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Mourne Rally - (Sat) 8 Jun 13

Posted: February 8, 2014 8:28 PM - 10389 Hits

Round 5 - 2013 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

Photo: Jonathan MacDonald

Gass/Sherry Grab Mourne Glory!

Posted: February 8, 2014 8:28 PM

Darren Gass and Enda Sherry secured victory at Saturday’s Modern Tyre Service Mourne Rally, round five of the 2013 Carryduff Forklift MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship. They brought their Subaru Impreza WRC to the finish line more than one minute ahead of the Focus WRC belonging to Derek McGarrity and James McKee, with Paddy McVeigh and Paul Hamill third.

From the outset it was Markethill’s Darren Gass who dominated, taking fastest times on the opening loop of the Black Hill, Deadmans Hill and Ballydougherty stages. Derek McGarrity settled into second, on his first event in a newly acquired Focus WRC, which had been used in Belgium. A couple of stalls and an overshoot meant that he was already nearly 30 seconds off the lead at first service.

In a surprise third place was Paddy McVeigh on his third event in a WRC Subaru, the Brantry man having used Group N machines in the past. Next up was Maynooth man Kevin Barrett, looking for a good finish here after retirement on the previous Sperrins round, then Derek McGeehan in the Mini WRC, who admitted to be slightly off the pace.

Sixth overall was two wheel drive leader Davy Armstrong in his MK2 Escort, who led the similar machine of Frank Kelly by six seconds, with Adrian Hetherington next up in eighth. The drama in this class started on stage one, with the demise of Camillus Bradley who rolled his Escort, and Hetherington was soon to depart the fray with a broken clutch.

Jim Feenan in his Escort WRC was ninth and Jonny Leonard tenth in his Group A Evo 6. He had been lying as high as third, but a broken driveshaft dropped the Fermanagh driver back on stage three.

Group N leader at this point was event sponsor Rory Byrne in his Evo 10, but he was set to retire on the final stage, handing the category victory to local man Damien Toner.

Little was to change at the top of the leaderboard through the remainder of the event as 24-year-old Darren Gass powered away from the field. Derek McGarrity lost further time on stage four with two stalls, but maintained his second place to the finish, ahead of Paddy McVeigh in a fine third.

Kevin Barrett was very happy to get a good finish and take some championship points in fourth, just ahead of the frenetic two wheel drive battle. It was Frank Kelly who took the honours in fifth overall, just three seconds in front of Davy Armstrong in his MK2, both loving these superb twisting stages.

Derek McGeehan dropped to seventh behind this big race with the Mini WRC, admitting to be slightly off the pace. Then there was a bigger gap to Jonny Leonard in the Evo 6 in eighth, Keith White in his 2.5 litre MK1 Escort ninth and former outright winner Norman Armstrong in tenth with his MK2.

An Interview With... Darren Gass

Posted: February 8, 2014 8:26 PM

Markethill's Darren Gass secured victory at Saturday's Modern Tyre Service Mourne Rally, round five of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship. The 24-year-old driver is the reigning Irish Tarmac Champion and also lists the British Junior title amongst his many rally accomplishments. He finished the Mourne event more than one minute ahead of reigning Carryduff Forklift champion, Derek McGarrity. We caught up with young Gass to find out a little bit more about him after his Mourne Rally success...

Did you have any problems during the event?

Darren: "We had a puncture for about a mile on one stage, then spun on another stage and lost maybe 10 or 12 seconds but other than that, everything was fine. We were trying hard enough for the first five or six stages to be honest."

Did your local knowledge help?

Darren: "The stages were fairly local to me but they're not roads that I would ever be on. They were tricky stages with very little room for error so it was good to get around them with no hassle. It was a great day and I think the weather helped make it a great day for everybody."

How has this season gone for you so far?

Darren: "It hasn't been great to be honest...we haven't done much. We crashed on the first stage in Galway (round one of the Irish Tarmac Championship) then round two was cancelled because of the bad weather. So the Mourne Rally was our first proper run this year."

What happened in Galway?

Darren: "We made a mistake in making the pace notes before the rally. We had the finish of the stage in the wrong place, so I didn't have the last square right noted. We crashed at the last corner, about 20 metres before the finish of the stage. It was a silly mistake but that shows how vital it is to have good pace notes."

When did you start rallying?

Darren: "I navigated a couple of times for my dad (Maurice) and we won the New Year Stages Rally at Kirkistown together. My first event as a driver was when I was 17 years old. That was in a Citroen Saxo at the Sligo Stages."

What is your biggest accident?

Darren: "We had a bad accident at the Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland with a Celica about five or six years ago. I just lost control and the car rolled into the trees. Thanks to all of the safety equipment - helmets, roll cage, safety harness - we were able to walk away."

What's next?

Darren: "We were using the Mourne Rally as a shakedown for the Donegal Rally, which takes place in a couple of weeks' time. So it is nice to get the win and boost the confidence ahead of that event. My birthday is on the Friday of the rally – I’ll be 25 – so I’ll be aiming for a good birthday present!"

And the rest of the year?

Darren: "Depending on how Donegal goes, I might enter the Ulster Rally. I'd also like to enter Lurgan Park again."


Posted: February 8, 2014 8:23 PM

1 Darren Gass / Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC S10) 1:13:30.8
2 Derek McGarrity / James McKee (Ford Focus WRC) +1:08.9
3 Paddy McVeigh / Paul Hamill (Subaru Impreza WRC S10) +2:10.0
4 Kevin Barrett / Sean Mulally (Subaru Impreza WRC S11) +2:39.0
5 Frank Kelly / Stephen Quinn (Ford Escort MK2) +3:08.5
6 David Armstrong / Paul Mulholland (Ford Escort MK2) +3:12.0
7 Derek McGeehan / Michael Orr (Mini JCW WRC) +3:15.7
8 Jonny Leonard / Niall Burns (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) +5:06.8
9 Keith White / Damien McCabe (Ford Escort MK2) +5:44.9
10 Norman Armstrong / Lisa Allen (Ford Escort MK2) +7:04.4

Seeded Entry List

Posted: June 7, 2013 9:29 AM

Entries Received

Posted: May 24, 2013 11:06 AM

Available on the Competitors Page at:

Regulations / Entry Form

Posted: May 8, 2013 1:55 PM

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Draft Schedule

Posted: January 15, 2013 9:32 AM

Modern Tyre Service Sponsor Mourne Rally

Posted: January 15, 2013 9:21 AM

Rory Byrne (MD Modern Tyre Service) with Des O’Loan (NADMC Chairman)
Photo: Newry and District Motor Club

At a press launch today at Modern Tyre Service in Newry, Des O’Loan from Newry and District Motor Club announced that the event to be held on Saturday 8th June would continue to be sponsored by local tyre company Modern Tyre Service who have two depots in Newry and a total of 26 depots in Northern Ireland.

This year’s event will start from the Modern Tyre Service complex in Carnbane Ind. Est. in Newry on the Saturday morning followed by 9 stages on closed public roads around Newtownhamilton, Whitecross and Loughgilly using some classic old Circuit of Ireland stages. Service will be in Loughgilly with cars finishing up at the Sheepbridge Inn, Newry where a prize giving will be held. The event is round 5 of the Carryduff Forklift MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship and the club is expecting a strong entry despite the challenging economic conditions. Some of the leading championship contenders have already expressed intent to compete on the event along with some of the quickest local drivers including Jim Feenan of Formula Karting, Denis Patterson in his G3 Escort and Christopher Simms and Davy Armstrong in their MkII Escorts. Scrutiny will take place at the premises of Modern Tyre Service in Carnbane Industrial Estate on Friday evening for local crews and Saturday morning for those travelling a distance. Scrutiny will be open to the public. Event information will be made available from the clubs website www.nadmc.co.uk

Commenting at the launch Rory Byrne Director of Modern Tyre Service and keen rally competitor said “We are very pleased to be sponsoring the Mourne Rally for the 7th year and look forward to working with the Newry and District Motor Club to help raise the profile of the event. Our sponsorship deal will help to raise our association with rallying in the province while providing an excellent opportunity to remind local motorists of the professional service provided by Modern Tyre Service through our network of depots which includes two based in Newry”.

Remarking on their event sponsor for 2013, Des O’Loan said “I am delighted to have a company like Modern Tyre Service on board and with Rory’s enthusiasm for the sport we are looking forward to introducing many of the fresh initiatives they bring to our event.”

Many local drivers and navigators are expected to participate in this year’s closed road rally including a number of prominent Newry & District Motor Club committee members who intend competing in this year’s NI Rally Championship.

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