Dungannon’s Paddy McVeigh and Donegal Town’s Gary McElhinney claimed victory on Sunday’s Midland Stages Rally in their Subaru WR.
The pair had ten seconds to spare from Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna in his Escort with Tommy Doyle coming home in third.
The tight loop of mixed fast flowing and technical driving stages awaited the crews on Sunday and it was McVeigh who was quickest out of the blocks leading by a second from Pirelli Star driver McKenna in his 2.4 Escort.
By the first service in Roscommon town it was McKenna who had the advantage by two seconds from McVeigh and McElhinney. Paddy Boyle and Donal McCole who were third on the Harvest Rally last were lying second in class 11R.
Brendan McDaid and Damien McGettigan in their first run out in a long time were 40th with Trentagh’s Seamus Doherty just behind them. Darragh Kelly in newly acquired C2R2 Max was 45th and Letterkenny’s Loretta Kelly with Paddy O Reilly from Castleblayney rounded of the top 50.
By Stage 5 McVeigh and McElhinney now held the advantage from McKenna and Kierans by five seconds. Flaherty and Jordan were now moving in the right direction coming in sixth in the 2.4 Escort. John Bonner who lost time by getting a nominal stage time on 4 after stopping at an accident , which eventually would cost him a valuable top 10 finish was 13th.
Paddy Boyle still held second in class in the twin cam; Seamus Doherty and Peter Byrne in the Escort were 33r with Kelly and Keith Gorell a place behind them and moving well up in the standings.
With two stages left the gap was 3.2 seconds in favour of McVeigh over Daniel McKenna. The battle between Conaghan and McGonigle was still in full flight with the Milford man leading by fiveseconds from the Muff man. Now moving into the top was Dungloe’s David Kelleher and Dean O Donnell in their Honda Civic and leading class 2. Just outside the top 50 was Barry McGill from Carrick in his Escort and Carrigart men Johnny Wilhare and Darren Shiels in their Civic. Paddy McDaid from Termon was getting to grips with his newly acquired C2R2 Max; alongside him was experienced driver Conor Harvey from Letterkenny on the notes, Mark McMullen from Convoy was enjoying his run in his class 13 Escort and entreating the many spectators that lined the stages.
Entering into the last stage the gap was 6.5 seconds in advantage to McVeigh and McElhinney but they would stretch their lead by 3 seconds from McKenna and Kierans taking the overall win by 9.7 seconds. Doyle held onto third overall from Chris Armstrong, Flaherty and Jordan came home in 10th just 3 seconds from John Bonner and Michael O Donnell and the Dungloe man ended third in class 13 ; Joe McGoingle drove a fine last loop and to win Class 7 by over four minutes and also to move Conaghan and Magee into 21st. Paddy Boyle and Donal McCole held on to second in class and finished ten seconds ahead of Brendan McDaid and Damien McGettigan who were overjoyed with a clean rally and are now looking forward to their next event.
Seamus Doherty claimed third in class 11R also coming home third in class was Darragh Kelly in the C2; Kelleher and O Sullivan ended up 35th and won Class 2 in the Civic; Loretta Kelly guided Paddy O’Reilly home in the Mark 5 Escort Cosworth. Adrian Sweeney finished 43rd, Barry McGill and Joey Kane rounded of the Top 50 in the class 9 Escort; Johnny Wilhare guided his Honda home safely as well and fourth in class 2 and Mark McMullan brought the Escort back over the ramp at the end safely .
Next event highly on the list of many Donegal Motor Club members will be The Lark in the Park event based in the St Columb’s Park in Derry. The event format will see four stages in the park itself and also three runs round the Grianan stage in Burt which is 8 mile in length. A total of 7 stages will feature on the day with Central Service in the Ebringhton Square Complex. Regulations and Entries are now available on the Maiden City Motor Club Website .