Some competitors entered for 2014 DJD Transport Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally (Pictures Ger Leahy)
Round 3: Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally Report by Greg Shinnors, Championship PRO.
The Jim Walsh Memorial Cork Forest Rally based in the Ballyhoura Forest complex on the Cork/ Limerick border took place on Sunday August 24th. The event was the fourth round of the 2014 Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship and is widely regarded as one of the finest gravel rallies in the country. Hosted by Cork Motor Club there was 8 challenging stages (4 repeated) with centralized service at the Charleville Show Grounds nearby offering a very compact competitor friendly format with service after every two stages.
A cool overcast morning dawned as competitors assembled for the safety briefing at Greenhall Motors early on Sunday. There was a formidable entry with 62 starters including a mix of regulars, new comers and club members. The array of machinery was stunning from the very latest spec Mini WRC, Corolla WRC’s, Subaru’s and various Evo’s along with the best of high powered 2WD Escorts, Toyota’s, Civic’s and Peugeot’s. Rain fell as competitors set out for stage one but spirits were not hampered knowing the quality of the terrain in the Ballyhoura Forests. After a 3-month layoff the “Valvoline” competitors were eager to let loose in the woods.
Owen Murphy/ James O’Brien (Evo 9) set the pace on the opening 10.5km stage in “Ballinaboula” 2.6 secs clear of top seeds Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna (Evo 9). Derek McGeehan/ Darragh Mullen held third a further 2.5 secs back in the Mini WRC. Andrew Purcell/ John Rafter (Evo 6) held 4th, Pat O’Connell/ Mark Wiley (Evo 9) 5th and Brendan Cumiskey/ Ronan O’Kane (Impreza WRC) held 6th with only 11 secs separating the top six. Adrian Hetherington/ Gary Nolan (Mk2) led the 2WD contingent while Frank Kelly/ Sean Hayde (Mk2) dropped 3 mins due to fuel starvation. Shane McGirr/ Jackie Elliott (Starlet) were the first major retirement due to a blown engine while Marty McKenna/ Damien Fleming (Impreza WRC) had to withdraw due to damaged steering.
Rain persisted and there was fog on stage 2 “New Fields” (11.5km). Murphy/ O’Brien continued to set the pace to hold a 6.9 sec lead at first service. Moffett/ McKenna held 2nd with McGeehan a mere 0.1 sec adrift showing good pace on his first visit to the Cork Forests. Andrew Purcell held fourth and Pat O’Connell 5th having set second fastest time on stage two only 0.6 secs off leader Murphy. The 2WD category lost two front-runners as Micky Conlon/ Ciaran McPhilips (Mk2) suffered a broken bell-housing and David Crossen/ Andrew Bushe (mk2) crashed out. Hetherington/ Nolan maintained the 2WD lead, from the Keane brother’s Donal/ Diramuid (Mk2). Donal flew home from Brisbane for this event not having competed since 2011. Frank Kelly was on a charge having sorted the fuel issue.
Stage times were almost identical on the repeat of Ballinaboula where Owen Murphy continued to set the pace and extend his lead to 9.3 secs. Josh Moffett held second while Pat O’Connell climbed to third. McGeehan slipped to fourth after hitting a rock and Purcell fifth. Conor McCarthy/ Dan O’Donovan (Civic) led the Junior class by 1 minute as their nearest opponents Alan Moran/ Trevor O’Connell (206) rolled. Derek Mackeral/ Peter Deery (Nova) lost 5 mins with electrical trouble elevating Shane Kenneally/ Jer Connors (mk2) into second with David Beamish/ Muireann Hayes (Nova) holding third.
Desi Henry/ Liam Moynihan (Evo 9) set FTD on ss4 (New Fields) with McGeehan only 0.4 secs in arrears. Leader’s Murphy/ O’Brien were a further 3.5 secs adrift, their lead now trimmed to 7.8 secs at the halfway point. McGeehan jumped to second by virtue of his increased pace on ss4. Josh Moffett slipped to 3rd, only 1.9 secs back. Pat O’Connell fell to fourth after losing some time with intercom failure. Brendan Cumiskey held 5th, Desi Henry 6th, Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9)7th, Hetherington 8th and leading 2WD, John Reid/ Edna Shiels (Corolla WRC) 9th and Michael Carbin/ Stephen Thornton (Evo 4) completed the top ten.
Owen Murphy maintained his lead on the afternoon stages scorching through ss5 (Streamhill). Pat O’Connell trailed by just 0.8 secs with Josh Moffett a further 6 secs back following a small excursion on the first junction. John Reid (Corolla WRC) rolled out. Andrew Purcell retired with brake problems and Junior leader Conor McCarthy was out due to a broken driveshaft. Pat O’Connell and Owen Murphy were credited with Josh Moffett’s time for ss6 (Coolfree) because of a timing issue. Coolfree claimed the Escorts of Donal Keane and Alan Commins, both slipped off the road sustained little damage but their rally was over. Murphy held a 15 sec advantage at service before the final loop. Pat O’Connell was up to 2nd, Moffett 3rd, McGeehan 4th, Desi Henry 5th, Cumiskey 6th and Hetherington 7th with a strong 2WD lead.
The sun came out for the closing stages, but the fog was slow to lift off the mountains. Josh Moffett set his first FTD of the day on ss7 (Streamhill), O’Connell trailed by 2.7 secs while leader Murphy appeared to back off as he was a further 3.2 secs down. Desi Henry damaged the transmission on the startline, limped through the stage but did not finish. The scene was set for an epic showdown with less than 12 secs between the top three (Murphy, Moffett & O’Connell) going into final stage (Coolfree). The Junior battle was down to the wire as well, less than 11 secs dividing Shane Kenneally/ Jer Connors (Mk2) and David Beamish/ Muireann Hayes (Nova).
Pat O’Connell and Owen Murphy tied on the final stage elevating O’Connell/ Wiley to second overall, their best result this year. However there can only be one winner and the day belonged to the Cork pairing of Owen Murphy/ James O’Brien who led from start to finish completing a hat trick of victories in the “Valvoline” championship. Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna lost 10 secs on Coolfree demoting them to 3rd. However the Monaghan crew maintain the championship lead as the series heads to the Northern rounds. Derek McGeehan/ Darragh Mullen (Mini) claimed 4th and Brendan Cumiskey/ Ronan O’Kane (Impreza WRC) took 5th.
Adrian Hetherington/ Gary Nolan had a red letter day; 6th overall, Best 2WD and winner of the Mk2 “Master of the Woods” award. Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9) were 7th and took the Gp N spoils. Monaghan’s Michael Carbin/ Stephen Thornton (Evo 4) survived brake failure and a slight excursion to finish 8th. Lucey Brother’s Ger/ James were 9th while Martin Donnelly/Brian Doherty (Corolla WRC) completed the top ten on their first venture into the Cork forests. Dungarvan’s Shane Kenneally/ Jer Connors (Mk2) won the Junior class ahead of Cork’s David Beamish Muireann Hayes (Nova). Clones pair Derek Mackarel/ Peter Deery finished 3rd Junior on their first stage rally.
Plenty of the silverware went to local crews/ club members with Johnny Kenneally/ Grace O’Brien (Mk2) winning class 1, Tom Murphy/ Connor Collins (Mk2) class 2, Paul Fitzgerald/ Pierce Doheny (Mk2) class 3 and Mike O’Sullivan/ Carol O’Keeffe (Mk2) class 4. The esteemed Ger Fahy Memorial “Spirit of the Rally” award went to David Crossen/ Andrew Bushe who crashed heavily on stage 2 and embodied the spirit of rallying as they marshalled for the reminder of the event before the long journey home to Co. Down.
Class 1 (1400cc): Johnny Kenneally/ Grace O’Brien
Class 2 (1600 8v): Tom Murphy/ Connor Collins (Escort).
Class 3 (1600 16v): Paul Fitzgerald/ Pierce Doheny (Escort).
Class 4 (2000 8v): Mike O’Sullivan/ Carol O’Keeffe (Escort).
Class 5A (2000 16v): Damien/ Thomas McGauran (Corolla).
Class 5B (2100): Adrian Hetherington/ Gary Nolan (Escort).
Class 6 (Gp A): Brecan McBreen/ Breen McNamee
Class 7 (WRC's): Martin Donnelly/ Brian Doherty (Corolla).
Class 8 (Gp N): Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9).
Class 9 (Junior's): Shane Kenneally/ Jer Connors (Mk2).
Class 20 (4WD): Derek McGeehen/ Darragh Mullen (Mini).
For Further Championship information visit:
Greg Shinnors, Championship PRO.
Please note closing date has been extended
Contact event sec on 086 1233742 between 6pm and 9.pm only please.
The DJD Transport, Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally 2014
Release 4: Mini’s and Millingtons ........
The stages are set, the plans are finalised and the countdown is on to the best forest rally of 2014, The DJD Transport, Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally. Round 4 of the Motorsport Ireland, Valvoline Forest Rally Championship sees the country’s top gravel crews descend upon the north Cork Towns of Buttevant and Ballyhea for what has long been regarded as Ireland’s premier Forest Rally.
Clerk of the Course, Sean Daly has organised a superb event which kicks off on Saturday August 23rd in Buttevant where the crews and cars will be put through mechanical and documentation scrutiny at Greenhall Motors. On Sunday August 24th the crews will take on 8 magnificent gravel stages totalling 80km, all located within the famous Ballyhoura Forest complex. Service for the event will be located at The Charleville AgriculturalShowgrounds Ballyhea, giving the spectators a chance to get up close with the cars and drivers.
The Cork Motor Club is delighted to announce that a fabulous entry has already been received for the event with more coming daily. The line up across the classes features the cream of gravel specialists.
At the front it really is anyone’s call. Previous winners of the event include Owen Murphy, Pat O’Connell and John Reid, all of whom are confirmed. They are joined by Monaghan hotshot Josh Moffett who has proved to be Mr. Consistent to date in this year’s Valvoline Championship. A huge talking point for the event has to be the entry of Draperstown’s Derek McGeehan in the works specification Mini WRC, a first for the southern forests. Derek and the Mini have proved to be hugely competitive on gravel in the Northern Ireland Championship and will be right up there battling for top honours in Cork. Portglenone’s Desi Henry returns to Cork eager to reinvigorate his championship bid after a non finish in Wicklow. Waterford’s Andrew Purcell enters in his older but still very potent Mitsubishi Evo 6. Two further dark horses have to be Niall Henry and Peter McCullagh in their respective Mitsubishi Evo 9s. Both of these drivers posted hugely impressive times on last year’s event. Martin Cairns and Brendan Cumiskey enter in a pair of Subaru Impreza WRCs to add to the already fabulous line up.
Overseas crews include Welch native Sara Williams and Martin Donnelly who makes the long trip from the USA. Sara brings her Subaru Impreza back to Cork after being awed by the Ballyhouras in 2013 and will certainly be one to watch out for as she proved her speed on last year’s event. Martin brings his fabulous McGeehan Motorsport prepared Corolla WRC into the woods for some sideways action.
In the 2wd category, excitement is really building. All the “Top Guns” of gravel are coming to Cork. Last year’s 2wd winner and reining “MK2 Master” Frank Kelly makes the trip from Tyrone to defend the title in his now infamous “Baby Blue”. The competition from the chasing pack is set to be fierce however. Previous Cork 2wd winners and fellow Tyrone men, Shane McGirr and Adrian Hetherington will be eager to put a fly in the Kelly ointment. McGirr’s form to date in the 2.0 Toyota Starlet has been superb and Hetherington always goes at maximum attack in Cork with his 2.5 Mk2 Escort. Kelly is really going to have to be at the top of his game in the Ballyhouras if he hopes to retain the coveted 2wd crown. Vivian Hamill, another Tyrone native, brings his stunning 2.5 MK2 Escort to Cork as does Monaghan’s Mickey Conlon with his beautiful 2.0 example. Seamus O’Connell and Ian Millar line out in a pair of BDA powered Escorts, both of whom are set to scream their way through the Ballyhouras. Wicklow 2wd winner David Crossen makes his Cork debut in his ultra-competitive Escort and should prove to be a real contender for the 2wd honors. Local aces include Ballyhea’s very own Paul Fitzgerald and Mallow man Jimmy Dean who are set to restore the old rivalry and go head to head in their respective class 3 Escorts.
The EARS.ie “Mark 2 Master” award has generated huge interest among the MK2 fraternity again this year. With a free entry to the 2015 event on offer to the winner, the rivalry is building every day. Expect to see further top additions to the already impressive line up over the coming days along with the inevitable predictions and odds on the title.
Programs for the event go on sale from Wednesday August 20th and will be available from the following outlets.Costcutter Ballyhea, Roche’s Londis Doneraile, O’Sullivan’s Kildorrery, Amber Service Station Charleville, Doherty’s Centra Buttevant, Keary’s Filling Station Mallow
Programs will also be available from Greenhall Motors on Saturday August 23rd only and the service area; Charleville Agricultural Show Grounds on Sunday August 24th.
For those who intend to marshal on the event, The Cork Motor club would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support over the years, your contribution and continued help cannot be praised enough. The marshals meeting points and times are as follows.
Contact Chief Marshal Keira Daly: 0851145433
SS1&3: Cost Cutter/Great Gas Ballyhea @ 07:45. Stage Commander Cathal Mansell.
SS2&4: Roche’s Londis Doneraile @ 08:20. Stage Commander Martin Godfrey.
SS5&7: Roche’s Londis Doneraile @12:00. Stage Commander Colin Fitzgerald.
SS6&8: O’Sullivan’s Topaz Kildorrery @ 12:30. Stage Commander Tom Dunne.
Live results for the event will be available on the day at www.harcon.ie
Keep up to date on all the happenings on the run up to the day on www.corkmotorclub.com, follow us on Twitter @corkmotorclub or check out the Cork Motor Club facebook page.
The DJD Transport Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally 2014: Press Release 3: Media Launch
The media launch of the DJD Transport Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally 2014 proved as usual to be one of the great social nights of the year for the Cork Motor Club.
The launch took place on Thursday July 24th at The Corbett Court Ballyhea at 8:00pm, there was a selection of cars which included the car that won the last two rounds of the Valvoline Forest Rally Championship the Hankook Mitsubishi of CMC Member Owen Murphy.
Also on display were three fine examples of the legendary MK2 Escort Rally car owned by CMC members Jimmy Deane, Paul Fitzgerald and Johnny Kenneally .
After the promotional photos were taken outside it was in for food and lots of talk about the rally.
Clerk of the Course for the event Sean Daly said that the very enthusiastic team that put the event together this year were pulling out all the stops to make this event live up to its reputation as the competitors favourite forest rally in Ireland.
Sean thanked his team for the huge amount of work that has been put in so far and we are ready he said, there is huge interest in the event already and crews from both the UK and Northern Ireland as well as all the Valvoline Championship regulars are going to compete in Cork. Sean also thanked his sponsors without whom the event would not run. He also spoke of the economic value of the event to the area. He said last year the EARS.ie MK2 Master was a feature added to the event and it proved hugely popular with a titanic battle between Frank Kelly and Marty McCormack.
Sean said we are sticking to the format that works 8 stages all in the Ballyhoura Forest complex with as little road mileage as possible Rally HQ will be Corbett Court ; he then called on Leonard Downey of DJD Transport title sponsor to say a few words.
Leonard said DJD Transport are delighted to be associated with this event he thanked the committee for their hard work and wished everyone a safe and enjoyable rally.
Sunday, August 24th is the date to remember all the regulars from the championship are going to be there and the EARS.ie MK2 Master is expected to bring a few surprises to the forests of north Cork so watch this space.
Regulations for the event are now available to download from www.corkmotorclub.com
For enquires please contact COC Sean Daly 0863731193
Regulations Now Available
Preparations are at an advanced stage for The 2014 DJD Transport Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally. The event takes place on Sunday August 24 with it's Headquarters based at The Corbett Court Ballyhea. Round 4 of the Motorsport Ireland, Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship heads for the spectacular Ballyhoura Mountains once more. The Ballyhea based event is largely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Forest Rally Championship and the one that all competitors look forward to year after year.
The long wait is almost over, with just over 5 weeks to go, Clerk of the Course Sean Daly and his team have been busy ensuring all aspects of the organisation are in place and look forward to welcoming crews and spectators from across Ireland and the UK to North Cork on August 24.
The event will once again see it's 8 stages all located within the Ballyhoura Forest Complex. Down through the years, Cork Forest Rally has gained an enviable reputation within gravel rallying circles due to the quality of our stages excellent organisation and the famous North Cork welcome. This reputation has attracted crews year after year. Cork Motor Club is very proud of this achievement and goes to great lengths to ensure it is maintained.
This year will prove no different with 80km of competitive stages selected the team are already busy out and about making the minor repairs to the famous roads and ensuring that North Cork puts its best foot forward in August.
Interest in the event is already very strong. All the Valvoline Championship regulars are committed to the event. This year's championship has proved to be extremely competitive to date with some spectacular battles sure to come in Cork. The event has moved a week later this year and it appears to be falling very favourably for Northern Ireland Championship crews. Multiple enquires have been received from top Northern crews who are looking to use Cork Forest Rally as a test session to ready their cars for their own upcoming gravel events. Interest from the UK is also very strong with the feedback from previous year's events attracting more and crews from across the Irish Sea each year.
The EARS.ie MK2 Master was a feature added to the event in 2013 which is also proving to be a valuable asset and attracting crews who are eager to get in on this year's action. The title was lifted by Tyrone?s Frank Kelly in 2013 after what is widely regarded as one of the battles of the year between Frank and Martin McCormack in their rapid Escorts. As a result of this epic battle, several enquires have been received this year from top MK2 Escort crews who traditionally compete on tarmac. Some of the names have raised a considerable smile on the faces of the organising team and should raise a few goose bumps for the spectators in 5 weeks time.. Watch this space.
The Rally launch takes place on Thursday July 24 at The Corbett Court Ballyhea at 8:00pm. There will be a display of rally cars, some video footage, finger food and good old fashioned banter on the night. It is an evening that has proved to be one of the best social evenings on the Cork Motor Club calendar in recent times and COC Sean Daly would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to attend. We look forward to seeing the faces, both new and old on the night.
Regulations for the event are now available to download from www.corkmotorclub.com
For enquires please contact COC Sean Daly 0863731193
Cork Motor Club is pleased to announce preliminary details of the 2014 DJD Transport, Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally.
The DJD Transport, Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally takes place on Sunday, August 24th. Following on from the success of last year?s event, Ballyclough man Sean Daly has taken the hot seat for another term as COC in 2014. Sean recently announced that Denis J Downey Transport are also to return as title sponsor for the 2014 event which has been hugely welcomed by the club. The Donoughmore Transport and Logistics firm have proved to be a very loyal supporter of what is largely regarded as Irelands finest gravel rally and CMC are delighted to continue this partnership, hopefully long into the future.
The event hosts Round 4 of the Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship. Following on from the tremendous feedback received from last year event, the rally will once again pivot around the famous Ballyhoura Forest Complex, with 8 of the finest gravel stages totalling approximately 80km of competitive driving. Road mileage is even lower than last year?s event and will total approximately 130km. Rally HQ once again is The Corbett Court Ballyhea and service will be based from the nearby Charleville Agricultural Showgounds.
Speaking to COC Sean Daly recently; ?I am delighted to be on board for another term as COC of this great event. The feedback that we received after last year?s event was amazing and because of this we are following a very similar format for this year. The stages will once again be located all within the Ballyhoura complex however we have made some subtle changes to the route to make it more enjoyable, and reduce the road mileage even further. The event will once again use a 4x2 format with service after every two stages which proved to be popular with crews last year?.
Sean?s team have already been busy out and about on the stages and have received tremendous support from Coillte in both selecting and facilitating the 2014 route. CMC would like to thank Coillte for their support to date and look forward to working together in the future.
Interest in the event is already strong with a number of overseas crews expressing their intention to compete. The ?MK2 Master? also makes a return this year, with the EARS.ie cup up for grabs for the first Ford Escort MK2 home on Sunday August 24th. Some of the top MK2 crews in the country have already conformed their intention to compete for the cup which provided much of the drama on last year?s event, who will ever forget the Kelly/McCormack battle last year?.hopefully we will have ?more of the same please? this year.
Further updates will be available on http://www.corkmotorclub.com/ and our facebook pages over the coming weeks. COC Sean Daly will also be more than happy to answer any queries and can be contacted on 086 3731193.
COC Sean Daly returns to the helm of one of the countries top gravel events and has already begun preparations for what should be another classic event. The event takes place on Sunday August 24th and once again is a counting round of the Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship. Details of the event to follow soon.