Motorsport: A strong performance over the first run of the stage paved the way for Lisburn’s Wesley Patterson (Ford Escort) and his co-driver Johnny Baird to claim victory in the Cloyne-based AceSigns-sponsored Imokilly Single Stage Rally.
The Northern Ireland pair finished 6.2 seconds ahead of Clonmel’s Roy White/Des Cooney (MG ZR) with the Cork duo of Barry Meade/Eamonn Hayes (Escort) 14.7 seconds further behind in third.
Patterson was the only driver to break the 10-minute barrier on the first run where he gained 7.2 seconds on last year’s winner White with another former winner Meade a mere 10th of a second behind. Although satisfied with his performance, Patterson still decided to change the gearing of his Ford Escort at the service halt in order to gain some extra top speed. White was untroubled and Meade had an issue with a fuel pump albeit costing him little time.
Seeded at 11th, Youghal’s Jason Ryan slotted into fourth but he was concerned that his Toyota Starlet seemed to lose power shortly after the mid-point of the stage. Frank Kelly (Escort) was next with local hero Mark Dolphin in a similar Escort experiencing a moment halfway through the stage as he completed the top six. Another local driver, Killeagh’s Allen Treacy, reckoned his Toyota Corolla was moving about, but for whatever reason he couldn’t get the heat into the tyres. Cavan’s Stephen McCann, in his Class 20 specification Mitsubishi, lost time when he caught up with Eddie Power (Toyota Corolla WRC) as Alastair Cochrane (Escort) and late entry Vincent McSweeney (Honda Civic) rounded off the 10.
Extending his lead to 10.6 seconds courtesy of another fastest time Patterson had another clean run on the stage and although White and Meade were the only other drivers to cover the stage in less than 10 minutes they had no answer to Patterson’s superiority. Kelly, Ryan and Dolphin were next in classification.
Despite a brave effort on the third and final run White set the best time for the stage but it was a case of too little too late and Patterson took the spoils by 6.2 seconds. White and Meade completed the podium line-up. Kelly was fourth and Ryan opted to ease off slightly on the final run to ensure he secured fifth spot. McCann and Dolphin were next with Cochrane, who had an overshoot on the first run, edging out Treacy for eighth overall.
Meanwhile, in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Cork racer Matt Griffin and his AF Corse team mates Duncan Cameron and Alex Mortimer had a difficult outing. Although Griffin took the team as high as third in the ProAm category at one point, they lost out later in the night when they had to return to the pit on two occasions to change damaged suspension and replace the rear diffuser. Both sessions cost them around 35 minutes and they finished 10th in class and 21st overall.
In the West Cork Motorcycle Hillclimb at Dunderrow Tramore’s Brian McCormack on board his VTL Honda backed Honda Fireblade 1000cc beat his teammate Grenagh’s Ray Casey with Donal Curtin from the Halfway, Innishannon on a Yamaha R6 completing the top three and also annexing the Sean Hurley Perpetual Cup for the best 600cc rider.
On the first run McCormack set a time of 37.908 seconds with teammate Ray Casey on 39.926 seconds followed by Curtin and Brian Coomey. McCormack set another best time on the second run – 37.287 seconds with Casey also improving to 38.841 seconds as Coomey and Curtin traded places for the top quartet. As the times continued to improve the event was decided on the fourth run with McCormack posting a winning time of 36.592 seconds to secure back-to-back wins.
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