Randles Triumphs in Mark Two Challenge The 2004 Seven Oaks Hotel Carlow Stages Rally, which took place last weekend, included a Ford Escort Mark 2 Challenge for the first time, and in this inaugural event, Tom Randles of...
Randles Triumphs in Mark Two Challenge
The 2004 Seven Oaks Hotel Carlow Stages Rally, which took place last weekend, included a Ford Escort Mark 2 Challenge for the first time, and in this inaugural event, Tom Randles of Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry, emerged victorious. He and co-driver, Diarmuid Lynch, finished the Challenge with a 37 second advantage over runners-up, Camillus Bradley and Danny O'Neill, with David James and Jim Crowe a further 12 seconds in arrears.
Randles and Lynch led the Challenge field througout the rally, but Tom readily admits that lady luck played a major part in their victory, after a mishap on the third stage. "We were third fastest overall, behind two World Rally Cars, on the first stage, and had another good time on stage two. Then on the third stage we slipped off the road. The back of the car stepped out a bit too much on a bend, and the rear wheels slipped into a dyke. We were stuck there for a good while, but eventually the spectators managed to get us out. We then continued on through the stage, but about three or four miles further on another of the Escort Challenge crews had also crashed, and the stage was blocked. All the crews who were unable to reach the finish of the stage due to its cancellation, including ourselves, were awarded the same time. This time was obviously less than we would have recorded if we had completed the stage normally following our own incident, so the rulebook worked in our favour in that respect."
Despite the brush with the Carlow scenery, the was no damage to the Kerrymen's Escort, and they were again amongst the four quickest crews on the next stage. They continued to hold their lead for the remainder of the Challenge, and made sure of the victory on the final stage by recording a time fourteen seconds faster than their nearest Escort rivals.
"We're delighted with the result, its our first outright win. The Mark 2 Challenge was a brilliant idea on the part of Carlow Car Club," said Randles.
The T&D Rallying Ford Escort RS is supported by Advanced Bio-Tech Treatment Systems, Dyno-Rod Drain Services, Rehau Underfloor Heating, Heatmerchants Plumbing Supplies and Firebird Boilers.
* On the Limit Sports will show the Ford Escort Mark 2 Challenge on TV3, TG4, Men & Motors, iSports and the Chorus Sports Channel over the coming weeks.
2004 Carlow Stages Rally - Escort Mark 2 Challenge Results
1: Tom Randles/Diarmuid Lynch (Kilgarvan) 60m 17s,
2: Camillus Bradley/Danny O'Neill (Draperstown) 60m 54s,
3: David James/Jim Crowe (Gorey) 61m 06s.