Recently we competed on our final event of 2015, taking the long trip to the Fastnet Stages in Bantry. With Damian already having the Class 3 navigator’s title in the bag on the National Rally Championship, I was hoping to move up to 2nd in the driver’s points on the event.
Sunday morning greeted us with three wet, tricky stages. Being honest I actually much rather driving on the wet stages, and as rally weekend for us now always seems to guarantee rain at some point, it never tends to bother us! Coming off of the first of the two stages, although having put in a steady run, I felt disappointed with the times I had put in. Catching a car on stage three soon restored my confidence however, and on arriving back to service I was delighted to realise that we were actually leading our class.
Spurred on by our first run, it was back out for the second loop. Having started stage four on a massive charge, we were unfortunate to get stopped on a blocked stage, and we felt the delay may have put us off our stride slightly for the remainder of the loop. That being said we still managed to catch a car on stage five, while putting in a similar time to our first run on stage six. Following the next service, we started the final three stages still in charge of Class 3 on the timesheets, and stage seven saw us knock off around 20secs from our first and only previous run over the stage.
Unfortunately, luck wasn’t to be on our side on stage 8. I was finding the surface to be very greasy on the final run, and unfortunately we slid off the road into a dyke early on in the stage. No damage to the car, but enough time lost to lose the class lead. I lost confidence with our lack of grip, and was disappointed to lose further time on the last stage, dropping us to 2nd in class on the day. We made up for the class slightly by taking our best overall finish on the event, finishing up 63rd, and I also netted the lady drivers award.
So, with our rallying for the year now finished, we’ve ended up Class 3 champions on the Midlands Championship, along with Damian taking the navigators Class 3 title on the National Championship, and myself doing enough in Bantry to take the runner up spot in the drivers. Our biggest achievement for the year in my own eyes though, was our increased pace on events. Having struggled last year to push in the car, it was a great boost by the end of 2015 to be putting in class leading times. Massive thanks must go to Damian for this, faultless job on the notes all year, and giving me the confidence to really start going for it on the stages, all those “GO’s” really helped! Now for an even bigger push in 2016!!
Massive thanks must go to NCRS for keeping us going all year, both in service and between events, a great team to have around you. Also to all our other sponsors and supporters, Somers Garage, Joe Leslie Rally Videos, Railway Yard Gallops, http://www.motorsport.ie, E. Fox Engineers, Lawlor Forklifts and Wexford Credit Union. Looking forward to working with you all again next year, and there’s always room for some new sponsors on the list!
So that’s now the end of our season. Perhaps a few little jobs to do on the car over the winter, and then it’s back to attack the National again in 2016!
See you all back on the stages!
Images from Eamonn O’Riordan