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Carrick on Suir Willie Loughman Forestry Rally - 2 Mar 08

Posted: March 20, 2008 3:28 PM - 16044 Hits

Round 2 - 2008 Forestry Championship
Round 2 - 2008 Southeast Stages Rally Championship

Event Report

Posted: March 20, 2008 3:28 PM

The 2008 Hankook National Forest Rally Championship continued its journey with round 2 on the Carrick-on-Suir based Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally. On the clubs 50th anniversary the Carrick club under the guidance of COC Terence Kearney worked hard to provide the competitors with a challenging rally consisting of 9 classic stages in the Suir Valley, but most interestingly they provided the new twist of a 5am start and 3 of those stages being ran in the dark. It was billed as a return to the days of old when it was customary for forest events to run in darkness. However it was the new generation that were first to revisit this format as once again it was the juniors and the 1400cc cars that were to be first on the road. The ultra slippy and tricky Aheny stage was the first test to wake up the crews. And it was a very literal wake up as the first car entered the stage just after 5:30am

So in the darkness it was championship leader Andrew Purcell who was the first of the 4wd cars to tackle SS1, he was followed by Ray Breen in the Focus and they set the tone for the day as Purcell took his Sleator Auto Subaru to a 3 second lead over Breen in the Focus. One second further back was Colin Britton as he took to the darkness with gusto and was fastest group N also. James Murphy had a good time to snatch 4th just 2 behind Britton and this was to set the tone for a good battle between this pair for the remainder of the day. Brian Lawlor held 5th and Jason Roche was best of the 2wd challengers in tenth.

Darkness was still very much present as the event moved to SS2 and once in here Breen began his attack and took hold of the event, crucially he took 8 seconds from Purcell and he moved into the lead of the event by 5 seconds. Purcell & Courtney admitted to being too cautious in the darkness on this test while the Breen father & son pairing seized this chance and went into a lead that they would not relinquish. Colin Britton was right in the hunt too as he set another solid time and now held 3rd o/a and the Grp N lead from Brian Lawlor. James Murphy & Anthony Nestor were right behind Britton however as they stopped the clocks as 4th fastest equal to Purcell and only 1 second behind Britton. The surprise crew on this stage was Declan Cuddy & Nigel Moody as they adapted to the darkness better than most and took second fastest and 4 seconds down on Breen.

Stage 3 was in a difficult twilight of dawn break and while it was a degree easier to see what was coming up, it was still difficult and unfamiliar. Perhaps this was what caught out Denis Cronin & Helen O Sullivan as they slid off at a very slick hairpin. The damage was minimal but the time loss severe, with no spectators in the vicinity it took over 11 minutes to release the car and clear the stage, Denis made it to service but with the time loss and worry over a noisy gearbox he elected to go no further.

Breen was again fastest, from Murphy this time, the Limerick man was for once having no mechanical maladies and therefore was able to push on with confidence and set impressive times in the ageing Escort WRC. It was another storming time from Breen to take 6 seconds from Purcell and belying his status as a forestry novice. It was now in no doubt that the former National tarmac champion was here on the gravel with a pace that could not be ignored. And what of his co driver who helped Breen win that tarmac title, well Purcell was holding second behind his former driver and admitted that he was being very cautious in the dark as he wanted above all to get to the daylight stages unharmed before mounting any determined fightback.

The crews returned Murphy Bros Agri Contractors near Portlaw for a long service halt and an opportunity for breakfast. Ray Breen and his young son Craig were the definite leaders with an 11 second gap to Purcell & Courtney, Britton & Kierans held 3rd just barely ahead of Murphy & Nestor. While next Grp N challenger to Britton was Lawlor as he held 5th. Sadly for Lawlor his day was to end shortly after leaving service as a noise from the driveshaft joint saw the Wicklow man pull over and cautiously elect not to drive any further and risk expensive damage. Top 2wd was now a tight race between Jason Roche and James Coleman, but unfortunately Roche would soon retire and hand the advantage back to local challenger James Coleman and his co driver Michael Halley.

Stage 4 Clondonnel is a well know stage having been used for each of the recent years on the Willie Loughman memorial event, it has fast uphill tricky square junctions at the start and then the fast downhill sections that return the cars to the finish. The stage would be unfamiliar to Breen on his first attempt at the event yet he still came out still fighting as he took a further 2 seconds from Purcell who admitted that now in the daylight he was ready to increase the pace and the fight. Kevin O Kane & Martin Brady were 3rd fastest on SS4 as they also admitted to only properly waking up now, many hours after the 4am start. Six seconds back were Britton and Murphy as they tied on times and continued to argue over 3rd o/a.

Stage 5 was where Purcell & Courtney began to put out the signal that they were not about to let this one slip away and they set fastest time by 5 seconds from Breen, they tied for fastest on SS6 despite an overshoot by Purcell at the first junction but Breen still held the advantage of only 8 seconds as the crews returned to the final service. Britton & Kiearns were 3rd just ten ahead of Murphy & Nestor.

The crews left service and headed to the far side of Carrick On Suir for the return visit to the rollercoaster stage Clondonnell, Murphy went in here in determined mode and was set to chase down Britton and stake his claim for 3rd o/a, however a bounce from one bale into another on a chicane made the Escort into a pinball and thus popped a window out and away on James’s drivers door and in on top of co driver Anthony Nestor, it took all his arms and elbows to remove the laminated glass from his vision and away from his notes while the resulting distraction was sure to have cost time they stopped the clocks on the identical time so the status quo remained and Britton was safe for the moment. Meanwhile at the front it was again Breen fastest on SS7 by 2 seconds to increase his lead to a comfortable ten seconds over Purcell. On SS8 Breen gained a further 2 seconds over Purcell to extend his lead to 12 seconds leaving the result look very much in his favour with the final 8km stage left to run. Britton was hanging onto third as the battle between him and a resurgent Murphy continued. They equalled times again on SS7 to leave the gap the same, worryingly for Murphy a rattle began to sound itself out of the engine towards the end of SS7 and it was to prove terminal as the engine was to expire at the start of the final stage while Murphy held 4th o/a and was still in the fight with Britton for 3rd o/a. It was cruel luck for Murphy to suffer yet another mechanical problem and retirement once again after a day of impressive times in the ageing Escort, perhaps the next round in Limerick on home ground for Murphy will bring better fortune. Two more who succumbed to engine woes in this stage and retired were Kevin O Kane and Emma McKinstry in their respective Suaru WRC cars.

So it was left to Britton & Kierans to cruise home to 3rd o/a and the Grp N win and cement their position in the overall championship standings. John Reid & Enda Shiels took their Coffee Perfection backed Corolla WRC to 4th overall after a day of top 5 times, they had another distinguished day as they continue their learning curve in 4wd machinery while still gaining all important points, a podium finish is not far away for them now surely. Next in Grp N and 5th o/a after an afternoon of impressive times came Sean Heaney & Liam McGloughlin in their Mitsubishi. Top 2wd on his local event yet again was James Coleman & Michael Haley as they brought their Suirway Forklifts MK2 into 6th o/a.

Meanwhile the Breen vs Purcell contest was going right down to the wire, with a 12 second gap in hand prior to the stage Breen stopped the clocks of the final test at 5:14 and could have assumed he had done enough to take his debut win on his home clubs event in what was amazingly only his second forestry event. Yet Purcell can never be discounted and he and co driver Michael Courtney traversed the 8km stage with all guns blazing and stopped the clocks in the Sleator Auto yellow Subaru at 5:05, they had taken a formidable 9 seconds from Breen in just 8km yet it was not enough to take the victory spoils and Ray Breen navigated by his son Craig took their first victory by a scant but all important 3 seconds. A very well deserved victory after their strong performance all the way from the early morning darkness. This victory surely further endorses their stats as title hopefuls. Purcell however will be the first to topple that dream, he rued somewhat his cautious approach in the slippy early morning stages. Although perhaps his caution was justified in hindsight as those stages were to catch out Cronin amongst others. Points and consistency are all important in any championship challenge and Purcell leaves round 2 still leading the Hankook series as we head toward round 3 in Limerick.

Class winners on the day included Seamus Cooke & Ger Hyland in their class 1 Escort. Also Escort mounted was series regular Mick Nevin & Des Moran and they added another Class 2 trophy to Mick’s sizeable trophy cabinet. Seamus O Grady won class 3 in his Citroen C2, navigated by Denis Foley. Alan Commins & Darren Coady took class 4 in yet another Escort Mk2. Martin Brady & Colm Brady from Cavan were class 6 winners in their Sierra. While Aidan Mulcahy & Des Flynn in their Civic won the class 9 junior class.


Posted: March 20, 2008 3:25 PM

Emma Mckinstry & Kenny Hull headed to last weekend’s Willie Loughman Memorial Rally in Carrick-on-Suir eager to get points on the table after a fuel leak forced them into retirement on the opening round in Mitchelstown.

But it wasn’t to be this time either. After starting well, setting seventh fastest time on the opening stage, a spin on the second would cost the pair 30 seconds and leave them 13th overall at the breakfast halt.

On the daylight stages Emma started her charge, setting top ten times and beginning to claw back time, however on stage seven, within sight of the finish line, the Mckinstry Motorsport Impreza cried enough and ground to a halt with suspected engine failure.

With two rounds down and no points on the board, Emma and Kenny’s championship looks pretty weak. However the pair will persevere and hope for better luck in Limerick.

Emma and Kenny are delighted to have been able to secure a deal for the Mckinstry Motorsport Impreza WRC for all the rounds of this years Hankook forestry series. This would not have been possible without the continued support of Triton Showers, Hankook Tyres, Sunoco Race Fuels and Mcgaffin Contracts.

On a brighter note, Emma has been awarded the title of Sportswoman of the year by Banbridge district council in recognition of her achievements during the 2007 season.

Full Results

Posted: March 4, 2008 8:25 AM

Links to photos and Video clips to follow..........
  • Event Preview
  • Purcell and Courtney ready for the Dark.
  • Entry Lists
  • Confirmed format
  • Event Flyer
  • Opening stages to be held in the dark!
  • Regulations available

Event Preview
The 2008 Hankook National Forest Rally Championship returns this Sunday and returns with an exciting twist as the action will commence at 5am for the Carrick-on-Suir based Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally. On the clubs 50th anniversary the Carrick club has worked hard to provide the competitors with a challenging rally consisting of classic stages in the Suir Valley. With 9 stages in total, six different stages, totalling just under 65 stage kms. As ever with this event classic stages will play their part like Ahenny and Clondonnell, first the event uses the fast and flowing Aheny stage to wake up the crews. Literally as the first car will enter the stage just after 5:30am for many competitors this will be their first taste of forest rallying in darkness. The first car leaves Parc Fermé in Murphy Bros Agri Conractors in Mount Balton Portlaw at 05:00 on Sunday morning for that opening stage, then continuing to Stage 2 Killamerry and then the last part of the morning loop with the 5.8km of SS3 Boherboy. Then the crews will return to Murphy Bros Agri for the first service first car due at 07:15approx.

The rally then halts here for a 2hr service then moving to 3 new classic stages the loop of Clondonnell, Glenbridge and Carrickatobber which will be repeated once each to conclude the event. This is classic rallying territory and many an exciting stage took place in these hills. Clondonnell was the stage that opened the rally in 07 is the stage known for its mix of speed and the fast jumps, another classic stage in this area and it's a stage that is exhilarating but demands respect and often a fine line of caution. After stage 6 the cars return to final service at 11:37am approx before the repeat run of the 3 stages. The first competing cars due back at Rally HQ, The Carrick Hotel at 14:30, unusually early perhaps but a long days rallying will have taken crews to this point.

The Hankook backed championship is shaping up to be a very exciting one with a high quality group of drivers are returning from the competitive battle at the first round. Last years champions Stephen Moore partnered by Tony McHugh have opted out of this round to concentrate on some rallies in the UK, however it is the winner of round 1 and Carrick club member Andrew Purcell with co driver Mick Courtney who occupy the number one seed.

Second on the road are Ray & Craig Breen, this pairing are also Carrick club members and on the face of it are forest novices, yet with their pace on round 1 expect this crew to continue to impress. Colin Britton is third seed and top GrpN he displayed impressive early pace in Mitchellstown only to be slowed with mechanical problems. Number 4 seed Kenny McKinstry is not expected to take the start as he will be out of the country on business. So next on the road is no5 Dennis Cronin, like Breen the Cork man is a tarmac expert yet his forestry pace on round one was very impressive and expect him to continue apace. The top ten is completed by regulars who can never be discounted such as Kevin O Kane in his Subaru, John Reid in a Corolla WRC, Brian Lawlor in an GrpN Evo9 and Emma McKinstry in another Subaru WRC. James Coleman in his Mk2 rounds out the top ten and is the first 2wd seed, James will be a local keen to impress in the backyard.

However all this quality mentioned here is only a brief and vague cross section of what is a high quality entry of over 70 cars including the juniors and the 1400cc cars for the seasons second round, already its plain to see that the 2008 Hankook National Forestry series is going to be an exciting and competitive one, with WRC, Group N, modified and Clubmen, seasoned veterans and juniors, front wheel drive and rear wheel drive and even ladies and gentlemen this is certain to be an exciting Carrick Forest rally, watch on and enjoy!

Purcell and Courtney ready for the Dark.
Waterford driver Andrew Purcell with his Meath co driver Mick Courtney are ready for round 2 of the Irish National Forestry Championship the Wm Loughman (Carrick-on-Suir) Forestry Rally, this years event is going to be unique with 3 stages of the rally run in complete darkness with the first car leaving the start ramp at 5 am.Yes that's right the middle of the night and doing 3 stages before the breakfast halt from 7.30 to 10.00 o clock.

Andrew 25 from Ferrybank Waterford has always been regarded as one of the quickest young drivers in Ireland but due to a lack of sponsorship has never been able to put together a deal to do a full championship with a good car,his results have been highly impressive but his outings are all too rare yet he has won 4 rally's outright , Monaghan Single Stage 04,North East Mini Stages 07, Monaghan Forestry 07 and Mitchelstown Forestry Round 1 of the National Forestry Championship 2008.

Andrew and Mick fresh from their first round win on the championship in Mitchelstown a few weeks ago are heading for round 2 with a new found confidence they lead the championship but are competing in a car that is a little behind in the technology race Andrew drives a 99 WRC Subaru Impreza in fact this car was once driven by the legendary Juha Kankkunen but that was a long time ago!!!!!!!

Andrew said after his round one win in Mitchelstown it was tough in there the competition is serious and the competition has newer machinery however we went at a pace that we were happy with very much the safe side of flat out and were more then surprised to be leading after stage 1 and we held that advantage all day to win the rally, Mick was excellent on the notes and the car ran faultless, the car was prepared by SP Motorsport a rally car preparation company Andrew runs with Jack Sleator.

Andrew said Mitchelstown Forestry rally was a dream start to our season everything went well and the Kumho tyres performed very well giving excellent grip and giving me the confidence to be committed whatever the conditions.Carrick-on-Suir is my home event and my motor club so it would be nice to win but the night stages will require total concentration the rally could be won or lost on those 3 stages in the dark.

There is no doubt that Andrew and Mick will be trying hard in Carrick this weekend but the most important thing is the championship so keeping it on the road and collecting good points is the main object this weekend.Andrew over the years has been known for his flat out style and bin it or win it attitude but at 25 and trying to run the car on a very tight budget he will be driving the safe side of flat out this weekend.

Andrew is deeply indebted to his sponsors with out whom he would not be rallying.They are Sleator Auto, Ardcourt Builders, Extreme45, Sentinel Security Systems, Pat Kerley Windows, Kumho Tyres (www.ears.ie),

Entry Lists
No Driver:/Navigator: (Car) [Class]
1 Andrew Purcell/Mick Courtney (Subaru Impreza WRC) [7]
2 Ray Breen/Craig Breen (Ford Focus WRC) [7]
3 Colin Britton/Arthur Kiearns (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
4 Kenny McKinstry/TBA (Subaru Impreza WRC) []
5 Denis Cronin/Helen O Sullivan (Subaru Impreza WRC) [7]
6 Kevin O Kane/Martin Brady (Subaru Impreza WRC) [7]
7 John Reid/Enda Shields (Toyota Corolla WRC) [7]
8 Brian Lawlor/Peter Kavanagh (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
9 Emma McKinstry/Kenny Hull (Subaru Impreza WRC) [7]
10 James Coleman/Michael Haley (Ford Escort) [5]
12 Patrick Keenan/Barry McNulty (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
14 Sean Heaney/Liam Mclaughlin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
15 Jeremy Drislane/Sorcha Kelly (Mitsubishi Evo 6 Grp A) [6]
16 John Reddington/Stephen Quin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [8]
17 Ollie Williams/Michael Walsh (Ford Escort) [5]
18 Jason Roche/Ray Greene (Ford Escort) [5]
19 Gerard Lucey/James Lucey (Toyota Celica) [6]
20 Ciaran Mahon/Conor Bruton (Ford Escort) [3]
22 Bob Scanlon/Finian Hannigan (Mitsubishi Evo 8) [8]
23 Jimmy Devane/Mike Buckley (Nissan Sunny) [5]
24 Martin Brady/Colm Brady (Ford Escort) [6]
25 Michael Nevin/Des Moran (Escort Mk 2) [2]
26 Connie Delaney/Ray Grace (Subaru Impreza) [8]
27 Mark Murphy/Carol O Keeffe (Subaru Impreza) [6]
28 Declan Cuddy/Nigel Moody (Subaru Impreza) [6]
29 Stephen Cullen/Oonagh Roche (Subaru Impreza) [8]
30 David Dunne/Ciaran O Connor (Ford Escort) [5]
32 Raymond Benskin Jnr./Ollie Kierce (Ford Escort) [4]
33 Jason Culleton/Sandra Culleton (Renault Megane) [4]
34 Michael Cuddihy/Alan Mulcahy (Toyota Corolla) [3]
35 Jim Fagan/Rachel Fagan (Ford Escort MK 2) [2]
36 Sean Sheehy/Eamonn Sheehy (Honda Civic) [3]
37 Seamus O'Grady/TBA () []
38 Alan Dineen/Tony Dineen (Vauxhall Nova) [3]
39 Colman Hegarty/Nicky Hegarty (Toyota Twincam GT) [3]
40 Anthony Redmond/Leon Redmond (Honda Civic) [3]
42 Nicholas Cahill/Barry Barron (Opel Astra) [5]
43 John Doolan/Pat Nolan (Honda Civic Type R) [5]
44 Emmet Watchorn/TBA (Peugeot 106) [3]
46 Michael Murphy/Pat Cashman (Toyota Corolla) [3]
47 Neil Hickey/TBA (Skoda Favorit WRX) [3]
48 Richard Scallan/Steven Scallan (Peugeot 206) [3]
49 Robert Hughes/Robert T Hughes (Opel Corsa) [3]
50 Michael Donoghue/Daniel Murphy (Subaru Impreza) [6]
52 Emmet Cronin/Joe Fitzgibbon (Ford Escort MK 2) [2]
53 Kevin Fowler/Darren Walsh (Vauxhall Nova) [2]
54 Paul Quinlan/Damien Cronin (Talbot Sunbeam) [2]
55 Adrian Foley/Jonathan Keane (Opel Corsa) [2]
56 Keith Spain/Alan Spain (Honda Civic) [2]
57 Brian Hennessy/Robert Jones (Peugeot 205 GTI) [2]
58 John Keon/Michael Ward (Honda Civic) [2]
59 Joe Earle/TBA (Peugeot 205) [2]
60 Darren O Connor/Tom O Connor (Vauxhall Nova) [2]
61 Mark Dolphin/Brian Hurley (Ford Escort) [3]

101 Noel Brady/Richard Davis (Ford Ka) [1]
102 Johnny Kenneally/Ken Carmody (Ford Escort MK 2) [1]
103 Kevin Donnelly/TBA (Toyota Starlet) [1]
104 Colman Kirby/Jemima Otiman (Nissan Sunny) [1]
105 Paul Archer/TBA (Vauxhall Nova) [1]
106 Tristan Horan/Keith Murray (Ford Ka) [1]
107 James Forgarty/Jamie Connery (Ford Ka) [1]
108 James Cooney/Adrian Kiely (Opel Corsa) [1]
109 JJ Wall/Patrick Wall (Peugeot 106) [1]
110 Seamus Cooke/Gerard Hyland (Ford Escort) [1]

201 Aidan Mulcahy/Des Flynn (Honda Civic) [9]
202 Brian O Neill/James Duggan (Honda Civic) [9]
203 John Paul Ruth/TBA () [9]
204 Colin O Toole/Charlotte Egan (Opel Corsa) [9]

Confirmed Format

9 stages: - 6 locations:

3 Stages down once in the dark.
3 stages repeated after breakfast!
With a 5am start the opening stages of the 2008 Carrick on Suir Forestry Rally will take place in darkness!

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