A stunning array of historic cars was the perfect way to bring back the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. Killarney Historic Rally offered three of the best asphalt stages in Ireland: Moll’s Gap, Ballaghbeama, and Caragh Lake, to kick off TROA’s 2022 Historic Irish Tarmac Championship.
Craig Breen and Paul Nagle claimed a popular Killarney Historic Rally win in an iconic BMW M3. The World Rally Championship crew and Irish Tarmac Championship winning duo was untouchable at the head of the Historic field.
As the 2019 Tarmac Champions go back to full-time WRC competition next year, they didn’t register for ITRC points in Killarney meaning the battle was well and truly on behind.
It was Neil Williams and Anthony O’Sullivan who came home with maximum points in their Class D5 Ford Escort Mk2. Williams fought his way through a tricky opening loop after misjudging tyre pressures on Saturday morning.
He survived the understeering side-effects, resolved the problem in service, and enjoyed a sunny second half to the day.
“It was an odd rally for me,” admitted Williams. “I was full of a heavy cold before going so that made things tough before starting and then the first loop didn’t go as I’d hoped. I dropped the front tyre pressures too low and after the delay at the start of Moll’s Gap, they just didn’t generate any heat so the car was understeering badly.
“It was the same story on the next two stages. We were having too many moments and kept running out of road on Caragh Lake’s higher speed corners. We got back to service with damage limitation in mind. Winning the class was the best we could get so I was happy enough in the end.”
Michael McDaid and Declan Casey had been the men to beat on Killarney’s first loop of stages. They led Williams by 10 seconds after Stage 3 but engine trouble on the second pass of Moll’s Gap left them stranded and out of the rally.
Another notable retirement came a stage earlier when Ray Breen and Podge News rolled their immaculate Subaru Legacy on a tricky section near the end of Caragh Lake. The pair were less than 10 seconds behind Williams and O’Sullivan’s Escort after a steady run through Ballaghbeama.
A rally-long fightback from Duncan and George Williams was rewarded with runner-up ITRC points in Killarney. A sluggish start in Moll’s Gap left them behind six championship crews.
“It was great to be out,” said Duncan Williams. “The sun is shining, we’re in an Escort, and in Ireland.”
Maurice and Stephen Meskell rounded out the top three ITRC crews in their Mk2 Escort.
Luke McCarthy and Brian Duggan picked up fourth-place points in a BDA powered Escort while Todd Falvey and Iarla McCarthy, and Aidan O’Connor and Ian Regan completed the top six.
One final performance to note was that of William Mavitty and Andrew Browne. The pair had swapped their usual Mitsubishi Evo for a Talbot Samba to do the Killarney Historic Rally.
Mavitty along with a long list of helpers rebuilt the Samba which was originally driven by the late Rory Galligan. Despite struggling with a lack of brakes, Mavitty and Browne made it back to the Gleneagle Hotel finish ramp in one piece, and were more than happy with their special tribute to a much-missed friend.