2016 Press Release 4. Full event report

Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally 2016 Press Release 4

 

 History was made at the Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally when Donagh Kelly became the first driver to win the event three years in a row. The Donegal driver, who had 

Conor Foley on the notes this year, led from the very start to record a very impressive victory in his Ford Focus WRC. Their winning margin was 1 minute 26 seconds ahead of a very hard charging Keith Cronin / Mikie Galvin in a Citroen DS3 R5, and they were a further 43 seconds ahead of the Subaru Impreza WRC of Garry Jennings and David Moynihan.

The National Rally was won by Brian Brogan and Damien McGettigan in their Ford Escort after an event long battle with Alan Ring / Adrian Deasy in a Fiesta R5+.  The Historic Rally was won by Wyn 

Hughes and David Davies in an Escort Mk2 while Fergus Hurley and Eric Deane won the 

Junior Rally also in an Escort Mk2.

 

Introduction

 

The rally was the second round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship as 

well as the opening rounds of the FIA Celtic Trophy and PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally 

Championship. Greg McCarthy the Clerk of the Course had put together a route that 

included fourteen challenging stages with centralised service in Darrara Agricultural College. 

Top seeds were Kelly & Foley in their usual Focus WRC while Garry Jennings and David 

Moynihan were at two in their Impreza WRC. Jennings usual co-driver Rory Kennedy had to 

withdraw before the event so David Moynihan stepped in without having had the 

opportunity to recce any of the stages. Declan & Brian Boyle non-started from three, while 

Daragh O’Riordan & Tony McDaid at four had their Fiesta decaled in a fabulous new black 

and gold livery.

 A quartet of R5 cars were next up with Cronin / Galvin leading the way from Alastair Fisher 

/ Gordon Noble, Sam Moffett / Karl Atkinson and Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan. Local driver 

Kevin Kelleher was at nine in his Subaru Impreza WRC with Welshman Gwynfor Jones on the 

notes, while Roy White and James O’Brien were at ten in a Fiesta WRC. There were a lot of 

fine drivers outside the top ten as well, with Owen Murphy, Josh Moffett, Stephen Wright, 

Wesley Patterson, Alan Ring and Frank Kelly to name but a few as the entry was one of the 

highest quality ever seen on the event.

 

Day One

 

Overcast but dry conditions greeted the crews for the opening pair of stages at Clogagh and 

Ballinascarthy and Kelly immediately put down a marker to lead by 13 seconds after two 

stages from Jennings. A further twenty seconds back were Fisher and Cronin locked in their 

own private battle while only ten seconds separated White in fifth from Stephen Wright in 

tenth. Early retirements included Mark Straker who pulled in on the first stage when the oil 

light came on in his Darrian, Washington James in the ex-Roy White Rover which developed 

a differential problem and Jason McSweeney when a broken brake pipe forced him out early 

in the first stage. The next pair of stages were a repeat of the opening two and Kelly 

continued to edge away from Jennings despite his best efforts while Cronin had moved back 

into third courtesy of a great time on the third stage. Desi Henry had dropped back after a 

puncture cost him over three minutes and out of the running while the Moffett brothers 

were involved in another tussle with Roy White with less than five seconds between them. 

Owen Murphy had a miserable start to the event as the intercom stopped working right at 

the beginning of the first stage and two stages had to be tackled before it could be rectified. 

Marty Gallagher had been having a good run until the fourth stage when he collided with a 

wall having tried to avoid an exhaust system that had fallen from another car.

The battle in the National Rally was as intense as could be expected with Brian Brogan 

ahead in his Escort from Adrian Hetherington with Alan Ring in third. Eugene Meegan lost 

over eight minutes when the bonnet flew up and smashed the windscreen, and later had 

fuel pump problems which forced his retirement and Noel Kelleher’s Civic retired with 

mechanical failure. The afternoon stages consisted of the classic Ring, and the altogether 

trickier Dunworley, both to be tackled twice. Kelly and Cronin stormed through to beat the 

bogey, but Jennings suffered a setback with a lurid spin in Ballinglanna which cost him 

almost 30 seconds and back into the clutches of Cronin. Fisher had a good time on Ring, but 

admitted he had no answer to Cronin’s pace on that stage. Dunworley was a different 

matter though, with Fisher turning in a stunning time to be quickest on the stage, one 

second clear of Kelly and three ahead of Cronin who had now edged past Jennings. Wesley 

Patterson lost an enormous amount of time when the Escort developed ECU problems and 

dropped well back the field.

The final pair of stages saw Kelly take another fastest stage with Fisher second and Jennings 

third as the pace really began to hot up. The last stage of the day saw Cronin take a fastest 

stage time to consolidate second place, but his rival Fisher crashed out on the same stage to 

bring a sad end to a very impressive performance on his first visit to West Cork. Jennings 

was in third place, 22 seconds behind Cronin and a secure 85 seconds ahead of Josh 

Moffett. Josh and Sam, Roy White and Daragh O’Riordan were only separated by ten 

The national rally saw Brogan retake the lead from Alan Ring by thirteen seconds overnight 

while Adrian Hetherington, Vincent McSweeney and Frank Kelly completed the top five 

placings overnight. James O’Mahony & Kerrie Barry led the Historic Rally by 37.5 seconds 

over Wyn Hughes with Philip Wylie just another 0.5 seconds further back, all in Escorts. 

Dewi Bowen had lost time with a misfire and Frank Cunningham had fuel pump problems 

which dropped them back.

 

Day Two

 

Where the first day had been cold overcast and dry, the second day had a definite spring 

feel about it as the sun shone and the sky was free of clouds. The six stages to be tackled 

were Shanaway, Sams Cross and Ardfield before service and those three repeated before 

the cars headed for the finish ramp. Kelly extended his lead by another five seconds on the 

opening stage as Cronin also pulled away from Jennings, and the Moffetts got ever quicker 

as the sibling rivalry grew more intense. The national rally saw Patrick McHugh’s fine drive 

come to an end with an accident while Brogan was again quickest, a trick he also repeated 

on the following stage to push his lead out to 19 seconds over Ring. Vincent McSweeney 

rally came to an end with an accident on the Sams Cross stage. The final stage of the loop 

was Ardfield which was run from Castlefreke to Dunmore in a break from tradition and 

provided a very challenging test. Cronin was fastest here to cut Kelly’s lead to under a 

minute, while Sam Moffett was starting to set some very impressive times to move into 

The last loop of stages was more a case of drivers settling for what they had, except for Sam 

and Josh of course, and they continued trading times right to the end, when Sam took 

fourth place by just under 4 seconds. Kelly eventually pulled out a lead of 1 minute 26 

seconds to take his historic third win in a row, with Cronin and Jennings settling for second 

and third respectively. Roy white was sixth almost a minute clear of O’Riordan who came 

home ahead of Stephen Wright. Kevin Kelleher and Joe McGonigle rounded off the 

international top ten. Group N was won by local driver David Guest with Paddy Robinson on 

the pace notes in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. The National rally was won by Brian Brogan 

& Damien McGettigan, from Alan Ring / Adrian Deasy with Adrian Hetherington and Gary 

Nolan coming home in third place. The Historic Rally was won by Wyn Hughes from Philip 

Wylie by just three seconds with Hughes taking 20 seconds out of Wylie on the final stage! 

Fergus Hurley and Eric Deane were very impressive winners of the Junior Rally in their Mk2 

Escort as they had over three minutes to spare over Justin Ryan / Stephen Monaghan with 

Christy McCarthy & Cathal Quill taking third place.

Once again the event had been a great success and 90 of the 140 main field starters were 

eventually classified as finishers after what was described by many as a very tough rally.

 

Kevin O’Driscoll,Press & Media Officer,

Email: kevin@westcorkrally.comPhone: +353 86 286 6256

 

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