Imokilly gear up for first rally

Tomorrow is a red letter day for the fledgling Imokilly Motor Club who will host their first ever stage rally since affiliating with Motorsport Ireland six years ago.

The club, based in Castlemartyr in East Cork have a capacity entry for the event, a single stage close to Cloyne that will be repeated three times.

Limerick’s Colm Murphy in his Group N Subaru will occupy the number one slot. Although he won last month’s Circuit of Munster and will be confident, there are a host of drivers capable of denying him victory. Clonmel’s Roy White (MG S2000) has shown a fine turn of speed and with a reliable car, will be one of Murphy’s chief rivals. So too, will Banteer’s Barry Meade (Ford Escort). Meade and White served up a thrilling battle in the Modified category of the Rally of the Lakes, with Meade taking the laurels.

Local favourite Darragh O’Riordan switches to his Renault Clio S1600 as his more powerful Subaru WRC is not eligible for tomorrow’s event, yet, he will be competitive.

The remaining top 10 spots will be occupied by Owen Murphy (Mitsubishi), Fergus O’Meara (Ford Escort), Brian O’Keeffe (Subaru), Allen Treacy (Toyota Corolla), Paul Mulcahy (Toyota Starlet) and Frank Kelly (Ford Escort).

Elsewhere, Youghal’s Jason Ryan (Honda Civic) is the leading entry in Class 11. Based at the Midleton Park Hotel, the first stage begins at noon. Servicing is at Ballynacorra.

Meanwhile, the Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally is also down for decision tomorrow. Organised by the Armagh Motor Club, the event was first run in 1980 and won by the late Bertie Fisher in a Sydney Meeke-prepared Ford Escort.

The “King of the Park”, Kenny McKinstry, who has won the event no fewer than 11 times, will be the barometer for all the drivers. The Banbridge car preparation expert has a simple strategy for success, albeit with tongue in cheek. “You have to get the first of the eight stages just right, and then you have to get the next seven just right as well!”

The quality entry also features the Subaru WRCs of Kevin Barrett, Ray Brammer and Alan Carmichael. The one disappointment for fans is that Darren Gass, who has won for the past two years, will not be competing. He has yet to source a gearbox casing to replace the one damaged on the recent Donegal International Rally.

However, the entry of Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings will provide extra spice. He will campaign the Subaru 555 he drives in the Irish Forest series. Other entries are Stuart Biggerstaff (Metro 6R4), Emma McKinstry (Subaru WRC) and Mark Doyle (Toyota Celica GT4).

Tipperary’s Pat O’Connell, a former Irish Forest champion, will drive his Mitsubishi EvoIX and is the leading Group N entry. The Mk 2 Escort brigade includes James Kennedy, Martin Teggart, John Waring, Adrian Hetherington and Viv Hamill.

Rally legend, Jimmy McRae, will drive Wesley Patterson’s Escort in the new FIA ‘Appendix K’ Historic division, as will Cork-born Todd Falvey (Porsche 911).

Cork racing driver, Matt Griffin will compete in the prestigious ‘Total 24 Hours of Spa’ event at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit. Earlier this year, Griffin was part of a team that won the Abu Dhabi 12-hour and had a podium finish in the Bathurst 12-hour.

“I feel really good heading into this race. I like the circuit and the event. The MTech team is very strong and the Ferrari 458 is a very fast car so the ingredients are there for a good result.” Racing begins at 4pm tomorrow.

More in this section

courtsmotorsportplace: castlemartyrplace: east corkplace: cloyneplace: limerickplace: midleton park hotelplace: ballynacorraplace: banbridgeplace: fermanaghplace: tipperaryplace: corkplace: spa francorchampsplace: abu dhabiplace: bathurstperson: colm murphyperson: roy whiteperson: murphyperson: barry meadeperson: meadeperson: whiteperson: darragh o’riordanperson: owen murphyperson: fergus o’mearaperson: brian o’keeffeperson: allen treacyperson: paul mulcahyperson: frank kellyperson: youghalperson: jason ryanperson: bertie fisherperson: sydney meekeperson: kenny mckinstryperson: kevin barrettperson: ray brammerperson: alan carmichaelperson: darren gassperson: garry jenningsperson: stuart biggerstaffperson: emma mckinstryperson: mark doyleperson: pat o’connellperson: james kennedyperson: martin teggartperson: john waringperson: adrian hetheringtonperson: viv hamillperson: jimmy mcraeperson: wesley pattersonperson: todd falveyperson: matt griffinperson: griffinevent: rally of the lakesevent: orchard motorsport lurgan park rallyevent: donegal international rallyevent: irish forestevent: total 24 hours of spaorganisation: imokillyorganisation: imokilly motor cluborganisation: motorsport irelandorganisation: group n subaruorganisation: ford escortorganisation: subaruorganisation: mitsubishiorganisation: toyota corollaorganisation: toyota starletorganisation: honda civicorganisation: armagh motor cluborganisation: subaru wrcsorganisation: subaru wrcorganisation: toyota celicaorganisation: fiaorganisation: porsche 911organisation: mtechorganisation: ferrari

Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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