Jonathan Pringle and Martin Byrne enjoyed their most fruitful weekend to date on Sunday’s Galway Summer Rally. The pair were crowned National Championship Mark 2 Challenge Champions and Sligo Pallets Border Rally Champions on the Athenry based event.
The Bailieborough crew were going into the penultimate round of both championships with a lot of pressure resting on their shoulders. With fellow Cavan men Chris Armstrong and James Fulton tied on points going into the weekend, only a win would do to put the Mark 2 Challenge out of reach of their competitors.
What followed was a tooth and nail battle in changeable conditions that would go on for the entire day. Sunshine followed by heavy showers left the stages muddy and treacherous for all competing and after the opening loop there was only 1 second separating Jonathan and Chris.
As the day progressed, the dueling Escorts were trading times but with Armstrong making the better tyre choice in the middle loop he would eke out a 6 second lead with 3 stages to go. A determined Pringle rose to the challenge however, and a big push on stage 7 saw the Jones Engineering Escort take back a vital 7.3 seconds on Armstrong with 2 stages remaining.
From there on it was Pringle and Byrne all the way as they stretched their lead over Armstrong to 11 seconds to come home to the Clayton Hotel finish ramp as the winners of both the National Mark 2 Challenge and the overall Border Championship. “I am absolutely over the moon, it will take a while to sink in” said a delighted Jonathan.
Jonathan and Martin would like to sincerely thank the whole team who have put in a huge effort over the past few years, their supporters and their sponsors, Jones Engineering Group, MSS Building Services, Kelly Bros. Road Lining, Group 4 Fabrication and M&P Construction.
Image by KGRallypics