UK: National Forest Rally round one preview

Round 1: Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally Sunday 22nd February The opening round of the 2004 "McCauley Trailers" National Forest Rally Championship takes place in Carrick on Suir this Sunday 22nd February. KBB Doors have decided to step...

Round 1: Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally
Sunday 22nd February

The opening round of the 2004 "McCauley Trailers" National Forest Rally Championship takes place in Carrick on Suir this Sunday 22nd February. KBB Doors have decided to step down as Championship Sponsors. I would like on behalf of the Committee and Competitors take this oppertunity to thank company directors Kieran Shaw and Brian McCloskey (both regular competitors) for their support over the past number of years. We are delighted to welcome Derry based "McCauley Trailers" as our new sponsors for 2004 and look forward to working with them to ensure the continued success of the Championship.

Carrick on Suir motor Club have a tough and testing format with 55 stage miles over 10 stages in the Anner, Kilcash, Slievenamon and Gurteen Forests. The first car starts leaves the ramp outside rally HQ "The Carrick Hotel" main st Carrick on Suir at 9AM Sunday morning. Top seed John McCarthy/ Dan Maguire make their debut with the ex-Austin McHale Corolla WRC. At 2 Kevin O'Kane/ Mark Hanna have moved up to a '99 spec Impreza WRC. Kevin Lynch/ Francis Regan P2000 Impreza WRC are at 3 followed by Brian Murphy in a Gp A Impreza 555, James Murphy/ Con Mulcahy (Escort Cosworth) round off the top five.

Omagh's Paul Barrett/ Sean Ferris are at six in an Evo 6 and will be using the event as a shakedown for an assault on the Evo Challenge. Defending Gp N Champions John Shanahan/ Liam McLaughlin are at 7 (Impreza). Tarmac regular Patrick Elliott (8) has hired an Evo 6 and plans to do the full Championship. John Reid/ Brendan Greene (9) 2.0 Mk 2 are first 2WD on the road with Ray Benskin/ Peadar Walsh also in a Mk2 completing the top ten. Other notable entries include number 16 Aaron McHale/ Gerard McMonagle (Evo 8), 17 Waterford's' Eddie Garry/ Kevin Kelleher (Evo 6), Fisher Foundation Award Winner John Foley/ John Waterman (Evo 7) is in at 21. Both Pat Norris/ Declan Timulty at 26 in the ex McKinstry Impreza 555 and Stephen Moore/ Stephen Griffith at 73 in the ex Sean Devine Impreza N8 and should feature in the top ten.

Dermot Kelly/ John Brennan, Escort WRC plan a full championship campaign but face a race against time to have the car rebuilt in time for next Sunday. Former Forest Champion and reigning National Navigation Champion Andy Mackeral/ Richard Cassidy (Ascona 16V) are at 22. Andy is competing in the Ascona on the Midland navigation Trial on Saturday night and will drive through the night from the finish of the Edgeworthstown event to make the start line in Carrick early Sunday morning!

Anner famous for all the crests and jumps is the opening stage, then Kilcash followed by Slievenamon before Service along the main Waterford road outside Clonmel (11:00). This loop of 3 stages is repeated with another Service outside Clonmel (14:00), the event then moves into the vast Gurteen Forest complex near Kilsheelan Village for 2 stages with a final service outside Clonmel (15:30). The last 2 stages are a repeat run through the Gurteen Forests and the first car is due at the final control outside the Carrick Hotel at 17:30.

-gs-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers James Murphy , Francis Regan , Brian Murphy , John McCarthy