Lo­cal Falvey misses out on Kil­lar­ney his­toric rally ti­tle by just one sec­ond

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - Sean Mo­ri­arty

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

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