The traditional season closer and unofficial Christmas party brought a number of crews to the Kingdom for the Killarney Historic Rally and with a capacity entry of fantastic quality it was a real treat for fans of modified and historic cars alike.
In the modified section the big 3 from Cavan would be in the running for the overall title with the learned hurlers on the ditches around the county. Chris Armstrong with Chris Melly would be back to try and repeat their previous win from a few years back. things were well on track for the Virginia man who was hoping to cap off a great season of success with one last win. All was going to plan keeping in front of the likes of Declan Gallagher and David Bogie when a mechanical failure spelled the end of a spirited attack with just 2 stages to go. It wouldn’t be going much better for the Bailieborough duo of Gary Kiernan and Jonathan Pringle both Millington Escort equipped for the weekend the pair would be in the big fight at the top trading top 3 times with the rest but at such an alarming pace in such treacherous conditions something had to give. First to bow out of proceedings was Pringle with Paul Sheridan who would overstep the mark by a mere inch or so and catch a rock with the back wheel. This hefty high speed thud would spell the end of their challenge with damage to the rear suspension. One stage later we would see the end of Kiernan who had Ryan Moore on the notes. Again the pace was too much for the Escort and unfortunately the pair would bow out of the race with mechanical woes.
Fairing a bit better would be the sensation of recent years Jason Black with Karl Egan. The 1600 Starlet would be put through it’s paces at it’s usual frantic but controlled pace as Jason looked to prove he deserved his spot in the final of the Billy Coleman young rally driver of the year competition. Setting a blistering pace from the word go and filling the crowds on the famous stages with excitement and trepidation the Armagh man finished the day a fantastic 7th overall and the class winner by a country mile.
12th home at the end of a challenging day was Sean Brunton who would guide Vincent O’Shea in his pristine Mk2 around the stages.
Another pair who would be putting on a bit of a giant killing performance would be Damian O’Reilly and Keith Mc Connon with the pair only being equipped with a 1400 Mk2 escort the O’Reilly wonder wagon has become a car to be feared in recent years by much more powerful opposition. A damp and treacherous day would put the pair in a firm get it home in one piece mode but this wouldn’t detract from a great run to finish 3rd in the class and 29th overall and very much leaving a few 2 litre men scratching their heads as to what just happened!
Tim Flood and Anthony Smith would come to the Kingdom for their debut on the byroads of the Lakes, Tim in his 1600 escort would be hoping to rack up some miles and get used to his new mount. A morning of good pace would follow and leave him in good stead for the afternoon loop before disaster stuck in the form of a “learning” “incident” where the pair left the road on Beallaghbeama and got the car stuck for a bit. Getting the car out and being undeterred they pushed on setting good times before the car ground to a halt with an alternator issue agonizingly close to the finish.
A tough character building weekend for all involved with a smattering of crystal to take home for some crews but a good run from all when they were running with a possible top 3 overall of Cavan men looking very much on the cards at one point.