Competitors Eye on Saturday Stages
Name: Martin Brady
Lives: Carraroe, Co. Galway
Driver: Bryan Brophy
Car: Hillman Imp (H14)
Info: Martin has quite a varied career to date with a lot of success both at home and abroad. He has a trophy cabinet filled from success in various rally championships, from America, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. No doubt this weekend he will be hoping to add an historic trophy to that cabinet.
Today’s tricky stages take place South East of Galway City centralised around the village of Ardrahan along the N18 Galway – Limerick Road, with centralised service at Gort Livestock Mart in the South Galway Town. First car in Gort Service at 11.00am with first car due on the first stage at Ballybuck at 11.41am. Galway is always an exciting rally, despite the weather. That said not even the torrential floods could dampen the enthusiasm for the first round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The Galway club have had a huge logistical headache sent their way by the recent floods but testament to their ability to adapt we still have some of the finest roads that the west of Ireland can offer. Some stages have had to be paired down as sections are only fit for boats and ducks but even still there are enough kilometres left out there to challenge and entertain us on both sides of the ditch.
Special Stage 2, 4 & 5a Ballybuck
This is a sharp stage to start your season, the stage begins just outside Gort but it skirts right along the border with Co Clare and in fact if you have time to appreciate the view the Burren can be seen out over the ditches just as you approach junction 2. However, if you are busy admiring the natural view of our neighbours you may just be caught napping and lose out on the stopwatch. The stage starts very fast on a good grippy surface and rain should not be too much of a limiting factor on the clean wide abrasive tarmac that is until the stage turns left at the first junction and into narrow muddy farm boreens. Banks are high and a mistake or a spin in here could see a car stuck fast and time wasted in here, but if you can make it out of that section the stage opens again to wide fast flowing roads which will reward commitment and a determined right foot, it is 6km of fast brave sections where only the chicanes will stop the fastest cars from beating the bogey times. Then just to remind you that Galway roads can bite and to stop complacency the stage takes a complete personality swap in the last section where it turns finally into more narrow farm sodden lanes and a tight technical section to the finish, its slow in here but there is plenty of driving to do, lots of stones hidden slightly off line so a puncture could make or break a charge in here.
Skehanagh Special Stage 3, 5 & 5b
Starting just east of Ardrahan village this is but a short blast having been reduced in length because of the floods. At first glance the stage may not seem a big challenge but the distance should not fool you. Its very sprint nature means that you must be switched on from the first meter to avoid being caught out by not attacking the stage before it is over. It is a fast stage; flat out corners linking long straights punctuated by only one major junction and a few chicanes. However it is a wide stage so there should be nothing to catch you, but wide roads could catch out the over exuberant in the braking for some of those chicanes, some bumpers could be flailing at the stop line of this sprint.
You can catch Martin calling the notes for Bryan in car number H14 in the Historic section of the Galway International Rally which will run after the main field throughout the weekend.