The year long wait for the Night Navigation Trial brought a sense of excitement and intrigue as this year saw C.O.C. Damien Mc Cabe and Ciaran McIlroy set out what was a very testing and enjoyable route back in the traditional Maudabawn Shercock area.
This year had the added interest to see how the new batch of navigators faired out after their intensive 4 week training course back in September of last year as hosted by Ashley McAdoo.
The event was based out of the Gallonreagh House which has long been the epicentre of navigations in Cavan. With vast local knowledge and years of experience competing having previously won a Cavan event it was going to be a tough and confusing affair for all the crews involved.
Damien didn’t dissapoint with leisurely stroll out to tp 1 and the traditional blast up the back of the Wedlock’s home farm it was straight into a plot and bash, this contained a twist as 4 plots were received for the route proceeding and the plots for Via 4 which wouldn’t be visited until the end of the night was also included in place of Via 1 to add confusion. It was on this first “rat race” around the major farm and forest complex to the west of Maudabawn that would give us the overall winner with every crew dropping time on the run around to TP3 taking in the sights at Via 1 it would be Dermot Whelton and Mark Mc Carthy from Cork who would remain penalty free after this along with the other semi expert pairing of Joe Friel and Eoghan Mc Carthy along with Novice crew of Keith Mc Connon and Micheal Mc Closkey.The turning point in the event would be the next section of this plot and bash when Friel and Mc Carthy dropped 4 minutes and Mc Connon and Mc Closkey dropped 2 minutes, The fact that Whelton and Mc Carthy made it that far without penalty and would eventually be tied for the victory with Ashley Mc Adoo and Laurence Keenan which gave them the victory in the end by the “furthest cleanest” ruling.
From there on in it was an enjoyable route that took in its fair share of farm tracks, passes and lanes with some complicated navigating to be achieved and some really smooth and slippery farms to be negotiated. This included some parts of last year’s route as set out by Ruaidhrí Nash and Thomas Wedlock. The sting in the tail was the run through Wedlock’s farm that saw a completely different way being used that reinstated the tradition that “you may know Jim Wedlock’s yard, but you will never know Jim Wedlock’s yard!” This would cost nearly all the crews time trying to navigate their way around. One final surprise followed as the Via 4 situation came back to the forefront of peoples mind as they might have forgotten to plot it originally and now had to panic plot on their way back to the original plot and bash area. Once there they had to then return to the maze from earlier on to find TP 32 before making their way back to the finish.
With the main victory decided already it was up to the classes to be decided, In the expert class the top
3 could only be sepperated by tie breaks as they all finished with 16 penalties, it was Joe and Greg Shinnors who finished 3rd in class after a hard night in the office. Monaghan pairing Micky and Ciaran Tynan finished 2nd on a count of earning 5 penalties in comparison to Rory and Ciaran Coyle who only collected 4 penalties at TP3, this would hand the Donegal duo the class win.
In the semi experts it was Ashley Mc Adoo and Laurence Keenan who took the win after Whelton and Mc Carthy took the overall win and won on a tie break. Joe Friel and Eoghan Mc Carthy came home 2nd in class to complete the long distance excercise as Eoghan has basically spent the year navigating for Donegal men. Matt and Enda Hume made the trip worthwhile to finish 3rd in class.
In the Novices the pace was hot and heavy as the championship was going down to the wire with any one of 5 crews still in with a shout of taking the Novice title. Disaster struck for one of these crews early on as Eoghan Corr and Ruaidhrí Nash were to damage their impreza hitting a large rock on one of the first lanes and having to contend with a mishandling car for the rest of the night. Another
crew in trouble were the Wedlock cousins Thomas and Andrew, the pairing who were very much on home ground with the event running through
Thomas’ farm later in the night would experience electrical problems which left their car very down on power and cutting in and out which made life difficult on the mucky lanes and farm tracks. 3rd on the list were the last minute pairing of Justin Smyth and Darragh Kelly who were having a good run until a coming together with another crew on a farm track caused their front suspension to collapse and left the crew high and dry and unable to make the finish close to the end of the event. In the end it was Derek Mackarel and Seamus Mc Tigue who finished up 3rd, The Wedlocks managed to struggle on to finish a credible 2nd and Keith Mc Connon and Micheal Mc Closkey who finished as the winners in the novices on 15 marks.
In the Beginners it was an impressive display by the green horns with some low scores across the board for the night that was in it.
It was Ciaran Sheridan and Connor Boylan who won the class with Philip and Connor Smith 2nd and Colm and Conor Mohan 3rd to complete a one two three of Connor navigators in the Beginners.
A very successful night for Damien and Ciaran as all the crews thoroughly enjoyed themselves even though they spent most of the night cursing how tricky the route was! :). A huge thanks to all the land owners and volunteers on the route and too all at the Gallonreagh house for being so accomodating to the event. So with the final round in Monaghan next week being the decider for the championship it is still nip and tuck with regards to the Border and National Championships.
A small sample of the route