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Connacht Sligo Stages Rally - 12 Jul 09

Posted: July 9, 2009 10:55 AM - 17230 Hits

Round 6 - 2009 National Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2009 Border Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2009 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship

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Posted: July 9, 2009 10:29 AM

Photo: James Burke

Carolan and Smith In Pole Position On HASS Border Series Heading To Sligo

Posted: July 9, 2009 10:19 AM

For the first time on the 2009 HASS Border Rally Championship clear leaders have emerged ahead of the chasing pack.

Thomas Carolan and Declan Smith from Co. Meath, competing in a class 9 Ford Escort have opened up a five point gap ahead of their championship rivals with two rounds of the series to go. They took full advantage of a relatively poor entry from Border registered competitors on the last round, the Mourne Rally, to record a second in class result, in the process scoring 9 valuable championship points.

Not that the pair will be complacent despite having dropped only two points so far this year. The championship is calculated from competitor’s four best scores from the six events, but with a number of other crews capable of yet achieving the maximum score of forty points, a tie-break scenario is more than a vague possibility. That being the case, competitor’s fifth and, if necessary, sixth round scores come into play. It means that the Meath crew will be fully focused on scoring as many points as possible on this week-end’s Sligo event, as well as on the season finale on the Donegal Harvest Rally in October.

Leading the chase are Daniel Conaghan and Trevor Graham in a class 12 Ford Escort. The Donegal competitors were another crew to have made the trip to the last round in Newry but will have been disappointed to have dropped some points to Carolan and Smith following a fifth in class result. Nevertheless they are still firmly in contention having taken maximum points in Mayo and Monaghan, and a third in class in Cavan. A good result here will at the very least ensure the title fight goes down to the final round.

Also in serious contention for the Border title are the class 8 Subaru Impreza WRC pairing of Niall Maguire and Enda Sherry. The popular Monaghan crew are currently on a rich vein of form, having won the last three events they started, including the Border counting rounds in Monaghan and Cavan. Despite not starting in Newry, they could yet score a maximum forty points having dropped only one point from their three starts so far. Champion five years ago, there is no doubt that Maguire would love to add another Border trophy to his collection.

A few other crews remain in contention for the HASS Border title, although they will need other results to go their way. Russell Woods and Martin Byrne from Cavan could yet force a tie-break situation were they to win class 13 on the last two rounds in their Escort. Jonny Leonard and Jackie Donaldson have won class 5 on each of the three events they have started, but lack of competitors in the category have restricted the Fermanagh crew’s overall points haul. Another crew that could enter the reckoning are Monaghan’s John Kelly and Adrian Flynn, a maximum 39 points potentially on offer to the class 10 Corolla pairing.

Of course, the HASS Border Rally Championship is about more than the overall leaderboard, and in each of the classes there are ongoing battles to come away with a category award at the end of the year. Among those to advance their championship ambitions on the Mourne Rally were the class 2 Civic crew of Ciaran Walsh and Aidan Gannon from Mayo who scored six points to move into the lead of the class. In class 5 Donegal’s Shane and Niall Timony in a Ford Puma are now only five points behind leaders Jonny Leonard and Jackie Donaldson – all still to play for here. In class 9 Shane Maguire is not letting his famous dad have it all his own way – with co-driver Stephen Thornton the Monaghan 205 crew took second in class to move into third in the championship. And in class 11 the Corolla of Paul Carron from Donegal, Patrick Herity from Sligo and the Escort of Gary Gallagher and Paddy Duffy from Donegal were all on the move in Newry, scoring 5, 6 and 7 points respectively. Finally Jack and Paul Maguire are now joint second in class 15 after a fourth in class result in Newry in their Escort Cosworth.

HASS Drive of the Day Award Goes From Strength to Strength

Away from the championship battle, much interest has been centered on the HASS Border Championship Drive of the Day award, presented on each of the six competing rounds. Daniel Conaghan and Trevor Graham are the most recent recipients, having set fastest time for a Border registered crew in class 12 on stage 4 of the Mourne Rally. They join previous winners Noel O’Donnell and Ronan Murrin on the Mayo Stages Rally, Thomas Carolan and Declan Smith on the Monaghan Stages Rally, and Peter Wilson and John Kilmurry on the Cavan Stages Rally. Who will join the roll of honour in Sligo?


Posted: July 6, 2009 6:51 PM

The Sligo Stages Rally is the fifth of seven rounds which make up the 2009 Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship. With everyone’s best five scores to count towards their final tally, Welshman Melvyn Evans (Subaru Impreza WRC) has scored maximum points on all four events so far and travels to Sligo needing just one more from the remaining three to make certain of his first MSA title.

However, Evans will be without his regular co-driver Sean Mullally who will be sitting in a different car on this occasion. Sligo is also a qualifying round of the Dunlop Irish National Rally Championship which Sean is contesting with Kevin Barrett in another Impreza WRC and, consequently, a good result is doubly important for the Limerick man!

Sean was also unavailable to co-drive for Melvyn on the opening round of the MSA Championship, the Tour of Epynt, back in February and, so, there is currently a variance in each’s total points score. Indeed, as we approach the MSA Asphalt Championship’s annual visit to the Irish Republic, the leading co-driver is Alun Cook who has partnered David Mann to a series of strong finishes so far in the mushroom farmer’s own Impreza WRC. But…. Cook has a prior engagement at his local Registry Office this weekend and will not, therefore, be seen anywhere near the event!

Defending MSA Asphalt Champions David Kynaston/Andy Russell have good reason to fear the stages around Sligo, having retired their Audi Quattro A3 on the first one in both 2007 and 2008! Having already recorded non-finishes on the Manx National & Jim Clark Rallies, they have taken the decision to curtail their activities for the rest of this year, but we do hope to see them back in their fearsome car for a full season in 2010.

Whether the Best Overseas Driver is one of the MSA Asphalt Championship registered contenders, or not, he/she will receive the newly-instigated ‘Steve Fleck Trophy’ in memory of the winner of the 2003 Sligo Stages Rally who lost his battle with leukaemia earlier this year. It is a fitting tribute, commissioned by rally organisers Connacht Motor Club, the very thought of which would have brought a wry smile to the very self-effacing driver’s face!

Each year, there is a category or class in the MSA Asphalt Championship that proves to be ultra-competitive and, in 2009, it is Group A up to 1600cc. Step forward Roger Donnan/Kim Baker (Ford Puma S1600) and Rod Bennett/Henry Richardson (Fiat Punto S1600). Both crews have been giving it their all and, indeed, Donnan/Baker finished 4th overall on the Circuit of Ireland National Rally at Easter, marginally ahead of Bennett. The latter’s charge suffered a setback when electrical problems eliminated the Fiat from the Jim Clark but, now restored to full health once again, we can expect fireworks from both.

Entry List

Posted: July 4, 2009 12:15 PM

Launch Night Kick Starts Rally 2009

Posted: June 22, 2009 1:35 PM

Clerk of the Course Robert Lyttle addressing the gathering at Wednesday nights launch of the 2009 Sligo Stages Rally , said he was privilaged to once again organise his fifth local stages rally. Following on from a very busy six months in the run up to January last, as Assistant Clerk of the Course for Rally Ireland , Robert cherishes the team spirit among his committee working tirelessly in the background to put together a very attractive clubman event.

He payed tribute to the sponsors of the 2009 , particularly in the current economic climate its encouraging to gain the support from businesses in the region. Again Sligo Park Hotel , as joint title sponsor is a vital link in the chain of weekend activities and has during the history of Sligo Rally , they have played a pivotal role in the growth of the event. Entering the fray for the first time this year as co- sponsor , Domnic Quinn Body Repair and Recovery , who will compliment the title role emerging from a completely different sector but very familiar with the whole area of the motor trade. Domnic , a long time follower of the sport said he was delighted when the opportune arose this year ,to have his company associated with the Sligo Rally and looked forward to another competitive event on July 12th The C.O.C. also expressed his appreciation on behalf of the committee to each of the individual stage sponsors who collectively contribute to the running of the event . The three loyal stage sponsors , represented on the night by Colm Hamrogue from Gulf Oils , Ian Gunning of Gusclad and Damien Mc Elhinney owner of Ballybofey Autofactors have been affiliated to Sligo Stages Rally for a number of years and Robert thanked them for their support.

An event like the rally which will attract competitors from overseas has the potential to bring large crowds to the region has to reap rewards for the local economy , Robert said, and he therefore is encouraged when Failte Ireland recognises the benefits to the community and lends its support to the rally .

Safety is paramount on rallies today reflected through the choice of routes , the implementation of a safety plan which dictates areas of safe spectating ,and the rigorous scrutiny of cars in advance of running. Unfortunately the organisers have little or no control over the behaviour of the general public on the open road which sometimes can be reckless not alone on the weekend of the rally but any weekend of the year. It is with this in mind that the Connacht Motor Club in association with Sligo County Council launched its Road Safety Awareness campaign on Wednesday night , in the presence of members of the Garda Traffic Corps, which will run in association with the rally . Its an attempt to get the message of road safety awareness out to all road users and this message was echoed by the Garda . Bringing the launch to a close, Clerk of the Course Robert, emphasised the closing date for entries of June 23rd and confirmed that the seeded entry would be displayed on the Club web site on July 1st.

Sligo Stages secure second title Sponsor

Posted: June 10, 2009 4:18 PM

The Sligo Park Hotel joint title sponsor for Sligo Stages Rally has, for over a quarter of a century been the Rally Headquarters and once again plays host to the 2009 event .
The Lee Hotel plays a pinnacle role in the atmosphere surrounding the July weekend and well recognised for its personal , four star quality service .Throughout the twenty seven year history of the Sligo Stages Rally , spectators ,competitors and organisers have been accommodated in a welcoming fashion by management and staff alike .

To compliment the overall sponsorship of the event, the committee are delighted to announce the co – sponsoring the 2009 Sligo Stages by Domnic Quinn Body Repairs and 24 Hr Recovery of Ballygawley , which is a welcome development in bringing the planning of the event to a further level. Domnic Quinn has , while building his comprehensive breakdown service for the motorist, always been an enthusiast of rallying and is proud to have his business support the local rally.

The Rally being a three by three stage format has also secured individual sponsorship for each stage . Gulf Oil ,Collooney , well recognised for its association with Motorsport, supporting Rally Team Ireland, continues again this year to sponsor a stage on Sligo Stages . Another long time supporter of Sligo Stages , Ballybofey Autofactors sponsors the second stage and indeed last year proprietor Damien Mc Elhinney competed and finished fourth in class in Sligo .Gusclad Ltd , Ballyfarnon , manufacturers of all forms of cladding also a continued supporter sponsors the third stage , and business owner Ian Gunning is set to take on the stages.

To coincide with Sligo Stages Rally , Connacht Motor Club , in association with the Road Safety section of Sligo County Council are jointly partaking in a road safety awareness campaign which will endeavour ,through a number of mediums , including radio , road signage and print media , convey the message to the general motorist of the tragic consequences of recklessness on our roads.

Entries opened on June 1st and competitors are reminded that entries close on June 23rd

Event Details - Press Release 1

Posted: May 18, 2009 3:09 PM

Connacht Motor Club are delighted , under the stewardship of Robert Lyttle , as Clerk of the Course to announce plans for the 2009 Sligo Stages Rally , scheduled for Sunday July 12th, headquartered at Sligo Park Hotel. As a round of three premier Championships , the Dunlop National , the HASS Border and the Richard Egger Insurance Asphalt , will undoubtedly contribute to the level of interest in the mid-summer event .

A compact three by three stage loop has been chosen with a central service , which lends itself to a competitor friendly reccee ,introducing some sections not used in the recent past while incorporating some of the classics in the region , but all comprising of clean tarmac surfaces .In this format the accommodation will be for 141 starters and the committee has decided not to run a specific junior class on the tail of the field .

Once again Sligo Park Hotel plays host to the event as well as supporting the stages as title sponsor carrying on the historic links with Sligo Stages Rally . Each of the three stages have also received the support of individual sponsors , namely Gulf Oils , Ballybofey Autofactors and Gusclad .

Regulations will become available to download at www.connachtmotorclub.com from May 25th
No regs. will be distributed by post .

Entries open on June 1st ( by Post only )
Entries (including priority ) close on June 23rd

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

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