Motorsport

  • Ronan Denning from Charlestown and his navigator Karl Egan (Galway) enjoyed huge success at the Triton Showers National Rally Championship Awards Night held on Saturday night last in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone. The pair had a very successful year in their Peugeot 208 R2 and despite a non finish in the Circuit of Kerry, top points collected at the Mayo Stages Rally, Sligo Stages Rally, Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally and Clare Stages Rally seen the pair dominate Class 2 and also crowned Triton Showers Group R National Champions, an excellent achievement for the crew on only their second season competing. 
    (Picture: Andy Walsh)
  • The Galway Summer Rally takes place tomorrow Sunday 19th August, this event takes place annually on the last Sunday in August, however with Pope Francis due to visit Knock a mere 30km from the rally route some tweaks were made to the calendar so the events would not clash and the rally takes place a week early.
    The rally takes place near Tuam and a number of Mayo & District Motorsport Club Members will be crossing the border and heading south to compete and officiate at the event.
    In class 14, Crossmolina’s Lorcan Moore is co driving for John Reddington in a Ford Escort, also in class 14 are Sean McHugh & Kathleen Kennedy. John Warren and Ruthann O’Connor are competing in their class 13R Toyota Corolla Twincam.
    Class 11R, has three Mayo entries - Barry Cuffe & Stephen McGing are out in their Ford Escort Mk 2; Ballina’s John McCarthy is co driving for Florian Niedermueller in a Toyota Corolla and Tadgh Buckley is competing with son and co-driver Shane in their Ford Escort.
    In class 1, Derek McCarthy is co driving for Stephen Reynolds in a Honda Civic and Mark Taheny is out with co-driver Stephen Gallagher also in a Honda Civic. In class 2, Ronan Denning is competing with Karl Egan on the notes.

  • An eventful day on the first leg of the Jim Walsh Cork 2 day Forest Rally, seen Jason and Matthew Murphy in their Peugeot 107 get caught out on a fast 4Right corner on stage 2, the car slid wide and onto grass, and they found themselves as passengers and ended up in a drain damaging the wishbone, unable to get back out onto the stage. They got recovered and got back into service and thanks to fellow J1000 competitor Peter Beaton from Scotland for the use of his spare wishbone and great work once again from C-Sport they got back out under rally 2 for stages 5 and 6 to enable them to score valuable championship points, Day 2 on Sunday’s round had full points on offer and they now looked to that to that to try to wrap up the J1000 title.

    And the South Mayo uncle and nephew partnership certainly showed their title intentions as they completely dominated the second leg on Sunday, setting fastest times on five out of the six stages with their 1 Litre Peugeot 107 leading all throughout the second day to wrap up the 2018 Motorsport Ireland Irish Forestry Championship Title and secure back to back National J1000 wins for the 18 year old Student from Shrule, Co. Mayo.

    Speaking afterwards Jason said “The stages were great today, but we had to stay sensible and get home to the finish with a few points, so we planned to stay out of trouble after yesterdays mishap, It wasn’t looking too good at one point, but thanks to C-Sport again and the assistance from Peter Beaton we made it back out, I suppose you could say once we got started this morning we got into a rhythm and found it easier to focus and we were very happy with our times today, To clinch back to back championship titles is brilliant, and it’s been a great year, a great series, and to have my uncle Matthew win the co- drivers class is an extra bonus”. “There’s a lot of people behind the scenes that have helped me a lot, Mum and Dad and my brother Niall have been at every event all year helping along and a massive thanks to Mairt Cunningham and the C-sport Rally prep team for looking after the car all year, and of course Ray Fitzpatrick and the forestry team for running the J1000 series and Michael O’Brien for coming onboard again as Championship sponsor.  It feels fantastic, hard to put into words, I’m just delighted” Jason added.

  • Conditions were perfect for the return of the Mayo Stages Rally to Achill Island. After the success of last year’s event, Clerk of the Course Trevor O’Connell and his team rose to the occasion to make an every bigger and more spectacular event. With the addition of a new stage this year the first round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship and opening round of the Sligo Pallets Border Championship kicked off in style. Declan Boyle & James O’Reilly took the lead from early on and held on to it. Following close by in second place was Josh Moffett who had Keith Moriarty on the notes. Antrim’s Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan took 3rd, with last year’s winner Joseph McGonigle & Ciaran Geaney coming in 4th. In 5th place was Niall Maguire and his navigator Enda Sherry; next up were Aidan Wray and Kieran McGrath in a Mitsubishi Evo 10, they took 6th place. Stuart Darcy and Keith McCarthy in an eye catching Darrian T9 were 7th. Just out of the workshop with their brand new Ford Fiesta R5, Brendan Cumiskey and Stephen McAule were delighted with its performance and came 8th. Following closely in 9th place were Chris Armstrong who had Chris Melly on the notes. Donagh Kelly and picked up a puncture after stage 3 and limped his way back from 46th on one occasion to finish in 10th place.
    Closer to home, Mayo & District Motorsport Club member had a mixed day. James McGreal & Chris Mitchell, had a good day out in their Mitsubishi Evo 6, the duo came 2nd in class 15 and 43rd overall. James & Chris were the first Mayo crew home and were proud recipients of the Margaret McGreal Award.
    Crossmolina’s Stephen Gallagher with Mark Taheny on the notes had a fantastic first day out in their Honda Civic, they led their class for most of the afternoon. They came 1st in class 1 and came 44th overall.
    John Duffy & John Egan in their Honda Integra were in flying form, they had little to correct at either service and came 1st in class 3 and were 46th overall. Derek Bolton & Ronan Moore had a steady start in their Subaru Impreza and they maintained their position during the day to take 3rd in class 15 and 49th overall. Ronan Denning & Karl Egan had a great start in their Citroen C2R2, despite some electronic issues after the second loop, they recovered to take 1st in class 2 and 50th overall.
    Belcarra brothers, Colm Connor & James Connor came 6th in class 11F and 51st overall in their Toyota Corolla. They picked up the 1st place Mayo Club award. Martin Cawley & Kenneth Langan had a good day out in their Peugeot 205; despite leaking fuel after stage 3 that their crew sorted in service, which brought them home in 2nd place in class 10 and 55th overall – their best finish yet to date.
    Barry Cuffe & Stephen McGing came 6th in class 11R in their Ford Escort Mk 2 and were 59th overall. Despite some problems with a wheel bearing on the road section between stage 1 and 2, they rejoined on Rally 2 after the first loop, they took home the 2nd place Mayo Club award. Trisha Greavy was flying the flag on behalf of the ladies, coming 9th in class 11F and 60th overall in her Honda Civic with her brother Brendan Greavy on the notes, they took 3rd place in the Mayo Club awards. Gordon Nimo & Kerrill Dempsey were out for their first trip in their Supermacs sponsored Ford Fiesta. They came 10th in class 11F and 61st overall. Achill men Brian Lavelle & Daniel Kilbane in a class 11F Honda Civic had issues after the first loop and rejoined the event on Rally 2 for the final loop. They fought hard to finish in 62nd place and 11th in class 11F. Another Achill man - Peter McManamon with John McCarthy on the notes in their Peugeot 205 GTI had a good day out on home soil, they came 3rd in class 10 and 64th overall, after finishing under rally 2 rules. In the Juniors Noel Murphy & John Burke in their Honda Civic EK4 came 7th in class 16.
    A number of club members were not so lucky on the day. Tony Langdon and Chrystal Culkeen were unfortunate when towards the end of stage 1, their Honda Integra lost its sump; they subsequently lost reverse & 5th gear so weren’t able to rejoin on Rally 2. Shane Buckley & Lorcan Moore’s day came to an early end when they went out on their second trip around the scenic Atlantic Drive in their Honda Civic, however Shane took home the Eddie O’Hora award for the fastest Mayo & District member on Stage 1.

    Margaret McGreal Award – Highest placed Mayo & District crew – James McGreal & Chris Mitchell
    Eddie O’Hora Award – Fastest Mayo & District on stage 1 – (2wheel drive modified on) Shane Buckley
    Robert Masterson Award – highest placed driver in class 13 - Mickey Conlon, Monaghan
    Bob Kelly Perpetual Award - Fastest Rear Wheel Drive (finisher) - Stuart Darcy, Donegal

  • Mayo and District Motorsport Club got off to a great start for 2019 with a number of junior class members competing and dominating in the opening round of the Valvoline Forestry Rally Championship which took place in Carrick on Suir on Sunday 20th. In the J1000 class, it was a first day out for Ella Conway who has teamed up with co-driver Jared Gill for the 2019 championship. It was a challenging first event for Ella who had an off on stage three and lost some time but she managed to keep her cool and recovered to get back into the competition and successfully finish the rally in an impressive fifth place in class. Ella is the youngest female driver in the country at the moment and has just turned sixteen. The Newport transition year student had her first experience of competitive motorsport last summer when she took part in two rounds of the Mayo and District Motorsport Club Loose Surface Autocross Championship. Ella finished second in her class in both events. In October she ventured further afield where she competed in the Galway Motor Club Autocross and came home with the ‘Ladies Award’ on the day. The future looks bright for Ella who has inherited her interest in motorsport from her mother Deirdre who was event secretary for the Mayo Stages Rally for the last number of years. Other local competitors having a good day in Carrick on Suir were John Burke co-driver for Reece Pollack who took the honours in the J1000 class and Jason Murphy who was competing in the junior class. After two very successful years in the J1000 class, Jason and codriver Matthew Murphy have stepped up to the junior class and they finished this event in third place. It was a very busy weekend for Jason as the previous night he received awards from both the ‘Western People Mayo Sports Stars’ award in Ballina and at the ‘Night of Champions 2018 Autocross prize giving’ in Shannon.

    Also at the ‘Night of Champions’ prize giving was Ballaghadereen’s Steven Cafferty who took home two top awards. Steven was the winner of the ‘National Loose Championship’ in class three, and he also took second in class three in the ‘Munster Autocross Championship’. 2018 was a very successful year for Steven in Autocross events as he also took third place overall at the Mayo Motorsport Club Awards in December. With the addition of an extra event this year, Steven is hoping to concentrate on the Mayo Motorsport Club Autocross Championship for 2019.

  • This weekend Mayo and District Motorsport Club members are flying the flag for Mayo Day in Killarney at the International Rally of the Lakes.  

    Ronan Denning with Karl Egan co-driving compete in the international category in their Peugeot 208 R2.  Jared Gill is co-driving for Ray Cunningham in a Mini Cooper in the historic category and tomorrow Brian Moore with co-driver Dylan Doohan complete in the junior category in a Honda Civic.

  • Mayo & District Motorsport Club members travel to Sligo tomorrow for the Sligo Stages Rally. This event usually takes place in July but was postponed this year due to the exceptionally hot weather which effected the road surface. It was rescheduled to this weekend and Mayo crews are out in force to support their neighbouring club.
    In class 11R Bonniconlon native Trisha Greavy is co driving for Paul Crosby in a Toyota Starlet; John Warren and Ruthann O’Connor are competing in their Toyota Corolla Twincam in class 13R; In class 11F there are two Mayo crews competing, Achill man Brian Lavelle and co-driver David Mannion are in a Honda Civic, while Castlebar crew Gordon Nimmo and Crystal Culkeen are competing in their Supermacs sponsored Ford Fiesta. After a second place finish in the Galway Summer Rally Ronan Denning and Karl Egan are competing in their Peugeot 208 and will be hoping for another good day in class 2; Foxfords James McGreal and Chris Mitchell are competing in class 15 in their Evo 6. Keith McFadden and daughter Sara are competing in their second rally together in their class 3 Renault Clio. Sara made the headlines earlier in the summer at the Imokilly Mini stages rally when she became the first visually impaired co-driver.
    Further afield Jason Murphy and co-driver Matthew are competing in the Lakeland Forestry Rally this weekend where they get to compete in a Ford Fiesta R2.
    Best of luck to all competitors and a big thank you to all club members who are marshalling and officiating

  • In the aftermath of Storm Callum heavy rain on Saturday allowed Brian Moore to exercise his supreme talent in atrocious conditions, the Mayo driver had his brother Lorcan, alongside in the co-drivers seat of their Honda Civic as they took an emphatic victory in the Triton Showers Junior category of the Donegal Harvest Rally.

    The Crossmolina brothers were fastest on all but one of the stages in the Ballybofey based event. They finished just over three minutes ahead of the Toyota Twincam of Donegal’s Darragh McNern and Trevor Graham with Ryan Moore and Christopher Moffett also from Donegal, 22 seconds further behind in third in their Honda Civic.

    "It was a great day, conditions were very tough, but the stages were mighty," said eldest brother Brian after emerging from the final stage. He was full of praise for Lorcan, "He kept me in it, the car felt like a speedboat in the standing water on the roads. Lorcan worked so easy with me on the notes, We’re absolutely delighted with the win".

    Elsewhere on the event the main-field victory went to Monaghan’s Sam Moffett and his Cork co-driver Karl Atkinson in their Fiesta R5, they finished 7.9 seconds ahead of the Fiesta WRC of the Monaghan/Limerick combination of Josh Moffett and Keith Moriarty. The Donegal/Monaghan duo of Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley in a Ford Focus WRC were a minute further behind in third.

    The rally.ie award for highest placed two-wheel drive in the Triton championship series was won by Cavan’s Chris Armstrong and his Donegal co-driver Chris Melly in their Ford Escort Mk2. Their rival Stuart Darcy crashed his Darrian T90 on the penultimate stage of the rally.

    Donegal's Declan Boyle finished in 8th position but that was enough to crown him the 2018 Triton Showers National Rally Champion. It's the third national rally title for Boyle, who on this occasion had James O'Reilly as co-driver. Boyle previously lifted the Vard Memorial trophy in 2013 and 2014.

    Other Mayo interest in the event was with Trisha Greavy from Bonniconlon who finished a fantastic second in Class 11R co-driving for Cavan’s Paul Crosby in a Toyota Starlet while Derek McCarthy from Ballina finished third in Class 1 co-driving for Stephen Reynolds from Leitrim in a Honda Civic.

  • This weekend sees Mayo & District Motorsport Club members heading to the Limerick Forestry Rally for the second round in the Valvoline Forestry Rally Championship. 

    Jason Murphy and co-driver Matthew Murphy are competing in class 16 in a Honda Civic, Jason had his first tarmac rally last weekend when he competed at the Birr Stages Rally.  

    Ella Conway with co-driver Jared Gill are back in action in their Peugeot 107.  This is Ella’s first year in competitive motorsport and while she had a great first day out in Carrick on Suir in January when they finished fifth in the J1000 class, she will be hoping to better this result in Limerick.

     

  • After two consecutive defeats Mayo Volleyball Club got back to winning ways with an impressive 3-0 victory over Garda Volleyball Club in Kiltimagh.

    The Gardai began with a flurry accruing a 4-1 lead. Once Mayo won the next score Jackie Prendergast accumulated 11 consecutive scores from setting. This forged the home side into an insurmountable lead. Despite spirited play for the visitors there was no looking back for Mayo as they won the set 25-16.

    Mayo maintained their composure in the second set despite a more competitive tussle as Orla Casby impressed again in defence and points from Eimear McNeive and Adriana Slovakova kept the home side in the lead throughout. Mayo won the set 25-18.

    Mayo started the third set slowly as the away side built a 5-1 lead. Despite leading much of the set Garda Volleyball club were out done in the end 25-22 thanks to some fierce but clinical hitting from Edel Nolan.

    This was a vital win for Mayo who end a poor new year streak and this victory puts them back in the top half of the table. 

    They are up next against Dalkey Devils in Kiltimagh on March 3rd.

    Mayo players who featured were: Alex Fleming, Cailín Meehan, Edel Nolan, Mikal O'Boyle, Paulina Balik Nowak, Eimear McNeive, Louise Day, Adriana Slovakova, Orla Casby, Jackie Prendergast.

    After the game Orla Casby said, It was a great win for us, we were fully in control of the game today. Finally after a few months of shuffling rotations and positions I think we’ve found our winning formula!

    The list of players on attached team photo is as follows:

    Back L-R: Alex Fleming, Cailín Meehan, Edel Nolan, Mikal O'Boyle, Paulina Balik Nowak, Eimear McNeive.

    Front L-R: Louise Day, Adriana Slovakova, Orla Casby,

  • The 2018 Michael O’Brien Plant Hire J1000 series for 15-19 year olds will be decided next weekend when the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship roars back into life after a break of three months, with the two day Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally on Saturday and Sunday. Cork Motorclub have devised a two day event that will count as a double round of the championship (Rounds 4 & 5) with points being awarded for each day. The event will consist of six stages on each day, with the first day’s action to the east of Mallow and the second day to the west of Mallow. Five of the stages are classics of the Cork Forest Rally, while one, a 13km test never used by Cork Motor Club before, but well known in Forestry Rallying will be used on the first day.

    18 year old Jason Murphy is favourite to claim back-to-back titles, a feat that would see him rewrite the history books after becoming the inaugural J1000 champion in 2017.

    With a hat-trick of wins on the opening three Rounds of the 2018 Championship, kicked off with the Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally in February and followed up with a master class display at the Limerick Motorclub Forest Rally based over the Silvermines Mountains in March, before coming from behind and surviving clutch failure at Munster Motor Club’s Moonraker Rally in April, when asked about the possibility of retaining the title next weekend Jason said  “I’m going to concentrate on finishing and trying to stay ahead of Peter Beaton, Aoife Gahan and Ryan Byrne, they have all proven during the season that they don't hang about, we've been lucky and as we seen at Round 1, it’s not all about the fastest, you must be there at the end of the round collecting the points. We have a 14 point lead at the top of the championship but with a combined 22 points on offer next weekend for the fastest and when dropped rounds come into play we're taking nothing for granted".

    “The 1 litre Peugeot 107 has all been checked over at C-Sport, where Mairt Cunningham and his team have done a superb job all season and have got all the little problems from the Moonraker sorted and hopefully it will not let us down, my uncle and navigator Matthew has the pacenotes from Killian Duffy and is studying intensely." Jason added.

    Barring a disaster his points advantage should be enough to see him take the title by just getting a finish on the opening day. Securing another national title would be nice as the South Mayo driver awaits his Leaving Cert results in August!

     

     

  • With less than two weeks to go until the annual rally fever hits Sligo and its surrounds, entry levels are very encouraging, well ahead of same point in recent years. This has also been driven by a series of Incentives to attract entries in early, where an entrant can win back a portion of their entry fee. The first draw sponsored by the Carty Group , a second one on the closing date and a further one sponsored by National Automation , a Faac associate company , to take place on the morning of the event.

    Being a round of three prestigious championship, the Triton National, the Sligo Pallets Border and the Top Part West Coast Championship is undoubtedly a factor in Sligo Stages appeal, but the quality and atmosphere surrounding the event is also well renowned . The July date is embedded in the motorsport calendar bringing large crowds to the region generating valuable revenue among the hospitality sector throughout the county.  

    The Faac Simply automatic / Sligo Park Hotel Stages Rally is scheduled to take place on Sunday July 8th , with Scrutiny and pace note making on the Saturday. Mechanical Scrutiny brings a unique twist to this years event as the operation takes place in the spectator friendly venue of Sligo Retail Park in Carraroe, commencing at 14.30 and sponsored by Sligo Haulage and Distribution, where enthusiasts , young and old can observe rally cars put through rigorous safety checks in advance of hitting the stages next morning.

    The event proper kicks off on Sunday morning with the first car due to depart parc ferme at the Retail Park in Carraroe,  at 9.45am, with Knocknarea and Queen Maeve’s grave as a backdrop . The cars head to the west of the county for stage one , sponsored by Herron Auto, a demanding technical test with numerous challenging  junctions . Stage two , sponsored by Glenview Decorative Stone , holds memorable historic links and a brave stage for the undaunted . The third stage of the loop , supported by Kerrigan Quarries , contains more faster flowing speed carrying sections , before the cars return to service.

    The service park, sponsored by neighbouring complex, Gulf / Hot Rods , which is visited on two occasions , enables crews to carry out essential maintenance before going out on a further loop.

    Apart from the high level of outsider interest, there is a substantial degree of local sporting rivalry, both within classes and neighbourhoods. An award for the fastest local finisher, sponsored by Mc Gowan Landscapes has injected a new goal for prospective crews, among the nearing thirty current Connacht Motor Club members entered.

    The first crew is due back at the finish ramp at rally headquarters, Sligo Park Hotel on the Sunday evening at 17.15 to be awarded the winning title for 2018.

    Full details and updates are available on www.connachtmotorclub.com or on Facebook and twitter.

     

  • The 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship got underway with an exciting opening round on Saturday last with Carrick on Suir Motor Club’s Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally. The first major Irish rally of the year incorporated the Michael O’Brien Plant Hire J1000 series for 15-19 year olds which entered its second season and last year’s champion Jason Murphy from Shrule took up where he left off last year, dominating the event winning 8 out of the 9 forest stages.

    The traditional Irish Forestry series opener took place a couple of weeks earlier this year, filling the void left by the Galway International Rally which announced last November that it would not be running in 2018, but this did not detracted from the quality and quantity of entries with 80 crews crossing the start ramp on Saturday morning.

    17 year old Jason who had his uncle Matthew in the co-drivers seat of his 1litre Peugeot 107 faced stiff opposition with Aoife Gahan geared up for her first full championship season in a Chevrolet Spark and British Rally Championship regular Peter Beaton from Scotland taking part, also in a Peugeot 107.

    The opening stage in the Faugheen forests seen Beaton quickest out of the blocks but with only 3.6 seconds separating the top 3 of Beaton, Gahan and Murphy in that order, fans of the J1000 series knew they were in for a cracker. On Stage 2 which seen the crews head for the Anner Forest area Murphy exerted his ability stopping the clocks 12 seconds faster than Beaton and moving in to an 8 second lead, a lead which he refused to relinquish and when Aoife Gahan retired after an off road excursion resulted in her damaging the steering in her Chevrolet on stage 6, the last 3 stages which were ran in the darkness were a battle between Ireland and Scotland. Although Murphy held a lead of 40 seconds over Beaton, this could change instantly as the crews bolted on the lamp pods to their cars and headed into the most challenging part of the rally for the competitors and the most exciting for all the spectators.

    Shortly into the first night stage disaster struck for the young Scotsman when mechanical trouble forced him to pull over his Peugeot during the stage and relinquish any chance of a fightback, with this the Murphy's knew that all they had to do was to hold their nerve and concentrate on getting to the finish line. A task that may sound easy but with almost 20 km of gravel stages yet to compete they knew any lapse in concentration could prove detrimental in the dark, and it almost ended in misfortune for the them as they carried to much speed into the final corner of the penultimate stage, resulting in their Peugeot sliding wide off the track and colliding with a tree stump on the outside of the corner, but fortunately for the South Mayo crew Mother Nature had offered assistance as the tree stump was decaying and luckily for the crew it disintegrated upon impact with the passenger’s side of the Peugeot 107. Thanking their lucky stars they went on to complete the final stage and return to the finish ramp in Carrick on Suir ecstatic with their performance in Tipperary and looking forward to round two in Limerick on the first weekend in March.