The Galway Summer Stages Rally was the latest round of Sligo Pallets Border Championship and this brought the entrants of a number of Cavan crews to the roads around the market town of Gort. 9 stages of fast flowing tarmac would provide a stern test for crew and machine over the course of the day.
Bailieborough man Gary Kiernan would come to Galway equipped with a new engine to test out. Gone was the faithful 2 litre Vauxhall engine that had served so well over the past 2 years and in it’s place was a new 2.5 litre unit from the KGP workshop. With a number of experienced crews around him also contesting the king of the mk2 trophy it would be a tough day in the office learning the new power plant.
On the opening stages Kiernan with the help of Ryan Moore on the notes would settle into a good pace in 7th overall on the first stage before really getting down to it. On the 2nd stage he would climb to 3rd overall and by the end of the loop be a fantastic 2nd overall. From there on in it would be a case of pushing hard to defend his position ahead of WRC Subaru’s and fellow Escort drivers and with the gap being whittled down to 2 seconds going into the final stage by Paddy Mc Veigh in his WRC Subaru a stoke of luck would befall the Kiernan car as the stage would be blocked and they would receive the identical time to Mc Veigh crowning a historic result for the Kiernan Milling car.
2nd overall and the prestigious King of the Mk2 trophy for the top escort home and joining the likes of Pringle, Mc Phillips and Patterson as a champion. The other good point of the day is the step up to class 14 proved to be an easy task for the talented Bailieborough driver.
Billis man Russell Woods with Martin Byrne on the notes were out to try and consolidate their class 13 standings in the border championship. 2nd in class and 11th overall for the entire day whilst chasing down the escort of Paul Purtill whilst trying to fend off the Toyota of Columba Heena at the same time proved to be quite the balancing act whilst ensuring a finish. The 2nd place finish would provide a good haul of points ahead of the final round in Donegal.
Other crews having a good run over the weekend included Virginia man Kevin Cole with Matthew Kirwan in the Virginia Transport escort mk2. They would have their hands full all day battling it out with returning Pinto start Enda Haran and Reigning National and tarmac champion Donagh Kelly who would take the reigns of his Mk1 escort for a days sport. 3rd in the class at the end of the day was just reward for Cole and Kirwan who were pushing hard all day.
In class 11R John Mc Cabe and Paul Lennon would have their escort fully wound up to try and chase down the top runners in the class which included overall border leader Seamus Connolly. A steady start would net 40th overall before they would mount a charge for the rest of the day before climbing up as far as 34th overall and finishing 5th in class.
Damian O’Reilly and Karen Kelly would have a big task ahead of themselves to win the class with just themselves to beat. With that the little 1400 escort was pushed hard through the fast roads around Gort to start embarrassing some more powerful opposition. Their end reward would be a climb to 36th overall and maximum points in the class.