By Sean Moriarty
It was a weekend to forget for the Kerry rally men involved in the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood.
The second round of the American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National Rally Championship took place in Salem, Missouri over the weekend.
The 100 Acre Wood is also famous as the fictional home of children’s storybook character, Winnie the Pooh, although writer A.A. Milne based his stories on Ashdown Forest in England and not its Missouri namesake.
Milne is said to have written the book while on visits to Ashdown “to make yet another attempt to count the pine trees,”
Unfortunately, the two Kerry men, Dan Brosnan and Kenneth Quirke, directly involved in last weekend’s rally had a little bit more time on their hands to count pine trees than they would have originally hoped.
Dan was the first of the pair to be struck with bad luck. His epic three-day drive from his Boston home to the rally’s base was in vain.
He spent three days last week towing Joseph Burke’s Ford Fiesta R5 across America but in a bitter blow to the whole team the car failed to make the start.
The Fiesta’s ECU and wiring loom failed during the shakedown test on Friday morning and with no spare available Joseph’s weekend was over before it even started.
Dan then turned to helping Seamus Burke (Joseph’s father) and his Galway co-driver Martin Brady. The Ford Escort Mk2 crew, as usual, were punching well above their weight.
They were in sixth place overall and running away with the Two-Wheel-Drive rally only for a steering component to break on the 12th of 14 stages, instantly putting them out of the rally.
Meanwhile, New York-based Quirke, who was on co-driving duty for Sandblast Rally winner Martin Donnelly was another to be forced on to the retirement list.
The Ford Fiesta crew were running just outside the top ten after Friday’s loop over such brilliantly named stages like ‘Elders Crooked Truck’ and ‘Kitchen Patrol.’
They continued their good run through Saturday’s opening loop, run over famous American rally roads like ‘Loop Southern 5600’ and ‘Asbridge Hollow’.
However by stage ten, Scotia North, their Fiesta was suffering from a rear differential problems and they had to call it a day as the car became too difficult to control.
“It wasn’t safe to drive, cheaper put it on the trailer than to put it in to trees,” Quirke told Kerry Motorsport News.
After retiring from the rally, they resorted to that time honoured tradition, and instead of counting pine trees, they went on the beer.
“We went out to the last stage to watch it and bumped into a load of locals and went drinking beer in the woods with them,” added Quirke. “We love meeting the locals in all these spots. They are so welcoming.”
The next round of the American Rally Championship is the DirtFish Olympus Rally on April 24-25.
There will be plenty of Irish rally interest in this event – more news later.
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