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ALMC Stages Rally - 19 Jul 09

Posted: July 29, 2009 9:42 AM - 20240 Hits

Round 3 - 2009 Midlands East Rally Championship
Round 6 - 2009 Irish Evolution Challenge
Round 8 - 2009 National Junior Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2009 Honda Cup Ireland
Round 4 - 2009 Irish 205 Challenge
Round 5 - Excel Rally Championship

  • Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman win ALMC

Photo: Sean Hassett

In Car - Seamus O'Connell & Sean Magee

Posted: July 29, 2009 9:42 AM

NJRC - Breen and Cunningham Take Top Points at ALMC Stages

Posted: July 24, 2009 2:20 PM

Debuting the new Fiesta R2 from M-Sport Craig Breen made a successful return to the NJRC and also having a triumphant weekend was our championship leader Jonathan Cunningham scoring eight points to retain his advantage in the overall standings. Starting as joint favourites both drivers had a hectic schedule over the three days of the event weekend. Starting on Friday Breen had a full day’s tarmac test in the R2 in Tipperary, then made the trip to Co. Meath for recce on Saturday and the rally on Sunday. Cunningham was in the same position as he had work commitments at M-Sport on Friday then flew home late Friday evening and was on the road early Saturday morning for recce and scrutiny with the rally following on Sunday and only two hours after the finish he was back on a plane to England for work on Monday.

The ALMC Junior Rally, round seven in the championship base in the City North Hotel was always going to be a hotly contested event with five of the NJRC registered drivers entered. Kevin O’Connor the victor on round six in Carrick on Suir was full of confidence and was now hoping to make it two wins in a row. Second on the Ravens Rock John Byrnes was happy with his progress in the MDR Motorsport backed Citroen C2R2 and was now ready to push for the top spot. The championship also welcomed back Co. Donegal man Kevin Gallagher. Kevin was making his first appearance of the year on tarmac and hadn’t been involved since his crash on the Moonraker forestry. The two favourites were divided by only two points with Cunningham topping the table with twenty two. Craig had opened the season with two victories and wanted to keep the run going, Jonathan secured his first win in Limerick’s Circuit of Munster but who would come out on top here?

As the junior field joined the action on stage five they would get two tests on that opening loop. All five were to suffer problems during the event with some fairing worse the others. Kevin Gallagher was the fastest out of the blocks and set the pace with a time of 8.28. Non championship driver Martin Mc Cormack was in second place, one second down with the Honda Civic of Jonathan Cunningham in third nineteen seconds away with the engine suffering from a misfire. Breen was in fourth twenty one seconds off the time of Gallagher blaming an electrical gremlin causing a loss of power. John Byrnes was in fifth with a time of nine minutes and was happy with his setup but stated that it was hard to commit fully as the stage was very slippery in places. Kevin O’Connor was the first to fall by the wayside as he only got four kilometres into the first stage when the right front wheel sheared off the car and his rally was over. Mc Cormack moved into the lead on stage six with Gallagher slotting into second and Breen moving up one place to third but still complaining of those electrical problems and the slippery conditions. John Byrnes dropped to sixth with a time of 11.59 after breaking a drive shaft near the end of the stage. Cunningham was to suffer the worst luck as he first had an overshoot and then hit a bail and got stuck in the stage, after losing a lot of time he did manage to get back to service but by now was 23 minutes down.

The second loop was to take in the only run over the Kentstown stage for the junior competitors. Kevin Gallagher’s good fortune was to run out here as he crashed out at a T junction. Kevin stated afterwards that he just braked too late and pulled a wheel off the car. Craig Breen was a lot happy with the new R2 over this stage, as he got his earlier problems sorted in service and set fastest time with 7.45 and moved into second place. John Byrnes climbed to fourth after getting his driveshaft replaced in service. Championship leader Cunningham was still running be it down in ninth but knew if he could make it to the finish he would pickup valuable points. Stage eight was cancelled so all remained was the last test of Bellewstown Hill. Byrnes was the only driver to move on the leader board as he now claimed third from Alan Bardon in the Honda Civic. Breen finished in second place and took eight points in class D and Jonathan Cunningham rescued a total of eight points by finishing in class G. At the finish Breen was very happy with his first result in the Fiesta R2 stating “there’s a lot more to come from the car. It’s a big step forward from my ST model. The longer wheel base makes it more stable, there’s way more top end power and is delivered better through the gears, the sequential gearbox makes gear changes a lot faster. It’s just a great package and can only get better”. John Byrnes was also happy with his day’s rallying and feels himself and the car is heading in the right direction. Jonathan Cunningham finished in ninth place but was the happiest by virtue of making the last time control he picked up eight points and still has top stop in the championship standings. “I didn’t have a great run today, a misfire on the opening stage, an off on stage six and a new co. driver for the rally made it very eventful but getting to the finish is the most important thing.” Jonathan stated at the finish.

In Car

Posted: July 24, 2009 1:37 PM







Video Clips

Posted: July 24, 2009 1:32 PM





Irish 205s - SLATTERY SERVES AN ACE

Posted: July 23, 2009 7:58 PM

Round four of the Peugeot Service Club Irish 205 Challenge was very much like a tennis practice session for Andrew Slattery who served up fastest time after fastest time with only one return being made by his fellow championship drivers. The event was hosted by the ALMC motor club and started from the City North Hotel based just ten minutes up the M1 motorway from Dublin. Nine special stages based around Duleek in County Meath lay ahead on a very changeable day.

Stage one was just over nine miles long and dry for all the crews. Slattery co driven by Donal Lynch was fastest by 14 seconds from championship leaders Kenny English/ Joe Bannerton who were surprised by the time taken by Slattery, feeling that had driven well with no mistakes. In trouble off the start line though was Noel Smith/ Dara Lyttle who found their car impossible to drive after the wheel alignment had been set wrong in the run up to the rally. They dropped 29 seconds which left them with a mountain to climb to get back into contention. Worse though befell Norman Dunne who had stand in co driver Niall Gavin alongside for the day when the brake trouble that had slowed him on the previous round raised its head again causing them a few heart stopping moments and losing 40 seconds.

Stage two was also just over nine miles but much tighter with several lethal sections of road with little or no grip. Slattery continued to pull away, taking another 14 seconds from English with Smith and Dunne just a second apart but now well behind as they both struggled through. Stage three was the longest and fastest stage at twelve mile, a flowing piece of road that suits the superb handling of the 205 gtis. Smith made some adjustments to his car before the start and kept in touch with Slattery, dropping only 3 seconds. English came next 6 seconds further back and Dunne just 3 slower and not needing his brakes as much when the road is flowing.

Arriving at the first service halt, Slatterys lead stood at 35 seconds over English with Smith third almost a minute back from the leader. Dunne was fourth and glad to have made service at all.

Slattery started the second loop of stages determined to open up more of a lead over English. The task was made easier when English out braked himself into a square corner and shot through the hedge braking a steering arm in the process and with it instant retirement. Smith and Dunne held position but still had to give best to Slattery. By now the showers had started falling and stage five was treacherous with cars off everywhere. Smith broke the stranglehold of fastest times going 1 second better than Slattery with Dunne just 6 seconds down. Slattery returned to the top of the times on the next stage taking 2 seconds back.

The lead Slattery held over Smith now stood at 1 minute 7 seconds as the service crews repaired the cars for the last loop. With the roads now very tricky all three crews were happy to hold station and not risk losing valuable championship points so no heroics were planned. Slattery went fastest again in stage seven despite several overshoots on the stage as the conditions worsened. Stage eight was canned to the delight of the crews but stage nine was maybe the worse conditions ever faced by the drivers as a huge rainstorm left the stage resembling a river in places. Strangely the drivers were the closet they had been all rally with Smith and Dunne just 1 and 2 seconds slower respectively than Slattery.

A great and much needed victory for Andrew Slattery who now becomes joint championship leader with two rounds remaining. He also won class ten on the rally from last years I205C champion Ultan McGowan who failed to register in time for this years championship and missed out on what would have been second place points and prize money finishing just 11 seconds behind Slattery overall.

Final Results;
51st Andrew Slattery/Donal Lynch Peugeot 205 GTi 1:28:41
59th Noel Smith/Dara Lyttle Peugeot 205 GTi 1:30:02
65th Norman Dunne/Gavin Niall Peugeot 205 GTi 1:31:28

The Peugeot Service Club Irish 205 Challenge wish to thank the ALMC Motor Club for an excellent event.

The Irish 205 challenge is proud to be sponsored by,
www.serviceclub.ie Slatterys of Puckane, Peugeot and Subaru dealerships Total quartz lubricants Blaklader workwear Kumho tyres Ears motorsport

John McLaughlin driver seals ALMC Rally honours

Posted: July 23, 2009 7:55 PM

John McGlaughlin was left celebrating an excellent result at Sunday's City North Hotel ALMC Stages Rally when he sealed second overall and first in Group N with his McGlaughlin's Bakery sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer!

After a break from the driving seat for almost two months, the Cookstown driver returned to action at the Co. Meath based event, hoping to build on his success at round six of the Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge.

"I was a bit rusty at the start," John admitted, "and the rain on Sunday morning didn't help matters as I had never used Pirelli tyres in the wet. I had no confidence so I dropped some time on stage one, and when I tried to push hard on the second stage, I spun!"

The roads started to dry out and on stage three, John upped the ante to move closer to his rivals' pace. Despite the time loss, he and navigator Crawford Henderson were third in Group N, less than half a minute behind the category leaders.

Confidence was building and through the second loop of stages, the Sunoco Fuels crew matched the category leader's pace. At the final service halt, John found himself holding fifth overall and second in Group N, but he was still half a minute behind the production category leader.

"The stages were very fast so it was difficult to make up time," John explained. "There were very few technical sections but going into the final loop, I decided to put the pressure on. It was very wet on stages seven and eight, but we managed to take almost 20 seconds out of the category leader!"

That left 12 seconds between John and the number one position going into the final stage. It was going to be a tall order to nab the top podium spot, but John pulled out all of the stops in a major effort to take another Evo Challenge victory.

"It was the hardest I drove all day," John admitted, "and it almost ended in tears. During the final stage, the car took off sideways over a crest into a square left. The back of the car was in the hedge and I thought we were going into the field. Luckily, the hedge was quite solid and we stayed on the road!"

When John arrived at the finish, he waited with baited breath to compare times with the category leader, but there was no sign of his rival. He had retired during the closing miles, handing the Bush Filling Station crew their second Evo Challenge victory on the trot, as well as second overall!

"I'd rather I'd have sealed the win in a straight fight," John said. "It was another good battle and it would have been very close at the finish. Unfortunately, as I know all too well, rallying can be cruel sometimes. We were on the right side of luck on this occasion, and my navigator, Crawford Henderson, as well as the McNeill Motorsport team, did another great job all weekend!"

After contesting only two rounds of the 2009 Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, John is already holding joint fifth in the series standings, and only 10 points adrift of the series leader. Despite his late foray into the series, the Cookstown driver has already become a real contender for the title!

EVANS/KANE IS EPIC IN CITROEN RACING TROPHY ENCOUNTER
McCORMACK/SHERRY TOP JUNIOR IN C2 MAX

Posted: July 23, 2009 7:53 PM

Monaghan's Barry Evans and co-driver Alan Kane rounded out the winners of the fifth round of the 2009 Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland, in a drive that showed the C2 R2 Cup runner up from 2008 had lost none of his form.

Five registered C2 R2 competitors set off from the City North Hotel start, on what was a day of changing conditions, light rain showers making the ultra fast stages, slippery in places, and nearly every one of the C2's bore the scars of small glances with the Drogheda scenery as the day progressed. Special stage one didn't immediately hint an Evans victory, as Sam Moffett set a superb time, just outside the top ten overall on the event, recording 7 minutes 38 seconds. The closest was Barry Evans a full 11 seconds behind, with Adrian McElhinney a further 9 seconds down on Barry, the Donegal driver not feeling confident of the grip levels in his C2. Mark Kane and Frank Dwyer were just a second behind Adrian, with Martin Tynan a further 2 seconds in arrears. However things got worse for the Clones driver as drive shaft problems starting stage 2, dropped them many minutes of road time, and they ended the rally classified as last on the finishers list.

On stage 2 Sam Moffett was joint fastest with Adrian McElhinney, with Barry Evans 2 seconds slower, and Mark Kane dropping a significant 13 seconds to the leaders here. On the third stage however Evans and McElhinney tied on time with 10 minutes 27 seconds, but Sam Moffett's early lead was to be erased with a time 15 seconds slower than the fastest pair. ìI don't understand where we lost the time on that stage. Things went well for us on the first two tests though, and there is a long way to go.î But for Sam there was a cruel twist of fortune as his gearbox jammed when he went to select reverse gear in service and the Monaghan youngster was out. That left Barry Evans with a five second lead over Adrian McElhinney, and a very fast time on stage 4, meant that after the second loop Barry's lead had increased marginally to ten seconds. Adrian's second place, although he didn't realize it would have been good enough to enable him to lift the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland title, and third placed Mark Kane, who was fastest on stage 5, was now 30 seconds behind him.

The final loop of the same three tests provided high drama, with Barry pulling another 6 seconds on stage 7, despite hitting a bank and damaging the C2. On the watch on stage 8, Adrian sliced into Barry's lead, but with the stage being interrupted as another car had crashed; the times later became null and void. It meant going into the last stage, no one was really sure of their exact position, and both Barry and Adrian pushed on. Adrian's luck however took a turn, collecting a puncture half way into the test, as he drove on. The delay however would let Mark Kane into second, with Adrian's third place meaning that he still has work to do in Wexford if he is to take the title.

For Barry Evans and stand in co-driver Alan Kane it was a great days rallying, and their car prepared by racing ace Jonathan Fildes ran superbly, and Barry was quite modest at the finish. ìHonestly I thought I had driven much harder on other rallies this season and not been in the picture for a victory. We have had a great day though and as always really enjoyed driving the car. It was a good event, and well run, always on time all day long, although the weather was a bit more unpredictable.î

This result puts Barry, taking into account dropped scores as a real threat to Adrian in the championship with the final two rounds the double header event in Wexford in September.

McCormack Junior Victor
Marty McCormack and Emmett Sherry took victory by 54 seconds on Marty's first taste of a Junior Rally in Ireland. ìI entered the rally for a bit of practice, and I must say its very good value for money, five proper stages for about 250Ä.î Marty started off with a second fastest time, behind the rapid Corsa of Donegal's Kevin Gallagher, but the C2 R2 Max pilot soon got into his stride taking several fastest times to move into a commanding lead. Craig Breen was making the debut of the new R2 Fiesta, and teething troubles held him back over the first loop of stages, but he was back on the pace on the late afternoon tests. Marty however was uncatchable at this stage. ìIt was a good days testing for us, and conditions were tricky enough, especially on the last stage, were we were on slicks in the damp. I decided to push on here to try and heat the tyres and we actually ended up fastest which was a good end to the day. The wee car as always has been superb and now our focus is to prepare it for the Ulster International.î

Round Five Results- Citroen Racing Trophy- ALMC Stages
1 Barry Evans/ Alan Kane Citroen C2 R2
2 Mark Kane/ Frank Dwyer Citroen C2 R2
3 Adrian McElhinney/ Shane Buckley Citroen C2 R2
4 Martin Tynan/Ciaran Tynan Citroen C2 R2

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland - McGlaughlin wins for the second time in succession.

Posted: July 23, 2009 7:52 PM

For the second time in as many events, John McGlaughlin and co-driver Crawford Henderson emerged as winners of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland, following a day-long battle with current series leaders Neil MCance and Sean Ferris. This time, it was the County Meath-based ALMC Stages Rally ñ round six of the Irish Group N Mitsubishi series ñ where they came out on top after a dramatic final stage.

Starting and finishing from the City North Hotel near Drogheda, the rally followed a traditional one-day Irish rally format of three stages run three times, with a service halt separating each loop of 48 kms. The popular event saw an overall entry of 130 cars, eight of which made up the Evo Challenge field.

Fastest out off the blocks were MCance/Ferris, who set a time good enough to place them second in the event overall and nine seconds ahead of the next-placed Evo crew of Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont. Carmichael reported that his car was sliding more than he had expected on the opening stage due to the changing grip levels of the rapidly drying road surface, but he and Lamont were ahead of McGlaughlin/Henderson by three seconds.

Others finding the going unpredictable were William Mavitty/Keefe Kilcoyne, who were pushing hard in their Evo VI in fourth, followed by Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O'Callaghan in fifth, who had overcome a few first-stage frights caused by fading brakes. Geoff McMahon/Robert Graham were sixth and getting used to their new environment, having hired the James Foley Rallysport Mitsubishi Evolution X for this event.

At the first service halt after the opening loop of three stages, the time sheets showed McCance/Ferris as the pace-setters and holding an advantage of 28 seconds ahead of Carmichael/Lamont, who had been slowed on SS2 when negotiating a crashed car. McGlaughlin/Henderson were just one second behind in third, McGlaughlin admitting that having spun in SS2 he was perhaps trying too hard.

Tom White/Robert Murphy were off to a solid start, but had the JFR team check their car's oil level at service, having seen traces of smoke behind the car. Thankfully, the fault was found to be nothing serious. Liam Egan /Mary O'Kane were another crew pleased to get through the first batch of stages, with Egan reporting he was rebuilding his confidence following his off last time out in round five.

The next loop saw Carmichael/Lamont and McGlaughlin/Henderson determined to get closer to the leaders. However, for the second-placed crew SS5 signalled the end of the road, when a heavy impact with a bank towards the end of the stage disappointingly forced them into retirement.

As it turned out, the accumulated times of McCance/Ferris and McGlaughlin/Henderson for the second set of three stages was exactly the same, meaning that it was status quo for the two front-runners. Behind them, Ballantine/O'Callaghan were now gathering pace and causing Mavitty/Kilcoyne to look in their mirrors.

Also setting faster times as they became more familiar with their car were McMahon/Graham, while White/Murphy were also gaining time as their engine worries were now over. However, for Egan/O'Kane it was now a case of just getting to the finish when their car's gearbox suddenly lost fourth and reverse.

Then, just when the teams had fitted slicks in readiness for a big push in the final loop, the weather played its hand, with showers of rain making sections of road very slippery indeed for some of the crews.

Although enjoying a cushion of 29 seconds, McCance/Ferris spun on SS7 and then again on SS8, which meant that when they lined-up to start the ninth and final stage there was just 11 seconds separating them and McGlaughlin/Henderson. Half way through the stage McCance felt confident his pace would be good enough to stay ahead, but then a noise from the transmission was shortly followed by no drive at all and the series leaders had no choice but to pull-up at the side of the road.

The door was now wide open for McGlaughlin/Henderson, who had started the stage flat out, intent on clawing back the 11 second deficit, but when they saw McCance's car at the side of the road, they were able to cruise to the finish to record their second Evo Challenge victory in as many events.

ìEven though we had a good run this afternoon, I didn't think we were going to do itî, said McGlaughlin. ìI couldn't believe it when I saw Neil and Sean parked at the side of the road, it was a real shame, as we were having another great battle. However, the win does mean that good run next time out could put us in contention for the title.î

Behind the leading pair confusion reigned on the final stage, with the wet roads first catching out Ballantine/O'Callagan who slid into a ditch. It was then Mavitty/Kilcoyne's turn, when they first overshot a junction and then had a high speed spin, which they were lucky to escape unscathed.

Conditions were a little better for McMahon/Graham and they made it through the SS9 without incident. This, added to problems with the stage timing system, meant that no one knew who was second, third or forth in the Evolution Challenge until organisers had double-checked the results that evening at the rally HQ. As it turned out, the positions stayed the same as they were, with Mavitty/Kilcoyne delighted to finish second and Ballantine/O'Callaghan third.

The outcome of this event sees positions at the top of the Evolution Challenge standings become very close indeed, with McCance ahead by just two points from Egan, Ballantine and Mavitty all sharing second place. However, the series leader is unable to compete in the next round, the Todds Leap Ulster Rally on 21st & 22nd August, which signals that the race for the title is heading for a grand finale in September.

The Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland is supported by: Pirelli tyres, Sunoco Racing Fuels, James Foley Rallysport, Carbone Lorraine, Murray Motorsport, Speedline Corse wheels, PIAA lights, Pacenotes, Sparco racewear and Mitsubishi Motors Ireland.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland

Round six results
1 John McGlaughlin (Cookstown)/Crawford Henderson (Magherafelt) 1:17:15
2 William Mavitty (Eniskillen)/Keefe Kilcoyne (Westport) 1:20:45
3 Stanley Ballentine (Strabane)/Donnacha O'Callaghan (Mallow) 1:21:34
4 Geoff McMahon (Armagh)/Robert Graham (Armagh) 1:21:43
5 Thomas White (Foulksmills)/Robert Murphy (New Ross) 1:24:51
6 Liam Egan (New York)/Mary O'Kane (Maghera) 1:26:59

Retirements
SS5 Alan Carmichael (Ballymena)/Ivor Lamont (Ballymena) - Accident
SS9 Neil McCance (Comber)/Sean Ferris (Omagh) - Transmission

SUCCESSFUL IRISH FIESTA R2 DEBUT FOR BREEN

Posted: July 23, 2009 7:52 PM

For 19 year old Waterford rally star Craig Breen, the weekends ALMC Stages Junior Rally provided a unique experience. Craig and co-driver Gareth Roberts made the Irish debut of the new 1600cc R2 specification Fiesta. With the car on loan from the factory Ford M-Sport team, and the cars designer over to see its progress, Craig finished the Junior Rally in second place, behind Marty McCormack in Citroen's much developed R2 machine. ìIt was a superb opportunity for me, and there was a lot to learn. We tested the car on the Friday before the event, and I think we established a good base set up for the Irish roads, and really it was all there to try on the five stage event.î The event however didn't get off to a perfect start with intermittent electrical problems causing the Fiesta to cut out on the opening loop. ìWe lost a lot of time, and on stage two Marty actually caught and passed us. We got to service and couldn't find anything obvious, but checked all the connections, and after that the car didn't miss a beat.î With the minor teething problems solved in the new rally machine, Craig set to work on the stages, recording a fastest time, on his way to second place, just 54 seconds behind winner McCormack. ìI was really happy to get a fastest time, so early on for the car, and in the afternoon I had a chance to really experience the car. I was very impressed with it, especially in the high speed corners. It has a longer wheelbase than the ST Fiesta, so that seems to help it, and like the ST the Reiger suspension is very good. Of course the sequential gearbox is superb, and there is more power. It's very enjoyable to drive.î The result at the weekend puts Craig back into the lead of the National Junior Rally Championship, with the next round the Cork two day forestry and Craig would love to debut the new car on gravel here. ìIt would be good to try and get the car for the Cork Forestry, and also in time for the Fiesta International round in Catalunya.î

For now however the Kel-Tech Engineering team are preparing their familiar Fiesta ST for next weekend's WRC Rally Finland the latest round of the FST International series, and indeed the car is already on its long trip to make Finland, for a test session on Monday. ìFinland will be all new to me for sure, and I believe there will be one of the local drivers in the FST series, so he should be very rapid. It will be a new challenge, like Portugal was and we will be having a go, that's for sure. Getting points is important, but at the same time, if we think we can race we will. I'm looking forward to Catalunya also. It will be a different type of attack on tarmac than Irish tarmac, but I'm hoping my karting skills will come in useful there.î For Craig it's been an amazing season to date. Currently he leads the Fiesta Sport Trophy UK. Fiesta Sport Trophy Ireland, the National Junior Rally Championship and is in the frame in the International Fiesta series, a superb achievement for Irish rally-sport.

John McGlaughlin seals Gp N on ALMC John McGlaughlin was left celebrating an excellent result at Sunday's City North Hotel ALMC Stages Rally when he sealed second overall and first in Group N with his McGlaughlin's Bakery sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer!

After a break from the driving seat for almost two months, the Cookstown driver returned to action at the Co. Meath based event, hoping to build on his success at round six of the Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge.

"I was a bit rusty at the start," John admitted, "and the rain on Sunday morning didn't help matters as I had never used Pirelli tyres in the wet. I had no confidence so I dropped some time on stage one, and when I tried to push hard on the second stage, I spun!"

The roads started to dry out and on stage three, John upped the ante to move closer to his rivals' pace. Despite the time loss, he and navigator Crawford Henderson were third in Group N, less than half a minute behind the category leaders.

Confidence was building and through the second loop of stages, the Sunoco Fuels crew matched the category leader's pace. At the final service halt, John found himself holding fifth overall and second in Group N, but he was still half a minute behind the production category leader.

"The stages were very fast so it was difficult to make up time," John explained. "There were very few technical sections but going into the final loop, I decided to put the pressure on. It was very wet on stages seven and eight, but we managed to take almost 20 seconds out of the category leader!"

That left 12 seconds between John and the number one position going into the final stage. It was going to be a tall order to nab the top podium spot, but John pulled out all of the stops in a major effort to take another Evo Challenge victory.

"It was the hardest I drove all day," John admitted, "and it almost ended in tears. During the final stage, the car took off sideways over a crest into a square left. The back of the car was in the hedge and I thought we were going into the field. Luckily, the hedge was quite solid and we stayed on the road!"

When John arrived at the finish, he waited with baited breath to compare times with the category leader, but there was no sign of his rival. He had retired during the closing miles, handing the Bush Filling Station crew their second Evo Challenge victory on the trot, as well as second overall!

"I'd rather I'd have sealed the win in a straight fight," John said. "It was another good battle and it would have been very close at the finish. Unfortunately, as I know all too well, rallying can be cruel sometimes. We were on the right side of luck on this occasion, and my navigator, Crawford Henderson, as well as the McNeill Motorsport team, did another great job all weekend!"

After contesting only two rounds of the 2009 Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, John is already holding joint fifth in the series standings, and only 10 points adrift of the series leader. Despite his late foray into the series, the Cookstown driver has already become a real contender for the title!

Honda Cup Ireland 2009 Round 5 Report

Posted: July 23, 2009 7:49 PM

The ALMC Stages Rally based in Drogheda, Co. Meath has played host to one of the most thrilling battles in the Honda Cup Ireland’s inaugural year. The two title favourites, Tomas O’Rourke and Damien McCarthy arrived to the City North Hotel on Saturday with it all to play for. Any points advantage that either of the two men could achieve over the other could mark a turning point in the championship; and at last we may speculate on a champion for the 2009 season. But the two protagonists could not afford to discount the other Honda Cup entrants such as Martin Cunningham, Peter O’Kane and Stephen Carey, whom are all looking for their first victory in the series. The rally is run over a loop of 3 stages, run 3 times in the Duleek/Bellewstown area. All of the stages are fast and require a lot of commitment from the drivers and there is plenty of shiny tar also, which is lethal when wet. The forecast was predicting generally dry weather with scattered showers later in the afternoon – and for a change the forecast was very accurate.

Stage 1 commenced on a wet but drying road just south of Duleek. Damien McCarthy was the initial pace setter amongst the cup entrants, with Martin Cunningham setting a time only 1 seconds slower over the eight mile test. Tomas O’Rourke had a slower start and was some 7 seconds further back from Cunningham. Tomas had selected a tyre more suitable for a wetter road and was suffering as the day turned warm quickly and the roads were drying. Peter O’Kane and Stephen Carey in the Production class were trailing the class leader, O’Rourke, by nearly 20 seconds but were not hanging about by any means. McCarthy set the pace again on SS2, but was being pushed all the way by Cunningham who was only 4 seconds slower, with O’Rourke putting in another third quickest time and dropping a further 5 seconds to McCarthy, the leader and his main championship rival. Further back in the Production class for GroupN homologated cars Stephen Carey and Peter O’Kane were setting very similar times and were pushing hard. However, no pattern was developing for the day as SS3 would prove. On the third test, Tomas O’Rourke set a blistering time to eclipse all the other Honda Cup competitors by over 3 seconds to McCarthy with Cunningham a further 5 seconds behind. Stephen Carey had a little less to worry about by the time he arrived at the end of SS3; he had passed Peter O’Kane on the stage, who had been forced to retire after leaving the road on a tricky section of the stage. On arrival into first service after SS3, the first three Honda Cup Ireland entrants were only separated by a total of 12 seconds – testament to the strength of competition in the series.

By the end of the first service halt, most of the standing water on the stages was draining away and KUMHO dry weather tyres were the order of the day. On the first stage after the halt, SS4, O’Rourke would continue his push to the front of the leader board with yet another very fast time. He managed to reduce the deficit to leaders by a further 4 seconds. By this point McCarthy was already 9th overall in the rally and inline to score a maximum point haul – O’Rourke had his work cut out for him. Martin Cunningham also submitted an exceptionally fast time to give only 1 seconds away to McCarthy on this particular stage. McCarthy was pushing on hard in an attempt to answer O’Rourke’s step-up in pace and he was successful. In SS5, McCarthy would recapture 2 seconds from O’Rourke – this battle was becoming intense! Hard charger Martin Cunningham, however, will not remember SS5 very favourably. Martin’s throttle cable would stick open on a fast section into an acute right turn. He managed to brake the car sideways in an attempt to get stopped but thumped the ditch with the rear left wheel, bending the rear cross member. He limped through the remaining stage before the second and final service, but would later retire after surveying the damage. Martin is hoping to have the car rebuilt and freshened up for the final rounds in Wexford and we look forward to seeing him there.

The remaining crews would leave the final service halt and go into the remaining loop of three stages with it all to play for. McCarthy (9th overall) was leading O’Rourke (10th overall) by only three seconds at this point, meaning that both competitors were on course to score maximum points in their respective classes. SS7 was the first test after service, a repeat of SS1 and SS4 earlier in the day. On this stage McCarthy had an overshoot on a slippery junction and dropped 6 seconds to O’Rourke – this now meant that O’Rourke was the new leader by the slimmest of margins; only 3 seconds with 2 stages remaining. However, O’Rourke’s spell at the top of the leader board was short lived. On SS8, the penultimate stage, O’Rourkes Production spec Honda Civic Type-R rolled out of contention at over 120mph taking Tomas’ chances of a maximum points haul with it. The stage was halted at that point and all the other crews got a nominal time. We are happy to report that Tomas and navigator, Thomas Scallan, are a bit sore but ok after the accident. O’Rourke’s retirement didn’t make any difference to the amount of pressure on Damien McCarthy however. Although, O’Rourke scoring no points on this round helped, Damien really needed to finish in the top 10 of the rally, securing maximum bonus points, to ensure he had done the most for his championship hopes. On the final stage of the day, Stephen Carey brought home his Group N EK4 home in 36th position, winning the Production class. Stephen has a knack of bringing the car home unmarked and yet in a respectable position, proving his skill and consistency. Stephen’s points haul, helps his 3rd overall championship hopes. For the remaining Super-Production runner, Damien McCarthy, there was a final sting in the tail from the ALMC rally. Damien could afford to back off a bit and ensure that he scoops maximum points, but unfortunately, he would be caught out by a patch of shiny tar on a tight junction which meant he overshot the turn and slipped into the ditch on an escape road. Although the car wasn’t damaged, it took 6 minutes for spectators to manage to get the car out of the ditch, dropping McCarthy from 9th overall to 35th overall. Damien got the car to the finish, but has forfeited his 3 extra bonus points for a top 10 finish.

With all the drama of the ALMC rally over, we can now look to the Wexford Rally, which is a double-header – rounds 6 and 7 of the championship. This championship is going down to the wire and we wish both the championship hopefuls the best of luck. We would like to see both drivers battle for the two days, and not have bad luck or an external influence affect the result.

In addition to the Honda Cup entrants, Championship organiser, Eugene Meegan also participated in the ALMC in a GroupN Type-R EP3 Civic. Eugene didn’t want to enter the cup for fear of affecting the championship points battle between McCarthy and O’Rourke. And Eugene’s fears were justified by finishing 5th overall in the rally, first 2wd home, first in class 3, and the first Honda home. Eugene, who originally built the car used by Tomas O’Rourke, enjoyed the rally and couldn’t believe the pace that the Honda Cup challengers were on. At first service he commented, “The pace out there is unreal, the boys [O’Rourke and McCarthy] are going real hard”.

We’d like to thank Noel Devlin, Dawn Popham and all the ALMC committee for their hospitality over the weekend. The event was very well managed and has to be one of the most competitor friendly events of the year.

Results

Posted: July 23, 2009 7:33 PM

1 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC) 74m 27s
2 John McGlaughlin/Crawford Henderson (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 77m 15s
3 Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt (MG Metro 6R4) 77m 44s
4 Trevor Mulligan/Lisa Roe (Ford Escort Escort Mk II) 78m 59s
5 Eugene Meegan/Brian Sharkey (Honda Civic Type R) 79m 45s
6 Mark Nangle/Nollaig Breen (Subaru Impreza Gp N) 80m 09
7 Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly (Ford Fiesta ST) 81m 14s
8 Brian Lawlor/Peter Kavanagh (Ford Escort Mk II) 81m 14s
9 Geoff McMahon/Rob Graham (Mit. Lancer Evo 10 Gp N) 81m 23s
10 Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O'Callaghan (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 81m 34s

JUNIOR RALLY:
1 Martin McCormack/Emmet Sherry (Citroen C2R2 Max) 46m 03s,
2 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta R2) 46m 57s,
3 John Byrnes/Kenneth Sheil (Citroen C2R2) 49m 29s.

Leaders After:
SS1 Seamus O'Connell/Sean Magee (Ford Escort Mk II)
SS2-9 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)

Stage Winners
SS1 Seamus O'Connell/Sean Magee (Ford Escort Mk II)
SS2 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)
SS3 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)
SS4 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)
SS5 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)
SS6 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)
SS7 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)
SS8 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)
SS9 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)

Latest Entries / Marshals Meeting Points

Posted: July 16, 2009 11:32 PM

National Junior Rally Championship Reaches Halfway Point With The ALMC Stages Rally

Posted: July 16, 2009 11:30 PM

With the opening six events out of the way the ALMC Stages Rally marks the halfway point in the 2009 National Junior Rally Championship (NJRC). Things have begun to hot up over the last eight weeks as the championship made its first transition of the season from the opening three forestry rounds for four tarmac rallies. The ALMC event signifies the last sealed surface event before the championship heads back to the wood for the Cork Forestry Rally in August.

The ALMC Junior Rally has attracted a competitive field of fifteen crews, with five registered drivers for the NJRC. Championship leader Jonathan Cunningham in the Honda Civic makes a welcome return after missing out on round six with work commitments at M -Sport. Jonathan scored his first points on round three the Moonraker forestry and from then has been the driver to watch on the tarmac rounds. In Cavan he came away with six points but as the championship moved nearer to home Jonathan took a well-deserved start to finish win on the Circuit of Munster Junior Rally.

Probably the biggest news for the event is that Craig Breen returns to the fray for his first outing on tarmac of the season. After making a dream start by winning the opening two forestry rounds the young Kilkenny driver now lying joint second on the leader board with twenty points comes to Co. Meath to debut the new Ford Fiesta R2.

Next we have John Byrnes from Cappamore in Co. Limerick. John has been making steady progress over the last two rallies in the MDR Motorsport Citroen C2R2, John wasn’t happy with the handling on his home event in Limerick but after some testing and a second place finish on the Ravens Rock Junior Rally was feeling a lot more content and now hopes to push for his first win of the season.

Fourth of our registered drivers is Kevin O’Connor, the second competitor from Limerick and the winner of round six in Carrick on Suir. Kevin was late coming on board to the championship but picked up six points on his home event in Adare and than stunned the junior field with his pace on the Ravens Rock. Kevin now stands on twelve points and will be hoping to add to that next weekend.

Making the long trip from Letterkenny is Kevin Gallagher. Kevin is another driver making the switch from gravel to tarmac for the first time in 2009 next weekend. The Donegal man picked up eight points on the opening round in Mitchelstown but then suffered bad luck on the next two forestry events, not finishing the Carrick on Suir forestry and crashing out on the Moonraker.

There will be more news from each of the drivers later in the week as they prepare for Sunday.

Honda Cup Ireland – Battle of the Boyne II

Posted: July 16, 2009 11:18 PM

On July 19th, Honda Cup Ireland will make up part of the field of the ALMC Stages Rally 2009. The Drogheda, Co. Louth based event is one that is well known to the organisers of the Cup and it couldn’t come more highly recommended. The rally is known for its fast stages, high quality clubman entry and friendly efficient organisation. Based in the City North Hotel, 5 minutes south of the town on the M1 motorway, it is also an easy event to access, and the facilities on offer are second to none.

The ALMC Stages is round 5 for this year’s championship which may go down to the wire on round 7 in Wexford before we can hazard a guess regarding who may actually win the Honda Cup Ireland 2009. At the moment, the points table shows Tomas O’Rourke leading by only 2 points to Damien McCarthy – it really couldn’t be closer with 3 rounds to go, keeping in mind that both competitors can drop their two worst scores at the end on the year. A little further back on the points table, but not behind on pace, is Martin Cunningham. Martin has a mathematical chance of winning the cup also, and he definitely has the speed, however overall victory would rely on very poor scoring or non-entries from O’Rourke and McCarthy over the remaining rounds.

We are looking forward to welcoming Peter O’Kane back to the cup for the ALMC Stages. Peter was forced to withdraw his entry from Round 4 in Carlow after succumbing to the shingles. Now fully recovered, we can expect a good charge from the Portglenone man in his Group N EP3 Civic. The current Group N leader is Stephen Carey, who is third overall in the points table – testament to Stephen’s consistent pace and 100% reliable car. Another man who we had hoped to welcome back after an unlucky event in Carlow is Richard Whelan. Richard is putting all his efforts into completing a newly built Super-Production car – and we wish Richard the very best of luck with it. We hope to see him in Wexford.

With the ALMC Stages you can always expect a high quality entry and a lot of local knowledge being put to use, so our competitors will find it hard to match the overall finishing positions that were achieved in Carlow. However, it’s all to play for and with our bonus point system in place; no competitor can afford to be a slow starter.

We would like to wish the ALMC Stages organising committee the best of luck. All the latest news can be found on

Entires still Available

Posted: July 12, 2009 3:08 PM

Entry List, Final Instructions,Scrutiny Times, Time and Distance Schedule

Posted: July 12, 2009 3:05 PM

Midlands East Rally Championship 2009 - Its all go for ALMC.

Posted: June 10, 2009 4:34 PM

ALMC. The Second round of the 2009 Midland Motors Athlone Championship in Rooskey saw big changes to the overall leaderboard with 5 crews and a single co driver on Maximum scores. The Crews are David Quigley/Des Sherlock (Honda Civic), Adrian Quinn/Alastair Wylie (Mitsubishi Evo), Thomas Carolan/Declan Smith (Escort), David Percy/John Kinahan (Escort Maxi), Trevor Mulligan/Lisa Roe (Escort) and the lone co driver is Dermot O’Rourke.

But with 3 Rounds remaining and dropped scores to contend with anything can happen in terms of the leader board on the next 3 rounds of the championship. In addition bonus points have also to be added in to the crews that start all 6 Rounds.

The remaining class leaders are Pakie & Colin Duffy, Eamon McCafferty/Catherine Levis, Edward & John Kelly, Kieran Donoghue/Dermot O’Rourke, Kevin Cleere/Aileen Garahy, Colm Brady/Brendan Ryan & Kieran Guinan/Alan Higgins.

The hotly contested Junior Championship is being led by Bobby Cooper & Michelle Silke from Castlerea.

The remaining rounds in this year’s championship are Almc Stages July 19th, North East Mini Stages Rally August 23rd, Castle Mini Stages September 6th and concluding with the GSMC Mini Stages October 18th.

The next round of the championship is the North East Mini Stage Rally on Sunday August 23rd based in Muldoons Bar Ardee. Entries are available from 086 3551759.

In addition to Japcars.ie/Midland Motors Athlone the championship is also delighted to have the support from the following associate sponsors: A & A Insulation Mullingar, Tom Holton Windows Enfield, Declan Tansey Construction Mullingar, Patsy Carberry Sand & Gravel Collon.

Over 100 Entries Received

Posted: June 9, 2009 5:14 PM

From World Rally Cars, Ford, Subaru and Toyota, to historic Mini’s and Imp’s, from Metro 6R4’s to Citroen CR2’s and nearly everything in between, ALMC MOTOR CLUB’s City North Hotel Stages Rally on July 19t next has now passed the 100 entry mark.

The rally based in the City North Hotel at Junction 7 on the M1 Motorway, comprises a 3 stage loop with centralised servicing in Duleek Business park. A mixture of tight and fast roads with nearly all new stages in south Meath and North Dublin—some just 15 minutes from Dublin Airport—will greet competitors when they leave the Hotel HQ at 930 a.m. on Sunday 19th of July next.

The rally is a round of various championships. MI Junior, Midlands East, Excell, Honda Cup,CR2’s,205 and Mitsubishi EVO, which will allow for plenty of competition throughout all the classes.

With all rally events marshals are always in demand so if you can help on the day please call our Chief Marshal on 086 8513313 / +353 86 8513313

All marshals will receive a packed lunch, a meal voucher for after the rally in The Hotel HQ and a complimentary rally programme.

ALMC MOTOR CLUB are also offering a fabulous prize to one lucky marshal, a “Start Line Course” at Mondello Park Racing Circuit, worth over €200.

If you want to be part of the fantastic event and line up, check out the link to the online entry system (Link below) or contact the event Secretary on 086 2341345 / +353 86 2341345 for a manual entry form.

On Line Entry Open:

Posted: May 5, 2009 12:49 PM

Regulations:

On Line Entry:

Santa comes early from ALMC:
Reduced Entry Fee for 2009 Rally!

Posted: December 2, 2008 4:10 PM

Now that the economy is experiencing a dramatic downturn in all Sectors, Increased Vat charges on goods, additional safety requirements for crews, the new Fire Extinguisher levy and increased Permit fees from Motorsport Ireland will all add to the cost of motorsport.

ALMC, in the planning of its 2009 Multi Stage Rally on July 19th, recognises the times we are in and has taken the unusual step of dramatically cutting its Event Entry Fee from the 2008 level (€550) to an all inclusive fee of € 499. We see this as our contribution to helping our Clubman competitor base manage their costs, and allow them plan now for their favourite event of the season. (The event is just 32 weeks away)

The Club have launched a New Rally website www.almcstagesrally.com to keep Competitors, Marshals and enthusiasts up to date on the progress of the event over the coming months.

Register your interest with us now and we will keep you updated.

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