Rain dominated the Castle Mini-Stages Rally on Sunday and four-wheel-drive was the transmission system to have. Garry Jennings and David Moynihan made the most of their Mitsubishi Evo 9's capability in that regard and took the overall win, though the two crews that joined them on the podium weren't that far behind.
The Fermanagh man recorded a time of 37:44 for the four stages, 24s ahead of Daniel McKenna/Andrew Grennan and 41s in front of Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon, both in MkII Escorts. Wilton was the best placed Cavan driver, and he praised the rally, though he would've liked less rain.
"It was a great rally, but could have been better if it had been dry," said Rodney. "There were good few offs, people were caught out in the slippy conditions and they were very fast roads."
He admitted that he got off to a slow start on Sunday morning (a significant disadvantage on a short rally) and he hadn't done any competitive driving since the Donegal rally in June. "I wasn't sharp enough on the first two stages, and there were only four in the rally - it wasn't enough stages to pull him [McKenna] back.
"I'm happy with the result anyway. If the day had been dry, we would've pushed on a bit better... when it's wet like that, you have to be out more often."
Rory Galligan of Castle Automobile Club agreed that the conditions were awful, but "the only saving grace was that it rained the whole way through, so they stuck to the one tyre, they didn't have to change or have to choose between two compounds".
Trevor Mulligan and Lisa Roe finished fifth overall, perhaps hindered by the power of their MkII on the wet day; they were just seven seconds ahead of Russell Woods and Peter Leahy in another Escort.
Peter Wilson started the day well, and was second behind Jennings until the turbo of his Mitsubishi blew on the second stage. Mickey Curran had rented Pat Donegan's Escort for the day but retired with a misfire, and Paul McEnroe, also from Oldcastle, retired his new-shape Subaru with a broken gearbox.
Gerry Reilly and Andrew Browne (who took up co-driving duties when he was unable to take the wheel of his own car) were the best placed Castle Automobile Club crew and won a Joe McGurk award - but the battle across the generations of one Oldcastle family remained unresolved.
John Fitzsimons/Breege Reilly started their Escort at number 35, and John's grandson Nicky Brunton (with Stephen Brunton alongside) started at 70 in a Honda Civic. The younger lads failed to finish, while John made it to within a couple of miles of the end of the last stage, when he ran out of petrol.
Frantic phone calls to someone he knew who lived nearby almost got the Escort going again, on a gallon of two-stroke mix, but it was destined not to finish, even though John had "knocked all four corners off the car" in his efforts, according to Rory Galligan.
Speaking on behalf of the organising club, Rory thanked the residents for their co-operation in the running of the event, the marshals and everyone else who contributed to a successful rally, which was a lively boost to Oldcastle, on a difficult day.
• RIGHT: Rodney Wilton and Conor McMahon finished third overall; and (inset) Cathal and Gerard O'Reilly were third in class 7 in their Focus.Photos: Joe Lane
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|Date:||Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:02:01 AM|