan/Fintan Clerkin (Subaru Impreza) 32m,
9 Trevor McConnell/Ruaidhri Nash (Subaru Impreza) 32m,
10 Joe Friel/Aidan Friel (Subaru Impreza) 38m,
11 Gerry McIntyre/Aaron McIntyre (Subaru Impreza) 42m,
12 Sean McKenna/Garry Farrelly (Subaru Impreza) 43m.
Semi-experts: 1 Pakie Duffy/Nigel McCloughry, 2 Ashley McAdoo/Francis Keenan, 3 Sean McKenna/Garry Farrelly.
Novices: 1 Bobby Sharkey/Macartan Kierans, 2 Dermot Keenan/Laurence Keenan, 3 Martin Tynan/Fintan Clerkin.
Beginners: 1 Gerry Kelly/Seamus McTigue (Subaru Impreza) 56m, 2 Keith McConnon/Micheal McCluskey (Subaru Impreza) 175m, 3 Ryan Connolly/Shane Mulligan (Vauxhall Vectra) 269m.
Success for Cavan Motor club crews who venture
Words by Ruaidhrí Nash
Pictures by Brian Mullholland
The Galway International Rally plays host the rally season opener every year.The opening round of the Tarmac Championship it also proves to be a good testing ground for the men and women who are to contest the National Championship or just blow out the cobwebs from a quiet winter season. This year was no exception with a number of County Cavan Motor Club members heading west to tackle the 8 stages of the Safety Direct Galway International Rally. With names like Donnelly, Coleman, McHale and Fisher to name a few big winners from the part it is an event that all aspiring rally drivers want to win. The big fight of the weekend would come in the national section of the rally where a host of Cavan men took centre stage in the fight for the overall honours with a number of class runners also showing their wares.
Bailieborough’s Patrick Kiernan was out for only the second time since acquiring his new 2 litre class 13 escort and from the word go was troubling the local hot shots and bigger machinery, after the first stage he and navigator James Mc Carville were 3rd overall in treacherous conditions. Oldcastle man Stephen Mc Cann in his A Plus Skip Hire Lancer Evo 7 was out for his debut on the Galway lanes and set a respectable 7th overall and led the class after the opening stage. Rodney Wilton was out for a good run in his impressive class 14 Wilton Waste Recycling escort but found the conditions tricky on the opener with tyre choices being a lottery he started off 17th overall.
The other member of the A Plus Skip Hire Team Paul Mc Cann was debuting his immaculate Escort Cosworth a rare machine on Irish lanes these days and was really a crowd favourite but alas wasn’t to continue after stage 3 with technical issues putting the car out of action for the day.
Virginia’s Chris Armstrong with Martin Brady navigating him had an exciting start overshooting a junction and loosing 20 seconds in the process getting going again, this was Chris’ first time out in his escort since it got a new engine and he would feature along with Kiernan in the battle for the win later in the day.
In class 9 Gene Callan and Sean Brunton hired out the West Cavan Rally Hire escort to see how they would fair out. Pretty well in fact, they led the class all day apart from one stage where they had a minor technical problem but got it fixed in the following service. Gene was well into his stride by the afternoon loop and come the finish of the rally won the class and finished 23rd overall.
Rodney Wilton upped his pace after the first loop after sorting out his tyres and climbed up the leader board posting some impressive times to lie 2nd in class and 7th overall before a gearbox problem sidelined him and Stephen Hagan on Stage 5.
Stephen Mc Cann and Lisa O’Dowd led Class 15 from start to finish and were well in the hunt of a possible contention for overall victory when an intercooler pipe burst losing them all power and forcing the Evo to limp through 2 and a half stages and dropping the pair down the leader board with it all to do. A big push was the order of the afternoon loop bringing them back up from 16th overall to a credible 8th in the end and two fastest stage times.
After his earlier spin Chris Armstrong started to fight back and start checking in times that would see him quickly climb back up the leader board and find him leading the class after 4 stages. He and Martin Brady soon found themselves in with a chance of taking the overall win and it looked like a show down between two Cavan Motor Club members over the final loop.
With one stage to go Kiernan led Armstrong by less than 8 seconds with Galway man Tom Flaherty splitting the pair. Armstrong pushed as hard as he dared in treacherous conditions but it all came to an end when he slid off the road and damaged the escorts steering on the final stage. This left Paddy Kiernan clear to hold off Flaherty and bring his Kiernan Milling escort to a landmark win in the National section of the rally.
In the Historics it was club member Wesley Patterson who was the pre event favourite in his immaculate BDA engined escort. He and Martin Mc Garrity had built up a comfortable margin over the first 4 stages before disaster struck in the form of engine trouble on the 5th stage. This spelled the end of the pairs run for the day.
In the junior section it was Mountain Lodge man Darren O’Brien who stormed out into the lead ahead of fierce opposition, in fact such was his pace he would have been 3rd overall in the national section. This blistering pace was set in the little 1600 Honda Civic he had recently acquired from Cork. Navigated by the brother of the national winner Gary Kiernan the pair were having a great run with a 2 minute lead over the rest when a gearbox problem unfortunately ground the pair to a hault. This was a disappointing end to such a great run but no doubt we will see a lot more of this young man this year in the National Championship.
In the International part of the Rally saw Sam Moffett driving his Combi Lift sponsored Lancer Evo 9 to good effect. With a last minute rush to have his engine rebuilt after a failure the week before the rally Sam and navigator James O’Reilly were lucky to even make the start of the event and the proof of this came on the first loop when the newly built engine still had a slight misfire but nothing his service crew couldn’t sort out and he was back on the pace again. The pair were locked in a battle with Brother Josh Moffett and Kerry Man Alan Ring all day and were trading seconds here and there, in the afternoon loop Sam launched a charge for the lead and took all the necessary risks including a big jump that caused the engine to regain its misfire for a mile after it. With one stage to go Sam and James were only 1 second behind Ring and launched a charge once more only to have the gremlins return at the worst possible time. The engine misfire returned worse than ever and the crew had to limp through the stage and submit 2nd in class to Josh Moffett. In the end they finished a commendable 3rd in group n and 10th overall in the International Section.
It's a new year and a new championship awaits the hardy souls out in Hutt Cross. This year sees the addition of a new sponsor for the junior championship in the form of Bill Adare. This year Bill has generously sponsored prizes for a draw to be held at every round which will see all Junior entrants names go into a hat and the first name to be drawn will win a Pirelli tyre and the second name to be drawn will receive a free entry for the next day. The two names drawn will be excluded for the next days draw and reinstated for the day there after. We would also like to thank Mervyn Wedlock for returning for another year as the title sponsor for the Autocross championship, He along with all the other volunteers help to run one
The County Cavan Motor Club's Annual Function and Dance will take place on Friday the 18th of January 2013.
The Awards will be held in the Bailie Hotel Bailieboro and proceedings will begin at 8:30pm Sharp.
Music will be provided by Seamus Delaney Mavericks following the meal and awards ceremony.
Tickets are €20 and admission is by ticket holders ONLY.
To Purchase tickets Call Ruaidhrí Nash on 087 - 6268550
Last Sunday saw the final round of the County Cavan Motor club organised Mervyn Wedlock Plant Hire Autocross Championship for the 2012 season.
With the Christmas festivities in full swing it was an impressive turn out of competitors and machines to the Hutt Cross venue. The overall championship had been decided on the last round in favour of Mickey Conlon so the pressure was off most competitors to try and gain points and left it free for everyone competing to just go for the overall glory on the day.
With a sizeable promotion campaign being launched in the weeks preceding the event it was to prove a success with no less than 72 competitors taking to the start on what was a fresh but bright morning.
The campaign had attracted a number of new and returning drivers including some leading names in Irish Motorsport today with recent young rally driver of the year award winner Daniel Mc Kenna returning to where he first started to compete.
With the drivers lining up to start their first run the conditions on the track were starting to dry but were still well able to punish a lapse in concentration, It was Castletara’s Joe Smith who struck first setting a great time on the first run to be 2 seconds quicker than anyone else in his Pinto engine Escort. Joe a Hutt Cross regular was demonstrating his love of treacherous conditions in his bid to take top honours and try and close out his class championship battle with Oliver Mc Cormack. Big power was not the order of the day as proved by Darren O’Brien and Andrew Mc Mahon who slotted into 2nd and 3rd place in their Honda Civic and Peugeot 106 respectively.
As the 2nd run commenced there was a light shower which didn’t really help matters as it wasn’t heavy enough to wash the track but just added to the greasy nature of the surface. This only confirmed that the possibility of a very high powered car was really going to struggle in the battle against the more nimble motors.
This was also reflected in the times with a lot of people going slower in their second run with the exception of a few like Mc Mahon and Mc Kenna with Mc Kenna taking 8 seconds out of his first run time after adjusting his suspension.
It was still the same at the top with Joe Smith leading from O’Brien and Mc Mahon with Oldcastle’s Gary Mc Namee starting to make an impression on the leaders in his Honda Civic.
On the final run it was down to Mountain Lodge’s Darren O’Brien to see what impression he could make on Smiths lead, And try he did going a full 2 seconds faster than anyone on the final run. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the 2 fastest times of the day were counted and Joe had done enough to secure a 2 second win in the end with Darren O’Brien taking 2nd place and Andrew Mc Mahon taking a credible 3rd overall with Mc Namee 4th, Thomas Melia 5th and Damien O’Reilly taking 6th place in his 1400cc Escort.
In the classes it was tight battles all day with tenths of seconds deciding the results in some places.
In Class 1 It was a two horse race between class champion Alan Pickens and Overall Champion Mickey Conlon who had brought out his Mini to compete in lieu of the Escort with Pickens leading before Conlon broke a drive shaft on the final run.
Class 2 saw some very competitive action as has been the case all year. With the usual competitors there were a few returning faces to the mix including Vincent Mc Aree in his 106. In the end however it was Maudabawn’s Damien O’Reilly taking the honours with a great drive to pull out a comfortable lead over the championship competitors Shane Marron and Seamus Cooke with Gary Kiernan taking 4th in class.
Class 3 was the sideshow to the overall competition with the top 5 bar Joe Smith in the class this finished the same as the overall with Darren O’Brien taking the class win from Andrew Mc Mahon with Gary Mc Namee 3rd.
Class 4 saw Joe Smith take the win from title contender Oliver Mc Cormack in his Nova with Martin Toner in his Talbot Sunbeam 3rd and Martin Swinburn, Toners navigator taking 4th in the class.
Class 5 produced the closest finish of the day with Championship sponsor Mervyn Wedlock battling it out with Daniel Mc Kenna both in Ford Escorts. These two put in a great performance taking tenths of seconds out of each other but in the end it was Mc Kenna who came out on top winning the class by just 6 tenths of a second. Not wanting to be left out Jim Mc Kenna also driving an escort came home in 3rd only 2 tenths of a second behind Wedlock. The class brought a lot of competitors back to the venue who had been away for a while and it brought with it some very close racing with Maurice Moffett, Ronnie Coulter and Mel Mulligan all being separated by less than a second at the end in the battle for 4th,5th,and 6th in class.
Class 6 brought us a battle between a Subaru Impreza and a Motorcycle engine buggy with the rain and a 5% penalty against the buggy which would be fit to win the event overall on a dry day playing into the hands of the Subaru of Padraig Mullen who won out against Derek Deane not before he gave a virtuoso performance in the buggy which proves to be a fan favourite for their action and soundtrack.
In the Juniors is was back to the usual flat out competition with the championship to be decided on the day between Brian Brady and Gareth Mimnagh it was up to each of them to go as fast as they dared and hope the other man made a mistake. In the end it was the Civic of Gary Mc Namee who had an impressive run to the top 5 overall who took the junior win with Gary Kiernan 2nd and Brian Brady finishing ahead of Mimnagh in the end.As the rain started to get heavier the drivers gathered for the prize giving all agreed that it was a great day all round and an enjoyable day for the spectators.
Motorsport Ireland Rally Competitors’ Seminar
A seminar for all Motorsport Ireland Rally competitors and those involved in the preparation of rally cars is being organised by the Rallies Committee on Sunday 13th January 2013.
The seminar will take place in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone with registration at 2pm for a prompt start at 2.30pm.
The purpose of the seminar is to hear the views of competitors and those who prepare rally cars for competition on the current and proposed rules and regulations, especially with regard to safety and technical issues.
If you wish to attend it is important that you register your intention in the first instance by email at email@example.com so that we can ensure adequate facilities are available to cater for everyone.
Attached is a draft document of the Protection of our sport proposal by Motorsport Ireland
A Meeting will be held on Wednsday the 5th of December at 8pm in the Hotel Kilmore to discuss this document
Saturday the 27th of October saw the running of the Lottie Reid Navigation Trial running out of the Glenswilly GAA club near Church hill west of Letterkenny. COC John Crumlish had laid out a challenging and technical route littered with plot and bash sections and with a good 30% of the event being run on gravel roads around the hills of Donegal it would prove to be a very enjoyable event for all crews involved. Being a non championship round it was a less than capacity entry for the event. Only Cavan Motorclub entrant was Ruaidhri Nash who was navigating for Manus Kelly in the Novice class. The event would take in some of the great stages of the Donegal International Rally with sections around Gartan Lake and Breenagh to start the proceedings from the word go crews started to gather marks with a couple of hard lanes to try and navigate. This was followed by a complicated Plot and Bash section that provided the crews with 25 tulip diagrams mixed up and out of sequence which would bring the crews through 3 time points in forest tracks and in the back of farm yards. A Petrol hault was a welcome break to crews who had another 13 time points to get through before the comfort of home. Highlight of the night for many crews was the tulip diagram plot and bash section in through a wind farm with 12 miles of perfect gravel roads for the crews to compete over. At the end of the night Kelly and Nash came home 2nd in the Novice class and 9th overall with a total of 229 marks.
The Night Navigation Season got back under way with the non championship Monaghan Motor Club's event. The COC Shane Maguire put together a tricky and testing route for the 40 crews who took the start in Bellanode. 5 crews represented the Cavan Motor Club in this event with Ciaran Mc Elroy and Damian Mc Cabe running in the semi expert class for this year ahead of Darren O'Brien and Thomas Wedlock in the Novice class. Justin Smyth was drafted in to drive for Connor Maguire in the Expert class. And Ruaidhri Nash was Navigating to Donal Mc Ardle in the Beginners class along with Mickey Conlon driving for Paul Mullholland also in the Beginners class.
The route showed it's teeth early on with many crews dropping penalties as early as TP5. Time point 11 and 12 were located in the same place, which caused difficulties further down the field as most semi and novice crews dropped time or missed them completely. Time points 18 to 22 were once again located in the Bragan Mountain’s with fast flowing gravel lanes and the odd tight farmyard ensuring there was no let up as the plot and bash sections were very well laid out and tricky. A quick petrol halt in the Killylough area just north of Tydavnet was a welcomed break for all competitors as more of the same lay ahead through the second half. Timepoints 26-30 were also plot and bash and once again their locations were set out in such a way that any small navigator error resulted in missing time points or worse still, double visits. Nineteen of the 37 crews still in the hunt missed time points 28 and 29 altogether as they failed to negotiate a tulip diagram correctly, leading them straight to time point 30. The last 5 timepoints led crews back to the Bellanode/Tydavnet areas as the overall result was ultimately decided on the last lane of the night with all crews dropping time.
After a tough night back in the seat Ciaran Mc Elroy and Damian Mc Cabe finished up 4th in semi expert on 116 points. Darren O'Brien and Thomas Wedlock finished the night on 146 points and one of the top novice crews. Justin Smyth and Connor Maguire came in 9th overall on 50 points. Mickey Conlon and Paul Mullholland finished the night 2nd Beginners on an impressive 108 marks. Donal Mc Ardle and Ruaidhri Nash had been running clear with no penalties through the first 18 time points but unfortunatley all came to an end when they slid into a ditch on Bragan Mountain and got stuck failing to finish the event.
The 2012 Abbey Hotel Donegal Harvest Stages rally was the final round for both the Dunlop National Rally Championship and the Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship and with a number of classes to still be decided there was an invasion of Cavan Motor Club crews to the event with no less than 8 crews making the trip along with a vast crew of supporters.
In Class 13 it was Championship regulars and leading mark 2 crew of Jonathan Pringle and Martin Byrne who were out to cement their championship positions and gather up as many border placings as they could to end a successful year. From the word go they were on a competitive pace whilst not aking many risks as they fought to try and win the class and gather maximum championship points. Throughout the day they battled with Alaister Cochrane for 3rd place in class before eventually finishing 3rd in class and 13th overall to clinch 3rd in class in the border to add to their class win in the national championship.
Also in Class 13 Mickey Conlon and Darragh Mullen had a good clean run keeping out of trouble and holding station to the finish netting the pair 6th in class and 24th overall.
In Class 10 Bailieborough's Patrick Kiernan and Darren O'Brien of Mountain Lodge went to Donegal to try and improve on their 3rd in class in the national championship to go along with their class win in the border. Patrick wasted no time in taking up the charge as he battled with Monaghan's Barry Treanor. After the first loop of 3 stages they were in 2nd by 13 seconds behind Treanor. In the 4th of 9 stages they pushed hard and won the stage by 18 seconds to eek out a 5 second lead on the rest and from there on they didn't look back pushing on to win the class and finish a credible 27th overall in some quick company.
In Class 9 there was big interest with a number of very quick crews taking to the stages for the day. These included Damien O'Reilly and Damien Mc Cabe in their Escort who were just out to win the class with nothing to loose in terms of championships. They were joined by Justin Smyth and Gregory McQuillan who were in the hunt for the class win in the border championship. Adrian Foley would again navigate for Colin Currid in a bit to wrap up 3rd in class for the border championship aswell. Aaron Duffy and Keith Mc Connell were out for a run in their rear wheel drive fiesta. For Damien O'Reilly it was a straight forward run to the class win after being beaten by Smyth on the first stage they pulled it back on stage 2 and never looked back to put in an impressive run to 28th overall in the process. For Smyth it wasn't so easy he had a battle all day long with Barry Mc Gill who was also chasing championship honours with the two crews trading seconds on every stage. Disaster struck Justin and Gregory however when a banjo bolt started to leak fuel from the carburettor. Running low on fuel Irish Rallying's spirit of sportman ship kicked in with Mc Gill syphoning petrol from his own car to help keep Smyth in the rally. The battle continued with Justin having the edge until the penultimate stage when Mc Gill took the initiative and took over second in class where he held it until the end and sealing his 2nd overall in the border championship and handing Justin Smyth and Gregory Mc Quillan the class win in the championship. Finishing 4th in the class and keeping relative distance to the battle ahead Adrian Foley guided Colin Currid to the finish of the event and netting them 3rd in class 9 in the Border championship. Aaron Duffy and Keith Mc Connell were having a good steady run to dust off the cobwebs after a long period away from rallying this year. They started off steady and started to build on their pace when the cooling system developed a fault and they were forced to reitre in the second service. A dissapointing end to the day for the Fiesta crew.
In the juniors it was down to the wire as Chris Snow and Sean Brunton went in pursuit of the National Junior championship crown and make amends for blotting their copybook in Clare the last day out. The pace was hot from the word go with a number of crews able to potentially scoop the overall award. All was going according to plan for Snow and Brunton until stage 3 when they ran into suspension problems on the car which dropped them back down to 5th overall it was from there on in they tried to battle back by setting some impressive times but with the suspension problems rearing their ugly head again it took the wind out of their sails. They still finished 4th in juniors which netted them 1st in class in the national championship. Also in the juniors were Kevin Cole and Gary Mc Namee in their Toyota engined Ford Escort. They were looking to have a good run to the finish and did so by setting a good pace all day and building on the speed and keeping out of trouble to finish a credible 7th overall in the juniors.
All Photographs by dbpics.net
Another close battle in Hutt Cross as the 2012 championship enters the final months.
The 2012 club loose surface autocross championship has been one of the most fiercely contested championships in recent years with the championship looking set to go to wire and be decided in the winter months.
Round 4 of the Mervyn Wedlock championship brought 31 entries to the newly developed track after the summer break. A gathering of familiar and new faces entered the service area in the morning ready to see the new smoother track in all its glory.
A glorious morning made life easier for Coc Raymond Drury and all the marshals who turned up to help out on the day. It also took the guess work out of choosing tyres for the day. With all the changes somethings remained the same with Mickey Conlon and Darren O’Brien resuming their struggle which had been on hold since April. Conlon got the jump on O’Brien who was using a new car he had only just taken delivery of the day before the event. With a lead of just .39 of a second after the first run it was up to Darren O’Brien to make his mark on the second run with the best 2 of 3 runs to be counted for each driver it was very much all the play for on the 2nd and 3rd runs. Also in the hunt after the first run were Mel Mulligan, Mervyn Wedlock and Ollie McCormack.
For the second run Darren O’Brien came out all guns blazing to set a startling 3:04 for his 3 laps of the track, With Conlon and Wedlock managing a 3:08 this catapulted O’Brien into the lead of the event with one run remaining. Mel Mulligan set a 3:10 along with Seamus Cooke in his 1400 escort.
In the class battles it was as competitive further back the field as the overall race.
In class 1it was Tullyvin’s Alan Pickens who held a commanding lead all day in his Vauxhall Nova with Andrew Mc Mahon finishing 2nd in his Citroen AX and Gerry Greene 3rd .
In class 2 it would be a close battle between 3 very well prepared Escorts with Seamus Cooke eventually taking the win on his way to an impressive 5th overall in the end from Shane Marron who took 2nd in class from Noel Lappin who had a spin on the final run to drop him to 3rd in class.
Darren O’Brien was the cream of the crop in Class 3 which saw him setting times to beat the 2 litre cars in his new civic. He won the class from Aiden Nicholl who had a comfortable gap between himself and 3rd placed Adam Faulkner
Class 4 saw Ollie Mc Cormack take the win as he was the only man in the class on the day and took 6th overall.
Class 5 saw Mickey Conlon take a 2 second win from championship sponsor Mervyn Wedlock with Mel Mulligan 3rd and Richard Cassidy 4th.
Class 6 saw an unusual entry in the form of mk2 escort man Joseph Smith trying out a buggy for the first time in the special bike engine buggy class in the quarry due to his car not being ready. A steep learning curve was the order of the day but Joe didn’t take long to get dialled into the machine setting a 3:11 on his last run to finish 12th.
In the juniors it was a close competition with Brian Brady taking the win in the end by 2 seconds from Mark Mc Aleer with Adam Faulkner 3rd. Colette Rooney took the Ladies award in her Susuki Swift.
Conlon had it all to do on the last run with O’Brien taking the initiative on the 2nd run. A storming drive saw him set a 3:01 a great time and fastest time of the day. O’Brien was matching the time until he succumbed to gearbox troubles with the car jumping out of gear he lost precious seconds and had to settle for second overall on the day. Mervyn Wedlock set the second fastest time of the day to seal 3rd from Mel Mulligan and Seamus Cooke in 5th place.
A great day was had by all drivers who commended the club for the work that had been done to provide a new surface to the track with most cars going home and not even having to be washed after the event.
Round 4 Mervyn Wedlock Plant Hire Autocross Championship 2012.
Sunday 30th September 2012.
Venue Hutcross Latton.
Regs and entry form in link below
Results after round 3
Trecherous conditions test club members in Clare shootout.
The penultimate round of this year’s Dunlop National Rally Championship saw the crews of the County Cavan Motor Club head for the lanes of County Clare.
With the stages for the Clare Stages Rally traditionally tight and twisty on farm lanes it usually made for a slippery surface under foot for the competing crews and after torrential rain in the lead up to the start it made for extremely tricky conditions in places. This being a round of the national championships prompted a plethora of Club members to head for the south west.
Jonathan Pringle and Martin Byrne continued their pursuit of the Mark 2 championship having won their class on the last round in Tipperary. It was to be a tall order to overhaul championship leader Frank Kelly who would put his years of forestry rallying to good use in the diminished grip levels and his power advantage on the fast bits. The day started out tense with the crew watching their every move to ensure they didn’t make a mistake and get caught out on the now mud filled lanes, they chose to run the car softer than usual for the first stage which didn’t suit them and they were left playing catch up from then on. After that they settled down to a good rhythm and started to match and at times beat Kelly’s time whilst climbing from 2nd in class and 10th overall to an impressive 1st in class and 7th overall in the Impact Conveyer Parts Ltd car. Whilst Kelly has an unassailable lead in the Mark 2 championship it is still possible for Pringle and Byrne to win the 2 Wheel Drive championship in Donegal as well as having a chance to win their class in the border championship as well.
Jonathan Pringle/Martin Byrne
Patrick Kiernan and Darren O’Brien also headed south in pursuit of class 10 success with the championship out of reach for them it was a case of going out and having some fun in their yearlong battle with Michael Carbin. From the word go it was a fast and furious pace being set by the class men which also brought in club members Gary Kiernan and James Fulton along with Adrian Foley and Adrian Flynn. The top 3 were trading times closely over the first loop with Kiernan and O’Brien edging out a 1 second advantage after the first loop ahead of Carbin with Foley 11 seconds behind with Gary Kiernan 4th such was the pace that the top 4 were all inside the top 40 overall. It was a chicane on stage 4 that would see the demise of 2 of the contenders with Carbin and Gary Kiernan hitting the same bale and bursting the radiators which spelled on the spot retirement from the event. This diffused what was shaping up to be a great battle with the 1600 8 valve men. It wasn’t going to be as clear cut for the remaining Kiernan Transport car with Adrian Foley still breathing down his neck for the class win. The pair of crews traded seconds for the rest of the day with the gap hovering around the 10 second mark. Over the final two stages Kiernan pulled out a healthy 32 second advantage to finish 1st in class and 20th overall highlighting the pace of class 10 these days. Not to be disheartened Foley came home 2nd and 23rd overall in the M+S Electrical car in what had been an impressive drive over the course of the day where he had ran Kiernan close in tricky conditions.
Patrick Kiernan/Darren O'Brien
Gary Kiernan/James Fulton
Adrian Foley/Adrian Flynn
Chris Snow and Sean Brunton brought their Honda Civic to Clare hoping to wrap up the junior championship with a win. With tough opposition it wouldn’t be an easy task but the crew got straight down to action on the first stage by leading the class by 10 seconds. On the next couple of stages they experienced a fight back from the other crews and were made to push hard to keep their advantage in changeable conditions where grip levels were not to be trusted they had fallen back to second in the class and were having a good push on the 6th stage when disaster struck on the flying finish of the stage where a nasty bump caught out the crew and caused them to roll with no injuries but a burst radiator this spelled the end of the day for the crew. A disappointing end for the Snows Quarries Sponsored Crew but they still bring a slender 1 point lead into the final round in Donegal in a few weeks time.
Chris Snow/Sean Brunton
All pics by Rally Through a Lens
Motorsport News by Gerry Buckley
Cavan Motor Club 2011 Awards Presentation.
Cavan Motor Club presented their Club and Autocross Championship Awards at a Gala Dinner ceremony in the Hotel Kilmore on Saturday night last. Once again the assembled membership of the Club joined by their friends and families were treated to an excellent meal provided by Ross Mealiff and his accomplished staff.
A range of spot prizes provided by local businesses and friends of the club were distributed after the meal and an additional draw for Cavan Motor Club leisurewear in aid of Multiple Sclerosis and Spina Bifida raised 486euro from the 115 guests which will be matched by the Club and presented in the near future.
A DVD by Black Motorsport Videos accompanied the presentation of Awards for the Wedlock Plant Hire Autocross Championship by Mervyn Wedlock. In Class 1 Ronan Kerrigan finished 3rd while Tommy Donlon finished runner up to Alan Pickens, the top 2 driver in this class only separated in the last round of the series.
Francie McKenna drove his Peugeot 205 to 3rd in class 2, Justin Smyth brought his Mk2 Escort into 2nd in Class with Shane Marron taking victory 3 points ahead in his similar car. As Class 3 contained 2 overall winning competitors Adam Kinkadeâ€™s Honda Civic followed Danny McCormackâ€™s Opel Corsa home.
Class 4 fell to perennial competitor Ollie McCormack in his Vauxhall Nova with Pat McGuiness making his trip from Sligo worthwhile with 2nd in Class 4. Class 5 became a small one make series with both Richard Cassidy and Mel Mulligan competing in Vauxhall Astra. In the end Richard Cassidy came out on top by 2 points.
The Junior Category in 2011 may have produced one of the future stars of both Cavan Motor Clubâ€™s Autocross Championship and the wider arena of Irish Rallying. Darren Oâ€™Brien had a meteoric rise to prominence in 2011 and by year end he had accumulated the highest total pointâ€™s score of the series.
The young Mountainlodge driver finished 2nd overall in the last 4 rounds and won the Junior category on every occasion, collecting the Overall Junior Championship Trophy and Perpetual Shield on Saturday night. The 2nd place in the Junior Class went to Stradone driver Ciaran Monaghan campaigning in a rare Mk1 Ford Fiesta in the 2011 series.
In overall terms 2011 brought a new name to the established contenders, Chris Snow Jr. made his 5th start of the season count when he won the Christmas event adding to three 3rd overall finishes during the year which netted him 3rd overall in the Championship. Joseph Smith had 2 wins and 3 third place finishes on his way to 2nd overall in the Championship, the Castletara driver has never finished outside the overall results in recent years.
Mickey Conlon repeated his double win of 2010 when he won both the Wedlock Plant Hire Autocross Championship and the Overall Club Championship. The Castleblayney driver won 3 rounds and finished 2nd and 3rd on the 2 other rounds to ensure Overall victory, adding these results to 10th overall in the 2011 Hotel Kilmore Stages Rally and class finishes in both Navigation Trials to win his 2nd consecutive Club Championship.
Cavan Motor Club also continued the practice of rewarding the efforts of its long standing members by awarding the John Wood Memorial Cup to Noel McMenamin former chairman of 10 years and now Treasurer. The poll of Club members was taken at the Club AGM in October of 2011. The Cup was presented by Honorary Club President Willie McCormick.
With their awards presented for 2011 Cavan Motor Club now turns its attention to 2012 as Sunday January 29th next gets the Wedlock Plant Hire Autocross Championship underway. The action starts at 10:00am with and a good days sport is assured, the Hut Cross circuit can be found by taking the first turn right off the Cootehill to Ballybay Road or by following your Sat-Nav to N 54 03 .551 W 06 58 .332 .