MK2 Rally Challenge & Wicklow ALMC

The month of May was indeed busy with two rounds of the 2014 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship. The Carlow Motor Club had their MK2 Rally Challenge, which is a mega fest of the iconic rally car since it first appeared in the early ‘70’s and remained the ‘must have’ rally car ever since. Carlow was also the first tarmac event of the 2014 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship and with the introduction of the tarmac competitors to the championship some of the class positions were expected to change.

However the dual surface competitors were also hoping to consolidate their positions with some clear and clean competition.  Despite a gloomy forecast the conditions held out relatively ok but the shiny tar was pretty slick in the odd light splash of rain. All stages ran off with aplomb over some testing stages that had not been used for some years. The event was run so close to Carlow town that it was almost an urban event.

Class winners were Pierce Dohany / Eilish Dunne, class 1; Niall Fitzpatrick / Gary Fitzpatrick, class2 in the immaculate MK1, making his championship debut to score 30 points, Eamon Bates / James Sinnot, class 3; Liam / Declan O’Neill, class 4; Joe  / John Connolly, class 5; Seamus Flynn / Ray Kirwan, class 6. Making the biggest impact was Niall Fitzpatrick who used the Carlow event as his bonus round to take the class lead.

However it was still the forestry competitors who had two rounds under their belts that held the overall lead in the 2014 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship. Shane Mc Girr / Martin MacGarrity, class 5, 45 points. 2nd Sean W. Benskin / Joe Fitzgibbon, class 4, 36 points. 3rd Noel Wade / Eamon Tuohy, class 3, 34 points.

Then one week later it was off to Co. Wicklow for the ALMC mini stages forestry rally. Co. Wicklow has some fabulous forests that were a feature of Irish rallying before the clubs began their love affair with tarmac events. So it was a retro trip to have the location back on the rallying agenda.

Although it was also a round of the Valvoline National Rally Forest Championship one of the favourites didn’t take the start ramp and so Shane McGirr relinquished his secure lead on the 2014 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship.

It was one of the local crews who took advantage in using his bonus round score to climb from joint 5th overall to leading the championship. Douglas Stewart / Billy Ryan, class 3, Peugeot 306 doubled his points from 30 to 60. Great satisfaction and a job well done, it’s great when a plan comes together.

His nearest challenger is also a dedicated forestry competitor, Sean W. Benskin / Joe Fitzgibbon, class 4, Escort MK2 are on 48 points. In third place having been involved in the leading the team in the Carlow Stages, (much harder work than blasting about the stages in a rally car!!), are Francis Kelly / Charlotte Egan, class 2, Opel Corsa, 46 points. The ALMC Wicklow forestry rally is a welcome addition to Irish rallying and its inclusion in the 2014 TRITON SHOWERS South East Stages Rally Championship balanced the championship with an equal amount of forestry and tarmac rounds.

Class 1.

1 Pierce Doheny / T. Hayes.                                     Peugeot 106.                         44 pts

2 Andrew Fanning / D Gibbs.                                   Ford Ka.                                26 pts.

Class 2.

1 Niall Fitzpatrick /   G. Fitzpatrick                           Escort MK1                           30 pts.

2 Mike Garahy / C. Garahy.                                       Escort MK2.                          28 pts.

3 Kieran O’Sullivan / P. O’Gorman.                           Escort MK2.                          22 pts.

Class 3. 

1 Richard Dalton / G. Nash.                                       Honda Civic.                         35 pts.

2 Noel Wade / Eamon Tuohy.                                    Escort MK2.                          34 pts.

3 Andy Nash / TBA.                                                     Honda Civic.                         33 pts.

Class 4. 

1 Ray Benskin (jnr) / N. Hegarty.                                 Escort MK2.                          40 pts.

2 Diarmuid Lynch / J. Falvey.                                       Escort MK2.                          27 pts.

3 Alan Commins / J. Commins.                                    Escort MK2.                          16 pts.

Class 5.

1 Shane McGirr / Martin MacGarrity.                             Toyota Starlet.                   45 pts.

2 Mickey Conlon / C. McPhillips.                                    Escort MK2.                        44 pts

3 Emmet Lyons / Kevin Purcell.                                      Honda Civic.                         20 pts.

Class 6.

1 Mark Murphy / A. Wyllie.                                        Mitsubishi Evo 8.                        34 pts.

2 Dan O’Brien / M. Glennester.                                Ford Focus.                                27 pts.

3 Paul Barrett / Declan Tumilty.                             Mitsubishi EVO 6.                      26 pts.


1 Conor McCarthy / D. O’Donovan.                                  Honda Civic.                         42 pts.

2 Sean W. McGrath / D. Walsh.                                      Honda Civic.                         10 pts.

3 Shane Norris / C. Boland.                                              Honda Civic.                         1 pt.

Next up is the Carrick-on-Suir Ravens Rock Rally under the stewardship of Billy Collins and his dedicated team. They are staying in Co. Waterford revisiting as closely as possible some of the fantastic stages that were used in the “bigger” Circuits of Ireland. Waterford has been a county that despite some very natural rallying terrain is mainly much under-used, especially where this year’s stages are being used. No hills or cliffs but perhaps some stunning sea views and hopefully the expected summer weather that the south east is renowned for.  There are still four events to come, three and one forestry. The question remains, will there be a change of discipline from some of the competitors to enhance their championship positions?

  • ROUND 1. The Sean Conlon Memorial Forestry rally. February 2nd
  • ROUND 2. The Munster Moonraker Forestry Rally. Ballyvourney in Co. Cork. April 13
  • ROUND 3. Carlow Stages Rally. Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow. May 11
  • ROUND 4. ALMC Forestry Rally based in Glendalough Hotel, Wicklow. May 17 2 stages X 2.
  • ROUND 5. Carrick-on-Suir Ravens Rock Rally. Waterford. June 29 Tarmac
  • ROUND 6. Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally. Clonmel. August 10      Tarmac
  • ROUND 7. Wexford Stages Rally. September 13th / 14th.     Tarmac
  • ROUND 8. The Willie Loughman Memorial Forestry Rally Oct. 12th
  1. O’Brien 086 315 4442

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