Two in a Row for Murphy/O'Brien
Two in a Row for Murphy/ O’Brien
The third round of the 2014 Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship took place in Glendalough co. Wicklow on Saturday May 17th. Fantastic weather greeted competitors as they arrived for scrutiny in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains – often referred to as the Garden of Ireland. Following an eight year sabbatical the Valvoline Championship returned to the Wicklow Forest stages with a new host club the “ALMC” who opted to run a compact mini stage (4 stages – 2 repeated) event. There was a good entry with 62 starters including a mix of regulars, new comers and club members. The first 11km stage “Glenmalure” took its toll as top seeds/ Championship leaders Desi Henry & Liam Moynihan beached their Evo 9 at a chicane abruptly ending their rally. Andrew Purcell/ Stephen Quinn were also sidelined as their Evo 6 clipped a rock and broke a ball joint. Owen Murphy set fastest time, 2 secs up on Pat O’Connell (both in Evo 9’s). Brendan Cumiskey appeared with a recently acquired Impreza S8 WRC but lost a minute due to a stall on the start line and later retired with engine failure. There was further attrition at the start of stage 2 “Aughavannagh” when Pat O’Connell’s Evo simply would not start. Owen Murphy again set the pace to hold an 11 sec lead at service. Josh Moffett was promoted into second with the demise of O’Connell while Enda McNulty climbed to third despite transmission woes. Rocks strewn very close to the road verge meant that drivers had to be very precise and could not afford to put a wheel off line. Peter McCullagh felt slow himself and was happy to hold fourth. Michael Carbin (Evo 4) set a blistering time through Aughavannagh to climb to fifth. The 2WD competition was fierce as Micky Conlon/ Ciaran McPhillips tied with David Crossen/ Pamela Irwin. Conlon set the pace on ss1 – 9 secs up on Crossen, who responded by taking 9 secs back on ss2. Enda McNulty sorted the teething issues with his new sequential gearbox at service and set FTD on stage 3. Josh Moffett had concerns after hitting a rock on stage 2 but he too was well on the pace through the repeat of Glenmalure only 3 secs off McNulty. Owen Murphy appeared to have gone off the boil as he was 5 secs slower than his first run, reducing his lead to a slender 2 secs before the final stage. John Reid/ Enda Shields retired having hit the same rock as Andrew Purcell on stage 1 fracturing a wishbone on their Corolla WRC. David Crossen was 2 secs up on Micky Conlon to hold the 2WD advantage. Conor McCarthy/ Dan Donavan (Civic) held a 30 sec lead in the juniors and were just outside the top twenty. Owen Murphy/ James O’Brien (Evo 9) set a scorching time on the final stage – the repeat of Aughavannagh stopping the clocks with a 6.58. The Cork pair were the only crew to do this iconic 11km stage less than seven minutes to claim their second victory in a row and put them in a very strong position in the Championship standings. Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna (Evo 9) also went on a big charge and were 16 secs quicker than their first run. The Monaghan pair trailed the winners by 7 secs after the 4 challenging stages and currently lead the Championship by virtue of their solid performances in all three rounds to date. Enda McNulty/ Paul Sheridan (Impreza) completed the podium having shown good pace on this short compact event. Peter McCullagh/ Tommy Cuddihy (Evo 9) had their best result in recent times taking fourth. Arguably the drive of the day was Michael Carbin/ Stephen Thornton climbing to fifth overall with the faithful Evo 4 – this was a remarkable result from the Monaghan pair. Daniel Cronin/ Shane Buckley (Evo 9) did well taking 6th and appear to be getting to grips with the Mitsubishi. Lucey brothers Ger and James (Evo 8) took 7th after a cautions start. Marty Mckenna/ Damien Fleming had a fraught start with overshoots and overdriving but settled on the repeat stages with better times bringing the Impreza WRC home in 8th. Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9) took 9th after a steady run. David Crossen/ Pamela Irwin made a memorable maiden trip to the Southern Forests claiming 10th overall and “Best 2WD” with their duratec powered mk2. Conor McCarthy/ Dan Donovan completed a hat trick of junior class wins, again taking the laurels in Wicklow to endorse their lead in the “Valvoline” Junior Championship.
Class Winners Class 1 (1400cc): Martin McKeown/ Declan Ryan (Escort).
Class 2 (1600 8v): Tom Murphy/ Colin Moynihan (Escort).
Class 3 (1600 16v): Douglas Stewart/ Billy Ryan (206).
Class 4 (2000 8v): Alan Atcheson/ William Kehoe (Escort).
Class 5A (2000 16v): David Crossen/Pamela Irwin (Escort).
Class 5B (2100): Ollie Williams/ Mark Bowens (Escort).
Class 6 BreaconMcBreen/BreenMcNamee(Impreza)
Class 7 (WRC's): Marty McKenna/ Damien Fleming (Impreza).
Class 8 (Gp N): Peter McCullagh/ Tommy Cuddihy (Evo 9).
Class 9 (Junior's): Conor McCarthy/Dan O’Donovan (Civic).
Class 20 (4WD): Michael Carbin/ Stephen Thornton (Evo 4).
For Further Championship information visit: www.irishforestrally.com www.rally.ie Greg Shinnors, Championship PRO. 00 353 87 2691975 firstname.lastname@example.org