Kerry Winter Stages Rally – 2017 [EVENT REPORT]

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Cavan Victory, but plenty of local success on Kerry Winter Stages Rally – 2017

[dropcaps type=’square’ font_size=’30’ color=’#ffffff’ background_color=’#000000′ border_color=”]C[/dropcaps] avan driver Garry Kiernan only decided on Friday that he was going to place an entry for Kerry Motor Club’s Banna Beach Resort Kerry Winter Rally but that did not stop him scoring a start-to-finish victory.

Kiernan and co-driver Keith Moriarty, from Abbeyfeale, were using the north-Kerry based event as a high speed test ahead of next month’s Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic rally and must surely start as one of the modified section’s favourites following Sunday’s domination.

The Escort crew were 11 second quicker than last year’s winners Daniel Cronin and Shane Buckley over the opening 17km stage near Abbeydorney.  After two stages they were a further 23 seconds to the good and by this stage it was a matter of who could finish second.

Cronin’s challenge ended at the start of stage four when a wheel bearing failed in his new Mitsubishi Lancer E10. Clare driver Padraig Egan looked certain to take over the second spot on the podium but a puncture on the same stage ended his hopes.

This left Shane Maguire as the comfortable second placed driver, a result that earned him the overall Top Part West Coast Championship 2017 for a third year in a row.

The top all Kerry Motor Club crew went to Tom Relihan and Maurice McElligott in their Ford Escort MK1. They were fourth after stage one but kept the pressure on to record a well-deserved podium and were awarded the coveted Donal O’Flaherty Memorial Trophy for their efforts.

Tim Enright was just four seconds behind in fourth but unfortunately it was not enough to take the West Coast title from Maguire.

Mick Quinn and Tony Healy, event winners in 2013, were fifth and winners of Class 14 after a trouble-free run.  Husband and wife team Eoin and Brenda Duffin were second in this class in a similar Escort.

Charlie Hickey from Killarney had John McCarthy on pace note duty for the first time and they were third in that class in another Escort.

Tadgh O’Sullivan and Eoin O’Leary were third in class 13 with Pat Barry and Kevin Tydings in their Ford Escort G4 seventh.  Father and daughter crew, Jason and Megan Costello won class 11R on Megan’s first rally.

Ger O’Brien and John Liston won the best non-placed Kerry Motor Club crew by bringing his Escort home in 18thplace.  Mike and Paddy Costello were second in Class 11R while Kevin O’Sullivan and Sean Nolan were third. Lisselton’s Eddie Kennelly with Timmy Murphy in the navigators seat finished fourth in Class 11R.

Darren Young and Sean Walsh were also third in their class in a Honda Civic, just ahead of Pat Slattery and Sean Campbell.  Jakes Kelly was third in his class on his first run in a hired Subaru.  Steven and Adrian O’Connor won the Junior Rally category from Padraig Cronin & Stephen Heelin with Abbeyfeale’s Pa Naughton and John Cahill taking third, all crews were in Honda Civics.

Father and son team Mike and Colin Nelligan were fifth in class 11 in what was Colin’s first rally.  Tommy O’Sullivan and Kevin Rohan won class two in a newly acquired Ford Focus.  Mike Kenny and Gene Stack finished 3rd in class 12.

2017 Kerry Auto Solo champion Daniel Chung competed on his first rally and finished fourth in the junior section, with Katie Quinn and Erik Honan marking their first Banna rally with a fifth place position also in the Junior section. Local co-driver Tony McCarthy guided James Hall to second in the historic section with Castlemaine’s David Griffin and David Leslie taking third, marking Griffin’s debut behind the wheel of his self-prepared Toyota Corolla.

West Cork duo of Stephen Carey and Nicole Roycroft finished 17th overall and took the honours of highest placed West Cork Crew by receiving the Johnny Whyte Memorial Trophy, it was Stephen’s third time claiming this prize.

Long-serving club member and co-driver Stephen O’Connell was presented with the Spirit of the Rally award for his dedication to the club and in particular the running of the 2017 Winter Rally.

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