The 2018 rally season kicked of last weekend with the carrick on suir motor clubs forestry stages rally with 79 starters it was just a testament that forestry rallying is alive and kicking in Ireland.
The rally had 6 demanding stages in the daylight hours with a 18km stage thrown in for good measure the crews would then make back for a long service to get there lights on and head back out for 3 stages in the dark which proved to be a a real hit with the competitors
It was a good weekend for the local crews with 3rd overall going to Oldcastle man Stephen McCann in his ford fiesta S2000 showing some great speed and commitment to even set some fastest times with very stiff competition in the field. The attack was nearly thwarted near the end when a drive shaft broke on the final stage causing Stephen to switch to damage limitation mode to fend off Mick O’Brien
In the 2wd catergory which was also a very strong entry it was victory and a magnificent 10th overall for the M.C. Blinds crew of Mickey Conlon and Ciaran McPhillips after a long hard battle all day with Shane McGirr and Tommy O’Connell. With the return of John Gordon and Maudabawns Thomas Wedlock back to the stages it started of as a bad day for the crew clipping a rock on stage 1 losing 4 minutes to stop and change the punctured wheel the crew climbed back ending up 1st in class and 29th overall. Anthony Masterson and Tommy Clinton made there first trip to the sticks in there class 14 escort to come home with 51st overall and 2nd in class 14 .
In class 20 Paul McCann and Paddy Plunkett debut there Skoda Fabia S2500 into the forests with the pairing getting to grips with the 4wd monster they finished a respectable 18th overall and 4th in class, Pauric Sheridan and Sean Brunton debut there ford fiesta into the woods coming home with 32nd overall and 7th in class .
In class 15 cootehill man Andrew wedlock took to the forest stages to guide northern Ireland man Niall Turley to a fine 25th overall and 2nd in class defending of the Ballyjamesduff pairing of Brecan McBreen and Breen McNamee who finished 3rd in class 15 and 35th overall.
The junior category was very hotly contested with 14 starters. Reigning Irish tarmac champion Jenna McCann made her first appearance to the forestry championship with new navigator Sean Crowley on the notes the pairing would finish up 8th in class and 47th overall and close behind would be the Cavan pairing of Sean McConnell and Anthony McDonald also experiencing there first forestry rally the crew overcame a misfiring issue to come home 48th overall and 9th in class.
So that’s it from round 1 of the Irish forestry championship the crews will be getting ready for round 2 in limerick on the 4th of march.