The final stage of the Killarney Rally of Lakes was the famous Molls Gap stage, but a down-hill version, a version which hasn’t been used for some time, one to really enjoy. For the Carbery Plastics Rally Team this 16.3 kilometre stage would turn into a nightmare, as the two Honda Civics sat forlornly at the side of the road, within a hundred metres of each other, and just two kilometres from the stage finish.
For 25 year old Cal McCarthy and his co-driver Eamonn Dullea, tackling the full two day event, it was a bitter end to what looked like an excellent points scoring position, for their assault on the Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Modified Championship. It had been a dramatic event as early as stage three- Caragh Lake for the West Cork pair. “On the third stage we lost third gear, and we had to do three more stages before we could change the gear-box to one that we were kindly loaned” commented Cal. It dropped them from 11th and 3rd in class 11, to 14th and 4th in class in the National event, but on the final stage of the day they pulled up to 13th overall.
Day two started very well for the crew, with a good run up Molls Gap, despite a lack of power steering due to an alternator problem, then second fastest class times on the Borlin, Lough Allua and Fuhiry stages, hauling them up to 11th and 3rd in class, just 5.3 seconds behind Ken O’Neill’s Puma S1600 in second. Class leader was local driver Rob Duggan in his Honda at this point had opened up a commanding lead that he was never to lose. On the next run over those three tough tests, they moved up to fine 9th overall in the National event, but in the class they were set to go no higher, as O’Neill’s Puma pulled out some valuable seconds.
“We were happy to settle for third in the class going into the final stage, but then it all went wrong. There was a noise came into the car, and we had no drive, and ground to a halt just over a mile from the finish.” It was all over just like that, as the borrowed gear-box failed and the first Carbery Plastics car was stranded.
For 21 year old Conor McCarthy and co-driver Dan O’Donovan, contesting Sunday’s Junior Rally in their EK4 Honda Civic it was to be a similar fate. After a slow start on the opening Molls Gap stage, were they were only ninth fastest, they set to work on the next Borlin test, and with a flying time leapt from ninth to first! From then on the pair powered ahead, pulling time on Sean Fleming’s Fiesta, and extending their lead to a handsome 45.8 seconds entering the final Molls Gap stage. There was a problem however, as the alternator light was flickering, and sickeningly near the end of the stage they ground to halt just a hundred yards from their team-mates. There was only one thing to say from both driver’s, and it’s the old adage, “That’s rallying!”
Next up for Conor is the ALMC Forestry event on May 17th, whilst Cal is preparing for the Donegal International on the 20th-22nd June. Keep up to date with the team’s progress on their website www.carberyplasticsrallying.com Facebook page- Carbery Plastics Rally Team and Twitter @CPRallying.
Issued by Andrew Bushe Promotions- www.andrewbushe.com