Former Border Champion Trevor Lancashire with Noel Hall have now accumulated the perfect score of 40 points after another Class 12 win in Newry to take a clear lead in the 2002 Four Seasons Hotel Border Championship. Not only did the Monaghan crew...
Former Border Champion Trevor Lancashire with Noel Hall have now accumulated the perfect score of 40 points after another Class 12 win in Newry to take a clear lead in the 2002 Four Seasons Hotel Border Championship. Not only did the Monaghan crew beat Border Series regulars in the Mourne Stages Rally, but many Northern Ireland Championship competitors as well. With two rounds to go in this years Series, Lancashire and Hall (Escort MKII) are now in a strong position to lift not one but two main prizes- the Derryveagh Crystal Perpetual Trophy for the overall champion, but also the Brian McGrath Memorial Trophy dedicated to Class 12.
According to Border Series Registrar, John Duffy, the outcome is now a lot clearer. "The outcome of the Newry and District Motor Club's Mourne Stages Rally held on Saturday 15th June gives a clearer picture of the likely destination of the 2002 Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan sponsored Border Championship. Many of the usual Border contenders were present while others decided to forego an excellent days Motorsport at the unbelieveable price of E290. Who said that it is impossible to get entries for Tarmac Stages Rallies or that clubs do not run value for money events?" he stressed.
"With Trevor and Noel on maximum points, there are a number of other competitors on two Class wins. They collectively have every chance of winning their Class in the remaining rounds in Sligo and Donegal, the Championship could yet go to a tie break situation, where the 5th and 6th score could come into play," states John. "So while Lancashire / Hall cannot increase their score, they could still be overtaken for the Championship if the tie-break situation arises.
Other Border regulars who also won their classes in Newry were Paul Gallagher/Karl Reid (Toyota Corolla) from Letterkenny who now have two wins in Class 11 after a poor start to the season. You may recall that Paul Gallagher was pipped at the post by Mayo's James McGreal for the Drivers title in 2000. Karl Reid did however take the overall Navigators honours that year.
Another crew coming back to form after a slight hiccup in Cavan are the McElhinney brothers, John and Brendan from Donegal who won Class 1 in a Suzuki Swift against strong opposition. They now have three class wins to date.
Don't overlook Monaghan's John Kelly who won his class in Newry, but unfortunately did not score full points as there was only four starters in the category. This combined with the fact that he was a non-starter in Mayo could however affect his challenge for an overall placing at the end of the season. That said, the Corolla driver has to be considered with two wins in Class 16 with full points in Monaghan and Cavan.
Current Dunlop National Championship leaders Niall Maguire and Paul McLoughlin (Subaru WRC) although non-runners in Newry are still in with a shout while Roger Kennedy (Peugeot 306), Danny Conaghan (Escort) and Norman Armstrong (Escort) have had their ups and downs combining two class wins with non finishers on other events.
John Duffy again, "while some crews make a strong start to the season, there are others that start slowly and finish well. For example, Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely, who are also contesting the National Forestry and the Northern Ireland Championship did not enter Mayo or Monaghan but have had two great results in Cavan and Newry and along with it recorded class wins."
So, as the Border Championship heads west for the next round in Sligo, the chances are that the most popular clubmans series will not be decided until it reaches it climax at the Donegal Harvest Rally.
<pre> Overall Positions
Trevor Lancashire/Noel Hall (Monaghan) 40 Points - Leads Class 12 John McElhinney/Brendan McElhinney (Donegal) 37 Points - Leads Class 1 Shane Orr/James Gallagher (Donegal) 33 Points - Leads Class 2 Niall Maguire/ Paul McLoughlin (Monaghan) 30 Points - Leads Class 8 John Kelly/John Higgins (Monaghan/Mayo) 29 Points - Leads Class 16/ 27 Points - Leads Class 16 Roger Kennedy/MartinCarey (Nutts Corner) 29 Points - Leads Class 3 Brian Black/Liam McLoughlin (Armagh/Donegal) 29 Points - Leads Class 9/ 21 Points - Leads Class 9 Paul Gallagher/Karl Reid (Donegal) 29 Points - Leads Class 11 David Armstrong/Herbie Blackburn (Armagh) 28 Points - Leads Class 15 Mac McKenna/John Loughran (Monaghan) 27 Points - Leads Class 13 Douglas Richardston/Paula Richardson (Dublin) 27 Points - Leads Class 14/ 18 Points - Leads Class 14 Kenneth Mulvaney/Brian Cleary (Sligo/Mayo) 23 Points - Leads Class 5/ 12 points - Leads Class 5 Derrick Jobb/Killian Duffy (Tyrone/mayo) 22 Points - Leads Class 4 Breen McNamee/Keefe Kilcoyne (Meath/Mayo) 19 Points - Leads Class 7/ 18 Points - Leads Class 7 Brendan Cumiskey/John McCafferty (Monaghan/Donegal) 13 Points - Leads Class 6/ 11 Points - Leads Class 6 Robert McDaid/Stewart McClean (Derry) 12 Points - Leads Class 10