Sean Conlon Memorial Forest Rally summary

McCarthy takes two in Tipp. The Subaru pairing of John McCarthy and Dan Maguire claimed their second consecutive victory on the Mitchelstown based Sean Conlon Memorial Forest Rally and now command a 4 point lead over Eddie Kinirons/ Greg ...

McCarthy takes two in Tipp.

The Subaru pairing of John McCarthy and Dan Maguire claimed their second consecutive victory on the Mitchelstown based Sean Conlon Memorial Forest Rally and now command a 4 point lead over Eddie Kinirons/ Greg Shinnors (Celica GT4) with Kevin O' Kane/ Greg McCarthy (Subaru) 3 points a drift in 3rd in the KBB doors National Forest Rally Championship.

Mitchelstown ran on a later date than their usual January 26th and instead of having snow, ice and/ or fog this years event was only hampered by dust and bogey times! The event ran like clockwork, conditions were perfect, bone dry and very fast stages as the crews fought it out tooth and nail all day long. Dermot Kelly/ John Brennan stormed through ss1 Cambaun Wood (his favourite stage) and stopped the clock with a 6.52, shattering all previous records including the bogey. John McCarthy/ Dan Maguire were 2nd fastest on 7.00 with Eddie Kinirons/ Greg Shinnors 3rd on 7.13.

Stage 2 saw the leaderboard turned on its head, Dermot Kelly had a very soft roll half way through the new 8.8 mile test on a square right, doing little damage but dropped 2 minutes as they beached the Escort WRC in a drain. John McCarthy got caught in Kelly's dust, now running 1st on the stage spun twice and dropped 25 secs to new leader Eddie kinirons (now ahead by 12 secs), who along with Kevin O' Kane/ Francis Regan Impreza 555 and John Donnelly/ Greg McCarthy Escort WRC beat the bogey. It was stage 3 where John McCarthy took the lead, taking 16 secs off Eddie and leading from here all the way to the finish.

At service after ss3 John McCarthy was leading by 4 secs ahead of Eddie kinirons, Who had lost 6th gear, local man John Drislane/ Paul Goodman (Impreza) held 3rd, Kevin O' Kane 4th, late entry and Championship sponsor Brian McCloskey/ Damien Duffin (Escort WRC) 5th,John McGaffin/ Ian Allsop (Legacy) 6th, John Donnelly/ Greg McCarthy Escort WRC were 7th and here they sorted the anti-lag problems, James Murphy/ Con Mulcahy Escort GPA held 8th despite electrical troubles. Dermot Kelly/ John Brennan Escort WRC arrived to service 1st on the road but 9th overall, here the car was tracked etc and had a new windscreen fitted thanks to "The Windscreen Company" John Corrigan a fellow compeditor was spectating, got the call and rushed home for a screen (Kelly's luck!) John Shanahan/ Liam McLaughlin (Impreza) were 10th now the only GPN survivor, they too had some body damage after being caught in Paul Staunton's dust who had slowed with a puncture through ss 1.

John McCarthy set the pace through ss4 with a 6.50 breaking Kelly's new record, Eddie Kinirons was 2nd fastest on 6.55, 18 secs up on his first attempt, Dermot Kelly trying to recover from his off was next on 6.56 again the top 3 beating the bogey! Kevin O'Kane 7.06, John Drislane 7.07 and John Donnelly 7.08. John McCarthy had a clean run on ss5 fastest on 7.51, Dermot Kelly 7.53 and James Murphy drove out of his skin in front of his home crowd to equal Dermot, this only his second event with the 7speed GPA car. This was a superb stage very fast with an excellent surface, lots of dust and some flowing hairpins but on this second run through all the top ten beat the bogey and so the results don't reflect just how committed these lads are.

John McCarthy was looking good for a second win he just had to keep it together on ss6 Kilworth and he did, 9.39 second fastest was certainly enough to secure another win. Eddie Kinirons did a 9.45 and claimed another fine 2nd overall despite losing time with no 6th gear. John Drislane was holding third starting Kilworth but had to retire with power steering problems. Kevin O'Kane finished 3rd and John Donnelly 4th, Dermot Kelly was quickest on 9.34 and recovered to 5th overall, his assault hampered by bogey times. KBB Doors Director Brian McCloskey was 6th, John McGaffin 7th, James Murphy 8th denied a better result by the now infamous bogey times. John Shanahan 9th winning GpN and leading his class in the championship, Kevin Lynch rounded off the top ten as he gets to grips with his Impreza WRC- P2000.

All in all a great day good craic, excellent weather, superb stages, a well run event everything on time good marshalling, very compeditive rallying and as winner on the day John McCarthy referred to the great comeradery between all the lads, of course they mean business when the flag drops but are true sportsmen and always there to help out each other whenever needs be. Thanks to Jim O'Brien and his team for a job well done.

Round 3 KBB Doors National Forest Championship 2003
Circuit of Wicklow Rally, Sunday 13th April, Roundwood Co. Wicklow


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers James Murphy , Francis Regan , John McCarthy