Historic success for Patterson and Whyte in Killarney

Lisburn’s Wesley Patterson and his Cork co-driver, Alan Whyte took their Ford Escort RS1800 to a fine victory in the Gleneagle Hotel Killarney Historic Rally.

Although they finished four and a half minutes in front of the Lancia Stratos of Steve Perez/Carl Williamson, the result masked a fine battle with Millstreet’s, Mark Falvey/Colin Moynihan (Ford Escort), who retired prior to the final stage with a broken driveshaft. Todd Falvey/Ger Conway (Porsche 911) were third.

Elsewhere, Cork duo Denis Moynihan/Eamonn Hayes (Escort) won the Post-Historic category; Welsh pair, Tomas Davies/Dai Roberts (Ford Escort) won the Classic section and the Donegal/Cork combination of Martin McGee/Denis O’Mahony (Ford Escort) won the Modified category while the Junior section was claimed by John O’Flaherty/Patrick Dowd (Toyota Starlet).

Patterson was quickest through the opening stage at Moll’s Gap, Mark Falvey was 2.6 seconds behind and Todd Falvey (Porsche 911) a further 39.4 seconds in arrears. By the end of the loop that also included stages at Ballaghbeama and Caragh Lake, Patterson has extended his lead to 18.4 seconds with Mark Falvey continuing as his closest pursuer. Steve Perez moved into third as Todd Falvey slipped to fifth, a position he attributed to the fact that the tyre pressures were far too high.

On the second run over Moll’s Gap, Patterson’s Escort developed a misfire. Mark Falvey reckoned he wasn’t on the pace through Beallaghbeama, but reacted by posting the quickest through Caragh Lake (S.S. 6), and trailed Patterson by 37.8 seconds with two stages remaining. However he finished the penultimate stage over two minutes off the lead due to a broken driveshaft. The Millstreet driver withdrew at service as there wasn’t sufficient time to fit a replacement. Patterson took a comfortable win with Perez and Todd Falvey completing the top three. Limerick’s, James O’Mahony (Volvo 144S) overcame some engine concerns to take fourth from former event winner, Ray Cunningham (Morris Cooper S). Cork’s, Luke McCarthy (Porsche 911), competing for the first time in some 18 years, was fifth and Briton, Steven Smith (Porsche 911) was sixth. Having punctured on the second run through Moll’s Gap, Mervyn Johnston retired his Austin Mini with a seized differential on S.S. 5, Beallaghbeama.

Denis Moynihan (Ford Escort) took a dominant win in the Post-Historic section where he was almost three minutes ahead of Ray Hilliard (Escort). In the Classic section, Tomas Davies had a comfortable win over fellow overseas driver, Mel Evans (Escort).

There was a tremendous contest in the Modified section with Donegal’s, Martin McGee taking the laurels from Colm Murphy and Frank Kelly, all three in Mk. 2 Ford Escorts.

On the opening stage, Murphy took a 2.8 second lead over McGee with Kelly and local driver, Ed Murphy sharing third. McGee topped the timesheet after Ballaghbeama , however, all three were covered by a single second after the completion of the three stages.

On the repeat of the loop, Murphy, despite some power steering troubles, moved ahead – 3.9 seconds in front of McGee while Kelly was 30.9 seconds further behind after differential woes and a spin.

On the penultimate stage Murphy spun his Escort and dropped 18.9 seconds behind McGee, who went on to win. Kelly, despite a broken halfshaft on the final stage, limped home but managed to hold on to take third.

Meanwhile, Monaghan brothers, Josh and Sam Moffett, both driving Mitsubishi EvoIX’s. finished second and fifth respectively in Grizedale Rally in Cumbria. Josh, the younger of the pair, secured his best result taking the runner-up spot — a minute and 12 seconds behind winner, Alex Allingham (Subaru). Allingham led initially but Cumbrian driver, Paul Bird, took a 14 second lead with one stage remaining. However, his Grizedale jinx struck again some four miles from the finish.

Bird, in a Ford Focus WRC, slid wide, clipped a ditch and spun into a tree, the impact broke the steering and brought instant retirement.

In the Rotax Max World Championships at Portimao, Portugal, Belfast karter, Charlie Eastwood took victory. The week-long series concluded on Saturday. Australian, Pierce Lehane led initially until about midway through the race when Eastwood moved to the front and went on to finish 1.9 seconds ahead of the pack. Charleville’s, Shane Daly, who was ninth in one of the heats, failed to finish after he was pushed off the track by another competitor on the final lap. Dubliner, Martin Pierce finished fifth in the Masters Class.

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