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Killarney Historic Rally - 7 Dec '97

Posted: December 7, 1977 1:01 AM - 3054 Hits

Co driver with Dave Miller
Car: 1956 Jaguar Mk I

The article below was published in the 1998 Rally of the Lakes Program:

Posted: December 7, 1977 1:01 AM

5.....4.....3.....2....1, and we were on our up Molls Gap for the 1997 Killarney Historic Rally. The rally was my second event as co-driver in Dave Miller's Mk I Jaguar. After the smooth fast open roads of the ALMC Stages rally in Portloaise, this rally would nearly be the complete opposite!

Historic rallying has the reputation of being more friendly and relaxed, but when each crew puts on their helmet it 110% commitment. Our weekend started on Saturday Morning. The plan was to meet in the Gleneagle in Killarney at around 12:00 noon, and take a drive over the stages. Some people may say I had an advantage in that I knew all the stages bar Borlin "like the back of my hand", but the driver had only been over the stages once before, and that was in the fog with out pace notes on the 1996 Historic Rally!

Home for me is the Healy Pass, but Dave was driving the "Jag" down from Co. Meath. This is an important fact to remember; if Dave was driving the Jag down to Killarney, he needed the car to drive back up again on the Monday after the event, this meant of course that that car had to finish the rally in one piece!

After booking in and "signing on" in the Gleneagle and buying a set of pacenotes, we were off on our reece. Despite being a competition car, the Jaguar is comfortable on the road and is in fact ideal for the reece. The weather wasn't too bad, and we had the advantage of being able to stop on the Healy Pass for a bite to eat and a welcome cup of tea!

After one look at the stages it was time to clean the car, get our gear and head off to Scrutiny. On the way back to parc ferme, changing into overdrive on the By-Pass road a "strange" noise starting iminating from the gearbox area. It was decieded there and then for the rest of the weekend, not to use the overdrive!

One word described Sunday morning around Killarney......WET! After checking tyre pressures it was time to drive over the start ramp. At over 2 tons in weight the Jag would be a good test for the new K.D.M.C ramp! By the time we gone the 2 miles up the road to the start of Molls Gap the weather had improved. On with the Helmets, tighten the belts and we were off. 15 minutes later after a good clean run and the obligatory tail slide at the Gap we were finished SS1.

The bumpy and twisty Borlin was next before a break in Glengarriff. Service for us involved a fill up of petrol and a check of water and oil level. Despite losing my place in the pace notes for a few miles of Borlin , the rally was going well for us. It was now on to my home stage, the roads were now almost dry and there was no sign of any fog. Despite begin ny home stage the concentration was still 100%, so much so that I barely remember passing my own door, nor did I see the flag that was on the wall supporting us!

The fastest stage of the event was Killmacalogue, although I though that the tree lined stage would be allot slipperier. We had now gone over the all the stages once. Moral was high in the car and we were well settled in to the event. Borlin 2 would be our best stage of the event. We knocked nearly 30 seconds off our time from the first run despite a huge moment over a jump into an Easy Left and a Fast Right". In Glengarriff, our "Service Crew" met us with tea and sandwiches. Not even the weather now could dampen our spirits as we headed off for The Healy Pass 2. However our rally was soon reduced to a "drive for a finish" 2 miles into stage coming out of a KL, a gearbox mounting well "unmounted". On the road sections the car was OK, But from then on all left hand bends on the stages had to be taken at a snails pace! Thank God the turn at the top of the Gap is a right hander on the way back to Killarney. We got our reward, Oldest car to finish to rally.

A big thank you to our sponsers for the weekend McKenna & O'Neill Motors in Dublin, for all you Seat and Subarus!

Topics: Brian Duggan 

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