The Irish rally season, and more specifically the Irish Tarmac Championships, roared into action over the weekend with the Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally. The event reverted to a two-day format with the stages based in the south Galway area.
Local Mayo interest was with Bekan’s Sean McHugh and his co-driver Aidan Gannon from Tubbercurry, the pair, after a demanding two days brought their BMW home a splendid second in class 14 in the national section of the rally.
Kiltmagh native Eamon Walsh navigated Aaron McHale to finished just one place outside the top 10 of the International section and sixth in Group N. Westport’s David Carney in his newly acquired Citroen DS3, had an unlucky start to the event, misjudging braking on stage 1 his DS3 came to rest on a bank, not causing much damage but a leaking radiator forced him and his navigator Ray Fitzpatrick to withdraw from the event. Headford’s Justin Ryan had Andy Walsh from Ballinrobe on the notes in the junior section of the rally.
The pair who contested the first six stages on Sunday got off to a blistering start in their Honda Civic. Sitting second in their class and third overall after stage two, they were unfortunate on stage three when after a heavy landing an electrical problem stalled the engine. Losing a lot of time getting the car restarted the pair received the stage maximum time leaving them with a impossible mountain to climb, undeterred they went on to set some impressive times on their remaining three stages.
All attention now turns to the Mayo Stages Rally, which takes place on Sunday March 9, with entries already coming in rapidly for the Ballina based event, the question on everybody lips is, with Declan Boyle’s good start to the year can he once again be the fastest around north Mayo and add to his 2013 Mayo win? The official launch for the Hotel Ballina Kennedy Motors Mayo Stages Rally takes place in Hotel Ballina on Saturday evening, February at 7.30pm. All are welcome to come along, for further information about the 2014 Mayo Stages Rally log on to www.mayomotorsportclub.com Building on the success of hosting last year’s event in Ballina, a rally festival and an array of entertainment has been organised by the Ballina Chamber of Commerce. This Festival will happen on Saturday, March 8 from 1pm to 9pm.
Mattie Griffin will be there to show off his amazing bike stunt skills. A WRC Ford Focus Rally car simulator also be on hand along with a classic car display and RSA Roll over car long with a spectacular end to the day with a display of the top local, national and international rally cars. Hotel Ballina will host a Show Dance in their Nephin Suite at 9pm to get everyone ready for the following day and the prize-giving ceremony after the rally back in Rally HQ at Hotel Ballina at 6pm on the Sunday.