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 and 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 third place, with last year’s winner Joseph McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney coming in fourth.
In fifth place was Niall Maguire and his navigator Enda Sherry, next up were Aidan Wray and Kieran McGrath in a Mitsubishi Evo 10, they took sixth place. Stuart Darcy and Keith McCarthy in an eye catching Darrian T9 were seventh.
Just out of the workshop with their new Ford Fiesta R5, Brendan Cumiskey and Stephen McAuley were delighted with its performance and came eighth. Following closely in ninth place was Chris Armstrong who had Chris Melly on the notes. Donagh Kelly picked up a puncture after stage three and limped his way back from 46th on one occasion to finish in 10th place.
Closer to home, Mayo and District Motorsport Club member had a mixed day. James McGreal and Chris Mitchell, had a good day out in their Mitsubishi Evo 6, the duo came second in class 15 and 43rd overall. They 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 first in class one and came 44th overall.
John Duffy and John Egan in their Honda Integra were in flying form, they had little to correct at either service, came first in class three and were 46th overall. Derek Bolton and Ronan Moore had a steady start in their Subaru Impreza and they maintained their position during the day to take third in class 15 and 49th overall.
Ronan Denning and Karl Egan had a great start in their Citroen C2R2, despite some electronic issues after the second loop, they recovered to take first in class two and 50th overall.
Belcarra brothers, Colm Connor and James Connor, came sixth in class 11F and 51st overall in their Toyota Corolla. They picked up the first place Mayo Club award. Martin Cawley and Kenneth Langan had a good day out in their Peugeot 205, despite leaking fuel after stage three which their crew sorted in service, and they came home in second place in class 10 and 55th overall – their best finish to date.
Barry Cuffe and Stephen McGing came sixth 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 one and two, they rejoined under rally two rules after the first loop, they took home the second place Mayo Club award.
Trisha Greavy was flying the flag on behalf of the woman, coming ninth in class 11F and 60th overall in her Honda Civic with her brother Brendan Greavy on the notes, they took third place in the Mayo Club awards. Gordon Nimo and Kerrill Dempsey were out for their first trip in their Supermac's sponsored Ford Fiesta. They came 10th in class 11F and 61st overall.
Achill men Brian Lavelle and Daniel Kilbane in a class 11F Honda Civic had issues after the first loop and rejoined the event under rally two 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 third in class 10 and 64th overall, after finishing under rally two rules. In the juniors Noel Murphy and John Burke in their Honda Civic EK4 came seventh 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 one their Honda Integra lost its sump; they subsequently lost reverse and fith gear. Shane Buckley and 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 Buckley took home the Eddie O’Hora award for the fastest Mayo and District member on stage one.