MOTOR RACING: Stiff opposition for Daly

The most prestigious award in Irish motor racing, the Leinster Trophy, awaits the winner of Sunday’s Formula Ford race in Mondello Park. Drivers like John Watson, Eddie Jordan, Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen have all lifted the famous trophy at the Kildare venue and on Sunday Meath’s Stephen Daly will be hoping to retain the trophy for another 12 months.

That will not be an easy task on the International circuit as he will have the in-form Kildare driver Jake Byrne and reigning Young Racing Driver of the Year winner Ulsterman Jonny McMullan as two of his rivals. The duo have dominated the Irish Formula Ford series this season and will have designs of the famous trophy.

It’s a busy weekend at the Kildare circuit where other categories like the Irish Touring Car Championship, Formula Vee, Fiesta, Formula Sheane, BOSS Ireland and the Seat Supercup are amongst an action packed two days.

Following its summer recess the exciting new SEAT Supercup Ireland returns to action for a double header. The opening six rounds of the 301bhp SEAT Leon Supercopa based series has produced four different winners and currently Niall Quinn and Rod McGovern share the lead.

Lurking in the shadows is John Farrelly, the most recent winner, who is only a point behind. Meanwhile, double race winner Michael Cullen is just three points further behind.

Unlike Formula Ford, both SEAT Supercup Ireland races are on Sunday.

In rallying, the Oakwood Arms Hotel Clare Rally on Sunday will be led away by Maynooth’s Kevin Barrett in his McKinstry Motorsport prepared S14 Subaru WRC.

While the rally does not have national championship status on this occasion it is a counting and penultimate round of the Top Part West Coast Championship. With series leader Alan Ring an absentee Barrett has a great opportunity to move into the lead.

Opposition is provided by Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna. The former Billy Coleman Award winner will have his second outing in a Ford Fiesta R5. On the recent Galway Summer Rally he came home eighth overall, a much higher finish is expected in the banner county. Limerick’s Ed O’Callaghan (Ford Escort) could also be in the mix while Cork driver Daniel Cronin (Subaru WRC) cannot be ruled out of the equation. A winner of the Banna Rally last November and a fourth overall finish in the Circuit of Kerry are strong indicators.

The top 10 also includes Limerick’s Paul Purtill (Ford Escort), Donegal pair PJ McDermott (Subaru WRC) and Joe McGonigle (Skoda Fabia S2000) along with top Group N exponent and a former Top Part West Coast champion, Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi EvoIX), Paul Barrett (Subaru N14) and Benny Kennedy (Ford Escort).

The first of the day’s six stages begins at 10.45am, servicing is at the Clare Mart complex in Ennis and the finish at the Shannon Oaks Hotel is timed for 4.15pm.

The Rally Isle of Man Rallee Classicagh that ends tomorrow is a counting round of the penultimate round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Historic Rally Championship. There are indications that the organisers of the Donegal International Rally are progressing their application to return to the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship. The TROA organisers will announce details of the 2016 series on Thursday October 15th. next at Mondello Park, Naas. It is expected that World Rally Championship team boss, Malcolm Wilson (M-Sport) will attend the function.

Former triple British Rally champion Keith Cronin is targeting a return to action on next month’s Acesigns Signmakers Cork “20” International Rally, his Citroen DS3 R5 that he debuted in Cork last year is being re-fettled after it was badly damaged during the shakedown for Rally de Portugal earlier in the season.

The launch of the Westlodge Hotel Fastnet Rally takes place tonight at the Westlodge Hotel in Bantry. The rally will bring the curtain down on the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. Matt Griffin (Ferrari 458 Italia) and team-mate Duncan Cameron race in Pro-Am Cup category of the final round of Blancpain Endurance Series at the Nurburgring circuit on Sunday.

In motorcycling, the annual Twohig’s Hill, Hillclimb in Clonakilty is the final round of the West Cork Motorcycle Club Championship. In event terms Carrigaline’s Declan Swanton (Yamaha R6), who actually leads the series, is one of the favourites for victory.


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