The 2017 ALMC Stages rally would be an event of quality over quantity with the general rally entries numbers down for 2017 every event hopes to attract a high quality entry and this event didn’t disappoint with anyone in the top 10 capable of winning the event outright.
A number of Cavan crews made the trip to Trim in pursuit of more competitive mileage on the fast and flowing roads around the royal county. Late entry to the event was Bailieborough man Jonathan Pringle who had just finished rebuilding his mark 2 escort late on Friday night after the tough weekend in Donegal 2 weeks previous where he won his class. Pauric Sheridan and Sean Brunton would take to the start in their Fiesta along with James Cassidy who had Jane Collins on the notes for the day. Another last minute entry was the super Civic of Gary Mc Namee with Brian Brady on the notes. Jumping into the navigator’s seat for the day would be Kevin Reilly who would navigate for Pauric Cummins in his Fiesta RWD.
First to falter was this still in development Civic as a clutch issue spelled the end of the day before it had really began. With the car failing to deliver drive to the wheels properly there was not much point in continuing so it was called a day.
Coming off the back of his good run in Donegal Pringle was hoping for a good run and a chance of the overall win but he would have his work cut out. At the end of the opener he and Paul Sheridan would lay second overall behind the Darrian of Ian Barrett. With the Darrian grinding to a halt on the second stage it would leave the way for the Cavan crew go to battle against the escort of Damian toner and the WRC Subaru of Steve Woods. With the Subaru grinding to a halt out of 3rd place it would be a straight fight between Pringle who was now nursing an 8 second lead ahead of Toner.
Pauric Sheridan and Sean Brunton would take their immaculate Fiesta Proto for a high speed test as they continue their development of this new super car. A good day getting used to it on high speed tar yielded a good result with 2nd in class and 16th overall to cap off a great result for the pair.
In class 12 James Cassidy would take on a new navigator for the weekend in the form of Roscommon lady Jane Collins. Jane who normally sits for her father and James’ arch enemy in the class Vincent Collins would be given a high speed demonstration of James’ unquestionable pace and skill around the Trim byroads as they would take a start to finish win in the class and 9th overall.
In class 14 Pauric Cummins with Kevin Reilly on the notes would have a good race on their hands fending off the interests of a few 4wd cars as they attempted to chase down Cork man Colin Byrne in his escort for the class win. With 2 to go a finish was settled for and the pair rolled into Trim 2nd in the class and 8th overall.
Back out front Pringle and Sheridan had a 16 second lead going into the final stage. All was going to plan with a calm and measured approach being adopted when suddenly disaster struck as the front left suspension arm collapsed. With the wheel rubbing the inner arch it was up to Jonathan to push on over the closing 2 kilometres and nurse the car to the finish but try and keep the pace up. It worked and by a slender 8 seconds the pair took the win in front of a big crowd of supporters, family and friends who had made the trip. Clearly enjoying the moment Jonathan commented on how he had thought they had lost it all when the suspension failed but delighted they had hung on in the end and with a huge thanks to his sponsors, family and friends for all their help and support.
The Cavan Motor Club were out in force too helping to man junctions and radio points during the day and with Stephen Kellett and Andrew Wedlock conducting Sweeper duties in their Honda Civic the event passed off safely and without any incidents. Big thanks to all who marshalled at the weekend from the club.