Sligo pro­duces another dra­matic event with a pun­ish­ing route

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Brian Pat­ter­son Re­sults Photos: James Burke, Pro-rally Photography

Or­gan­iser: Con­nacht Mo­tor Club When: July10 Where: Sligo Cham­pi­onship: Sligo Pal­lets Bor­der Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: 9 Starters: 92

Paddy Mcveigh from County Ty­rone hasn’t ral­lied his Subaru for many months but, co-driven this time by Gary Mcelhinney, he scored a sig­nif­i­cant vic­tory on this Sligo Stages event, adding his name to a dis­tin­guished list over the years.

Damian Toner fin­ished sec­ond and best two-wheel-drive in his Ford Es­cort, co-driven by Den­ver Rafferty. Usa-based Enda Mccor­mack, co-driven by Colin Fitzger­ald, made the trip worth­while by tak­ing third over­all in a Subaru Im­preza WRC S10.

The rally is on an ‘opt out’ year from the Tri­ton Show­ers Na­tional Cham­pi­onship, and the en­tries were slow ini­tially, but even­tu­ally over 90 were re­ceived and it was a strong top 10 that headed out from the Sligo Park Ho­tel. In the off­ing; three stages re­peated three times South of the town. Clerk of the course Joe Cor­cor­ran had opted to re­turn to stages which haven’t been used for a quite a few years.

Un­for­tu­nately the weather wasn’t kind, and the win­ner Mcveigh summed things up af­ter­wards when he said: “The first stage es­pe­cially was very treach­er­ous, like glass, and I didn’t stick my neck out. We just did what we had to do. All the stages were dif­fi­cult, and stage three, Ladies Brae, one wheel wrong over the blind crests would have been an ac­ci­dent.”

Frank Wray was the early leader in his Subaru, but his Im­preza got stuck in sec­ond gear and he was forced to call it a day. Mccor­mack then led but Mcveigh de­cided to have one real push in stage four and his time was very dom­i­nant, enough to give him a de­cent buf­fer for the sec­ond half of the event.

There were sev­eral driv­ers ex­pected to chal­lenge for the lead, but mis­for­tune struck many of them.

Gary Mcphillips’ Es­cort had an ex­cur­sion into the scenery, got go­ing but then the en­gine let go, pos­si­bly be­cause of a squashed oil or wa­ter pipe. Gary Kieran re­tired when his en­gine gave trou­ble. Stephen Wright in his Ford Fi­esta R5 was another caught out in the first stage. He man­aged to get go­ing but took a stage max­i­mum and was well down the or­der for the rest of the event.

The most se­ri­ous in­ci­dent was when mul­ti­ple Tar­mac cham­pion co-driver Paul Kiely crashed his Lancer into a wall on a tight­en­ing left han­der on shiny as­phalt about one-mile into the open­ing stage. Kiely was be­ing co-driven by Eu­gene Don­nelly and both were hos­pi­talised. The news was that nei­ther re­ceived life-threat­en­ing in­juries.

One driver who re­ally kept his nose clean and put on a fab­u­lous dis­play was Toner, best Ford Es­cort Mk2 man on last week’s Lur­gan Park Rally and only 4s be­hind the Paddy Mcveigh Subaru at the end. There was a plethora of four-wheel-drive ma­chin­ery be­hind him. Cathan Mccourt/brian Hoy had a good bat­tle in Group N to take the spoils.

De­clan Boyle’s son Michael, with Der­mot Mccaf­ferty co-driv­ing in their Honda Civic, had a very clear win in the Ju­niors.

Mcveigh’s Im­preza was rolled out for Sligo at­tack Sligo Stages Rally

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