SEVERAL WEXFORD Motor Club members made the long trek to Banna Beach in Co. Kerry for the annual Kerry Mini Stages Rally on Sunday last.
After the first stage, which was run in very wet and slippery conditions, James Stafford and Amy Ryan were the highestplaced Wexford competitors, showing in fourth place overall in their Darrian just eleven seconds behind Frank Kelly in a Mark II Escort.
This wasn't to be the only Wexford representation in the top ten as Lisa O'Dowd, navigating for Co. Cavan's Stephen McCann, was lying tenth overall in a Mitsubishi Lancer.
Probably the most frustrated driver of the morning was Mark Nangle, who could only manage a time that placed him 42nd overall due to brake problems and lack of confidence in the car as a result.
After stage three James and Amy found themselves leading overall by quite a margin, 40 seconds, after a query regarding their earlier stage times had been resolved in their favour, resulting in them correctly leading after every stage.
Stephen McCann and Lisa O'Dowd were to drop out of the top ten and the tenth spot was to be taken up by Meath's John Hendy with Wexford's Enda Kennedy in the co-driver's seat.
Mark Nangle began moving up the order after reckoning his new brake pads that had been fitted at the start of the day weren't suiting his driving style and got his service crew to refit his old brake pads. This resolved his lack of confidence in the brakes.
At the end of the last stage James Stafford and Amy Ryan emerged victorious. James and Amy eventually ended up setting the fastest time on every stage, winning overall by 52 seconds. This will most likely be the last rally James will compete in this year and will bring to a close what has probably been his most successful rallying season in his motorsport career to date. This victory follows on from his win in his home event, the Wexford Stages Rally in September, and also the Raven's Rock Rally in June.
Next over the line was Enda Kennedy, sitting in with John Hendy in a Corolla Twincam, finishing the day fifth overall and winning class 13. Stephen McCann and Lisa O'Dowd pushed as hard as they could and climbed up to finish seventh overall and first in class 15, despite picking up a puncture towards the end of the final stage.
Mark Nangle with Pat Cashman from Cork continued a steady climb up the leader board to finish very happily in 16th overall after his earlier brake problems.
The 24th overall spot was taken by Tom White and son Thomas White in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, and the crew also picked up first in class four. Richard Cleary and Niamh Holland, both from Wexford, brought home their Honda Civic in 32nd overall and fifth in class 11F.
Richard Moore and Stephen Quinn were close behind in a Honda Civic, with a gap of only two seconds in 33rd overall, and also picking up third in class 16. Andy Nash and Elaine Doyle in another Honda Civic finished the day off 54th overall and third in class 2.
The Wexford Motor Club members were met with extremely wet and slippery conditions when they headed to Waterford Airport Business Park for the Carrickon-Suir Motor Club Rallysprint.
Graham Scallan in his Subaru Impreza N14 finished first overall and added to the Wexford Motor Club's successes. Graham set the pace on the 2.2 km. track all day despite a tough first run where he hit a footpath, bent a back arm and lost a rim. Conditions suited Nicholas Cahill in his two-wheel drive Opel Astra, as he got the upper hand on a considerable amount of higher powered cars. Nicholas finished just behind Graham in second overall. The rest of Wexford's results were: eighth overall, Leon Galvin, Toyota Starlet; 13th overall, Peter Boggan, Escort Mk II; 16th overall, Paddy Murphy, Subaru Impreza; 17th overall, Kenny O'Brien, Vauxhall Nova; 29th overall, P.J. Doyle, Peugeot 205; 45th overall, Johnny Murphy, Escort Mk II; 51st overall, Liam O'Neill, Escort Mk II; 52nd overall, Kevin O'Dowd, Honda Civic; 55th overall, Shay Delaney, Vauxhall Nova; 56th overall, David James, Escort Mk II; 58th overall, Enda Kennedy, Escort Mk II; 60th overall, Liam Howlett, Escort Mk II; 61st overall, Tonya Fortune, Vauxhall Corsa.
A reminder that Wexford Motor Club's Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place tonight, Tuesday, November 13, at 9 p.m. in the Riverbank House Hotel, Wexford. All current paid-up members for 2012 are requested to attend.
We would also like to congratulate Waterford's Craig Breen (pictured above) and his navigator, Paul Nagle. Craig clinched the SWRC (Super 2000 World Rally Championship) in heroic style on Sunday, the final day of World Rally Spain. In doing so Breen secures consecutive world rally titles after winning the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Championship twelve months ago.
After taking a commanding advantage on day one which saw the Ford driver hold an overnight lead of three minutes, 41 seconds, Breen adopted a marking tactic over the Saturday and Sunday stages.