Climatic finish to Border Championship in Donegal

Avid rally fans are well aware that there is no such thing as a 'dead cert'. Anything can happen to the pre-event favourites at any event, especially at a Championship final round, and in the case of the Border Series, it did! In an exciting ...

Avid rally fans are well aware that there is no such thing as a 'dead cert'. Anything can happen to the pre-event favourites at any event, especially at a Championship final round, and in the case of the Border Series, it did!

In an exciting climax to the six round Championship sponsored by the Four Seasons Hotel (Monaghan), it was a complete outsider in the shape of James McGreal that emerged victorious, leaving the much fancied opposition stunned in his wake. The Foxford, County Mayo garage owner's Class win at the Donegal Harvest Rally in a Nissan Sunny GTi-R was enough to snatch the much coveted Derryveagh Crystal Perpetual Trophy from the grasp of leading contenders Paul Gallagher, Norman Armstrong and Mac McKenna.

Most disappointed from that trio must undoubtedly be Letterkenny's Paul Gallagher. The Toyota Corolla driver was confident going into his home event of taking maximum points in Class 10 but, alas, it wasn't to be. A broken differential incurred over the rough terrain around West Donegal put paid to any chance of achieving the title goal, especially after the non-finish at the previous round in Sligo.

Seasoned campaigner, Norman Armstrong (Newtownhamilton) was the next front runner to bow out early in the event. His Escort MKII succumbed to engine maladies on Special Stage 2 at Croagh to ensure that the main prize would not be travelling back with him to Armagh.

Early season leader Mac McKenna was another challenger in with a shout but, gearbox gremlins struck in the Donegal event leaving his Peugeot 205 stuck in 3rd gear, which resulted in scoring only 7 points from 4th in Class 11A. Still, the Monaghan man will be pleased with the overall class win.

Defending champion David Armstrong (Escort Cosworth) and Tom McCreesh (Toyota Starlet) both from the Newry region, immediately knocked themselves out of the title chase with their unexpected non-appearance in Donegal.

So, Mayo & District Motorsport Club's James McGreal came to Donegal with an outside chance, saw the opportunity and conquered the main prize. On hearing the good news back at rally headquarters at the Bayview Hotel, Killybegs, James expressed his delight on winning the most popular Clubman's Championship in the country. "Yes, I am absolutely thrilled at winning the Border Series and with a Class win in the Dunlop National Championship, it looks like being my best ever season in rallying. But without the assistance of my navigator, Killian Duffy, one of the youngest co-drivers in the country and my many sponsors, these achievements could not be possible".

McGreal's successful title attempt was complimented further in assisting his fellow Club members John Duffy (Crossmolina) and Paul Cleary (Kiltimagh) to take the overall Team Award.

With three class wins, Seamus Gallagher from Letterkenny (Honda Civic), finished a close third to Paul Gallagher in the overall standings.

In the seperate Navigators Championship, Karl Reid took the main title for the second time and in doing so brought some cheer to his driver Paul Gallagher. The Letterkenny man achieved this honour previously in 1992. John Loughran (Emyvale), navigator to Mac McKenna just pipped Danny McBride's co-driver Jonathan Gallagher (Convoy) in a Suzuki Swift, for the runners-up spot.

Rounding off the main prize winners for the 2000 Championship is Gerry Smith who will be presented with the Brian McGrath Memorial Award by virtue of his overall win in Class 11.

Mentioning presentations, the many prizewinners and supporters are looking forward to the Awards Presentation Dinner on Friday 10th November at the Four Seasons Hotel & Leisure Centre, Monaghan, where a great night is assured.

<pre> List of Prizewinners as follows:-

Pos. Name (Address) Car Class Points

Overall - Driver 1 James McGreal (Foxford) Nissan Sunny GTi-R 14B 38 2. Paul Gallagher (Letterkenny) Toyota Corolla T/C 10 38 3. Seamus Gallagher (Letterkenny) Honda Civic 6 37

Overall - Navigator 1. Karl Reid (Letterkenny) Toyota Corolla T/C 10 38 2. John Loughran (Emyvale) Peugeot 205 11A 36 3. Jonathan Gallagher (Convoy) Suzuki Swift 1 36

Team Award

Mayo Japs II - James McGreal / John Duffy / Paul Cleary (Mayo & District Motorsport Club) Nissan Sunny GTi-R / Toyota Corolla T/C / Nissan Micra GX 100

Brian McGrath Memorial Award

1. Gerry Smith (Castleblaney) Ford Escort 11 37

Class 1 - Driver

1.. Danny McBride (Convoy) Suzuki Swift 1 36 2. Trevor Morrow (Ballina) Suzuki Swift 1 29

2.. Ernest McMullen (Comber) Suzuki Swift 1 21 Class 1 - Navigator

1. Dessie McGlade (Belfast) Suzuki Swift 1 20 2. Brendan McElhinney (Convoy) Suzuki Swift 1 18

Class 2 - Driver 1. Stuart Darcy (Bruckless) Honda Civic 2 27 2. Jarlath Barry (Grange) Honda Civic 2 14

Class 2 - Navigator 1. Trevor Bustard (Donegal) Honda Civic 2 27 2. Diane Barry (Grange) Honda Civic 2 14

Class 3 - Driver 1. Roger Kennedy (Nuttscorner) Peugeot 306 3 30

Class 3 - Navigator 1. Paul Docherty (Portglenone) Peugeot 306 3 30 2. Robbie Shaw (Longford) Peugeot 306 3 23

Class 4 - Driver 1. John Cairns (Strabane) Subaru Impreza 4 27 2. Martin Howley (Dunkineely) Subaru Impreza 4 26 3. Patrick Elliot (Cavan) Mitsubishi Lancer 4 24

Class 4 - Navigator

1. James Cairns (Strabane) Impreza 4 27 2. David Jarvis (Donegal) Impreza 4 26 3. Martin Cahill (Cavan) Mitsubishi Lancer 4 24

Class 5 - Driver 1. Paul Cleary (Kiltimagh) Nissan Micra 5 27 2. Brian Docherty (Raphoe) Suzuki Swift 5 25 3. Alyn Spiers (Markethill) Suzuki Swift 5 18

Class 5 - Navigator 1. Maurice O'Kane (Derry) Suzuki Swift 5 18

Class 6 - Driver 1. Dermot McCauley (Derry) Honda Civic 6 20 2. Denis Nixon (Cavan) Honda Civic 6 18 3. David Finn (Sligo) Peugeot 106 6 15

Class 6 - Navigator 1. Andrew Gould (Cavan) Honda Civic 6 18 2. Eamonn Finn (Sligo) Peugeot 106 6 15 3. Stuart McClean (Newtowncunningham) Vauxhall Nova 6 12

Class 7 - Driver 1. Alan White (Dromiskin) Escort 7 32 2. Patsy Meehan (Mountcharles) Seat Ibiza 7 28

Class 7 - Navigator 1. Brian Sharkey (Carlingford) Escort 7 32 2. Kenny Bustard (Donegal) Seat Ibiza 7 21

Class 8 - Driver 1. Tim McNulty (Summerhill) Toyota Celica GT4 8 24 2. Paul Harris (Convoy) Subaru Impreza 8 20 3. Joe McGurk (Ballyjamesduff) Toyota Celica 8 8

Class 8 - Navigator 1. Eugene O'Donnell (Donegal) Subaru Impreza 8 26 2. Julian Nagle (Meath) Toyota Celica 8 18 3. Arthur Kearns (Monaghan) Toyota Celica 8 8

Class 9 - Driver 1. Adrian McElhinney (Donegal) Fiesta 9 30 2. Tom McCreesh (Newry) Toyota Starlet 9 29 3. Sammy Fisher (St. Johnston) Mini Cooper 9 21

Class 9 - Navigator 1. Sinead Gallagher (Laghy) Fiesta 9 30 2. Kieran Sweeney (Drumkeen) Mini Cooper 9 21 3. Richard Munnis (Ahoghill) Toyota Starlet 9 20

Class 10 - Driver 1. Peter Rogers (Bailieborough) Escort 10 22 2. Charlie Beattie (Tobermore) Toyota Corolla 10 21 3. Adrian McElvaney (Monaghan) Toyota Corolla 10 21

Class 10 - Navigator 1. Byron Davidson (Bailieborough) Escort 10 22 2. Cian Curley (Monaghan) Toyota Corollq 10 21 3. Crawford Henderson (Ballymoney) Toyota Corolla 10 20

Class 11 - Driver 1. Gerry Smyth (Castleblaney) Ford Escort 11 37 2. Ray Drury (Bailieborough) Ford Escort 11 26 3. Tony Valleley (Armagh) Ford Escort 11 25

Class 11 - Navigator 1. Charlie Adams (Drum) Ford Escort 11 30 2. Donal McArdle (Monaghan) Ford Escort 11 25 3. T.P. O'Reilly (Bailieborough) Ford Escort 11 21

Class 12 - Driver 1. Alan Nesbitt (Keady) Ford Escort 12 36 2. Mickey McArdle (Castleblaney) BMW M3 12 33 3. Brian Corey (Dramore) Sierra Cosworth 12 16

Class 12 - Navigator 1. Gerry McMonagle (Castleblaney) BMW M3 12 33 2. Hugh McKenna (Monaghan) Sierra Cosworth 12 16

Class 13 - Driver 1. David Armstrong (Newtownhamilton) Escort Cosworth 13 30 2. David McGlaughlin (Cookstown) Escort Cosworth 13 10 3. Sean Cassidy (Derry) Escort Cosworth 13 3

Class 13 - Navigator 1. Herbie Blackburn (Augher) Escort Cosworth 13 30 2. Martina Doyle (Derry) Escort Cosworth 13 3

Class 11A - Driver 1. Mac McKenna (Emyvale) Peugeot 205 11A 36 2. Norman Armstrong (Newtownhamilton) Escort 11A 36 3. Maurice Moffett (Ballinode) Peugeot 205 11A 34

Class 11A - Navigator 1. Ciaran J. Kelly (Magherafelt) Escort 11A 36 2. Gavin Campbell (Saintfield) Peugeot 205 11A 34 3. Philip Smith (Bailieborough) Ford Escort 11A 24

Class 14B - Driver 1. John Duffy (Crossmolina) Toyota Corolla T/C 14B 28 2. Shane Orr (Letterkenny) Toyota Corolla T/C 14B 26 3. Michael Sweeney (Boyle) Toyota Corolla T/C 14B 21

Class 14B - Navigator 1. Killian Duffy (Crossmolina) Nissan Sunny GTi-R 14B 35 2. John Egan (Ashbourne) Toyota Corolla T/C 14B 28 3. Charlie McGinty (Letterkenny) Toyota Corolla T/C 14B 26

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