Donegal: Championship preview

3 - 1 chance Of Border title going to Monaghan. After the Sligo Stages Rally, the fifth and penultimate Round of the 2002 Border Championship (sponsored by the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan), there is a three to one chance that this season's...

3 - 1 chance Of Border title going to Monaghan.

After the Sligo Stages Rally, the fifth and penultimate Round of the 2002 Border Championship (sponsored by the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan), there is a three to one chance that this season's title will go to a County Monaghan based crew. But in reality, the final resting place of the Derryveagh Crystal Perpetual Trophy will not be decided until the last Round at the Donegal Harvest Rally.

"In any season no competitor gets a clear run at the Championship and wins the title easily. This year is no exception," says John Duffy, Border Series Registrar. He continues: "Former Border Champions Trevor Lancashire and Noel Hall have achieved Class wins in the first four Rounds, but a decision by navigator Noel to investigate an alternative farming enterprise e.g. Free range chickens on Special Stage Three in Sligo could cost them dearly at the season end, regarding the destination of the Border Championship. Hopefully, the Monaghan duo will have learned something while extracting the car from the chicken pen! Despite losing 20 minutes trying to get the Escort MKII out they went on to pick up seven valuable points."

Donegal crew John and Brendan McElhinney were also in the wars in Sligo, non-finishing due to an accident on the last stage on a day in which only one of the ultra reliable Suzuki Swifts returned to Rally Headquarters at the Sligo Park Hotel.

John Kelly (Emyvale, Monaghan) continued his excellent run in the Standard Production category in his Toyota Corolla, finishing 24th overall and taking Class honours by over two minutes.

What has transpired from the Connaught Motor Club organized event in Sligo has left Registrar, John Duffy, the tough task of piecing together all the permutations. In his own words, the position of the front runners is as follows:-

"Trevor Lancashire/Noel Hall/Monaghan/Escort MKII/Class 12
Maximum Points: 40
First tie-break score: 7

A Class win or 9 points would win the Championship.

Even if John Kelly were to score a Class win in Donegal and get 10 points, Trevor/Noel would still win the Championship on the 2nd tie break.

John McElhinney/Brendan McElhinney/Donegal/Suzuki Swift/Class 1`
Points: 37

Needs a Class win in Donegal to tie with Trevor/Noel. They would then have 40 points. The first tie break score would be 7, their 2nd would be 1 for a non-finish in Sligo, so for any chance in the Championship they would require a non-start from Trevor/Noel and a lower than 10 score from John Kelly.

John P. Kelly/Emyvale/Toyota Corolla/Class 16

John would also need a Class win in Donegal to give him 40 points. His first tie break score would then be 9 as there were only 4 starters in Newry. His 2nd tie break score is 0, for a non-start in Mayo. The Emyvale driver is in with a decent chance provided he wins his Class and Trevor/Noel score less than 9 points.

The fourth contender and dark outsider is Dunlop National Championship designate Niall Maguire/Paul McLoughlin who have taken control of the national scene and from a Border perspective, dominated Class 8. Assuming they start Donegal (latest word is that they are) which is not a National round, they would require a Class win and 10 points as their first tie break score would then be 9 (4 starters in Class 8 in Sligo). In this scenario they would win the Championship if Trevor/Noel scored less than 9 points and John Kelly scores less than 10 points."

Interesting times ahead. Who wants to open a book and start the betting?

*DONEGAL HARVEST RALLY - Sunday 20th October 2002

Due to the forthcoming Nice Referendum, the date of the Donegal Harvest Rally, Round 6 of the Four Seasons Hotel Border Rally Championship, has been deferred to Sunday 20th October 2002. In addition, Recce will now be held on Saturday 19th October.

-irc-

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Series Other rally
Drivers John Kelly