Local Falvey misses out on Killarney historic rally title by just one second
KILLARNEY and District Motor Club delivered another brilliant Rentokil-Initial Killarney Historic Rally last weekend ensuring that this unique event will retain its place on the rally calendar for many years to come.
Alongside the fantastic organisation and atmosphere in the town over the weekend, the rally delivered on the competitive front too with just 1.1 seconds separating the Talbot Sunbeam of Owen Murphy and Anthony Nestor and the Ford Escort Mk1 of Mark Falvey and James O’Brien.
The result marked the first victory for a Talbot Sunbeam on the event but also marked disappointment for Falvey, a former winner of the rally. But credit to Murphy who led the event from the opening Moll’s Gap stage and held off the Killarney and District Motor Club member’s challenge until the final Kilcummin test later in the day.
Faha co-driver Shane Buckley got a late call-up to sit alongside Welsh visitor Tomas Davies in a Ford Escort. Buckley was originally due to co-drive for Johnny O’Connor Jnr from Limerick in a Mk2 version of the Escort but the late arrival of a new gearbox forced the Limerick man to withdraw. Davies and Buckley were as high as third for much of the rally but were pipped at the post by Neil Williams and Anthony O’Sullivan for the final podium position.
Denis Cronin and Helen O’Sullivan, former winners of the Rally of the Lakes were eight in their RS1800 while Ray Hilliard and Conor Walsh were top all Kerry crew in ninth in their Escort. Todd and Peter Falvey finished 11th in their ex-works Escort.
Mikie Galvin had a special reason to celebrate finishing 13th overall and first in class C5. He was co-driving for rallying royalty Jim McRae, a multiple British Rally Champion in a Vauxhall Firenza Can Am.
David Fleming and Kevin Doherty won class 2 in their Mini, Pat Looney and John Falvey finished 22nd in a Ford Escort Mk1.
Other locals to make the finish line, driver Donal O’Connor and navigator Tommy Commane.
The adjacent modified rally attracts entries from some of the fastest drivers in the country and this element of the event is always keenly fought.
Rob Duggan, with Ger Conway on the notes, made the long trip home from Melbourne in an effort to take his third straight win on the event.
The Ford Escort driver did not have it easy and was third overall after the first loop. He jumped into the lead on the second run over Beallaghbeama but a few miles further down the road the Escort suffered a fuel pump problem and his challenge was over
The category was eventually won by Donegal man Declan Gallagher in a Toyota Starlet, he was co-driven by Aghadoe man John McCarthy.
Colin O’Donoghue and Frank Doherty set the early pace in their first outing in a BMW M3 and first event at senior level. They led the rally after stage one but dropped down the order on the next few tests. They eventually finished a very respectable fourth overall.
Damien Fleming guided Raymond Conlon to first in class 6 in a Toyota Corolla. This result, subject to confirmation from series organisers, makes Fleming the Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship.
The other John McCarthy, Dublin based Currow man, guided John Delvin to ninth overall, two places ahead of Vincent O’Shea. Dave Slattery and Denis Coffey made a welcome return to rallying after an absence of a few years to claim 11th while Charlie and Johnny Hickey were 14th. Conor Murphy and Kieran O’Donoghue were 16th, five places ahead of Tadgh and Leanne O’Sullivan.
Seanie Hickey/Noel Fleming were second in the 1600cc class in their Toyota Starlet while Denis Dineen/Donal Dineen were fourth in a Ford Escort.
Paudie O’Callaghan and Danny Murphy were second in the 1300cc class in another Toyota Starlet while Noel O’Sullivan and Nicholas Burke were fourth in a Ford Escort Mk2
Bob Moran/Eoin O’Donoghu were fourth in their class in yet another Ford Escort, with fifth and sixth going to John Fleming and Timmy Kelly and John Hickey and Eamon Creedon respectively.
Thomas Randle made a welcome return to finish with Tony Healy on the notes, as was the case with Mike Dowling and John Liston, both crews out in newly acquired Escorts.
Mark Falvey and James O’Brien, first overall in Category K, with Darren McCormick, Michael O’Mahoney (Rentokil MD) and Mike Moriarty at the Killarney Historic Rally prize-giving ceremony at The Gleneagle Hotel on Saturday. Photo by Eamonn Keogh