The Charlie McEnery Motor Services Clare Stages Rally 2017 in association with Woodstock Hotel & M. Fitzgibbon Contractors.

 

The Charlie McEnery Motor Services Clare Stages Rally 2017 in association with Woodstock Hotel & M. Fitzgibbon Contractors.

 

 

This coming weekend 16th. & 17th. September sees the running of the Clare Motor Club's Annual Clare Stages Rally which has its HQ at Hotel Woodstock in Ennis.

Organised and promoted by the Clare Motor Club, this very popular event has been running since 1988 and has attracted competitors from all over Ireland and the UK.

The Club have recieved over 107 crews and boasts seven World Rally cars in the top ten.

Seeded no.1 is last years Clare Stages Winners Donegal's Declan and Brian Boyle in their Ford Fiesta World Rally Car. The Boyle cousins who were National Champions in 2016 will be hoping for a repeat performance over the very tricky North Clare Stages. At No. 2 is fellow Donegal Competitor Donagh Kelly a previous winner of the Clare Stages in his Ford Focus WRC will also be trying to repeat his previous Clare win. At No. 3 is a great Clare Supporter Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC). Niall who is on a good pace this year and is currently lying 2nd overall in the Top Part West Coast Rally Championship.

 

The 2017 event is Round 6 of the Top Part West Coast Rally Championship.

 

Organising an event like this requires the co-operation of a great many people and organisations, one of those being our sponsor.

Now in its 24th. year of sponsorship by the Top Part Group, this makes it the longest standing sponsorship of a championship in irish rallying history and also Ireland's number 1 Regional Rally Championship. The Top Part Group under MD Mr. Donie Dillane have been sponsoring the championship since it was formed back 1993 and the organising committee would like to thank them for their continued support in this its 24th. year.

You can log on to www.toppart.com and www.topbike.ie for more information or call into any of their state of the art stores in Tralee, Limerick, Galway City, Ennis, Clonakilty, Shannon, Clonmel, Roscommon, Sligo, Mullingar, Kilkenny, Wexford, Nenagh, Dungarven, Arklow and Castlebar to view their wide range of products.

 

The 2017 Championship rounds are as follows.

 

 1. Birr Stages Rally

 2. Circuit of Kerry Stages Rally

 3. Circuit of Munster Stages Rally

 4. Sligo Stages Rally

 5. Galway Summer Stages Rally

 6. Clare Stages Rally

 7. Kerry Mini Stages Rally

 

New for 2017 Championship was the addition of an extra Round The Sligo Stages Rally which brought an additional challenge to the series. This brings the total number of Rounds to seven. Competitors are required to start 4 events to qualify with their best five results will count for the final results.

An extra starters point is awarded to the last two rounds of the championship. The Clare Stages and Kerry Mini Stages Rallies. Each Competitor pays a Registration Fee of 10 euro towards the Championship..

The "Drive of the Day Award" is also sponsored  by "The Top Part Group" and is presented at the Finish Podium of each round. A Top Part Voucher to the value of 50 euro and a 5 Litre can of Racing Oil is awarded to the crew at each Round with a 100 euro Voucher being presented to the Overall winner at the Awards Night at the end of the Championship.

The Championship Committee have also decided that any competitor who starts 4 Rounds of the Championship will be entered into a draw for a 500 euro Top Part Voucher which will be drawn at the Prizegiving at the end of the year.

Awards are presented for Overall, Group N, Two Wheel Drive, Juniors,  Historic and Drive of the Day.

The Pat Dowling Memorial Shield will be presented to the fastest navigator in Class 12.

 

After Five rounds of The Top Part West Coast Rally Championship which started out with Round 1 in Abbeyleix followed by Kerry, Limerick, Sligo and Galway, Its Clonmel's  Roy White and Cork's James O'Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC) who are the Championship Leaders. The 2016 National Rally Champions are not entered for this weekend's Clare Stages. White/O'Brien took maximum points recently on Round 5, The Galway Summer Rally and extend their lead to 80 points in the West Coast Rally Series. Monaghan’s Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru WRC) who are seeded at No. 3 in this weekend's event finished third and retain their second overall position in the Top Part West Coast Series just two points behind White on a total of 78 points.

Multi Top Part Champion Shane Maguire took a decisive step towards the National Series Motorsport Safety Team Group N award in Galway  holds 3rd. position overall in the Top Part West Coast Series on 73 points just 5 points behind his dad Niall.

Shane also leads the Top Part Group N series.

 

Taking a look down the top 10 in the West Coast Series after the Galway event, Kerry's Tim Enright (Ford Escort) who has had a consistant run on this years championship moves into 4th Overall and is the top two wheel drive competitor ahead of Limerick's Sean Liston (BMW E30) in 5th. Galway's Pat Kelly (Subaru Impreza) who failed to finish in Galway drops to 6th. place, followed by Ciaran Phelan (Honda Civic) in 7th. Clare Councillor Alan O'Callaghan (Subaru Impreza N12B)  who lead the Championship after three rounds crashed out on Round 4 in Sligo did not start in Galway and drops down to 8th with Galway's Des Lyons (Honda Civic EK4) in 9th. Donegal's Donagh Kelly completes the top 10 in his Ford Focus WRC.

 

Brian Brady / Leonard Tuite (Honda Civic) continue to lead the very competative Junior Section from Donegal's Michael Boyle (Honda Civic).

 

Clare members taking part in the West Coast Series include Mary O'Shea who is the leading navigator in Class 3 while her dad Ger is second in the same Class. Anthony Breen / Jill Whyte (Subaru Impreza WRX) are second in Class 15 while Councillor Alan O'Callaghan/Cathal McGrath are the leaders in Class 20.

 

Rally HQ for The 2017 Clare Stages is at Hotel Woodstock in Ennis with Scrutiny, Parc Ferme and Centralized Servicing all based at the Clare Marts Complex on the Quin Road outside Ennis. The Rally format is three stages which will be repeated three times in North Clare.

 

The Clare Rally organising Committee under Clerk of the Course Gerry O'Brien have been working very hard over the past couple of months to put this event together and as the event requires a lot of officials and marshalls from all over the country the committee are appealing to anybody interested in marshalling or helping out over the weekend to please contact the rally's chief marshall Al Meaney on 087-6375855 or to contact the club via the website www.claremotorclub.com

This is gerry's first time taking on the COC role having served as Chief Marshall and Deputy Clerk of the Course over the past number of years. 

The main sponsor of the Rally is Charlie McEnery Motor Services who run a very high quality repair service to the motor industry in Ennis. Charlie, a member of the Clare Motor Club set up his very successful Motor Services business in Ennis back in 2009.  he has competed in many times over the years as a navigator with drivers like Anthony O'Halloran, Frank Kelly etc. Charlie who started competing back in 1999 sees the Clare Stages Rally as a great opportunity to promote his business both locally and nationally

The Organising Committee would like to thank the event Sponsors, Charlie McEnery Motor Services , Hotel Woodstock, M. Fitzgibbon Contractors. The Stage Sponsors Mahon's Garage Gort, CCS Race n Rally, EMC Autos and Padraic Egan Haulage.

As an incentive to get entries in early the committee offered five free entries in the main field and three free entries for the Junior Section which were raffled before the event. The Committee would also like to thank the sponsors of these entries, Cummins Car Centre Toyota, N18 autos, Shannon Trophies Corofin, Limerick Motor Centre Hyundai, Whelan Plant Sales Barefield and Martin Kelly Quarries Doonbeg.

Mike Moloney of Saenz Transmission Europe has also sponsored a free Clutch Kit which was raffled for Classes 10, 11f and 11r.

The Clare Stages Rally also takes place on the anniversary of the 1995 World Rally Champion, the late Colin McRae and the organising committee with the backing of the McRae Family have put up a Perpetual Trophy which will be awarded to the Top Modified Crew. The event will also have an ex Colin McRae car on the entry list which will be driven by Niall Moroney from the UK

Competitors will cover a loop of three Classic Stages in North Clare which will be repeated three times, providing 120 kilometres.

The rally will bring a welcome boost to visitor numbers to the County as the event generates a requirement for up to 1000 bed nights in the area over the rally weekend. 

The club would also like to thank the Clare County Council and the Gardai for their assistance in putting this massive event together. The Organising Team would also like to thank all the residents along the route and on the road closed sections as the event could not happen without their co-operation.

 

The Rally starts on Saturday morning September 16th. when drivers and their navigators congregate at the Hotel Woodstock where they will sign on for Recce.

The crews will then be allowed to drive over the three stages, a maximum of three times at normal road speed in their road cars to check or ammend their pacenotes. The rally cars are then presented for scrutiny at the Clare Marts Complex where a team of Scrutineers will check all the safety features, brakes , roll cages, tyres, racesuits, helmets etc. This will give spectators a chance to see some of the top rally cars in the country and also meet with the drivers and their navigators.

The Rally cars will then proceed to Parc Ferme which is also based in the same Car Park where they will be locked in for the night.

 

The first car will leave Parc Ferme at 09.30 on Sunday Morning and after a quick service the first car will leave the mart complex at 09.55 and will head for the first stage at Rath for a 10.13 start.

Stages and times as follows -

S.S. 1, 4  & 7: Rath (11.6 Km) 10.13, 12.49 & 15.25. 

S.S. 2, 5 & 8: Ruan (14.1 Km) 10.48, 13.24 & 16.00. 

S.S. 3, 6 & 9: Ballinruan (14.00 Km) 11.27, 14.03 & 16.39. 

 

Service will take place on Sunday at The Clare Marts Complex at  9.30, 12.01 & 15.37.

The Juniors will compete on the first six stages of the rally.

The cars will finish back at  Hotel Woodstock at 17.16 where the winner will be announced.

 

SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

A Souvenir Programme will be on sale from friday and will contain the stage maps , entry list, championship photos and various motorsport articles. These will be on sale at Hotel Woodstock, Maxol at the Clare Abbey Roundabout. O'Sullivan & Hansbury on the Kilrush Road, Western Garages Quin Road, Donnellan's Centra Loughville, Hogan Motors Gort Road, Clarke's Crusheen and The Service Area.

 

KEEP THE RACE IN ITS PLACE

The Clare Club have teamed up with The Clare Council and The Gardai to promote Road Safety over the weekend of the Rally and are asking all the people who are watching the event to drive safely, hence our message “ Keep The Race in its Place”

“Never Drink and Drive, Always Wear A Seatbelt, Slow Down, Arrive Alive.”

 

Entries will remain open up to the weekend and for Further Information Contact the Event Secretary Margaret McCloskey on 087 2808159 or  Email: mgt.mccloskey@gmail.com

Club Website: www.claremotorclub.com 

 

Top 10 Starters: 

 

1. Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC)

2. Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley (Ford Focus WRC)

3. Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru WRC)

4. Daniel Cronin/Shane Buckley (Ford Fiesta WRC)

5. Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Greaney (Skoda Fabia R5)

6. Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Subaru WRC)

7. John Stone/Patrick Brides (Ford Fiesta WRC) 

8. Owen Murphy/Anthony Nestor (Skoda Fabia S2000)

9. Ed O'Callaghan/Keith McCarthy (Ford Escort Mk2)

10. Barry Meade/John McCarthy (Ford Escort Mk2)                                  

 

Local Clare crews will take to the stages on this weekends rally and will be fighting for awards in the various classes.

Headed up by Councillor Alan O'Callaghan from Sixmilebridge and seeded at No. 15

Alan missed out on Round 5 but hopes to get his championship back on track on this weekend's home event in his Subaru Impreza N12B. Donegal's Loretta Kelly will call the notes.

 

At No.17 is Anthony O'Halloran from Ruan with Event sponsor Charlie McEnery calling the notes.

The clare crew have with the help of friends and sponsors hired a top spec Ford Escort from NPL Rally Hire in Cookstown in Co. Tyrone.

Anthony O'Halloran last competed in a Escort in 1995. Time has not stood still with the development of this iconic rally car since they finished production in 1981.Anthony's car that he used up to 1995 would have been very basic compared to this modern Escort he has hired for this year's event with only 170bhp from a 2.0 litre 8valve engine and 5 speed gearbox.

The modern Escort features a 300 plus bhp 2.5 16v engine matched with the latest 6 speed sequential gearbox and WRC spec suspension & brakes. Having had a 2 year break from the sport, he hopes to test the car on Saturday to learn all the features of this ''modern'' spec rally car before attacking the stages on Sunday. His best result on the Clare Stages Rally came in 1995 we he debuted his new Opel Manta 400 finishing 2nd overall. Anthony is no stranger to trying different machinery on his local rally. In 2000 after great fundraising he hired a World Championship spec Group A Impreza to finish a fantastic 3rd overall. Despite small engine trouble on the early stages, he certainly rocked the establishment setting multiple fastest stage times throughout the day. In 2008 after many successful years campaigning the Opel Manta which included winning the 2006 Clare Single Rally. He then build a modern Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 to contest the National Rally Championship where he finished a fantastic 4th overall and 1st Group N car on his local stages. In 2009 after a fantastic Group N win on the Galway International Rally he was on course for 2nd overall on his local rally when electrical issues caused retirement. Since 2010 he has not competed on a season long championship campaign instead doing one or two events including the his local event. During this break from rallying he indulged in his other passion cycling.He contested the Galway Summer Stages Rally 3 weeks ago to get back up to speed and prepare for this years Clare Stages Rally. Unfortunately when slowed with gearbox issues a fellow competitor who was fast approaching lost control resulting in major damage when he struck Anthony's car. Having not enough time to repair the Manta for this year's event, NPL Rallyhire were approached to hire one of their Modern spec Tarmac Rallycars. Its certainly a challenge that Anthony will relish. 

 

Hoping to repeat last years performance is Clare crew Padraic Egan from Sixmilebridge and Tulla's Brian Hassett who are seeded at No.18. The Clare Motor Club crew were the fastest Clare Crew on last years Clare Stages and were the winners of The Noel McCullagh Award in their Subaru WRX Turbo. They also finished 16th overall and 2nd in Class 15.

The crew were also Fastest Clare Motor Club Crew in recent Galway Rally where finished 16th Overall and first in Class 15. This was the Clare crew's first tarmac outing in their recently acquired ex Alan O'Callaghan Subaru Impreza N8. The Clare crew found a problem with the gearbox while competing on the Shakedown Stage on Saturday and not having a spare they did all they could to repair the problem. Heading into the first stage on sunday morning they found conditions very tricky after heavy rain over night but they emerged 47th overall. With stage 2 being cancelled Padraic launched a big attack on the very slippy stage 3 where they were 19th fastest and moved up to 32nd. Overall and 2nd. in Class.

On the second run through the stages which had dried out consierably the service crew fitted a set of cut slicks on the Subaru which worked a treat setting the 15th. fastest time and moving the crew up to 19th. overall and 1st. in Class. The gearbox problems developed again over the second and third loops and the Subaru lost 5th. gear completely on special stages 7 and 8. Padraig got the car to the finish back in Gort and was very happy with his result, 16th. Overall and 1st. in Class.

 

At No.27 is Event Co. Sponsor Michael Fitzgibbon from Darragh with Carrie Moroney calling the notes in their Honda Civic. A fantastic performance on the 2015 Clare Stages Rally saw Tom with navigator Carrie Moroney claim 9th overall in the Honda Civic and finished Fastest Clare Motor Club Crew on the day. They also claimed the two most prestigious awards in the Clare Motor club, The Noel McCullagh and the Dermot Molloy Awards. The pair also claimed first place in Class 11f.

 

20 year old Kilkishen navigator Cathal Nolan is looking forward to getting out With Frank Sweeney in the Kgp 2 litre Rwd on this weekend's event. This is Cathal's first event with Limerick's Frank Sweeney. The Peugeot has had a full engine rebuild for the Clare event.

Cathal's First Rally was the Clare Stages 2013 at the age of 16 where he sat with Eoghain McMahon in a Toyota Corolla. He took part in selected rally's with Eoghain in 2014 and 2015 in the Corolla and the Subaru.

In 2016 entered the Junior west Coast Championship with Galway;s Dylan Douoghue in a Ford Escort where he achieved his best result of the year in Clare with 3rd overall. The crewMissed out on the rest of theChampionship due to fire damage while taking part in the Donegal Harvest. 2017 has been a quite year due to College and work.

 

Niall O'Sullivan/Sean O,Crowley (Citroen C2) who are seeded at 46 finished 20th. Overall and 1st in Class 11F and also won the Dermot Molloy Award on the 2016 Clare Stages and the crew will be hoping to repeat the performance on this years event.

 

 

The rest of the Clare Motor Club Crews taking part are as follows -

 

40 Eoghain McMahon/Pa Lyons (Subaru Impreza N12)

44 John O'Sullivan/Stephen McTiernan (Citroen C2)

46 Niall O'Sullivan/Sean O'Crowley (Citroen C2)

54 Michael Hamilton/Shane Byrne (Honda Civic)

58 Declan O'Regan/Larry O'Halloran (Honda Civic VTEC)

59 Keith Naughton/Damien Murphy (Ford Escort RS Mk2)

60 Anthony Breen/Jill White (Subaru Impreza WRX)

66 Pa Malone/Gareth Quinn (Ford Escort MK2)

69 Fergal Keane/Mairead Duane (Honda Civic)

70 Robert Behan/Brendan Behan (BMW Mini Cooper S)

74 Martin O'Halloran/Ryan Thomas (Ford Escort)

75 Francis Kelly/Bernard McSweeney (Honda Civic)

76 Martin Kelly/John Green (Honda Civic EK4)

78 Erik Honan/Katie Quinn (Honda Civic VTI)

79 Adrian Hynes/Dermot Ryan (Ford Escort MK2)

96 Mossy Gannon/Declan Gannon (Ford Escort)

97 Paul O'Sullivan/David Livingstone (Citroen C2)

100 Pat McDonagh/Seaghan Hickey (Ford Cortina)

101 Graham Lennon/Patrick Harding (Honda Civic)

105 Mick Boland/Teresa Shanahan (Suzuki Swift)