Boyle takes easy home victory
Donegal Harvest Rally
Organiser: Donegal Motor Club When: October 8 Where: Killybegs, Donegal Championships Irish National Rally Championship, Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship Stages: 8 Starters: 141
Despite the Irish National Rally Championship being decided, Declan and Brian Boyle showed no sign of letting up as they took victory and a third in a row on the event in the process.
The rally bucked the trend of recent years by having four separate stages, each run twice. The opening two stages, Kilcar and Glencolmcille, were technical.
From the word go Declan Boyle proved his superiority, nine seconds faster than Garry Jennings’ Subaru Impreza S12B WRC on the opener and four seconds faster on the second. Admittedly Jennings did have some intercom problems, but even as the day progressed he admitted he had no answer to the flying Ford Fiesta WRC at the front.
Similarly Manus Kelly, winner in Carlow this year as well as the Donegal International on his first two runs in a Melvyn Evansprepared Impreza S12B WRC, was a few seconds down on every stage on his third run in the car. Manus did score a fastest time on the final stage.
Jennings disappeared from the fray on the penultimate stage with engine problems which eased the pressure on Boyle even more.
Third overall on the event was enough to give Niall Maguire third in the national standings behind Boyle. In another Impreza S12B, Maguire capped off a strong season with the result.
There was a great battle between the Mk2 Escort drivers in the top 10. Chris Armstrong appeared to be heading for either a third or fourth overall finish but he slid his car into a ditch on the penultimate stage.
This left Gary Kiernan, who had been 13s behind Armstrong starting that seventh stage, to finish fourth. Declan Gallagher in his Toyota Starlet had started the day in brilliant form, showing the Escorts a clean pair of heels on the opening test, but was sidelined by an accident in stage two.
Joe Mcgonigle debuted his new Skoda Fabia R5, taking a solid sixth position overall.
Aidan Wray won Group N beating Shane Maguire, which earned him the class National champion’s tag for the second year in a row. Young Gary Mcnamee/bernard Foley won the Junior category in their Civic and also took the Junior title on the National Championship. Their expected main Junior rival Michael Boyle slid his Civic off the road.
us both out on the last bend at Skegness, he gave me a good hit, but I managed to hold onto it. Third at Sheffield is OK. I just have keep doing what I can and see how it pans out.”
Defending shootout champion Dan Johnson overcame his recent run of bad luck to win at Sheffield on Sunday, a result that moves him into fourth place.
“I have had a terrible start to the shootout: trying to retain the title is hard, but this win will help and I have nothing to lose, so I will go for it now,” said Johnson. “I was going well last night at Skegness; I was ahead of the rest of the shootout drivers when the power steering went.”
Rob Speak, who went into the weekend leading the points, failed to break into the top 10 in either final. However he did score enough points in heat races to hang on to second place, just 17 points behind Green.