At the end of the hugely popular ALMC Spring Lanes Endurance Trial, just a single second separated brothers Peter and Robert Barrable, both at the wheel of Toyota Starlets.
The ALMC had run an introduction evening at Luttrelstown in the run up to the event in order to introduce novices to the concept of Endurance Trials. This included some classroom presentations and an opportunity to drive through one of the Selectives (at a reduced pace). There were also some experienced drivers on hand to answer any queries. This worked to perfection as there were a number of novices amongst the 61 registered entries in the week approaching the event- the biggest entry for such an event in the country so far.
Robert Barrable is one of the quickest rally drivers about and he is a huge fan of the event, having taken the win in both 2016 and 2017. He was seeded at number one for this time round but chatting at the start, he knew it was never going to a walk in the park. Local man Karl O’Donoghue, with Evin Hughes alongside, was starting second and keen to win the event in his own back garden, whilst Peter Barrable and Gary McElhinney, equipped with their newly acquired ex Eamon Byrne Starlet were third. There was a surprise for the trio though on the first selective, as quickest out of the blocks were Kevin O’Rourke and Dave Fay, two seconds up on the #1 crew, with O’Donoghue a further 8 seconds back in third.
By the time the crews arrived back at Luttrelstown for their mid afternoon lunch halt though, normal service had been resumed as Rob Barrable and Ciaran Larkin had assumed their seeded position at the head of the field. As Rob had predicted though, it was tight at the top. With Rob saying he had “nothing more to give”, Peter was just two seconds back, having recovered from a bad first selective, with O’Donoghue a further 2 seconds off and looking confident as he changed his tyres for the tarmac afternoon Selectives. Unfortunately neither of the class 5 cars made it to the lunch break, Martin Nugent/Paul Tierney having had drive issues in their Mark 1 Escort and Des Bruton/Ed Colton’s Tiger Avenger having stopped with an electrical issue just walking distance from Des’ house! Perhaps the combined age of car, driver and navigator of over 180 was part of the cause!
Ryan Treanor and Robert Graham’s Yaris had won class 1A in the last two Endurance Trials of 2017, but newbies Nicole Drought and Ruth Nugent had snatched the class lead from them before lunch, only to receive a 20 second penalty for missing a stop box, leaving them just 13 seconds back at the halfway point. Dermot McCafferty and Paddy McCrudden were in tenth overall and leading class 3 whilst Mark Reilly and Mark Convey sat 14th and first of the class 2 runners. Niall Murray and Sam Dolan’s Mazda MX-5 was a point of interest as it ran a steel hardtop, making such a car eligible for Endurance events for the first time, but had fallen well back when the coil failed a few selectives in. As you would expect though, the FF1600 ace was then on a charge and had recovered to 22nd, sights firmly set on father Joe, who was 16th in his Starlet.
Peter Barrable must have had Shredded Wheat for lunch as he eclipsed Rob by 5 seconds on Selective 9, to lead by 2 seconds. Another two seconds on Selective 10 doubled his lead, with O’Donohoe still right there in third, a further 4 seconds back. Kevin O’Rourke and Dave Ray, running in fifth, had shared fastest time with Rob, showing how close it was amongst all the frontrunners. As the mud encrusted cars arrived back at HQ, 8 hours after they initially left, nobody was quite sure who had won- although everyone knew it was close!
When the results came out it was Peter Barrable who took an impressive win, just a single second ahead of brother Rob, with local man O’Donoghue in third place. Kevins O’Rourke and Fitzgerald were fourth and fifth respectively, just ahead of the former Supercar pairing of John Farrelly/Johnny Whelan. A delighted Nicole Drought and Ruth Nugent took the 1.0 class in their Micra on their first such event.
McCafferty/Paddy McCrudden took Class 3, Mark Reilly/Mark Convey took class 2 while Niall Murray/Sam Dolan took Class 6 after a very eventful day!
All in all a wonderful event, and one which shows that Motorsport is achievable on a budget. Want to know how little you can do an event like this for? Read our piece on this next week where we examine all the costs incurred by one of the winning cars!
ALMC SPRING ENDURANCE TRIAL AT LUTTRELLSTOWN, DUBLIN (ROUND 1 OF ENDURANCE TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP):
1 Peter Barrable/Gary McElhinney (Toyota Starlet) 5m 48s,
2 Robert Barrable/Ciaran Larkin (Toyota Starlet) 5m 49s,
3 Karl O’Donoghue/Evin Hughes (Toyota Starlet) 6m 05s,
4 Kevin O’Rourke/Dave Ray (Toyota Starlet) 6m 14s,
5 Kevin Fitzgerald/Kevin Fagan (Toyota Starlet) 6m 26s,
6 John Farrelly/Johnny Whelan (Toyota Starlet) 7m 17s.
One litre class winner: Nicole Drought/Ruth Nugent (Nissan Micra) 11m 10s.
1 Dermot McCafferty/Paddy McCrudden (Toyota Starlet) 7m 23s,
2 Mark Reilly/Mark Convey (Toyota Starlet) 8m 06s,
3 Joe Murray/Tommy Hayes (Toyota Starlet) 8m 17s.
Class winners: Dermot McCafferty/Paddy McCrudden, Mark Reilly/Mark Convey.
Retrospective and RWD Cars:
1 Niall Murray/Sam Dolan (Mazda MX5) 9m 07s,
2 Declan Burke/Padraig Forde (VW Beetle) 13m 03s
Thanks to Con Brady for the action images.