Donegal Review – Modified, Historic & Junior Championships

Modified Championship

Championship leader Kevin Eves got off to an excellent start and led the Donegal National Rally overnight as he looked to extend his lead in the series. However after setting another quick time on the opening stage at Garrygort on the Saturday, he crashed out on the Knockalla stage. Kevin was taken to hospital with a foot injury but he is in good spirits and we wish him a full recovery and a speedy return to the stages. Eugene Meegan had a chance to overtake Eves but was plagued with mechanical problems all weekend and eventually was forced into Rally 2 where he picked up valuable points to stay in second place. Vivian Hamill took maximum points after a great drive which now moves him into third place overall with two rounds to go. John Devlin and John Bonner were two other drivers to score well over the weekend to move into fourth and fifth place overall respectively just ahead of Damien Tourish who also completed the event in Rally 2. Such was the pace that a number of prominent championship crews failed to finish with an accident on the opening stage putting Brian Brogan out, while Frank Kelly (axle) and Gary Kiernan (stub axle) were other retirements.

Provisional Top 5 Modified Championship

1 – Kevin Eves                   46
2 – Eugene Meegan        39.5
3 – Vivian Hamill              32
4 – John Devlin                 30
5 – John Bonner               26

Historic Championship

For Donegal Ernie Graham switched back to an Escort after a short Killarney run in his BMW. It was a decision that paid dividends as he won the Historic category with 55.6 seconds to spare over Barry Jones & Iwan Griffiths in another Escort. Jones led for several stages but was overtaken by Graham after the opening stage on Sunday. Jones still has a relatively comfortable lead with five of the eight rounds in the championship completed. Keith McIvor and David Goose finished in third and fourth place respectively while there was disappointment for Andy Johnson and Jim McSherry who retired with broken suspension near the end of the event. They had lost six minutes when a rotor arm broke on their opening stage at Garrygort but had moved back into the top ten by the time they were forced to retire.

Provisional Top 5 Historic Championship

1 – Barry Jones                 61.5
2 – Ernie Graham             49.5
3 – Keith McIvor              45
4 – Shawn Rayner            30
5 – Owen Murphy           29


Junior Championship

Only three championship registered crews made it to the finish of a very testing Sunday for the Junior competitors. Changing conditions saw only half of the twenty starters make the finish and Jenna McCann finished a fine third overall to extend her lead in the Junior championship to six points. Justin Ryan kept the pressure on to finish second of the registered crews and in now looks like being a battle between these two with just two rounds remaining. Third placed John McCabe didn’t start the event but is 22 points off the lead while Eric Calnan who lost a huge amount of time on the opening Fanad stage is a further six points back in fourth place. Brian & Lorcan Moores championship hopes appear to be over after retiring on the third stage on High Glen and they are a long way back in fifth place.

Provisional Top 5 Junior Championship

1 – Jenna McCann           56
2 – Justin Ryan                 50
3 – John McCabe             34
4 – Eric Calnan                  26
5 – Brian Moore               14