The 2017 Imokilly Mini Stages Rally was a huge success from the word go- one of the few rally’s in Ireland this year starting over 100 cars. The event ran like clockwork and Cavan’s Gary Kiernan took a 7 second victory from the late entrant Rob Duggan, with both driving Escorts. However the pace was set by another Cavan man, Jonathan Pringle who after dominating the event, crashed out on stage 5.
Pringle was quick out of the box and on the first stage he set a time that was 10 seconds quicker than Gary Kiernan, Enda o Brien slotted into third and Rob Duggan felt he was in serious brake trouble already but was a strong 4th, Barry Meade was 5th while Youghal’s Jason Ryan was a spectacular 6th in the 1600 Honda Civic. Ed O’Callaghan , Vincent McSweeney , George Condel and Daniel Cronin made up the top ten.
On stage two, Pringle again was quickest by 2 seconds from Kiernan , Rob Duggan settled into third and felt he needed more time in the car. Barry Meade was up into 4th, Enda o Brien 5th but lucky to survive a spin , Ed O’Callaghan was in 6th after a spin on stage 1, Jason Ryan slipped back to seventh ,Vincent McSweeney was 8th with Condell 9th and Mark Dolphin was now in the top 10.
After stages 3 and 4 Pringle continued to extend his lead over Kieran- taking 5 seconds and then 2 to have set fastest times over the first 4 stages. Rob Duggan was starting to really enjoy the Escort and settling into third ,Barry Meade was a solid 4th , while Enda O’ Brien 5th was slipping back a little losing a few more seconds ,6th was Ed O’Callaghan , 7th was Vincent Meade and the battle between the the IMC crews was heating up with Jason Ryan 8th and Mark Dolphin 9th 11 seconds behind , John Lynch in the fabulous DarrianT90 was now 10th.
On stage 5 Jonathan Pringle left the road on a fast bend the damage was minimal considering the speed he left the road but the Escort would go no further, a sad end for the man who had set fastest time on every stage up to that, Kiernan was now in the lead but felf something was wrong with the rear of the car and Rob Duggan said he was slowing to make sure the car finished in one piece.
Stage 6 and Rob Duggan took 6 out of Gary Kiernan , Gary said he had a few moments in the stage and some thing is wrong with the back of the car for sure. Rob said he was delighted to be second the car was in one piece and a super day and great fun. Barry Meade was a solid third 30 seconds off the pace , 4h was Enda O Brien ,Ed o Callaghan was happy to be 5th and felt the car got better as the day went on , 6th was Vincent McSweeney just ahead of the top IMC crew Jason Ryan in the 1600 class 11F Civic mixing with the big boys at the front sadly Mark Dolphin was out with gear box problems ,rounding out the top ten were John lynch, Kevin Kelleher and Pat O’Connell.
Other local drivers getting into the top 20 included Allen Treacy and James Fitzgerald and a great Jnr win for Barry Archer .
At the finish ramp all the crews praised the event and the way it ran ,Gary Kiernan said “delighted with the win but lucky to be here as there was something wrong with the back of the car. There certainly was no catching Jonathan Pringle today- it’s pity he went off the road!”
Rob Duggan who competes in the World Rally Championship for Juniors said “It was a great rally and what fun in a 2.5 Escort! Not a mark on the car- it’s a good way to give a car back!”
Barry Meade praised the club for the rally and in particular the test stage he said we had a problem sorted it and were able to do the rally today if there was no test stage we would be out after the first stage. Jason Ryan had another big result pushing the 1600 Honda Civic up into 7th overall to win the Brian Hurley award for quickest IMC Crew and the Tom O Regan Award for the quickest class 11 car on a particular stage . Barry Archer/Killian Cronin picked up the IMC Jnr award .
Clerk of the course for the rally Emmet Cronin thanked everyone for their help and said “We started in 2012 with a single stage and to have an event like this here today was a credit to the club. It would not have been possible without the help of our neighbouring motor clubs our sponsors ,the residents on the stages , the competitors who came from far and wide and even from the UK , the Gardaí and everyone who helped in any way.”
IMOKILLY MC MINI STAGES RALLY AT MIDLETON, CO CORK (ROUND 4 OF PLASTICBAGS.IE SOUTHERN 4 RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP):
1 Gary Kiernan/Keith Moriarty (Escort) 43m 59s,
2 Rob Duggan/Stephen Quin (Escort) 44m 06s,
3 Barry Meade/Eamonn Hayes (Escort) 44m 30s,
4 Enda O’Brien/John Butler (Escort) 44m 45s,
5 Ed O’Callaghan/Keith McCarthy (Escort) 45m 17s,
6 Vincent McSweeney/Michael Kearney (Civic) 45m 58s,
7 Jason Ryan/ Kegan O’Farrell (Civic) 46m 15s,
8 John Lynch/Thomas Lynch (Darrian T90) 46m 25s,
9 Kevin Kelleher/Liam Moynihan (Escort) 46m 29s,
10 Pat O’Connell/Derek Gibbs (Lancer Evo 9) 46m 50s.
Juniors: first IMC Crew Barry Archer/Killian Cronin (Civic) 51m 09s.
Images from Ger Leahy.