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Clare Stages Rally - 20 Sep 09

Posted: August 6, 2010 8:21 PM - 20673 Hits

2009 Auburn Lodge Hotel Clare Stages Rally
Round 5 - 2009 West Coast Rally Championship
Round 11 - 2009 National Junior Rally Championship
Counting Round - 2009 Excel Rally Championship

  • Maguire/Sherry win in S10, and win 2009 West Coast Championship

Photo: Trevor McGrath

Video Clips

Posted: October 2, 2009 1:28 PM

Sting in the Tail for Jonathan Cunningham at Clare Stages Junior Rally

Posted: October 2, 2009 12:57 PM

Good luck, bad luck and elation were the three emotions felt at the finish of the Clare Stages Junior Rally, round eleven of NJRC. There was elation for John O’Connor as he secured his first victory in the championship. Good luck for championship leader Craig Breen as he retained his two point advantage though not competing in the junior rally and bad luck or should I say utter despondence was the feeling for Jonathan Cunningham after crashing out with only 1 Km to go on the last stage when holding a lead of nearly two minutes.

This only begins the day’s action on round eleven the Clare Stages Junior Rally. At the start line there was only three registered drivers taking part and seeded at J4 Jonathan Cunningham had the most to gain from a good result. Jonathan was only two points behind Craig Breen on the championship table but had competed on five events to date but if he could score eight points today he draw level by dropping a six points score and replacing it with the eight. Breen decided to enter the main field as it gave him the opportunity to compete in the full nine stages and gain valuable experience in his new Fiesta R2 that he acquired last Thursday. A knock on effect of Craig not taking part in the junior event was that third in the table John Byrnes needed to revaluate his position having also competed on five rallies and now needs to score as much points as possible and with Breen not in the juniors he would only score six points with a finish.

The junior field joined the action on stage five and tackled two stages on the opening leg. Jonathan Cunningham got off the perfect start and by the end of stage six had a healthy fifth second lead. John O’Connor was back in third but lost a lot of time because a bolt sheered in one of his brake callipers. Kevin O’Connor was well on the pace on the first part of stage five until he reached the jump in the last third of the stage. Kevin had picked up a lot of speed after exiting a square left and was in sixth gear. On landing he damaged his steering rack and nearly lost control but managed to get it together and finished the stage. He knew he would suffer on stage six as it had very long straights. It was in a narrow part as they entered a crest, then a chicane he lost control hitting the bails sustaining a lot of frontal damage putting him out. In service back in Ennis all Jonathan Cunningham needed was a general check out of his Honda Civic and decide which tyres were best for the second loop. John O’Connor wasn’t happy to see his younger brother was out of the event but the brake calliper problem required his full attention. After searching hard to find a bolt to fit the calliper he was nearing the time limit when Jonathan Cunningham’s father came in to supply him with one. It just goes to that even in the heat of competition there’s still a place for sporting behaviour. All looked to be going to plan for Cunningham over stages seven and eight. At the start of the last stage he had extended his lead to over a minute and a half. All he needed to do now was get through the last remaining stage. He was again going to plan until just a kilometre from the end when he crashed heavily. The car stepped out going over a crest at high speed and on landing Jonathan found himself off line and couldn’t correct it. The car climbed the ditch and hit a pillar. The crew were very lucky not to get injured but Jonathan was furious with himself to throw away such an opportunity of not only winning the junior rally but also giving himself a shout of the title. This handed the win to John O’Connor, who had gained second place with good times over the second loop of stages. At the finish John stated that he was delighted with the win but it was only because of Jonathan crashing out. He also went on to say “I would not have made the finish except for the help I received from Jonathan’s Dad with fixing the brake Calliper and I would like to thank him for that”. With the win he also picked up eight points in the championship which elevate him to fourth in the table.

Next up is round twelve the Cork 20 Junior Rally and at this time John Byrnes is the only registered driver looking to take part but he will be driving a Honda Civic which means he won’t be eligible to score championship points. Before the start of yesterday’s rally Jonathan Cunningham expressed an interest in travelling to Cork but after his big accident this will not possible. After the Cork 20 event all the attention will then focus on the last weekend of the season with both the penultimate round in Donegal on the tenth and the final round in Nenagh on the eleventh. As things stand the top three are all in with a fighting chance but Craig Breen holds the advantage with his two point lead and the bigger plus of only competing on four rounds to date.


Posted: October 2, 2009 12:50 PM

Craig Breen took delivery of his new 1600cc Ford Fiesta R2 rally car, last Thursday, and promptly took the new machine to a fantastic fourth overall, and first in class finish on Sunday’s Clare Stages Rally. The 19 year old was using the rally as a shakedown and development test, before his all important trip to Catalunya with the car, in his attempt to take the Fiesta International series, to add to his UK and Irish Fiesta titles.

The weather was clear and bright for the Clare Stages rally, with fresh stages, which provided good abrasive surfaces for the crews, with many challenging fast narrow sections over crests and jumps. “We took the mornings stages to settle into the car. We were held up slightly on the first stage, as the car in front had gone off, we were also hampered by going out on an RS7 (medium compound) front slick which I felt was a bit too soft for the abrasive surface. Still, we held a solid 7th place overall going into the first service. We altered some suspension settings, and went onto a harder RS5 tyre. Repeating the same stages again we slowly picked the pace up, setting times well within the top 5. We were now on the pace of the top two wheel drive guys, which was my aim for the weekend, and locked in a battle from 4th to 7th!” Of course it is not the first time Craig has driven the R2 Fiesta this season, but it was his first run in his own car, run by the Tom Gahan team, and as ever Gareth Roberts was reading the all important pace-notes. It was another impressive drive from the Waterford youngster, as he headed into the final loop of stages in sixth place.

“We came back into service and put two new RS5 on the front, and back out again, with the hope of really giving it a good go. We were 4th fastest on stage 7, which pushed us up to 5th, and a big push on the final two stages saw us move in front of the Bustard brothers in their Evo 8, and claim fourth at the finish”. Indeed Craig and Gareth pedalled the 1600 Fiesta to two second fastest overall stage times on the final two stages. To do this they were the fastest two wheel drive crew, taking time from the much more powerful MK2 Escort’s of Mike Quinn and Ed O Callaghan, who finished the rally in second and third places respectively.

“I never expected to do this well in my first rally in the car. I am over the moon at how well the weekend went, and the performance of the Fiesta R2. It's shaping up to be a great car in Spain, and I am now really looking forward to an overall result there!” It’s a fabulous result for Craig, and this weekend he will have another new car to learn as he steps into Robbie McGurk’s hire Group N Subaru Impreza, for the Bushwhacker Forestry Rally, in what will be Craig’s first taste of Group N four wheel drive machinery.

Posted: October 2, 2009 12:49 PM

2nd O/A & 1st 2WD Mike Quinn/Grainne McEnery (Ford Escort Mk II)

Posted: October 2, 2009 12:47 PM

Gp N Winners: Trevor Bustard/Kenny Bustard (Mit. Lancer Evo 8)


Posted: October 2, 2009 12:33 PM

1 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC) 64m 56s,
2 Mike Quinn/Grainne McEnery (Ford Escort Mk II) 67m 10s,
3 Ed O’Callaghan/Ger Clancy (Ford Escort Mk II) 67m 50s,
4 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta R2) 67m 57s,
5 Trevor Bustard/Kenny Bustard (Mit. Lancer Evo 8 Gp N) 68m 02s,
6 Brian Brogan/Dermot McGettigan (Ford Escort Mk II) 68m 04s,
7 Ed Synan/Denis O’Connell (Ford Escort Mk II) 69m 16s,
8 Pat Kelly/Noel Lambert (Subau Impreza) 70m 09s,
9 Tom Flaherty/Patrick Curley (Ford Escort) 70m 39s,
10 Patrick Boyle/Donal McCole (Toyota Corolla) 71m 15s.

SS1-9 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Stage Winners:
SS1 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS3 Anthony O'Halloran/Charlie McEnery (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 GpN)
SS4 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS5 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS6 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS7 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS8 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS9 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Programme outlets for the Clare Stages Rally programme

Posted: September 20, 2009 11:05 AM

O Sullivan & Hansburys,
Maxol Limerick Rd Ennis,
Conways Shop Ennistymon,
SuperValu Ennistymon,
Mace Crusheen,
Western Garages Shop,
Texaco opposite St Flannans College,
Fallons Spar Corofin,
Sheedys Shop Darragh Kilrush Rd,
Auburn Lodge Hotel,
Loughville Motors/Oliver Walsh Lahince Road.

End of Season Draws Ever Closer for the NJRC

Posted: September 20, 2009 10:27 AM

The climax of the 2009 NJRC is now only four weeks away with only four events remaining. The championship has now developed into a three horse race between championship leader Craig Breen (38 points), Jonathan Cunningham (36 points) and John Byrnes (34 points). Breen holds the advantage as he has only contested four events with both Cunningham and Byrnes having entered five with the best performances from any 5 events counting towards the Championship. A minimum of 4 events must be completed in order to qualify for an award. If Cunningham and Byrnes were to score maximum points in Clare or any other remaining event their point’s totals would then need to be revaluated and dropped scores would come into play but at this point all three are in with a chance of taking the title.

The Cork Forestry (Round 8) was the last round to be contested by registered drivers with Breen regaining the championship lead. During the first weeks of September the championship traveled to Co. Meath for the Castle Mini Stages and then to Wexford for round ten but all the major contenders decided to concentrate on round eleven in Clare. Craig Breen is seeded eleventh as he is taking part in the main field event. Craig is planning to contest the final round in Nenegh (Birr Forestry) which will be his fifth event of the season. Craig is looking forward to this weekend as he will be driving his new Fiesta R2 which he will only pick up from M-Sport today (Thursday). Jonathan Cunningham will be looking to get back some form as he suffered problems in Cork and will be hoping to close the cap on Breen. John Byrnes had initially intended to enter the event but as Craig decided to go into the main field Byrnes could then only score a maximum of six points which is not enough so will now wait until the final weekend of the season in Birr. Talking to John this week he did mention that there is a chance he could travel to the Cork 20 but not in his C2R2.

Apart from the top three both O'Connor brothers from Askeaton, Co. Limerick are entered. Kevin the younger of the two has suffered some bad luck since winning round six in Carrick on Suir (Ravens Rock Junior Rally). Round seven (ALMC) saw him crash out on the first stage in slippery conditions and then in Cork on round eight he was lying in second place after the opening two stages when on stage three a rock got dragged into the engine and pulled off the timing belt ending his rally. Older brother John’s (G3 Escort) last event was the Ravens Rock and after not competing in Cork he will be hoping for a good result and get back on track for the remainder of the season. Vincent McAree from Co. Monaghan currently holding fourth place in the championship was having a great battle with John Byrnes over the morning stages in Cork but it all came to an abrupt end on stage five when the engine of his Peugeot 206 dropped a valve. Vincent stated a few days later that he had removed the engine and it would need a rebuild. As to the remainder of his season it now looks that Vincent will only contest the final round in Birr.

Posted: September 20, 2009 9:34 AM

"Come on lads get your entries in for the 09 Auburn Lodge Clare Stages Rally"
Donna McNamara, Leanne Flannagan,Grainne McEnery,
Carrie Moroney,Mary Considine, Rachel Casey,
Jane Cogan and Vicky Finn
Photo: Dermot Kelleher

Entry Lists

Posted: September 15, 2009 12:15 PM

Reduced Entry Fee / Hotel Weekend Deals

Posted: August 17, 2009 7:39 AM

Entry Fee €480 Mainfield
(Juniors €300)

Details on Hotel Weekend Deals :

Regulations / On Line Entry

Posted: August 17, 2009 7:29 AM

New Location and Stages for Clare Stages Rally 2009

Posted: July 27, 2009 7:45 PM

Clare Motor Club are delighted to announce details of the “2009 Auburn Lodge Hotel Clare Stages Rally”
Clerk of the Course, Dermot Kelleher, from Clarecastle and the New Organising Committee have decided to give the event a whole NEW LOOK for 2009. Dermot Kelleher was one of the founder members of the Clare Motor Club back in 1980 and was also involved together with David Hogan in starting the first Clare Stages Rally in 1988. Dermot has been involved in various rolls serving as Assistant Clerk of the Course and Clerk of the Course down through the years.

Event Regulations will be available shortly “We have decided to move the rally to the Gort Road where we can base all our facilities for the event" commented dermot. I would like to welcome our new sponsor “the Auburn Lodge Hotel” under manager Donie Lyne for their generous sponsorship & support. This is the hotel’s first venture into motorsport and together with the club are pulling out all the stops to make the 2009 event a competitor / family friendly event.

The Auburn Lodge Hotel is run by the Lyne family and its facilities include a Swimming Pool, Sauna, Steam room, Jacuzzi and Beauty Rooms.
The Hotel’s huge car parking facilities will also allow for Parc ferme to be based at the hotel allowing spectators to view the cars, a Rally Village will also be incorporated which will allow spectators to avail of the latest in rally teamwear.

We also have the use of the new state of the art ” Car Perfect Accident Repair Centre” for our scrutiny area where all the rally cars will be checked out for safety. Thanks to Colin Ryan, this will allow for easy movement of rally cars using a one way drive through system and after being checked out by a team of scrutineers from Motorsport Ireland, the rally cars will proceed to Parc Ferme at the rear of the Auburn Lodge Hotel.
The Service Area will be also based in the Gort Road Industrial Estate and the rally cars will visit this area three times on Sunday during the rally. This Competitor Friendly package will allow the Clare Motor Club to manage the event a lot easier and will also avoid any traffic congestion usually incurred with rally cars crossiing the town.”

The organising committee have also decided to reduce the entry fee to 480 euro for the main field and 300 euro for the juniors.

The rally takes place on Sunday September 20th. with a new compact three stage loop chosen. Each stage will be repeated three times. The Rally will leave the start ramp at the hotel at 8.30pm approx. and will return to the finish Ramp at the hotel at 5.15pm. approx.

This years event is Round 9 of the “Top Part West Coast Rally Championship” and is also a round of both the Excel and the new Junior Championships. The 09 Clare Stages Rally is not a round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship as each club has to drop out of the championship every five years

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

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