All Roads Lead to Killarney on May Bank Holiday Weekend!
The unfortunate cancellation of the Easter Stages Rally means that the forthcoming Cartell.ie International Rally of the Lakes will now be the second round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The Killarney based event to be held on the May Bank Holiday weekend has attracted most of the registered runners to date which promises to be a very exciting spectacle. With classic stages such as Molls Gap, Gortnagagne, Ardgroom, Tim Healy and Cods Head being run, whoever wins the event will have put down a marker to the other championship contenders for the rest of the year.
Keith Cronin and Eugene Donnelly were the top points scorers in Galway, but neither have entered to date, which leaves third placed Declan Boyle in with the chance to take over the lead in the championship. Speaking to Boyle earlier this week he said “I haven’t done Killarney before, and after a couple of poor runs in national rallies recently, my main aim is to get some more championship points on the board”. Derek McGarrity in fourth place is an old hand at Killarney having won the event in the past and will relish the opportunity to put some of this experience to good effect as he targets a third tarmac championship title.
Donagh Kelly will be hoping his mechanical woes in the recent Monaghan rally will be sorted in time for Killarney as he currently lies in fifth place in the championship standings. Garry Jennings in sixth place will also be hoping for a better run than in Galway, and the Kesh driver has vast experience in Killarney. Daragh O’Riordan and Thomas Fitzmaurice will be hoping to get their campaign rolling with O’Riordan bidding for three wins in a row on the rally. Fitzmaurice suffered mechanical problems in Galway and as this will be his local event in the series, will be hoping to score some valuable championship points.
The group N battle will also be interesting with Alan Ring on home territory but likely to face a buoyant Sam Moffett fresh from his recent win on Monaghan which will give him great confidence. Sam’s brother Josh is another driver capable of taking the category while Stephen Wright cannot be discounted either. In the modified championship, Fergus O’Meara leads on fifteen points going into his home event with Davy Armstrong next up on twelve points. Jason McSweeney is currently in third place in his Honda Civic. With Frank Kelly now also registered for points, it could make the modified battle very exiting in Killarney.
The Historic Championship is more advanced, with the first round having been held at the Killarney Historic Rally of the Lakes in December, and the second in Galway. James O’Mahony currently leads the standings in his big Volvo with Ray Cunningham in second place five points behind. The green Porsche 911 of John Spiers is currently in third place with the very rapid Wesley Patterson holding fourth in his fabulous Escort Mk2.
The new Irish Tarmac Rally Championship website has been launched and it can be accessed by going to www.irishtarmac.com. The latest happenings in the championship will be posted here and the points from the various categories in the series will be updated after each event. There is also a gallery section where photos from each event will be put up. The site will contain all relevant information for anyone still wishing to register for the championship as well as contact details for championship officials and events.