WHAT'S ALL THE NOISE ABOUT - Watching the Rally from his front window
Martin Walsh email@example.com@dgldemocrat
Donegal cousins Declan Boyle and Brian Boyle took their Fiesta WRC to a start to finish victory in the Martin Howley Donegal Harvest Rally in Killybegs, the eighth and final round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
They finished one minute and 39.4 seconds ahead of the Subaru WRC of Manus Kelly/Gareth Doherty with Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry, also in a Subaru one minute and 37.9 seconds further behind in third.
The Group N category was won by Aidan Wray and co-driver Kieran McGrath (Mitsubishi Evo X), who finished 22.3 seconds ahead of the Mitsubishi Evo IX of Monaghan’s Shane Maguire/Mac Kierans, Wray clinched back-to-back titles in the Motorsport Safety Group N category of the Triton Showers series.
In the Triton Showers Junior National Rally Championship victory went to Meath’s Gary McNamee (Honda Civic), who was co-driven by Cork’s Bernard Foley, his only rival, Donegal’s Michael Boyle crashed his Honda Civic on the first stage. McNamee/Foley also won the category in Killybegs.
Cavan’s Jenny McCann/John McCabe (Ford Fiesta R2) won the Triton Showers Group N Cup.
On the opening stage that went through the village of Kilcar, Declan Boyle was quickest – 9.1 seconds ahead of the Subaru of Garry Jennings, who experienced intercom woes with Manus Kelly a mere seven tenths of a second behind in third. Another Donegal diver Declan Gallagher (Toyota Starlet) made a great start to hold fourth overall in a top six that also included the Escort of Chris Armstrong and the Subaru WRC of Niall Maguire.
Boyle also topped the time sheets on the second stage at Glencolmcille, however the rally leader reckoned that the suspension was too hard for the Donegal terrain as he moved 13.3 seconds clear of Jennings, who was much happier with his own performance.
Manus Kelly nine seconds further behind in third lost time when he drifted wide on a left hand bend and slid his Subaru into a drain damaging the rear left panel.
Declan Gallagher rolled his Toyota Starlet and the stage was temporarily blocked, the Donegal driver and his co-driver James McNulty were unhurt.
Meanwhile, an untroubled Damien Gallagher (Escort) slotted into fourth and leader of the Modified section – a second ahead of Gary Kiernan (Escort), who clipped the rear of his Escort.
Niall Maguire spun and lost time, he was seventh in a top ten that also featured the Escort of Damien Toner, Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi) and Ryan Loughran (Escort).
In the chase for Group N, Wray was just two seconds ahead of the Mitsubishi of Shane Maguire. Elsewhere, Joe McGonigle stalled his new Skoda Fabia R5 at the start line of the second stage. Frank Wray (Subaru WRC) had no power steering after the fan belt came adrift on the opening stage, he also stalled at a junction and lost some twenty seconds.
On the repeat of both stages Boyle was again the barometer of pace and he arrived at the Killybegs service park with a lead of 24.9 seconds. Second place Jennings commented, “Declan is on a different pace, if I can get up to that pace by the end of the day I’ll be happy.” The Fermanagh man had a moment on the fourth stage. Third placed Kelly was disappointed with his performance through the third and fourth stages and remarked that he wasn’t fully committed.
Chris Armstrong led the two-wheel drive category where a seven second margin covered himself, Damien Gallagher and Gary Kiernan. Armstrong clipped a wheel on the fourth stage and was lucky that the tyre didn’t puncture; Gallagher made some suspension adjustments and it made his Escort easier to drive while Kiernan reckoned he was far too slow on S.S. 3.
Meanwhile, Maguire occupied seventh. Damien Toner, who was next in classification opined that the suspension of his Escort was too soft. Joe McGonigle in ninth had a slight altercation with a chicane.
Meanwhile, in the Motorsport Safety Group N category series leader Aidan Wray was untroubled as he led rival Shane Maguire by 17.9 seconds.
The afternoon action was a double run over the stages at Croagh Lake and Lough Aderry. Boyle continued at pace and was fastest once more to extend his lead to 37 seconds. Second placed Jennings remarked that his Subaru WRC felt good and his pace was improving. Kelly was happy with his performance particularly on S.S. 6, he added “You need to be brave on S.S. 5.”
Armstrong in fourth continued to head the two-wheel drive category. He led Kiernan by 13.2 seconds, the latter lost precious seconds with a gear shift malady.
Niall Maguire was sandwiched between the pair while Damien Gallagher, Ryan Loughran, Damien Toner and Joe McGonigle completed the top ten, the latter had a moment when his Skoda went sideways into a chicane on S.S. 5.
Elsewhere, in Group N Aidan Wray led Shane Maguire by just 9.3 seconds.
There was drama on the penultimate stage where Jennings stopped with engine troubles and Armstrong slid off the road. Boyle went on to clinch victory – his third in a row on the Harvest. He was fastest on the Power Stage to clinch the runner-up spot in the Triton series. Kelly took second and Niall Maguire completed the top three.
Kiernan won the Modified category but endured a major moment on the final stage. Gallagher and McGonigle rounded out the top six.
The Triton Showers National Rally Junior series was won by Meath’s Gary McNamee (Honda Civic). In a test prior to the event Donegal’s Michael Boyle blew the engine of his Honda, however, he was able to take his place on the start line courtesy of a sporting gesture by former Junior champion Roscommon’s Cormac Phelan.
The Roscommon withdrew his entry in order to give Boyle the engine of his Honda Civic, unfortunately, Boyle crashed on the opening stage.
A finish was enough for McNamee, however, he ended the season in perfect fashion with a category win to seal the Junior title.
D. Boyle/B. Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC) 52m. 48.4s; 2. M. Kelly/G. Doherty (Subaru WRC) 54m. 27.8s; 3. N. Maguire/E. Sherry (Subaru WRC) 56m. 05.7s; 4. G. Kiernan/R. Moore (Ford Escort) 56m. 15.2s; 5. D. Gallagher/M. Walsh (Ford Escort) 56m. 33.9s; 6. J. McGonigle/C. Geaney (Skoda Fabia R5) 57m. 10.6s; 7. R. Loughran/B. McElhinney (Ford Escort) 57m. 15.2s; 8. D. Toner/D. Rafferty (Ford Escort) 57m. 16.1s; 9. C. Heena/M. McClafferty (Toyota Corolla) 57m. 28.9s; 10. A. Wray/K. McGrath (Mitsubishi Evo X) 57m. 41.3s.
Triton Showers National Rally Championship (Positions after Round 7):
1. Roy White 127 points (champion); 2. D. Boyle 110 pts; 3. Niall Maguire 105 points; 4. Peadar Hurson 88 points; 5. Trevor Mulligan 59 points; 6. Kevin Barrett 52 points; 7. Aidan Wray 51 points; 8. Shane Maguire 48 points.