SEVEN ROUND CHAMPIONSHIP: THREE FORESTRY, FOUR TARMAC
PROMOTED BY: CARLOW; CARRICK-ON-SUIR; MUNSTER; TIPPERARY AND WEXFORD MOTOR CLUBS LTD.
There is something that will not come as a surprise to most here tonight at the 2012 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship and that is RALLYING IS FUN. At least that is the expression that can best describe this year’s Championship Winners, Pascal O’Shea and Robbie Hennessey.
It’s hard to meet a happier crew in rallying, they are invariably smiling and it’s smiling at their own good fortune and most definitely not at anybody else’s misfortune. Without intending to embarrass any body and it’s with a great deal of admiration that I say that Pascal has a rogue’s glint and a ready smile regardless of whatever besets him at rallies. Robbie smiles like the cat that got the cream and as a pair they would lift anybody’s spirit.
It helps I suppose that they are rallying a car that was engineered post Robbie but I suspect, pre Pascal. It is one of very few Ford Escort MK2s that has stayed fairly faithful to its original build. Imagine a Ford still running with a 1600 cross flow engine and Webber Carbs. The only fairly non-standard item is the gearbox but hey when you are going that fast you need an extra few legs! And the best of it is IT’S CAPAPABLE OF WINNING CHAMPIONSHIPS.
The winning of the 2012 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship was most likely planned from the 2011 championship when Pascal, Robbie and the Ford won their class.
The Willie Loughman Forestry Rally with its long and night time stages set the scene their class win was enough to share the lead with Shay Power, Ray Benskin (jnr) and Adrian McEhlinney. The class win was helped by the fact that Pascal thought that Mick Nevin was catching him on the long dark Gurteen stage. But later on he realised that although he could see the lights Mick was on one of the parallel roads going in the same direction, some sweat.
So the ambition that was sown in 2011 was now showing shoots of growth. Confidences took a knock in Lismore when they recorded a DNF, but still shared 3rd O/A. Onto the tar in Carlow and it was 2nd O/A. The Rock in the home county of Kilkenny and they were sharing 3rd O/A. A little slippage. But the plan was still on track. Tipp Forest, The Sean Conlon Memorial and the class win again had them up to 2nd O/A. ‘Twas time for the butterflies as the top of the table was getting a bit crowded, but this crew does cool real well, like “chillax”.
It all fell into place on the Stonethrowers when they were alone on FIRST OVERALL. Now all that was need was a full house in the class and a bit of luck in Welford’s Dick Bailey Stages Rally. The gods smiled kindly on all accounts and when the damp dust had settled, dropped scores were taken into account, “YEAH” their first championship win, another win for the Buckstown Motorsport Stables. The 2012 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship was going back to Kilkenny.
This win was not easy as going into the final round three crews had the chance of winning. As ever the TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship regularly goes to the last round.
Second overall was the 2011 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship winner, Shay Power and John Rafter, Escort MK2, class 5. Third overall were Ray Benskin (jnr) Nicky Hegarty, Escort MK2 Class 4. Ray and Nicky normally compete on the forestry stages but this year they hit the tar in the Carlow MK2 challenge.
It is perhaps a little wondrous that the Ford Escort MK2 is still competitive and still winning competitive championships. Perhaps Ford should consider putting the MK2 back into production!
A sincere ‘WELL DONE’ to all the competitors who make TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship the most successful clubman rally championship. The small tweaks over the years have retained the competitive edge.
To the clubs, the sponsors of the events and the unknown and the unseen personnel who keep rallying an enjoyable sport our thanks.
As ever Ann Fitzgerald keeps the show on the road and is deserving of a special mention.
To Kevin Barrett and TRITON SHOWERS for their continued support and sponsorship we really appreciate your involvement.
We look forward to the 2013 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship, the same clubs are still involved. There are changes coming into rallying that will impact on the nature and style of future events, these changes will also challenge how we look after our sport. With cooperation from all involved the hurdles will be overcome. We must look to the future and the past is nostalgic history.