The Cork “1000” Shakes Navigation Trial proved to be a battle of the Cork sibling navigators as sister and brother Muireann and Daire Hayes took the top two places with their respective drivers — Monaghan’s Derek Mackarel and Ovens ace Owen Murphy.
The Kanturk-based event was a counting round of the Motorsport Ireland National and the Munster Navigation Championships.
At the conclusion of the 120 mile event that had no fewer than 80 time points, all of which were manned, Mackarel/Hayes boosted their national title bid by claiming victory — finishing with 49 penalty points.
Murphy/Hayes were just five penalties further behind, both were competing in the Expert class.
One of the performances of the event was that of the novice pairing of Monaghan’s Emmet McCooey/Christopher McMahon (Subaru) who took third overall, they finished with 76 penalties.
The Kanturk/Blarney combination of Johnny Casey/Pat O’Sullivan (Peugeot 306) were the early leaders as a farmyard complex near Meelin gave the crews the first real test of their map reading skills. Mackarel/Hayes and Murphy/Hayes were equal second — two penalties behind with the west Cork duo of Dermot Whelton/Mark McCarthy (Subaru) another point in arrears.
Donal Healy/Denis O’Donovan were the first major retirements, they bowed out when their Toyota Starlet suffered clutch failure.
Mackarel/Hayes fared best on the section around Rathcool and Kilcorney where another farmyard complex caused confusion for many crews. They led Murphy/Hayes by four points with McCooey/McMahon coming into the frame just three points further behind.
That order remained the same by the completion on Time Card C, a fine showing by the Limerick crew of Alan and George Shinnors (Subaru) moved them to fourth as the event concentrated on terrain near Millstreet.
The final section that returned to Meelin brought no change with Mackarel/Hayes taking a fine win.
The semi-expert class was won by Peter Deery/David McCrudden (Subaru) and the Beginners category was won by Monaghan’s Colm McKeever and Kilnamartyra’s JJ Cremin (Subaru).
There were just four retirements.
Meanwhile, Cork racing ace Matt Griffin will begin his season much earlier than anticipated after the former Motorsport Ireland International Driver of the Year award winner got a call in the last few days to race at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in two weeks time.
He will drive for the North American Ferrari team, Risi Competizione. Competing in the GTD class, his teammates are Mexicans Ricardo Perez de Lara and Martin Fuentes and Migual Molina, a Spanish Ferrari driver.
Griffin last raced at Daytona in 2015 (his second race at the circuit) and finished fourth setting the fastest lap of the race. It appears that Risi Competzione wanted to strengthen the team and following discussions with Ferrari they opted for the Corkman.
“It (Daytona) wasn’t in my programme originally as my season is very full with three different championships. It’s great because it’s a big race and also a great event.”
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