Saturday, March 24, saw the strong field of 120 competitors take to the test stage of 4.4km to get ready for the days rallying that was to come on Sunday.
All crews were very happy with this new addition to the rally and many crews found problems and resolved them for the timed stages, which was the whole point of running this test stage. The scene was now set after months of preparation for what turned out to be a fantastic day for rallying with crews coming from all over Ireland to take part in the event.
The top 3 cars, featured 2 Mark II Ford Escorts built to an almost identical spec, and a Mitsubishi Evo 9. Car No.1 Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans were back to retain their title and bring it back to Monaghan. Car no. 2 Declan Boyle and cousin Brian Boyle travelled from Donegal.
With Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan also making the trip from Donegal at car no. 3 who came to compete for the top spot to be first under the finish ramp at rally HQ the Abbey Hotel Roscommon on Sunday evening.
Daniel McKenna & Arthur Kierans took to the Co. Roscommon roads straight away with a blistering pace, even the hair pin at Carniska Church did not hinder them much and after the first loop of 3 stages they were only 3 seconds ahead of the Boyles going into Service.
Declan & Brian kept the pressure on McKenna over the second loop and came close to Daniel’s pace but it was not enough going in for final service where the gap was up to 4 seconds. Maurice Moffett was 1 minute and 41 seconds down on top two cars.
The third loop stages 7,8 & 9 saw Declan and Brian Boyle out on a charge for the last run to pull back time. They were quickest on stage 9 and were only 1 second down on stage 7 and stage 8 to draw back to 6 seconds on Daniel’s lead going in on the last stage where he took 4 seconds back but Daniel held on by just 2 seconds to retain his title.
Maurice Moffett moved into 3rd overall with club member Patrick Brides guiding him through the 9 tough stages.
Sixteen crews started in the Junior class with clubman Barry Brady and Sean Brady finishing 2nd overall and John Collum and Catriona Spollen finishing 3rd.
The service area was hosted at St Faithleach’s GAA grounds Ballyleague and we thank the club for their support. A huge numbers of local people and spectators showed up to see the cars and soak up the rally atmosphere on the occasion.
Midland Motor Club members also had great success at this year’s rally taking wins and runner up places in six different classes. Marc McDermott was the highest placed midland member finishing 10th overall and 3rd in the very difficult class 13. The Rowley brothers finished 28th overall and 3rd in class 2 in their Mick Quinn prepared Civic. Pakie Duffy and Michael Reilly had it all their own way in Class 3 in their Honda Civic taking first in class 3.
Brothers Alan & David Gibbons had a great run across stage 1 lying 9th overall and were leading the popular Class 11 in their Honda Civic until mechanical trouble forced them to retire at the end of stage 2. Anthony Dolan and Ivor Trimble finished 3rd in class 11 and 30th overall.
Class 12 sees a 1st and 3rd for Midland Motor Club Members. 1st Vincent Collins and Aishling Halligan who won her navigators seat in the club draw in Mark II Escort and 3rd Tom Rafferty and Finnian O’Connor also in a Mark II Escort. Liam Fleming finished 2nd in class 10 in their mark II escort, Shane and Niall Healy finished 3rd in class 10 in their Peugeot 205. Chris Kelly was leading class 10 until mechanical failure forced them to retire also from the event.
Other prizes were 1st Midland Motor Club Crew who wasn’t in the top three of their respective classes were Ollie and Sean Kelly, 2nd Stephen Healy and Enda Fallon. Special awards: Tony Gibbons memorial went to Michael McCormack and John Fallon in their class 2 honda civic; Ciaran Kelly memorial award for the spirit of the rally went to brothers Alan and David Gibbons.
The Aaron Hagan memorial award went to Barry Brady and Sean Brady fastest midland crew in the juniors. The Finnegan’s garage trophy for the highest placed Subaru went to Galway man Johnathan Folan who also took class 8 honours.
We would like to thank all of our sponsors who have supported us this year on the Stages and Services as follows: Kitchen Couture by Sean Wallace, Dermot Hughes Cars, Blueprint Autos, Burke West Oil, Xlint Signs, O’Connor Recycling LTD, Service Matters, Ollie Kelly Welding and Fabrication and PJ Fallon & sons auto equipment.
We also would like to acknowledge and thank all the residents both on the stage and on the link roads to the stages for their fantastic support and courtesy to all our officials and marshals, also Roscommon Co. Council, the fire service, the ambulance service, the local Gardai and the area division of the traffic Corp for their presence and support throughout the event. Without all this support we could not run this event.
A word of thanks also to the many marshals who stood at their posts all day and tidied up after the event.
This was a welcome and successful return of the Midland Motor Club Moto Stages Rally to Roscommon town however Midland Motor Club see no county boundaries.
Our members are from counties Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath & Offaly. We run Navigation Trials, Autotest Trials, Autocross and Stage Rally events throughout the year. New members are always welcome.
Come along to our monthly club meetings and meet some of our 150+ club members and find out how to join our club. For more information go to Midland Motor Club