Rally of the Lakes National rally – every Kerry finisher mentioned

Robert Duggan/Ger Conway won the National rally but who said rallying was easy? A blown head gasket, a busted starter motor and a cranky clutch were just some of the tribulations faced by the Ford Escort crew – the result was a fine and deserved National Rally win!

Modified Category winners Rob Duggan and Ger Conway with Michael O’Mahoney (Rentokil Initial) and Paul Ahern (Aherns Motor Group) at the prizegiving ceremony of the Killarney and District Motor Club International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney on Sunday. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

Conor Murphy and Sean Collins reported a drama-free run to third overall in their Escort and their best result to date.

Damien Fleming guided Raymond Conlon to yet another Class 13 win in their Toyota Corolla Twin Cam. They reported no dramas or problems.

Tenth place finishers Tadhg O’Sullivan and John McCarthy had a trouble-free run in their Ford Escort which was more than they could say about the days leading into the rally but we were told to say nothing about that. “Nothing”.

Kevin O’Donohoe and his future son-in-law Jack Kelleher said they really enjoyed the Sunday loop in their BMW M3. “Some craic, catching cars all day, except on stage when all the lights on the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree at 126mph…Some craic,” said Kevin.

Denis Hickey and Sean Nolan had a dramatic Saturday. No brakes led to an overshoot on stage one.

Mark Murphy and Thomas Murphy won class 11R in their Toyota Starlet. Brake issues on Saturday but Sunday “was good – a great weekend,” said Mark.

Topping off a fine weekend for the Duggan family Andrew and Tara were 16ht overall in their Ford Escort Mk2. “We were slow to get started on Saturday, but Sunday was good – delighted for Rob”

Thomas Randles and Diarmuid Lynch were engaged in a Rally Masters battle all weekend with Charlie Hickey and Barry Meade. The Dyno-Rod Escort came out on top by just 33 seconds. “It was a fantastic battle with Charlie – second for second all weekend,” said Thomas. Charlie said: ”It was absolutely brilliant and Barry kept me entertained all weekend.”

Darren Young and Sean Walsh ran out convincing class winners in their Honda Civic. Raised a concern that their tyres may have been tampered with in Parc Ferme on Saturday night – Darren two slight nicks on two tyres Sunday morning. “Had to be a Stanley blade,” he said.

Local crew Cyril Wharton and Donal Falvey with Darren McCormick (Clerk of the course) at the prizegiving ceremony at the Killarney and District Motor Club International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney on Sunday. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

Cyril Wharton and Donal Falvey were second in class 12 in their Ford Escort. Brake issues on Saturday but Sunday was trouble-free.

Credit to Bob Moran and Eoin Collins. The Ford Escort crew finished second in class 11R. “Thanks to all the marshals,” said Bob. He was the only driver to say it!

“Sunday was much better said Raymond O’Neill after he and co-driver Padraig Donovan clouted the rear of their Ford Escort off a few banks on Saturday. Third in class 12 was their result – Padraig also sponsored pencils to Kerry Motorsport News.

John Hickey and new co-driver Maurice McElligott had a healthy class 20 lead after day one and spent all day Sunday listening for “every creak and bang” in their unusual Fubaru Escort RS 4×4 for fear they would have to retire.

“We had a straightforward run for once,” said Brian Doherty and David Fleming.

Mike Neligan and John Hurley were third in class 11R in their Toyota Corolla Twin Cam.” The car gave no trouble,” said Mike. They were after a run of bad luck.

Shane Doyle and William Kelliher were on home ground on Saturday. Who else saw the big poster on the Banard stage. The BMW E30 crew reported a hassle-free Sunday.

Saturday was a tough day for Donal Flynn and Denny Greaney. Their Toyota Corolla lost a wheel and had a host of electrical problems but they put it behind them on Sunday.

Sean Enright and Kevin Doherty were another crew with brake issues on Saturday but the Ford Escort team had “a great day” on Sunday.

Alan Costello and Paddy Costello were the sole survivors in class 12. A faulty throttle sensor in their Ford Escort on Saturday was their only drama.

Raymond Spence and local co-driver Ger Somers arrived at the finish with funny noises coming from the diff of their Ford Escort Mk2.

London-based Listowel man Ross Hilliard and his co-driver Chloe Kelly had brake problems on Saturday in their Honda Civic. They reported no problems on Sunday.

Steven O’Connor and Darren O’Connor need a new engine for their Honda Civic after the weekend.

Denis Nagle and Brian Rowan “stayed in the middle of the road and got here,” The Nissan Micra crew won class nine.

Local co-driver Tommy Moynihan and his driver Patrick O’Connor got the fright of their lives when the steering column in the Mitsubishi E10 worked its way loose on Saturday. Second in class 20 was their reward after a trouble-free Sunday.

Brothers Ray and Gene Stack had brake and gearbox issues all weekend but the Ford Escort crew finished. It was Ray’s second Lakes finish.

The Kilcummin/ Glenflesk crew of Kieran Fitzgerald/Denis O’Leary finished their first rally in their Toyota Starlet. They tried their best not to finish. “We hit a bank on Saturday and lost nine minutes!”

Noel O’Sullivan started his 38th Rally of the Lakes. Nicholas Burke his 25th. The Ford Escort crew finished second in class 9. Their biggest stress on Sunday came in Carragh Lake. At the start line they received a text message to say Noel’s son, Noel Jr had won the International section…they made more mistakes in that 14km stage than they did all weekend!

Winning co-driver Noel O’Sullivan Jnr with his parents Noel Snr and Marion O’Sullivan at the prizegiving ceremony of the Killarney and District Motor Club International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney on Sunday. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

Started 65 – finished 64 Kevin O’Sullivan and Marcus Treacy broke two throttle cables in their Ford Escort Mk2 on Saturday and were forced to use Super Rally rules to restart on Sunday.

Ger O’Brien and John Liston had to rely on Super Rally rules to get to the finish after an alternator issue on Sunday. They had gear selection issues on Saturday but “borrowed” parts from Mike Quinn’s Escort after he retired with diff problems.

The Donegal Kerry crew of Justin McCauley/Eoin O’Leary were another crew forced to rely on Super Rally rules to make the finish in their Ford Escort.

Alan McGough and Paudie Devane were on their first outing in a newly acquired Peugeot 206 GTi. McGough had previously contested the historic rally in his Mini (the same car he will use for Déjà vu Tralee) but this was his first Lakes.

Both Donagh Crowley/Timmy Kelly (Toyota Starlet) and Sean Hickey/Noel Fleming (Toyota Starlet RWD) retired on Saturday but were able to re-start under Super Rally rules on Sunday.

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