IRC: Monaghan Forest Rally summary

Lynch/ Regan Cruise to Victory Kevin Lynch/ Francis Regan (Impreza S9) clinched their fourth win of the season on the Three Mile House based Monaghan Forest Rally. The Derry/ Antrim pairing have edged further ahead in the McCauley ...

Lynch/ Regan Cruise to Victory

Kevin Lynch/ Francis Regan (Impreza S9) clinched their fourth win of the season on the Three Mile House based Monaghan Forest Rally. The Derry/ Antrim pairing have edged further ahead in the McCauley Trailers National Forest Rally Championship; 32 points clear of Omagh's Kevin O'Kane/ Martin Hanna also in a Harper prepared Impreza WRC. As these stages had not been used in over twenty years conditions were quite slippy/ grassy. Top seed Lynch arrived to service after the opening stage in good spirits and joked that he was cleaning off the grass for the other crews.

Pat Norris/ Declan Timulty (Impreza 555) were the first of many casualties not to come out of Dartry. Norris put his Gp A car off the road on a very slippy section, sustained no damage but was there to stay. Top Gp N seed Richard Hogg/ Mark Hanna (Evo 6) were sidelined with a blown engine 2-miles in. Tyrone's Stephen Moore/ Tony MCHugh (Impreza N8) left the road at 15 mph on the same section as Norris -- again no damage but there to stay. Another of the the top crews caught out by the deceptive conditions; Noel Lawler came from the USA, hired an Evo 6 but had a short event as he two disappeared on the opening stage. Maurice Gass/ James McKee spun and stalled their WRC dropping over a minute.

Kevin Lynch led from stage 1, Dartry followed by a host of high-powered, well driven 2WD machines that seemed to revel on the slippy stages. Greg McCormack/ Shaun Magee in an Escort BDA held second, 12 secs adrift of Lynch but were under pressure with only 19 secs between 2nd and 10th overall. Late entry Frank Kelly partnered at the last minute by Janice Mackeral held third, 1 sec off McCormack with a Cosworth powered mk2. Wicklow crew Brian Lawlor/ Peter Kavanagh (16v mk2) 4th, Monaghan's Trevor Farrell/ Richard Cassidy (1600 mk2) 5th, Paul Mulcahy/ Karl Baumann (1600 16v Starlet) 6th, Conor Kelly/ Noel Hall (Sunny) 7th, Kevin O'Kane/ Martin Hanna, (Impreza WRC) 8th, Monaghan's Adrian McElvaney/ Paul Goodman (Impreza 555) 9th and James Coleman/ Eoin O'Neill (16v mk2) 10th.

The second stage near Emyvale was a little slippy, stage 3 close to Knockatallan fast and flowing with alot of loose gravel on the surface. Lynch continued to dominate arriving to Service in the GAA grounds with a 54 sec advantage over championship rival O'Kane, who was being pushed hard by Adrian McElvaney, driving a Gp A Impreza on his first day in the woods. The 2WD battle was tremendous; Frank Kelly held 4th with McCormack 1 sec in arrears and Lawlor 6th a mere 3 secs adrift. Conor Kelly was 20 secs back in 7th, 8th placed Peter McCullagh made a return to the woods with a Gp A Evo 6. Eddie Quinn/ Garrett Loughran led Gp N driving an Evo 6 and tied with McCullagh for 8th. Paul Mulcahy rounded off the top ten.

Stage 4 was a repeat of Dartry, with the grass well gone Lynch stopped the clocks 26 secs up on his first run. The top ten remained unchanged, the competition was becoming more intense with the improved stages and as everyone was pushing to the limit something had to give. Frank Kelly's gallant drive came to an end on ss5, his Escort got out of phase on a very fast series of bends and left the road. At service before the final stage Kevin Lynch had a cushion of 1 min 26 secs, O'Kane looked safe in 2nd as did McElvaney in third. Greg McCormack was enjoying his BDA through the forests but could not afford any mistakes with Lawlor only 4 secs behind in 5th. Peter McCullagh climbed to 6th, James Cribbin/ Sean Walsh (Evo 6) held 7th and leading Gp N. Eddie Quinn 8th overall and 2nd in class, 15 secs off Cribbin. Paul Mulcahy (Starlet) and Conor Kelly (Sunny) rounded off the top ten both on the limit -- a mere second separating them before the last stage.

Kevin Lynch/ Francis Regan emerged from the last stage after several off road excursions as the clear and worthy winners (40:47) of the Monaghan Forest Rally. Stage 7; a new version of the Dartry complex was very grassy, Lynch was again cleaning the stage but kept it all together taking his fourth win of five rounds so far. The Derry man seems to be unstoppable in his bid to clinch the McCauley Trailers National Forest Rally Championship in only his second season rallying.

Kevin O'Kane/ Martin Hanna set FTD on the final stage and claimed second overall (42:00). The Omagh pairing have elevated themselves to second in the championship and are now the only possible threat to Lynch/ Regan for the title. Adrian McElvaney/ Paul Goodman took a notable third overall (42:25) on their maiden forest event, the young Monaghan driver really enjoyed the woods and plans to do the remaining rounds of the championship. Greg McCormack/ Shaun Magee were the stars of the event, 4th overall (42:53), winners in class 5 and best 2WD with an Escort BDA -- high revs and lots of sideways -- poetry in motion! Brian Lawlor/ Peter Kavanagh made up for their recent run of retirements; 5th overall (42:59) and maximum class points, Lawlor pushed McCormack to the very end with only 4 secs between them at the finish.

Peter McCullagh/ Hugh McKenna took an impressive 6th on their welcome return to the forests (43:14). Eddie Quinn/ Garrett Loughran kept it cool on the final stage to claim Gp N honours and 7th overall (43:34). James Cribbin/ Sean Walsh also in an Evo 6 finished 8th (43:39). Cribbin looked on course for Gp N but dropped 20 secs with a costly spin on the final stage. Terry McGonigle/ Liam McLaughlin in a DJ Rally Hire Evo 7 got quicker with every stage and took 9th overall and third in class (43:44). Dungarvan's Paul Mulcahy/ Karl Baumann kept it together with their usual flat out tactic to round off the top ten and another class 3 victory on 43:56 as rival Kelly tried too hard and spun dropping 15 secs.

Trevor Farrell/ Richard Cassidy (1600 Escort) finished 13th and took class 2 honours by over 2 mins. Eamon Mimnagh/ John Johnson (2.0 Escort) 14th and winners in class 4. Peter McCullagh jnr/ Alan Dolan (206) secured class 7 after a day-long battle with their class rivals. Daniel Barry/ Ben Doran (KA) cruised to take class 9 spoils. The event was a success; it ran on time, the stages were better for the repeat loop thanks to hard work by the club between runs and the good weather made it enjoyable for all concerned. Well done to Damien Hagan, Andy Mackeral and all involved at Co. Monaghan Motor Club.

Next Round: Cork Forest Rally July 24th & 25th

-www.irish-rallying.com

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers John Johnson , Francis Regan , James Cole