They incurred a total of fourteen penalties on the 85-mile route to claim their second win on this event since 2015. Their closest rivals, the Leap/Lisavaird partnership of Dermot Whelton/Mark McCarthy (Subaru), were ten penalties further behind with last year’s winners Ovens driver Owen Murphy and his Togher navigator Daire Hayes finishing third, a further penalty point behind.
All of the crews were in difficulty within the first half hour, a network of farmyard lanes near Ballyroe – north east of Leap ensured no crew would manage a clean sheet on the night. Healy/O’Donovan lost time at the complex in French’s yard that saw crews overlap as they clocked into a dual time point; others checking in for the first time held up the winners. Defending champions Murphy/Hayes made an encouraging start and were second by the completion of the first time card during which they had a brief visit to a field.
Limerick’s Joe and Greg Shinnors (Subaru) were also very much in contention. Whelton/McCarthy had a wrong approach to a time point near Knockavoher that dented their confidence as Monaghan’s Derek Mackarel and his Togher navigator Muireann Hayes lost time when their Subaru became stuck in a field near French’s yard.
Most of the crews lost time in another farmyard complex, this time it was Buttimer’s farm close to Rossmore. Once more Healy/O’Donovan stayed on course and mainly on time. Although they incurred a few penalties on the final plot and bash section, they still had enough of a cushion to claim the spoils.
Were it not for their earlier indiscretion, Whelton/Murphy may have taken victory as they only dropped six penalties thereafter. For Murphy/Hayes, the farmyard in Rossmore scuppered their chances, they also finished without a rear bumper.
One of the performances of the event came from the Ulster crew of Emmet McCooey/Conor McMahon (Subaru), who were the top Novice crew and fifth overall followed by top Semi-Experts, Mallow’s Derek Butler and Galway’s Ruadhri Nash, who lost most of their time on the final section and finished sixth overall. Retirements included Mac Kierans/Conor Boylan, their Subaru developed brake problems while a broken suspension ended the participation of Mallow’s Cork’s Paul Casey/Patrick O’Sullivan (Peugeot 306 GTi).
Meanwhile, in the final round of the Irish Rallycross Championship at Mondello Park, Noel Greene (Mitsubushi) won the Supercars final from the Subaru of Michael Morris. Although Derek Tohill didn’t compete in this category yesterday, he secured the championship victory. With his four-wheel Fiesta being prepared for next season’s European Rallycross series Tohill campaigned a rear wheel drive Fiesta in the Modified class where he won all but one of the heats and went on to take the chequered flag in the semi-final and final. Tohill beat Lloyd Spendlove (Lotus Exige) with Chris Grimes (Opel Corsa) completing the podium line-up.
Cavan’s Russell Woods (Escort) won the sixth round of the MC Blinds Latton Quarry Championship in Cavan.