Shane Maguire didn’t pick his interest for rallying up off the ground. Growing up with his father Niall being one of the most consistent and fastest drivers in the National Rally Championship over the years, it seemed only logical that Shane was to follow suit.
He said himself that 2015 was one of his most difficult yet rewarding seasons he has had since he began. With class wins and big offs being the focal points, Shane ended the year on a high by taking the Top Parts West Coast Rally Championship for the third time in his career.
The plans were to compete in the National and Border Rally Championship, and on the opening National round in Birr they were fourth in Group N and Shane admits they were just off the pace for it. The Border Championship got off to a brighter start with a positive run on the Mayo Stages, were he was behind his father’s Impreza S12b for most of the event only to drop to fourth by the end, “A wrong tire choice on the last loop dropped us down to fourth overall but we were still happy with that”.
On the Midlands Stages, they had an off on the first stage but were able to regroup and complete the rally. Even though the chance of overall spoils were out of reach, they got around the remaining stage to collect some championship points.
On his home event of Monaghan, Shane was eager to get a good haul of points and set himself up for the championships. “It was our local rally and we needed a good result to get the Border and National [championships] back on track.” It was looking promising with being the fastest Group N on the opening stage. However at the end of the next stage, he crashed heavily putting himself out of the rally. “It was a big crash, it was very disappointing because we were leading up until then. It really upset the plans big time for the year and we lost a lot of confidence over it.”
After the accident, Shane looked to just regain confidence and speed in the car. With Mac Keirans on the notes, they took part in the Circuit of Munster, Stonethrowers, and the Galway Summer Rally just to build the speed back to their previous form. He said that it was only in an effort to pick up a few points to try and salvage the championships. On the Clare Stages they were back on top of the podium with a 1st in Group N, and on the Donegal Harvest Rally, the final round of the Border Championship, the took second after battling with Aidan Wray all day. He was happy with the result; it was his first competitive drive against other top Group N drivers since the off in April.
With only the West Coast Championship left to finish, Shane and the team went to Banna Beach in Kerry for the final round. Ed O’Callaghan was leading the championship and was the favourite to win. On Stage two, O’Callaghan went off the road and Shane was put in the position to win if he could be among the top 5 registered for the series.
“It was my third time winning the championship, and probably means the most to me after the year I had. It was a positive end to the year after the crash. We also got 3rd Group N in the Border and National championships, which was another silver lining. It shows how getting finishes and picking up points all added up.”
For this year, Shane has his sights set firmly on the National Tarmac series. He isn’t tempted by the attraction of the R5/S2000 class in the Irish Tarmac Championship saying that the National suits his work schedule much better. “I’d like to but with work, the National suits me, you can do a recce Saturday, rally on Sunday and then go home. The bigger events would require almost the whole week beforehand for preparation.”
The National and Border Championship are the the main aims for 2016. He would also like to do the Donegal International if possible, but the most important thing is getting back up to the speed they were at before the crash.“We are really looking forward to next year, looking to continue the speed and success we built back.”
Shane would like to thank all the service crew and sponsors that helped him throughout 2015, and to all the marshals and organisers who make the events possible.