May 20, 2019
Shane Kenneally in his Honda Civic finished top Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series driver at the recent Abbey Hotel Moonraker Forest Rally, based in Ballyvourney Co. Cork, the third round of the Dual Surface Rally Series.
Kenneally added to his top place finish at Round 2 (Midland Moto Stages Rally) to move into second place in the championship standings 2 points adrift of Jason Murphy, Murphy also in a Honda Civic has contested all three rounds thus-far since stepping up from his back to back J1000 Irish Forestry Championship winning seasons.
Third place championship driver Michael Cunniffe didn’t make the decision to travel to the first loose surface round in Cork after the Athlone man picked up first and second place points on the opening two tarmac rounds.
Brian Brady recovered after not only a non-finish on Round 2, but after the bonnet pins in his Honda Civic blew up on stage 2 in Cork, resulting in him ditching his Honda Civic in a drain and enduring a 16-minute battle to get going again. A superb recovery drive seen him come from behind and secure second place championship points on the final stage of the day.
The eight-stage event based in Ballyvourney Co. Cork proved to be a strong test and there were two Junior Series retirements. Ruairi Mac Artain led briefly during a nip and tuck battle with Kenneally but retired on stage 6 after his Honda Civic slid wide on a downhill right hander and ended up resting on its roof in a drain, the Louth man has vowed to be back in time for Round 4.
Garth Deazley was another to succumb to the tricky conditions with the Omagh man also retiring his civic following an off-road excursion also on Stage 6.
Attention now turns to Donegal this Saturday for Round 4 of the Junior Rally Series, even though it has been two years since Donegal played host to the National Forestry Championship this weekend is set to be a cracker with the 3 x 2 stage format and total stage distance of 69Kms not being used in its current variation it will certainly be a challenge to all competitors.
The Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series is part of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy initiative, to promote and assist competitors focused on developing their motorsport future.
The series is taking place over dual surfaces; tar and gravel and because the best performance in 5 out of 8 Rounds will count the 2019 Champion may not have even registered yet!.
With two tar rounds and three gravel rounds still left on the calendar to qualify for the championship, competitors must be under 25 (1st of January) and start a minimum of two events on each surface. Eligibility is reserved to those who hold a current competition license issued by Motorsport Ireland and only cars built to the Class 16, J1600 regulations are eligible for the series
A prize fund of training and coaching up to the value of €20,000 on Motorsport Ireland events is on offer, plus a nomination to the Billy Coleman Award.
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