Main pic: Jason Mitchell and Paddy McCrudden in action at the McKelvey Asbestos Bushwhacker Rally. Pic: Mark McCullagh.
It was a weekend of lights, camera, action for a lot of Donegal Motor Club members at the McKelvey Asbestos Bushwhacker Rally last weekend.
A large crowd Motorsport fans from all over the country headed to Omagh Motor Club’s Bushwhacker Forestry Rally to witness the night stages in the woods. This is something that has not been seen for a long time in Irish rallying and something that most of us last seen in the Welsh Forests of Rally GB. The want to hear the sound of a BDA escort in the dark in the woods is something that rally fans will never tire of.
As usual, Donegal Motor club was active at all levels of the rally helping our neighbours with time keepers, marshalls and competitors. Club Chairman, Brian Brogan, led by example by supporting Johnny Baird as Stage Commander on the opening stage on Friday Night which had a large Donegal Motor Club presence. While on another stage, Drew Wilson stage commander was aided by Donegal stalwart Larry Harper who had another 20 odd Donegal Motor Club members up marshaling at the two day event.
Now, turning our attention to the competitors Donegal Motor Club had 12 crews of interest starting. Top finisher was the Donegal Postman, Paddy Mc Crudden, again finishing on the podium with 3rd overall, calling the notes for his usual driver Jason Mitchell in their Polo who are on flying form as of late.
Just finishing inside the top ten was another Donegal town man, Kenny Bustard, sitting alongside Martin Cairns in a Fiesta R5.
The first all Donegal crew home was David Kelly and Dean O’Sullivan, out in David’s new EVO finishing 14th overall.
Finishing 19th overall and 1st in the historics was Bruckless man, Shane Byrne, sitting for the first time with Owen McMakin in a BDA Ford Escort. The crew had a great battle with Paul Barret and Gordon Noble in Paul’s brand new Merion Evans built Escort until mechanical issues on Stage 7 left the Historic win for Owen and Shane Byrnes 2nd class win in the Northern Ireland Championship this year.
Kilmacrennan’s Sam Stewart and Manor’s Alan Johnston finished 31st overall in their red Ford Escort with Convoy brothers Daniel and Evan Mac Bride finishing 60th overall in their yellow Honda Civic.
Ciaran Carr steering his yellow Corsa with Kilmacrennan’s Stephen Peoples calling the notes and finished 67th. Convoy’s John Mc Elhinney, navigating for Paul Britton, finished 70th overall and was the last Donegal competitor to make the finish line.
The DNF list contained a lot of Donegal names as well with Dylan Eves, Jack Harris, Niall Burns, Conor Wilson and Sean Marsh all starting but failing to get to the finish.
The thought on everyone’s minds leaving the night stages in Omagh was could Donegal Motor Club finish in November with a night stage on tarmac?
Donegal Dominate at Rallysport Association Ballykelly.
Saturday saw a massive Donegal Motor Club contingent head North to Ballykelly with queues of Minis, Buggies and other competing cars. Class 12 the Mini Cup class is where most of the Donegal focus is with over half the cars entered in the class from Donegal. Patrick Mc Shane was the fastest Donegal Driver home in 3rd overall but hot on his heels was Donegal Young gun Joshua Henry (above) finishing 4th overall and first Junior Mini home in a very impressive result. There was a big Killybegs battle between Declan McBreatry and Barry O’Hara with the TrailerStuff.ie Mini just ahead of the Mooney Boats Mini.
Marie Furey was the winner of the Ladies Mini Cup finishing 10th overall with lIsa Thomas 2nd in the ladies class & Nicole Bradley in third making it a Donegal Ladies Podium in the ladies class.
Killybegs Jayden McBrearty was 2nd in Juniors ahead of Carter Hughes. Other Donegal Mini Drivers were Leitir’s Daniel Mc Shane, Letterkenny’s Robert Brockett & Kade Gilchrist, Matthew Kennedy, Jack Reyonlds and Nicole Hughes.
In the Buggy Class 13 we had Manors Taylor Mc Elhinney, Seamus Mc Tigue & Eathan O’Donnell. In class 14, Carndonagh’s Aaron Mc laughlin finished 2nd in class in his Speedcar with other Donegal drivers, Gareth Boreland, philip Boreland, Keith Mc Elhinney, Jessica Orr, Paul Halpenny, Chris Dolan, Jason Boyle, Aidan Thomas, Michael O Donnell, Colm Mc Elhinney, Gerad Jordan, Nathan Bustard & Enda Bonner.
Tom Devaney Memorial Hillclimb 2023
Last weekend was a very important weekend for our neighbours in Connacht Motor Club. The Tom Devaney Memorial Hill Climb took on an even more symbolic meaning as it was the first event the club ran since the tragedy of Gene McDonald and Daire Maguire earlier this year. They will be delighted that their club came together again to organise their hillclimb event and it ran safe and successfully run. Donegal Motor Club drivers Patrick Bradley in his Honda Civic and Brian McGarraghy in his Yellow Mark 2 Escort entered the Hillclimb. Birthday Boy Sam Pearson was MI stewart for the event while Knockalla Hillclimb COC Michael Kelly was also there all weekend to support the Connacht Motor Club event along with other DMC members who came at various stages over the weekend.
Triton showers National Rally
All attention turns to Clare this weekend for another round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. As the Championship draws to a close, there will be pressure on a few of our Donegal Motor Club members to secure their championship standings especially before the final round in Skibbereen next month.