The leading lights of Historic, Post-Historic and Classic rallying are heading to Kerry next weekend for the 2000 Gleneagle Hotel / KoS Construction Killarney Historic Stages Rally. Each category features the defending titleist, with a host of potential challengers also ready to inscribe their names on the respective trophies.
This year, the Killarney Historic Stages is the final round of the Toshiba Computers Historic Tarmac. Top Historic seed, Dessie Nutt, comes to the South West as Champion-elect, having already accumulated enough points to give him an unassailable lead. That said, he will still be eager to record a fourth successive victory on this event, the Derry G.P. driving his usual Porsche 911.
Philip Wylie (MG B) and Alan Courtney (Cortina GT) will battle for second in the Historic Championship, Wylie currently holding the advantage by a solitary point. <pre> Historic Top Six Seeds 1. Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride, Porsche 911 6. Philip Wylie/Jim Howe, MG B 7. Alan Courtney/Peter Martin, Ford Cortina GT 8. Drexel Gillespie/Gill Cotton, Lotus Cortina 10. Joe Connolly/Gareth Connolly, Porsche 911 16. Mervyn Johnston/Derek Smyth, Mini Cooper S </pre> The Post-Historic section will be closely contested, with former winners Lloyd Hutchinson ('97 and '98) and Martin Freestone ('99) leading the field away. John Keatley is a former winner of the Historic section, but he has switched to a Post-Historic Escort this year, and will also mount a strong challenge.
In the Post-Historic class in the Tarmac series, just ten points separate the top six drivers: Brian Lemon, Martin Freestone, John Keatley, John Farrell, Harry Browne and Douglas Richardson are all entered in Killarney. <pre> Post-Historic Top Six Seeds 2. Lloyd Hutchinson/Kevin Flanagan, Mini Cooper S 3. Martin Freestone/Kim Freestone, Ford Escort Mk.1 4. John Keatley/Maurice Beckett, Ford Escort Mk.1 5. Dave Holland/John Calverley, Ford Escort Mk.1 9. Martin Ward/Linda Conroy, Opel Manta A 11. John Farrell/Christy Farrell, Ford Escort Mk.1 </pre> All four previous winners in the Classic section of the Historic Stages are entered for the 2000 event - John Moynihan ('99), Greg McCormack ('96), Cathal Rogers ('97) and Kieran O'Neill ('98) have all tasted champagne at the conclusion of past events. Others expected to be in the hunt for victory include Tom Randles (second to Moynihan last year), Philip Shaw and Willie Power. <pre> Classic Top Six Seeds 65. John Moynihan/Thomas Moynihan, Ford Escort RS 66. Tom Randles/Diarmuid Lynch, Ford Escort RS 67. Greg McCormack/Sean Magee, Ford Escort RS 68. Cathal Rogers/Paul Nagle, Ford Escort RS 69. Kieran O'Neill/Diarmuid Falvey, Opel Kadett GT/E 70. Philip Shaw/Nigel Frazer, Ford Escort RS </pre> The 2000 Killarney Historic Stages Rally gets underway at 0800 on Sunday next, December 3rd, when the first car will leave the Start Ramp at the Gleneagle Hotel Rally Headquarters to tackle ten special stages. The winner of the Historic section is due back at the Gleneagle at 1745.