MURPHYHOLDSONIN THRILLINGFINISH

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Mar­tin Walsh

Or­gan­iser: Kil­lar­ney and District Mo­tor Club When: De­cem­ber 1 Where: Kil­lar­ney, Co. Kerry Cham­pi­onships: Ir­ish Tarmac His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship, Plas­ticbags.ie South­ern 4 His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship; King­dom of Kerry Rally Cham­pi­onship. Stages: 8 Starters: 144.

Lead­ing from the start, reign­ing Ir­ish Tarmac His­toric Rally cham­pion Owen Mur­phy (Tal­bot Sun­beam) sur­vived a fi­nal­stage blitz from the Ford Es­cort Mk1 of Mark Falvey to win the Kil­lar­ney His­toric Rally by a mere 1.1 sec­onds.

Welsh ace Neil Wil­liams (Es­cort) was a minute and 50.5 sec­onds fur­ther adrift in third.

A 9.6-sec­ond gain from the iconic Moll’s Gap gave Mur­phy the per­fect start as Falvey, run­ning out of se­quence after he had to se­cure the bat­tery, had to con­tend with his Es­cort pop­ping out of sec­ond gear.

Welsh favourite Phil Collins (Opel As­cona) was 20.6 sec­onds fur­ther be­hind in third but then lost sig­nif­i­cant time on the sec­ond stage at Bal­lagh­beama with a punc­ture. Mur­phy went 13.7 sec­onds clear on SS2 but Falvey re­sponded by claw­ing five sec­onds back on the run through Caragh Lake.

Both their ser­vice crews were busy; Mur­phy’s team fixed a rear-axle mount that snapped on SS2 and Falvey’s en­gi­neer sorted a mis­fire. After slot­ting into third on SS2, Marty Mccor­mack re­tired his Es­cort with an elec­tri­cal glitch.

Wil­liams there­fore was run­ning third on his maiden trip over the clas­sic Kil­lar­ney ter­rain from fel­low coun­try­man Melvyn Evans (Es­cort), who was slowed by a small flock of sheep on SS2, but re­tired on SS5 with trans­mis­sion trou­bles.

Mean­while, Es­cort pair To­mas Davies and lo­cal ace Ray Hil­liard were next in the clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

On the re­peat of the loop, Falvey could only man­age to trim a sec­ond from the deficit as Davies (Ford Es­cort) edged out Wil­liams for third.

Mur­phy looked home and dry with a 9.6-sec­ond lead after the penul­ti­mate stage at Kil­cum­min, but Falvey’s per­for­mance on the re­peat of the same stage al­most dis­lodged the long-time leader, who hung on for a fa­mous win.

Wil­liams got the bet­ter of Davies to se­cure third ahead of Daniel Jones (Es­cort), Jonny Greer (Ford Sierra) and Es­cort debu­tant Cathan Mccourt, who set the best time on the fi­nal stage. De­nis Cronin, Hil­liard and Barry Jones com­pleted the top 10.

Re­sults

1 Owen Mur­phy/an­thony Nestor (Tal­bot Sun­beam) 1h10m38.3s; 2 Mark Falvey/james O’brien (Ford Es­cort RS1600) +1.1s; 3 Neil Wil­liams/an­thony O’sul­li­van (Es­cort); 4 To­mas Davies/ Shane Buck­ley (Es­cort); 5 Daniel Jones/ Ger­wyn Barry (Es­cort); 6 Jonathan Greer/ Kirsty Rid­dick (Ford Sierra); 7 Cathan Mccourt/ Barry Mcnulty (Es­cort); 8 De­nis Cronin/ He­len O’sul­li­van (Es­cort); 9 Ray Hil­liard/ Conor Walsh (Es­cort RS1600); 10 Barry Jones/ Brian Quin­lan (Es­cort).

Class win­ners: Greer/ Rid­dick; Ray Cun­ning­ham/ Kevin Keane (Mor­ris Mini Cooper S); Tom O’brien/ Scott O’brien (Austin Mini); Mau­rice Meskell/ Stephen Meskell (Ford Es­cort); Davies/ Buck­ley; Dun­can Wil­liams/ Guy Weaver (Ford Es­cort); Jones/ Barry; Les All­frey/ Keith Fel­lowes (Peu­geot 205 GTI).

Mur­phy/nestor took nar­row win

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