RAVENS ROCK BELONGS TO RING AS MODERN MACHINERY PREVAILS
Organiser: Carrick on Suir MC When: June 26 Where: Waterford Championships: Suirway South East Rally Championship, Plasticbags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship Stages: six Starters: 100
In only his fourth event in his new Ford Fiesta R5+, Killarney’s Alan Ring, co-driven by Adrian Deasy, had a start-to-finish win on the compact Ravens Rock Stages.
The duo were never challenged over the day’s six special stages; Enda O’brien/john Butler (Ford Escort) moved into second place on the second stage and stayed there to the end, but never looked like a match for the flying Fiesta R5+ at the front.
David Condell, who was fifth on the recent Heartlands Rally in his Ford Escort, finished a solid third this time. Eugene Mcgrath was co-driving.
The opening stage, Croughan Hill, 9.41 miles long, started outside Kilmacthomas and headed Northwards towards Carrick on Suir over good asphalt roads.
Ring was fastest, by less than 1s from Liam Howlett in his Escort, but the latter was to retire in stage two due to an accident. Enda O’brien took up the challenge of trying to catch Ring.
However by first service at Suirway’s industrial estate in Carrick on Suir, Ring’s advantage was already 24s. Third placed Mick O’brien (Ford Focus WRC) was 47s behind the leader, with Condell in his Escort holding fourth.
Jason Ryan (Toyota Starlet) had been seventh on the opening stage but he was another to retire in stage two, his car showing body damage.
Through stages three and four Ring was again fastest. By second service after stage four he had 55s in hand over second place Enda O’brien. Condell moved up into third ahead of Mick O’brien. Further retirements on the second running of the Killballyquilty stage included Derek Daly (Mitsubishi Lancer) who had been ninth and Cork man Mark Dolphin (Escort) who pulled out when holding 10th with a slipping clutch. Daly’s co-driver reported that their Lancer had “fallen over”, possibly because of a dubious tyre choice.
The weather had been changeable throughout the day, and several of the top drivers reported that they were on too soft a compound tyre for the middle loop of stages. There was a 12-mile journey from service down to the start of stage five outside Kilmacthomas, which made tyre choice difficult in the changeable conditions.
On stage five, Enda O’brien did set fastest time with sixth-placed Paul Purtill’s Escort Mk2 second in the pecking order for that test. Ring was slightly off the pace, just too relaxed, but made amends on the final stage with the best time. Forestry Modified champion Mickey Conlon in his Escort was just 3s back. Conlon finished fifth overall and winner of class 13. Earlier, in stage two, Conlon had a major spin at a five left on shiny tar and lost a few seconds.
However he still did enough during the day to hold on to his lead in the Suirway South East Championship. Neil Tohill had a good run during the day to finish 14th in his Mitsubishi Lancer and win Group N.
1 Alan Ring/adrian Deasy (Ford Fiesta R5) 55m02.4s; 2 Enda O’brien/john Butler (Ford Escort Mk2) +50.3s; 3 David Condell/ Eugene Mcgrath (Escort Mk2); 4 Mick O’brien/ Liam Brennan (Ford Focus WRC08); 5 Mickey Conlon/ Ciaran Mcphillips (Escort Mk2); 6 Paul Purtill/ Paul Kelly (Escort Mk2); 7 Simon Reid/ Paul Collins (Honda Civic); 8 Eddie Power/john Rafter (Toyota Corolla WRC); 9 Vincent Mcsweeney/ Michael Kearney (Civic); 10 Andrew Fanning/ Derek Gibbs (Fiesta).
Class winners Eamonn Bates/aaron Kavanagh (Civic); Keith Lyons/ Sean Hegarty (Fiesta R2T); Kevin Dolphin/ Martin O’brien (Renault Clio); Neil Tohill/ Gerard Tohill (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); Ring/ Deasy; O’brien/ Brennan; Billy Mccarthy/john Falvey (Nissan Micra); Paschal O’shea/ Robbie Hennessey (Escort); Reid/ Collins; Andrew Duggan/tara Duggan (Escort Mk2); Denis Hickey/ Sean Nolan (Escort); Conlon/ Mcphillips; Enda O’brien/john Butler (Escort Mk2); Power/ Rafter; Fanning/ Gibbs; George Swanton/ Kevin Barry (Escort); Ian Davies/ Ryland James (Escort); Fergus Hurley/ Eric Deane (Escort Mk2).
Ring took first win in Fiesta R5+