Mcgonigle pushes to the end for victory
Lark in the Park Stages Rally
Organiser: Maiden City Motor Club When: April 23 Where: Carndonagh, County Donegal Starters: 40 Stages: 6
Despite the bumpy nature of the 8.1-mile Drung Hill, Joe Mcgonigle and Ciaran Geaney beat the bogey time on each pass in their Skoda Fabia S2000 and won the Lark in the Park Rally by 16s.
The number one seeded crew went 4s faster than the bogey and went quicker again on the repeat. But the awarded time placed Mcgonigle just 2s ahead of Frank Wray’s Subaru Impreza, which later suffered frontal damage – and a retirement – after an incident on the 0.6-mile St Columb’s Park-based stage.
Mcgonigle was fastest there too, touching a course marker on the way. Adrian Hetherington was three seconds slower on the short test but, across the Irish border, he proved to be fast. The Ford Escort Mk2 stopped the clock 12s quicker than the bogey and 6s up on Mcgonigle’s SS4 performance. The gap would have been different if recorded times were received but Mcgonigle’s win would be undeniable.
A return to the park for two passes of a two-lap, 1.1-mile stage is where Mcgonigle doubled his lead from Hetherington and Ronan O’neill to 16s.
John Bonner and Leon Jordan received a 10s penalty for a late arrival on the way to third, ahead of fellow Donegal and Ford Escort Mk2 crew Brendan Mcdaid and Karl Reid by 9s. Group N winners Gary Cairns and Justin Coyle were one second back in their Lancer.