The Great Stuff Caterers Imokilly Motor Club ran their event out of the Park Hotel in Dungarvan and despite some testing weather conditions, the club started 120 cars for the clubs first running of a Mini Stage Rally. Gary Kiernan/ James Fulton in the class 13 Escort showed the way home with a determined drive that made Gary go for all or nothing on the last stage.
The first stage saw the car of Ed Murphy leave the road. This led to the next six cars being baulked meaning the top 7 cars used Wesley Patterson’s time and then the rally reverted back to the competitor’s times. Mark Dolphin felt this hurt his chance of being first IMC crew home but he soldiered on. Stage 2 and the times were showing that while Denis Cronin was fastest , Gary Kiernan was showing he meant business ,George Condell in the Starlet was flying and next up was last years winner Wesley Patterson. David Guest was starting to fly in the Evo Just ahead of Brian O Keeffe , with Mulligan and Dolphin next up and Jason Ryan who had clutch trouble.
So after the first loop they headed for service with Kiernan a mere 4 seconds up on Condel . Wesley Patterson was next followed by Denis Cronin, then Brian O Keeffe who sadly would relinquish his IMC leading driver position as he had problems in service. Trevor Mulligan settled into 6th ahead of Jason Ryan, David Guest and Mark Dolphin.
On the second loop, Gary Kiernan gained a few seconds on David Condel on stage 3 while the reverse happened on 4 and Kiernan could only manage 4th fastest, with the pair now tied for time after 4 stages.
3rd was Denis Cronin in the Subaru who was back after a long time out of the drivers seat . Jason Ryan had what he described as the biggest moment of his rally career on Stage 3! He dropped a few seconds to Mark Dolphin over Stages 3 and 4.
David Guest was now up to fifth and loving the stages ahead of a charging Ed O Callaghan then up was Mark Dolphin,Tom Flaherty , Eddie Power and Bernard Foley. Wesley Patterson stopped on the stage with engine trouble so last year’s winner was gone.
Tied for time the battle was on the heavens opened and there was torrential rain Denis Cronin used the grip of the WRC Subaru to win the stage ,Just a second ahead of George Condel who now took 1.4 seconds from Gary Kieran and the lead after five stages. IMC crew James Fitzgerald was flying in the wet and quickest of the locals on this stage whilst Jason Ryan decided it was time to calm it all down he felt he had enough done to take the title of first IMC crew home. Allen Treacy was flying in the 1600 Corolla but the big looser here of the IMC boys was Mark Dolphin who had wiper problems and could hardly see where he was going in the wet.
It would be all or nothing on the final stage. Gary Kiernan risked it all to win the stage by 8 seconds and seal his first ever rally win. George Condel said he thought he had enough done to win but Gary must have taken a few chances in there. Denis Cronin sealed third fastest in the final stage and 3rd on the rally.Ed o Callaghan finished 4th overall. David Guest was up to 5th in the GpN Mitsubishi and first Plasticbags.ie Southern 4 crew, Jason Ryan had another demon drive in the 1600 Starlet to 6th overall and first IMC crew home. Mark Dolphin kept up the pace and took 12 seconds from Jason Ryan on the last stage 7th overall and 2nd IMC Crew would be Mark Dolphins reward for a good day in the Escort. 8th was Tom Flaherty in the Escort 9th Eddie Power in the Corolla WRC and 10th was Neill Tohill in a Mitsubishi Evo 9.
Gary Kiernan: “Great day in the car, great rally! We risked it all in the last stage and won the rally! Some great stages but very tough in the wet! My first rally win a great days Motorsport!”
Derek Power Clerk of The Course: “Great day here today in Dungarvan well done to Gary Kiernan/James Fulton in the Escort- a great win for them. Thanks to all the competitors who came from all parts of the country and everyone who helped make this this event happen in some serious rain at times. Also thanks to our Sponsors Great Stuff Caterers and our associate sponsors the Park Hotel and Ace Signs.
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1 Gary Kiernan James Fulton Ford Escort mk2 0:48:35.0
2 George Condell Michael Coads Toyota Starlet RWD 0:48:41.6
3 Denis Cronin Coleman Hurley Subaru Impreza WRC S6 0:49:08.7
4 Ed O’Callaghan Charlie McEnery Ford Escort RS Mk2 0:50:08.9
5 David Guest Frank Curtin Mitsubishi Evo 9 0:50:17.1
6 Jason Ryan Peter Falvey Toyota Starlet 0:50:54.2
7 Mark Dolphin Finbarr Quirke Ford Escort Mk2 0:51:17.6
8 Tom Flaherty Patrick Curley Ford Escort RS 0:51:24.9
9 Eddie Power Mark Bowens Toyota Corolla 0:52:12.8
10 Neil Tohill Gerard Tohill Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 0:52:48.0