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