2005 Irish 205 Challenge Kicks Off In Style
The 2005 Irish 205 Challenge kicked off in style at the Midland Multi Stage Rally on Sunday (10th April 05). Ten registered competitors made it to the start of the event and with many of the championship regulars returning for a second year the rally was set to be a cracker.
The event was based in Carrick on Shannon and consisted of three stages run three times. Due to stage cancellations none of the Rory Galligan Rally Irish 205 Challenge crews got a chance to compete on the opening three stage of the day, so after a quick spanner check in service it was off to stage four.
On stage four it was Adrian McElhinney with co-driver Paddy Gorman who snatched an early lead with Adrian McBride/Rodney Nicks just 2 seconds behind them. Sam Johnston was the first casualty when he retired on SS4. On SS5 a stage interpreted time was given to many of the competitors and this moved McBride into the lead. Just seconds separated the tops crews on the next stage and at the second service of the day, McBride held the lead over McElhinney with Tommie Rafferty/Brian Purcell 3rd however a broken alternator would see them retire on the next stage.
With fastest times on stage seven and eight McElhinney regained the lead, pushing McBride into 2nd place and with James Stafford/Niall Whitty promoting themselves to 3rd. So it was all to play for on the final stage with just 4 seconds separating the top two crews. As they sat on the start line the weather broke and rain made the final stage treacherously slippery. Just 8 seconds split the times of the fast six crews on the last stage but with McBride just one second faster than McElhinney, the win went to the Donegal crew of Adrian McElhinney and Paddy Gorman. Adrian McBride/Rodney Hicks were 2nd, James Stafford/Niall Whitty were 3rd, previous championship runner up Seamus O'Grady/Oonagh Roche were 4th and the all lady crew of Emma Britton and Paula Nooney rounded off the top five.
The next round of the championship is based in St Angelo on the 2nd May 2005.
<pre> Full Results 1. Adrian McElhinney Patrick Gorman 1:21:25 2. Adrian McBride Rodney Hicks +0:03 3. James Stafford Niall Whitty +1:39 4. Seamus O'Grady Oonagh Roche +1:45 5. Emma Britton Paula Nooney +2:27 6. Stephen McGee Joseph Timoney +4:23 7. Paul Conlon Karl Brien +5:44 8. Stephen Driver Raymond Greene +7:06 Tommie Rafferty Brian Prucell DNF Sam Johnston Paul Fitzpatrick DNF