Some of Irelands top rally drivers have given the thumbs up to Cork Motor Club’s new for 2021 gravel rallysprint which took place on Wednesday of this week.
The new event – called the Boggeragh Rallysprint – replaced CMC’s traditional Christmas week autocross event.
Best described as a single-stage forestry rally or an extended autocross that allowed co-drivers and Pacenotes, the sprint offered good value for money for competitors (€250 for four runs over a 5.6km stage).
Logistically, it was much easier for the organising club to put this kind of event together than any other sort of stage rally – so it was win-win for all concerned.
The chosen stage was a section of the Boggeragh test often used in the two-day Cork forestry rally – it started at location seven of this test- and the entry list featured a lot of drivers who have previously contested the mid-summer rally.
Event winner David Guest was only contesting his second gravel event, in a Ford Fiesta Rally2.
“It was a super day out,” he told Kerry Motorsport News at the end of stage four.
“It was so compact, and accessible.”
Guest was lucky to take the event win in more ways than one. He and co-driver Liam Moynihan entered the fourth and final run six seconds off event leaders Gerard Lucey and JJ Cremin in a Mitsubishi Lancer. #
All hell broke loose in that final stage with Guest and Moynihan surviving a last corner 180-degree spin to take the win.
Second place eventually went to Ray Breen and Andy Hayes in their Ford Focus WRC.
“No question about it,” said the former National Champion when asked if there should be more events like this.
“It was a fun day out.”
Long time leaders Lucey and Cremin had to settle for third place. Their Lancer lost power of the start-line on the final test and it took nearly 1.6km before the engine stopped misfiring. Their six-second advantage became a four-second deficit at the finish.
Lucey knew that Guest had spun but also acknowledged that he had not done enough to win the event.
“We lost away more time than David,” he said. “But it was a good day in fairness- what do we want after all only a good day out?”
Frank Kelly, co-driven by his daughter Lauren made the brave trip from his Tyrone base to tackle the rally in his famous Baby Blue.
He won the two-wheel drive category but he was also keeping an eye on the Junior 1000 element (open to 14 to 16 year olds driving 1000cc cars).
“This event was good value and a good format, it was a good aul days’ craic,” he said. “There was a lot of young lads here, these types of events are an opportunity to let them make their own notes, where else can they learn, we can’t let them out on a full stage rally on their own notes.”
Marty McCormack was another Ford Escort driver who made the long drive down from Draperstown to tackle the rally. He and co-driver Barney Mitchell came to “throw a few stones” despite the Turkey Run taking place on their doorstep in Ballykelly.
They spoke for the entire entry list: “It was the best rally of the year – well worth it,” he said at the end of the four stages adding that his service crew also enjoyed it as they had time to get out and watch a few stages between runs, something they could not do in multi-venue rallies.
Keep an eye on next week’s issue of The Kerryman to see how the Kerry crews got on in the event and keep an eye on Kerry Motorsport News over the next few days for more stories from the event.
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