Mayo Motorsport

  • Ronan Denning from Charlestown and his navigator Karl Egan (Galway) enjoyed huge success at the Triton Showers National Rally Championship Awards Night held on Saturday night last in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone. The pair had a very successful year in their Peugeot 208 R2 and despite a non finish in the Circuit of Kerry, top points collected at the Mayo Stages Rally, Sligo Stages Rally, Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally and Clare Stages Rally seen the pair dominate Class 2 and also crowned Triton Showers Group R National Champions, an excellent achievement for the crew on only their second season competing. 
    (Picture: Andy Walsh)
  • A Mayo Co-driver is one of seven people who will now come under the umbrella of Motorsport Ireland’s Rally Academy until the end of 2020.

    After an exhausting selection process which took place in Athlone recently, 24 co-drivers were whittled down to a final group of seven.

    21 year old Lorcan Moore from Crossmolina was selected.

    The selection process took a number of factors into account including; their application forms, in-car footage supplied by the applicants, an exam on the rules of the sport, their pacenote writing ability, a media interview and a more in-depth interview from experienced co-drivers.

    The selected co-drivers will receive tuition from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy in all aspects of co-driving. They will get to make notes with a current top-level driver and sit in for a test in an R2 and an R5 Rally car as well as being invited to the Billy Coleman Award Development Days to avail of media and fitness guidance. Crucially, the successful seven will also get first option of any opportunities that may come available and receive ongoing mentoring/support from some of Ireland's most experienced and respected co-drivers.

    The other six successful applicants are: Eamonn Creedon, aged 28 from Co. Cork, Dylan Doonan, aged 21 also from Co. Cork; Conor Mohan, aged 21 from Co. Monaghan, Dean O'Sullivan aged 31 from Co. Donegal, Derek O'Brien, aged 32 and Grace O'Brien aged 31 both also from Cork..

    Lorcan will no doubt be looking to emulate fellow Crossmolina native Killian Duffy who is one of Ireland’s top co-drivers, and over the years has travelled all corners of the globe and competed at the sport's highest level.

    The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy is co-ordinated by Mayo man Sean McHugh and is funded by former Irish Rally Champion John Coyne, through the Team Ireland Foundation.

  • The Clare Motor Club Stages Rally got underway yesterday with a starting list of 98 crews preparing to do battle in extremely wet conditions over nine special stages around the Clare countryside.

    In form local driver John Warren and his co-driver Ruthann O’Connor, fresh from fantastic results on the recent Galway Stages Rally and the Sligo Stages Rally, brought their McHale Fusion Toyota to the Banner county in search of another Top Mayo Crew finish and the possibly of a top 20 finish not to be discounted given their recent run of form.

    It was hit the road at full throttle for the South Mayo pair, despite getting blocked on stage 1, coming across a car that had crashed, Warren and O’ Connor quickly put that out of their minds as they set the pace and came back to the first service in 16th place overall.

    As the rain worsened on the second loop the pair were truly up for any challenges that lay ahead, as they moved even further up the leader board. Heading into the final loop they sat 2nd in Class 13 trailing 1st by just 20 seconds and in 13th place overall. John and Ruthann provided the spectators with some truly impressive driving in very wet conditions, despite not having the benefit of four wheel drive, and with visibility at a minimum in the torrential rain, the pair made a decision to concentrate on finishing as they entered the last stage.

    "It was a great day, the stages were tight and tricky," said Warren, after emerging from the final stage in 15th place overall and 2nd in class. He had praise for his co-driver Ruthann, on what was a difficult outing in the conditions, and the tyres under his McHale Fusion Toyota.

    "I really enjoyed it, the car worked like a speedboat in the floods! Ruthann worked so easy with me on the notes. I'm delighted with our position overall".  

    The event was won by Roy White from Tipperary in a Fiesta WRC with Corks Daniel Cronin second in a Fiesta R5 and Maynooth’s Ian Barrett in a Darrian T90 who had Mayo native Paul McGee on the notes in third.

    Along with finishing third Barrett and McGee also picked up the much sought after “If in doubt, flat out” Colin McRae Perpetual cup, which goes to the fastest overall modified 2wd car of the day.

  • An eventful day on the first leg of the Jim Walsh Cork 2 day Forest Rally, seen Jason and Matthew Murphy in their Peugeot 107 get caught out on a fast 4Right corner on stage 2, the car slid wide and onto grass, and they found themselves as passengers and ended up in a drain damaging the wishbone, unable to get back out onto the stage. They got recovered and got back into service and thanks to fellow J1000 competitor Peter Beaton from Scotland for the use of his spare wishbone and great work once again from C-Sport they got back out under rally 2 for stages 5 and 6 to enable them to score valuable championship points, Day 2 on Sunday’s round had full points on offer and they now looked to that to that to try to wrap up the J1000 title.

    And the South Mayo uncle and nephew partnership certainly showed their title intentions as they completely dominated the second leg on Sunday, setting fastest times on five out of the six stages with their 1 Litre Peugeot 107 leading all throughout the second day to wrap up the 2018 Motorsport Ireland Irish Forestry Championship Title and secure back to back National J1000 wins for the 18 year old Student from Shrule, Co. Mayo.

    Speaking afterwards Jason said “The stages were great today, but we had to stay sensible and get home to the finish with a few points, so we planned to stay out of trouble after yesterdays mishap, It wasn’t looking too good at one point, but thanks to C-Sport again and the assistance from Peter Beaton we made it back out, I suppose you could say once we got started this morning we got into a rhythm and found it easier to focus and we were very happy with our times today, To clinch back to back championship titles is brilliant, and it’s been a great year, a great series, and to have my uncle Matthew win the co- drivers class is an extra bonus”. “There’s a lot of people behind the scenes that have helped me a lot, Mum and Dad and my brother Niall have been at every event all year helping along and a massive thanks to Mairt Cunningham and the C-sport Rally prep team for looking after the car all year, and of course Ray Fitzpatrick and the forestry team for running the J1000 series and Michael O’Brien for coming onboard again as Championship sponsor.  It feels fantastic, hard to put into words, I’m just delighted” Jason added.

  • There was great excitement as Mayo & District Motorsport Club gathered in Óstán Oileán Acla on Saturday evening for the launch of the Óstán Oileán Acla/Connacht Print & Signs Mayo Stages Rally 2018.  Locals and Sponsors got a preview of what’s in store on Rally weekend as they inspected a fine array of rally cars on display in the car park for the launch.

    Clerk of the Course Trevor O’Connell kicked off proceedings by officially welcoming everyone to Óstán Oileán Acla, which will be Rally Head Quarters for the weekend of the 10th and 11th March.  He welcomed all the sponsors and had a special welcome for Andrew Mullen, MD of ‘Sligo Pallets’ who travelled from Sligo for the evening. Trevor thanked Cathal McLoughlin and his staff in the Óstán Oileán Acla for all their assistance and support in the lead up to the event, and also thanked joint title sponsor, David Devers, Connacht Print & Signs for his ongoing support of the Mayo Stages Rally.

    This year in addition to being the opening round of the ‘Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship’ the Mayo Stages Rally is also the opening round of the ‘Triton Showers National Rally Championship’ this will attract some of the bigger cars from around the country and overseas. Trevor thanked Brendan Flynn from the ‘Border Championship’, Aidan Kelly, Chairman of the National Rally Championship and Kevin Barrett, Triton Showers for all their support.  

    Also in attendance at the launch were Sean Molloy of Achill Tourism who joined with local County Councillor Paul McNamara in welcoming the event back to Achill for the second year running.  Trevor thanked An Garda Síochána and Mayo County Council, in particular Gerry McDonnell and Councillor Paul McNamara who have been very helpful. 

    Trevor explained that the final touches are being put in place to ensure the Rally runs as smoothly as possible and that it will be a weekend to remember for the competing crews, spectators, sponsors and most importantly the local residents who have been so accommodating and welcoming to all.  He added that without local support and sponsorship, it would not be possible to run the Mayo Stages Rally and he thanked everyone who has come on board – sponsors of Service Area, Marshal Meeting Points, Programme Sponsors, Stage & Scrutiny Sponsors.   The weekend is a free family friendly event, one not to be missed and he asked that everyone support the sponsors as without their generosity events such as these would not be possible

     Wrapping up the formalities, Trevor thanked his team for all their support and hard work and said they were all looking forward to the big event on the 10th/11th March.  

  • Conditions were perfect for the return of the Mayo Stages Rally to Achill Island. After the success of last year’s event, Clerk of the Course Trevor O’Connell and his team rose to the occasion to make an every bigger and more spectacular event. With the addition of a new stage this year the first round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship and opening round of the Sligo Pallets Border Championship kicked off in style. Declan Boyle & James O’Reilly took the lead from early on and held on to it. Following close by in second place was Josh Moffett who had Keith Moriarty on the notes. Antrim’s Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan took 3rd, with last year’s winner Joseph McGonigle & Ciaran Geaney coming in 4th. In 5th place was Niall Maguire and his navigator Enda Sherry; next up were Aidan Wray and Kieran McGrath in a Mitsubishi Evo 10, they took 6th place. Stuart Darcy and Keith McCarthy in an eye catching Darrian T9 were 7th. Just out of the workshop with their brand new Ford Fiesta R5, Brendan Cumiskey and Stephen McAule were delighted with its performance and came 8th. Following closely in 9th place were Chris Armstrong who had Chris Melly on the notes. Donagh Kelly and picked up a puncture after stage 3 and limped his way back from 46th on one occasion to finish in 10th place.
    Closer to home, Mayo & District Motorsport Club member had a mixed day. James McGreal & Chris Mitchell, had a good day out in their Mitsubishi Evo 6, the duo came 2nd in class 15 and 43rd overall. James & Chris were the first Mayo crew home and were proud recipients of the Margaret McGreal Award.
    Crossmolina’s Stephen Gallagher with Mark Taheny on the notes had a fantastic first day out in their Honda Civic, they led their class for most of the afternoon. They came 1st in class 1 and came 44th overall.
    John Duffy & John Egan in their Honda Integra were in flying form, they had little to correct at either service and came 1st in class 3 and were 46th overall. Derek Bolton & Ronan Moore had a steady start in their Subaru Impreza and they maintained their position during the day to take 3rd in class 15 and 49th overall. Ronan Denning & Karl Egan had a great start in their Citroen C2R2, despite some electronic issues after the second loop, they recovered to take 1st in class 2 and 50th overall.
    Belcarra brothers, Colm Connor & James Connor came 6th in class 11F and 51st overall in their Toyota Corolla. They picked up the 1st place Mayo Club award. Martin Cawley & Kenneth Langan had a good day out in their Peugeot 205; despite leaking fuel after stage 3 that their crew sorted in service, which brought them home in 2nd place in class 10 and 55th overall – their best finish yet to date.
    Barry Cuffe & Stephen McGing came 6th in class 11R in their Ford Escort Mk 2 and were 59th overall. Despite some problems with a wheel bearing on the road section between stage 1 and 2, they rejoined on Rally 2 after the first loop, they took home the 2nd place Mayo Club award. Trisha Greavy was flying the flag on behalf of the ladies, coming 9th in class 11F and 60th overall in her Honda Civic with her brother Brendan Greavy on the notes, they took 3rd place in the Mayo Club awards. Gordon Nimo & Kerrill Dempsey were out for their first trip in their Supermacs sponsored Ford Fiesta. They came 10th in class 11F and 61st overall. Achill men Brian Lavelle & Daniel Kilbane in a class 11F Honda Civic had issues after the first loop and rejoined the event on Rally 2 for the final loop. They fought hard to finish in 62nd place and 11th in class 11F. Another Achill man - Peter McManamon with John McCarthy on the notes in their Peugeot 205 GTI had a good day out on home soil, they came 3rd in class 10 and 64th overall, after finishing under rally 2 rules. In the Juniors Noel Murphy & John Burke in their Honda Civic EK4 came 7th in class 16.
    A number of club members were not so lucky on the day. Tony Langdon and Chrystal Culkeen were unfortunate when towards the end of stage 1, their Honda Integra lost its sump; they subsequently lost reverse & 5th gear so weren’t able to rejoin on Rally 2. Shane Buckley & Lorcan Moore’s day came to an early end when they went out on their second trip around the scenic Atlantic Drive in their Honda Civic, however Shane took home the Eddie O’Hora award for the fastest Mayo & District member on Stage 1.

    Margaret McGreal Award – Highest placed Mayo & District crew – James McGreal & Chris Mitchell
    Eddie O’Hora Award – Fastest Mayo & District on stage 1 – (2wheel drive modified on) Shane Buckley
    Robert Masterson Award – highest placed driver in class 13 - Mickey Conlon, Monaghan
    Bob Kelly Perpetual Award - Fastest Rear Wheel Drive (finisher) - Stuart Darcy, Donegal

  • A number of Mayo & District Motorsport Club members are competing in the opening round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship 2019 which kicks off in Birr (today – Sunday 23rd)  

    Karl Egan is co-driving for Jason Black in a Toyota Starlet; Gordon Nimmo and Chrystal Culkeen are competing for the first time this season in their SuperMacs Ford Fiesta.  Stephen McGing is co-driving for Andrew Leacy in a Darrian T9.  Sara McFadden is having a busy weekend, she is back in the navigation seat for her Dad Keith after having attended the inaugural Mayo Garda Youth Awards in Ballina last night (Saturday).    

    Jason Murphy has a new co-driver for this event, with John Burke replacing Matthew Murphy.  The Birr Stages also marks the inaugural round of the Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series.  This new series is aimed at drivers under 25 years of age using class 16 (J1600) cars.  This will be a testing series as it involves drivers competing in various tar and gravel events during the motorsport calendar. 

     

  • Mayo Motorsport Club members have a busy weekend with events taking place in Mondello today and in Ennis tomorrow.

    Foxford’s Sean Hynes is competing in the final two races in the Formula Sheane 2019 Championship which takes place in Mondello this weekend. 

    In Ennis the Clare Stages Rally takes place on Sunday and there are a number of members from the club in action - John Warren and Ruthann O’Connor are competing in class 13R in their Toyota Corolla Twincam; in class 11R, John McCarthy is co-driving for Florian Niedermueller in a Toyota Corolla; while David Healy with Stephen McGing on the notes are out in their Honda EG6 in class 11F; in class 3 Keith McFadden and Sara McFadden on the notes are competing in theirM Honda Civic.

  • Mayo Motorsport Club members are out in force this weekend for the Galway Summer Rally which takes place this Sunday 25th August.  The event is based in Gort and consists of three loops with three stages in each.   Belcarra’s Barry Cuffe with Shane O’Brien on the notes are competing in class 1 in a Ford Escort Mk 2; Keith McFadden with Sara McFadden on the notes are out in a Honda Civic Type R, they compete in class 3.   In class 7, Paul McGee is co-driving for Ian Barrett in a Subaru S12B.

    There are two Mayo crews competing in class 11F; Gordon Nimmo with Chrystal Culkeen on the notes compete in their Supermacs Ford Fiesta, while David Healy with Stephen McGing on the notes are out in their Honda EG6.  In class 11R, John McCarthy is co-driving for Florian Niedermueller in a Toyota Corolla; in class 13R John Warren and Ruthann O’Connor are competing in their Toyota Corolla Twincam.

    Jason Murphy with Matthew Murphy co-driving are out in their class 16 Honda Civic; also competing in a class 16 Honda Civic is Derek McCarthy who is co-driving for Stephen Reynolds. 

    Mayo Motorsport club also has many members travelling to Galway to marshal and officiate at the event over the weekend, best of luck to all.

    Meanwhile today on the Ards Peninsula, Co. Down at the Kirkistown Motor Racing Circuit, Foxfords’s Seán Hynes is competing in two races in the Formula Sheane Championship.  After qualifying yesterday Sean is now third on the grid for both races. Best of luck to Sean.

  • This Saturday evening 17th February marks the official launch of the Óstán Oileán Acla / Connacht Print & Signs Mayo Stages Rally 2018.  The launch will take place at Óstán Oileán Acla, Achill starting at 6pm.

    The Mayo Stages Rally is one of the largest annual sporting events in the county, attracting thousands of visitors every March and Mayo & District Motorsport Club are looking forward to another successful event.   The 2017 event which was also held in Achill gained much praise from competitors and spectators alike on the challenging nature of the roads, the scenic beauty and the warm welcome; Mayo & District Motorsport Club are delighted to return to Achill once more for another exciting event.

    This year the Mayo Stages Rally is the opening round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship in addition to also being the opening round of the Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship.  Saturday evening will be a great opportunity for the event sponsors to meet with club members and the local community and in keeping with past launches there will be a static rally car display at the hotel and local and national competitors will be in attendance.  This promises to be an interesting and entertaining evening and all are welcome.

  • Patrick Mc Eveney retains his Mayo and District Motorsport Club young driver Championship of the year for the second year in-a-row.

    The Castlebar man raced in the Autocross event last week in Class 3 of the competition.

    The 22-year-old Mechanical Engineering IT Sligo student has had a passion for the sport from a young age and dreams of racing on tarmac circuits.

  • The 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship got underway with an exciting opening round on Saturday last with Carrick on Suir Motor Club’s Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally. The first major Irish rally of the year incorporated the Michael O’Brien Plant Hire J1000 series for 15-19 year olds which entered its second season and last year’s champion Jason Murphy from Shrule took up where he left off last year, dominating the event winning 8 out of the 9 forest stages.

    The traditional Irish Forestry series opener took place a couple of weeks earlier this year, filling the void left by the Galway International Rally which announced last November that it would not be running in 2018, but this did not detracted from the quality and quantity of entries with 80 crews crossing the start ramp on Saturday morning.

    17 year old Jason who had his uncle Matthew in the co-drivers seat of his 1litre Peugeot 107 faced stiff opposition with Aoife Gahan geared up for her first full championship season in a Chevrolet Spark and British Rally Championship regular Peter Beaton from Scotland taking part, also in a Peugeot 107.

    The opening stage in the Faugheen forests seen Beaton quickest out of the blocks but with only 3.6 seconds separating the top 3 of Beaton, Gahan and Murphy in that order, fans of the J1000 series knew they were in for a cracker. On Stage 2 which seen the crews head for the Anner Forest area Murphy exerted his ability stopping the clocks 12 seconds faster than Beaton and moving in to an 8 second lead, a lead which he refused to relinquish and when Aoife Gahan retired after an off road excursion resulted in her damaging the steering in her Chevrolet on stage 6, the last 3 stages which were ran in the darkness were a battle between Ireland and Scotland. Although Murphy held a lead of 40 seconds over Beaton, this could change instantly as the crews bolted on the lamp pods to their cars and headed into the most challenging part of the rally for the competitors and the most exciting for all the spectators.

    Shortly into the first night stage disaster struck for the young Scotsman when mechanical trouble forced him to pull over his Peugeot during the stage and relinquish any chance of a fightback, with this the Murphy's knew that all they had to do was to hold their nerve and concentrate on getting to the finish line. A task that may sound easy but with almost 20 km of gravel stages yet to compete they knew any lapse in concentration could prove detrimental in the dark, and it almost ended in misfortune for the them as they carried to much speed into the final corner of the penultimate stage, resulting in their Peugeot sliding wide off the track and colliding with a tree stump on the outside of the corner, but fortunately for the South Mayo crew Mother Nature had offered assistance as the tree stump was decaying and luckily for the crew it disintegrated upon impact with the passenger’s side of the Peugeot 107. Thanking their lucky stars they went on to complete the final stage and return to the finish ramp in Carrick on Suir ecstatic with their performance in Tipperary and looking forward to round two in Limerick on the first weekend in March.