Mcnulty wins Ostan Oileann Acla Mayo Single Stage Rally
Brilliant sunshine all day assured a great days rally for the competitors and spectators alike that descended on Achill Island for the Ostan Oilean Acla Mayo Single Stage Rally on the 21st October last. Such was the success of all aspects of the event that Achill Tourism (who supported organisers, Mayo & District Motorsport Club) are keen to make the motorsport event an annual fixture. What really made the event was the rally route chosen which took in Atlantic Drive, known as one of the most scenic locations in Europe.
The rally crews unfortunately did not have much time to take in the scenery as all their efforts concentrated on the fast, tight and twisty terrain. Many drivers compared the 10-mile plus Special Stage to the legendary Manx Rallies of the past and hoped that it would be run again on a regular basis.
The Mayo Single Stage attracted a top class field, which included many big names and high quality 4-wheel drive machinery. No.1 seeds Tim McNulty/Julian Nagle (Subaru Impreza) took victory by 19 seconds over Tommy Graham/Finbarr Mangan (Escort World Rally Car), with Trevor Cathers/Gordon Noble (Mitsubishi EVO5) third a further 24 seconds in arrears.
On the first run (from three) McNulty carved out an 8-second lead in perfect conditions over ex-Border Champion, Davy Armstrong/Herbie Blackburn (Escort). Philip Short/Nigel Frazer (Escort) were 2 seconds back in third with Graham next stopping the clocks on 8.06. Local hero Rory O'Connor (Ballyhaunis) unfortunately succumbed to engine maladies at the start of the stage in his ex-Juha Kankkunan Escort WRC much to the disappointment of co-driver Francis Kenny.
Tommy Graham moved up to the No. 2 slot on the leaderboard as Armstrong's turbo gave way on the second run but was still 14 seconds behind McNulty. Six out of the top seven cars improved their time on each run, which fully endorsed the competitive nature of the event. Tim McNulty was the only driver to consistently break the 8-minute barrier with Graham closest with his time of 8.01 on Run 2.
Best result for Mayo & District Motorsport Club members was a top 5 finish in the hands of Tubbercurry Garage owner, Noel McCarrick and Marcus Jackson in his newly acquired Subaru Impreza. Many other Club members took Class honours including David Docherty, Killian Duffy and Noel Grier.
Class positions and times for Mayo Club crews as follows:- <pre> 1st / Class 8 - Noel McCarrick/Marcus Jackson (Tubbercurry) - Subaru Impreza 8th / Class 4 - Sean McHugh/Keefe Kilcoyne (Bekan) - Subaru Impreza 5th / Class 11 - Trevor/Paul McMorrow (Ballina) - Suzuki Swift 8th / Class 11 - Pat/Eamonn McGuinness (Ballymote) - Escort 9th / Class 11 - Barry Cuffe/Tony McGing (Belcarra) - Toyota Corolla 4th / Class 9 - Vinny/Vincent Kelly (Ballina) - Vauxhall Nova 2nd / Class 5 - Paul/Brian Cleary (Kiltimagh) - Nissan Micra 7th / Class 9 - Donal Molloy/John Gallagher (Foxford) - Opel Corsa 7th / Class 16 - Declan/Ronan Moore (Crossmolina) - Toyota Corolla 6th / Class 10 - Walter Burke/John McGeehan (Willimastown) - Escort 8th / Class 10 - Fiachra Moran/Keith Keily (Belcarra) - Escort 4th / Class 5 - Eddie Gannon/Martin Burke (Tubbercurry) - Suzuki Swift
1st / Class 14 - David Docherty (Ballinlough) - Opel Manta 3rd / Class 4 - Killian Duffy (Crossmolina) - Subaru Impreza 3rd / Class 3 - Noel Greer (Claremorris) - Vauxhall Astra 9th / Class 11 - Pete Kelly (Kiltimagh) - Vauxhall Astra 3rd / Class 5 - Claire Walsh (Westport) - Suzuki Swift 6th / Class 11 - John Rowland (Crossmolina) Toyota Corolla