National Forest Rally round three Wicklow summary

Three in a row for McCarthy/Maguire. Round 3 of the KBB Doors National Forest Rally Championship, based in Roundwood Co. Wicklow, Organised by The Motor Enthusiast's Club saw John McCarthy/ Dan Maguire extend their lead in the series. The ...

Three in a row for McCarthy/Maguire.

Round 3 of the KBB Doors National Forest Rally Championship, based in Roundwood Co. Wicklow, Organised by The Motor Enthusiast's Club saw John McCarthy/ Dan Maguire extend their lead in the series. The Subaru duo had a flawless drive to take their third consecutive victory, now leading the series by 6 points. Remarkably the top three were the same as round 2, Eddie Kinirons/ Greg Shinnors (Celica) second and Kevin O'Kane/ Francis Regan (Subaru) third.

Dull misty conditions covered the Wicklow Mountains as the crew's made their way through the tough, slippy bumpy stages. John McCarthy led from Dermot Kelly/ John Brennan (Escort WRC) by 3 secs after ss1 with Eddie Kinirons 2 secs adrift in third.

At First Service after ss2 McCarthy led Kelly by 5 secs, Kinirons held third 8 secs back. John Donnelly/ Greg McCarthy (Escort WRC) was pushing hard and held fourth only 2 secs down.

Stage 3, Glenealy was to make/ break the rally. This 10-mile test proved to be the winning and losing of the event as it rattled the leader board. Dermot Kelly needed a result and was on the pace but 6 miles in saw the former Champion get caught on some Very bad bumps. His Escort WRC launched over a series of bad bumps, clipped a rock on the left and the car dived off into the trees on the right hand side. Second next car John Donnelly also in an Escort WRC suffered the same faith. He two clipped the rock and pulled off a wheel. Rally leader McCarthy set a scorching time despite nearly losing it at that same rock, stopping the clock 18 secs up on now second placed Kinirons. Kevin O'Kane moved into third slot, setting second fastest time through Glenealy.

Glenmalure, stage 4 was a repeat of stage 1, John McCarthy dropped some time with a puncture. Eddie Kinirons was 15 secs down on his first run, the stages had got slower but he still set fastest time and reduced the gap to 22 secs. Kevin O'Kane held third despite centre diff troubles. Brian McCloskey/ Damian Duffin (Escort WRC), James Murphy/ Con Mulcahy (Escort Gp A) and John Shanahan/ Liam McLoughlin (Impreza Gp N) were having a battle swapping times for 4th, 5th & 6th. Kevin Lynch/ Martin McNicholl Impreza (WRC) held 7th with local Niall Driver/ Frank Corrigan (Evo 6) 8th. Paul Staunton/ Bruce Burges (mk 2) were off the pace due to a slipping clutch. This put John Reid/ Brendan Greene (mk 2) and Brian Lawlor/ Peter Kavanagh (mk 2) in the running for fastest 2WD.

Niall Driver broke a shaft on the start line of stage 5. Brian McCloskey really got it together in his bid for 4th and set fastest time one second up on John McCarthy. Kevin O'Kane was on a charge taking 4 secs off kinirons. At service before the last stage John McCarthy lead by 32 secs from Eddie Kinirons with O'Kane a further 16secs adrift. The battle from 4th to 6th was wide open, Brian McCloskey held 4th, 10 up on James Murphy with John Shanahan only 2 secs in arrears. The rain persisted making life hard for competitors, service crews, organisers and spectators. No one looked forward to the last stage through Glenealy.

This time Kelly's rock was cautioned and yellow flagged but still managed to cause damage. John McCarthy again clipped it and damaged his left front wheel, but didn't puncture and survived to secure his 3rd win in as many events. Kinirons' Toyota got through unscathed to take another 2nd overall. Kevin O'Kane took third despite his centre diff troubles as well as a fogged up screen on the last stage.

John Shanahan attacked the last stage paying no heed to Liam's repeated call for caution over those bad bumps, had a slight spin setting a serious third fastest time, this elevated him to a well earned 4th overall. Brian McCloskey had a fogged up screen, he two clipped that rock but survived taking 5th. James Murphy lost out on the battle for 4th, He stalled on the line then attacked but clipped teammate Kelly's rock pulling a wheel off his Escort. KPL man Kevin Lynch had a good run to finish 6th.

John Reid was 7th, won class 4 and best 2WD. 8th Local hero Paul Staunton suffered all day with his clutch. 9th Noel Driver/ Joe Shinnors (mk2) won class 3. 10th Brian Lawlor, had led class 3 by 30 secs but punctured on the last stage dropping him to 2nd. Gus Kearney/ Owen O'Neill (206) finished 11th and won class 6. Michael Tynan/ Colin Brady (Astra) had their best run to date 12th overall and 3rd in class 4. Billy O'Connell/ Derek Power (corolla) won class 2 and Lyod Hutchinson/ Lester Hutchinson (mini) took class 1 honours.

John McCarthy/ Dan Maguire emerged again as the clear and decisive winners, setting the pace from start to finish. The East Cork Subaru pairing seem to have the perfect package and must be commended for their consistency. So guess who's favoured for the Middleton based round 4!

<pre> Top Ten 1. John McCarthy / Dan Maguire (Impreza) 48:34 2. Eddie Kinirons / Greg Shinnors (Celica) 49:12 3. Kevin O'Kane / Francis Regan (Impreza) 49:51 4. John Shanahan / Liam McLoughlin (Impreza) 50:10 5. Brian McCloskey / Damian Duffin (Escort WRC) 50:25 6. Kevin Lynch / Martin McNicholl (Impreza WRC) 50:50 7. John Reid / Brendan Greene (mk 2) 52:24 8. Paul Staunton / Bruce Burges (mk 2) 53:04 9. Noel Driver / Joe Shinnors (mk 2) 53:47 10. Brian Lawlor / Peter Kavanagh (mk 2) 54:04

Class Winners 1. Lyod Hutchinson / Lester Hutchinson (mini) 56:12 2. Billy O'Connell / Derek Power (mk 2) 55:00 3. Noel Driver / Joe Shinnors (mk 2) 53:47 4. John Reid / Brendan Greene (mk 2) 52:24 5. Brian McCloskey / Damian Duffin (Escort WRC) 50:25 6. Gus Kearney / Owen O'Neill (206) 54:33 7. No finishers 8. John Shanahan / Liam McLoughlin (Impreza) 50:10

Next Round, Munster Motor Cycle & Car Club Moonraker Forest Rally, Sunday 18th May. Based in Middleton, East Co. Cork Some new Stages, more info to follow.

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Series Other rally
Drivers James Murphy , Francis Regan , John McCarthy , Owen O'Neill