Midland 4wd Single Stage Rally 2000 preview

Percy French Hotel Rally A Busy Easter Sunday for the Local Rally Driver Being privy to a quick glance at the entry list for the Midland Motor Club 4WD Rally to be held on Sunday, 23/4/00, one has to admit the surprising amount of midland ...

Percy French Hotel Rally A Busy Easter Sunday for the Local Rally Driver

Being privy to a quick glance at the entry list for the Midland Motor Club 4WD Rally to be held on Sunday, 23/4/00, one has to admit the surprising amount of midland addresses which feature. Where have all these cars come from? The towns of Carrick on Shannon, Boyle, Longford and Leitrim appears to currently be breeding grounds for forthcoming champions. While the Curragh in Kildare may have its throughbreds, the midland's certainly has it's own breed of champion.

Rallying during the past three years seems to be the sport to be in. With entries at each rally well over 200, the interest and commitment is certainly out there. Many of the names on the entry list for the Easter Sunday event are very well known and respected for their driving talent nationwide. Names such as Carrick's Sean Gallagher, Longford's Michael Shaw, John Shaw, John Kelly and Enfield's Tom Holton are no stranger to the National championship results table.

Is this the year that we will see a local clubman win the event? - According to one committed fan of the sport, commenting on Rory O'Connor's and Francis Kenny's success in Ballina in March, "he will do it in Strokestown". Wouldn't that make some night at the prizegiving!. With one of the last club members to win the event a major event sponsor - Tom Mc Nally, I am sure Rory and Francis will be well accommodated in the Percy French Hotel if they do come home number one.

Other club members who will be expected to bring home awards on Sunday night would include Athlone's Freddie Walker. Following Freddie's success in last years Circuit of Ireland Rally, there is little doubt that he will feature in his self prepared Ford Escort.

It is great to see local's come home to do his or her own club's event. Names such as Tom Geraghty, brother of the Ballymahon family who is entered in his Mark 2 Escort. Sean Doyle from Keenagh, who is navigating for Blessington's Martin Nugent in the Suzuki Swift is welcomed home. Denise Ryan comes back to her father's county, as does Sheena O'Brien where they will compete in the Lady's class with Ann Mc Quaid from Boyle. Other Boyle and Roscommon entries include Athleague's Damien Finneran, in his new Subaru, Strokestown's Brian Farrell's Ford Fiesta and Eoin Barron's VW Golf GTI. Leitrim flies it's banner with names such as Aidan Prior, Richard Flynn, David Mc Partland, Kenneth Prior and National Championship class winner Frank Farry.

Longford county, a traditional rallying area have competitors such as Drumlish's Pakie Duffy in his Golf GTI who will be in direct competition with Michael Collum's Peugeot 205 GTI in the Standard Production class. Peter Hagan, Pascal Hennessy, Frank Kane, and Sean Cahill will represent Longford as will Granard's Patrick Higgins who a man to watch in the Texaco sponsored black escort. Granard's Colm Fagan will not be competing at this event. Colm who has his Peugeot 205 GTI Standard Production class-winning car for sale is the Stage Commander for the event. He will be busy setting out the safety features on the stage and with so much competition experience, this is sure to be a job well done.

John Kelly, K & N Peugoet is competing and will be hoping to improve in his top ten finish last year. Robbie Shaw Junior will navigate John. John Shaw will be polishing the class 3 entry with his Opel Astra. John who recently married Karl Kealy, who was the PRO of last year's event, is a sure class winner. John's brother Michael is also tipped to be one of the top finishers in his Subaru Impreza. Michael's of Shaws Skoda on the Athlone Road is also supplying the breakdown truck for the event but no doubt he will have no use for it on the day. Moydow's Ronan Quinn is competing in his Halligan prepared Ford Escort as is Paddy Gogan in his Edgeworthstown Spar Talbot Sunbeam. This Sunbeam whose previous owners include Martin Kelly from Kenagh is sure to be navigated to a good finish with Roscommon's Barry Molloy in the hot seat.

Mullingar and Westmeath will also send out it flag with names such as Michael J Fitzgerald from Ballinacarrigy with Danny Bourke and Enfield's Tony Burke taking up the challenge of competing in this local event. Club members Trevour Payne, Cathal Shanahan, Paul Fitzpatrick will be navigating on this event. Edgeworthstown's Paul Skelly will debut his Ford Fiesta and is hoping for a club award as will Ballinasloe's Niall Keane and Sligo's Ivan Hunt.

Rally cars are due in Strokestown on Saturday from 3pm to 10pm, for the purpose of scrutiny where the cars are checked for their class eligibility and safety. Chief Scrutineer Pat Tarrant from Louth will be ensuring that checks are carried out throughout the event to ensure fair play. The organisers extend their appreciation to Jordan Commercials for the use of their premises. The rally cars will be on the start ramp under the archway of Strokestown Park House at 10:30 Sunday morning. They will be then sent on their way to Longford where the stage is based. The cars will then proceed through the stage and service on the Edgeworthstown - Ballymahon Road before proceeding along the route to the stage start again.

For this type of event, pace notes and practising on the stage is not allowed and the first time all competitors should see the competition stage is Sunday morning for what is known in the sport as the Recce run. This is not a timed run, it is provided to the competitor to see if there is anything of danger in the stage. Following a short service the cars will then proceed in to the competition stage on three occasions. The first car due on the stage will be around 11:30 and last car of the day will hopefully be at 6:00. The organisers would like to thank to the Callery family for the use of Strokestown Park during the event and indeed all the residents in both Strokestown and Longford for their support and assistance.

<pre> Entry List for Midland Event - The best in years

The entry list for the Percy French Hotel Midland Single Stage Rally 2000 was released to the press today and it is quite impressive.

Top Twenty seeded cars on the road are as follows: Comp. No Drivers Name Navigators Name Car Class 1 Niall Maguire Breen Mc Namee Subaru Impreza 8 2 Rory O'Connor Francis Kenny Escort Cosworth 13 3 David Armstrong Herbie Blackburn Ford Escort Cosworth 13 4 Thomas Graham Ford Escort Cosworth 8 5 Tim Mc Nulty Julian Nangle Toyota Celica 8 6 Joseph Mc Gurk Arthur Kierans Toyota Celica GT4 8 7 Norman Armstrong Mark Smyth Ford Escort 11A 8 Michael Mc Ardle Gerard Mc Monagle BMW M3 12 9 Noel Mc Carrick John Mc Cafferty Subaru Impreza 4 10 Enda Keenan Raymond Aughy Ford Escort 12 11 Sean Gallagher Liam Costello Toyota Celica 8 12 James Foley Ann Foley Honda Civic VTI 6 13 Michael Cadden Paula Cadden Ford Sierra 12 14 Mick Mc Quaid Victor Fields Ford Escort 11A 15 Peter Rahill T.P. O'Reilly Ford Escort 11A 16 Noel Conaty Bernard Cosgrave Ford Escort 10A 17 Mervyn Wedlock Martin Nicholl Ford Escort 11A 18 Michael Shaw Eamonn Mc Garrity Subaru Impreza 4 19 James Cole John Clarke Ford Escort Cosworth 13 20 Patrick Elliot Martin Cahill Mitsubishi Evo 6

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Series Other rally
Drivers John Kelly , John Clark , James Cole