Irish Notes 17th July 2019

Irish Notes 17th July 2019

Fingers and thumbs were worn to a frazzle last weekend switching channels and results screens from Silverstone to Estonia, Sligo to Wimbledon, not to mention Lords for the cricket and Wales for the Nicky Grist rally.

Over on the Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2019 with its fifteen jumpy, fast, gravel Special Stages the overall result was fairly predictable, but interesting nonetheless. Ott Tanak & co driver, Martin Jarveoja, in their Toyota Yaris WRC were the start to finish winners. As well as promoting his home Estonia Rally, which had government backing as a WRC candidate event, Ott tried a few tweaks on his Yaris in preparation for the upcoming Neste Rally Finland. Indeed, for the top half dozen drivers, preparations for the 2nd/4th August Rally Finland was very much on their agenda. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland in their Hyundai i20 WRC finished 2nd after a good run: albeit just over a minute back on the flying Tanak. A further 24 seconds back was Esapekka Lappi in the Citroen, and then it was Elfyn Evans (Fiesta WRC) in 4th. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle were a very respectable 5th on their first run in the Hyundai 120 Coupe WRC, an excellent warm up for Rally Finland. Craig had no surprises in the car and settled into a decent pace.

A big talking point on the event was the performance of 17 year old Oliver Solberg, co-driven by Co. Tyrone’s Aaron Johnston in a VW Polo GTi R5. Solberg’s drive over the early stages was simply breathtaking. He built up an early R5 lead of over a minute and was then able to pace himself to the end, finishing 7th o/a.

Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes (Ford Fiesta WRC) pass by Parkes Castle on their way to victory in the FAAC Simply automatic/Sligo Park Hotel Rally, round six of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. Picture: Martin Walsh.

Closer to home, on the Triton Showers National Championship Sligo Stages, Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes in their Fiesta WRC took a clear victory, with their title rivals Roy White/James O’Brien, also in a Fiesta WRC, 2nd. This win takes Josh Moffett inexorably closer to the National title, an achievement which has so far eluded him. Roy White hammered away through these beautiful Sligo stages, but dropped a second or two on nearly every stage, to finish the day 23 seconds in arrears. This Sligo event was the sixth in the Triton series and Moffett has won five of them, so one more half decent result will mean he will be more or less home as regards the title. Johnny Greer/Kirsty Riddick in their Fiesta R5 were 3rd on the rally, which, apart from being a very good drive, was a brilliant opportunity to make ‘real time’ tweaks to the car in preparation for this weekend’s Carryduff Forklift Down Rally. Jonny will be going all out to emulate his last year’s win on what is effectively his home event.

 Kevin Eves/Chris Melly in their Corolla won the Modified section in Sligo and were 4th o/a, with David Moffett/Martin Connolly 5th.  Johnny Jordan/Paddy McCrudden fought back to 6th after a time loss on the 2nd stage caused by a spin and puncture. Shane Maguire/Darragh Kelly in their Mitsubishi won GpN and finished 8th one place behind Derek McGarrity who was hampered by throttle issues on his Fiesta WRC. Leading retirements included Frank Wray whose Subaru WRC blew a turbo and JF Shovelin whose Escort broke its manifold. Daniel Cronin dropped well back following an early spin and then later on a puncture on his Fiesta R5. Donegal’s Ryan Moore (Honda Civic) won the Junior Class 16 and Brian Moore won 16A.

Donegal pairing of David Kelly and Kenny Bustard are competing in both the BTRDA and the Triton National Championship and currently lead of the Junior 16A class here in Ireland. but as Kelly explained he couldn’t compete on both events. “We would have loved to been in the UK but we made the choice to compete in Sligo as it is such a great event, we are 3rd in the British Series in our class and hopefully we will get to the next round in August.” A 3rd place finish in class in Sligo netted some good points in their championship quest. Photo Gavin Luby.

On a general note, the rally received high praise indeed from many of those involved as well as spectators for the professional way every facet of the rally was handled. Even the weather was kind, making for a great day out.

Also last weekend was the Nicky Grist Rally. Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton in their Focus WRC took the overall win, over a minute ahead of Stephen Petch/Michael  Wilkinson in their Fiesta WRC. Brendan Cumiskey/Liam Moynihan were 4th, driving a Fiesta WRC. Conor McCourt/Brian Hoy managed 8th o/a in their Fiesta R5. In the Historic section Jason Pritchard (Escort) won, 4s ahead of George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Avenger) and with Marty McCormack/Barney Mitchell just 1 second further back in 3rd. This was Marty’s first trip for a while in his Mk2, and he reported that he loved it. He plans to tackle the Cork Forestry at the end of this month, all part of a build-up to try to repeat his win on the Roger Albert Clark the last time it ran, two years ago.

Tucked away in the latter stages of the results was a name reminiscent of some of the yesteryear glory days of rallying here – Robin Eyre- Maunsell. Robin still loves to compete on the occasional forest rally. This time he was driving a Micra and, co-driven by Peter Scott, he made it to the finish. Which was rather good!  At one of his hilarious after dinner speeches years ago Robin was asked how to become a millionaire in rallying. Quick as a flash he retorted in that very special voice of his, “Quite simple really, start with two million!”

This coming weekend the action switches to the Down Rally on Saturday and Imokilly on Sunday.

Last year’s Carryduff Forklift Down Rally winners Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick. Image: Jonathan MacDonald

The NI event, sponsored by Carryduff Forklift, has attracted an interesting cross-section of entries, mainly because th UK Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship goes head to head with McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship. Damian Cole, who drives a Fiesta WRC and is co-driven by the experienced Paul Spooner, is seeded at 6.  Some of the other drivers who will be trying for `Protyre points’ include Melvyn Evans (Skoda Fabia R5) and his son Merion Evans. The latter was to drive a Hyundai but that was damaged in Ypres so he has switched to an ex Jan Kopecky Skoda R5. Another driver who will be vying for points on that Protyre Championship is John Stone (Fiesta WRC), as well as Alan Kirkaldy (Fiesta R5) and Oli Hopkins (Mirage).

Current British Rally Champion Matt Edwards is making the trip to Co. Down to compete in his Fiesta R5, with a view to readying himself and the car for the 16th/17th August Ulster Rally, a round of the BRC.  Obviously last year’s winner Jonny Greer should be quick out of the box, and it will certainly be interesting to see if the other ‘home’ drivers, such as Derek McGeehan, Derek McGarrity and Jon Armstrong (Mini WRC) will fare against this varied opposition. There are lots more good drivers of course and such has been the demand for entries on this popular Down rally that some top drivers are seeded well down, and many didn’t get an entry all. One real eye opener is that Kenny McKinstry, so often over the years the man to beat on the stages, is seeded away down at 23 in his Subaru Impreza WRC S14. Changed days indeed! The rally is based at the EIKON Centre near the Maze, and there is a spectator stage there as well as the service area. The event starts at 08.30 and there will be 11 stages in total, including several runs over two revised Hamiltons Folly stages.

Also this weekend is the Imokilly Stages event and CoC Pat Maguire has arranged two very attractive stages outside Midleton, and also an  attractive shakedown stage. The rally is a counter in the Southern Four series. The top six drivers are David Condell (Escort), Gary Kiernan (Escort), Richie Moore (Escort), David Guest (Skoda S2000), Vincent McSweeney (Mitsubishi) and Tomas Davies (Escort). The event is sponsored by Ollie Kierce Cars. The Midleton Park Hotel is an associate sponsor.

News over the last few days includes notification that 19 year old Josh McErlean from Kilrea has been nominated as a candidate for the MI Billy Coleman Young Driver Award. Josh has put up some stirring performances in the Juniors over the last couple of years and currently leads the British Junior Championship in his Peugeot 208 R2. Josh is a mechanical engineering student at Jordanstown University,

The Down Rally, which had an oversubscribed entry, has squeezed in quite a few Historics, not least of whom include Stanley Orr (Mk1 Escort), Drew Wylie (Escort), Andy Johnson (Chevette HSR) and the ‘new’ breed of Historic, a Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth, to be piloted by the irrepressible Frank McMullan.

The Jim Walsh Cork Forestry entry remains open and COC Paul Casey reports that entries are starting to build nicely and we will have more news on the 2 day Forestry event next week.

Late News:

Elfyn Evans will miss Rally Finland after sustaining a back injury on last weekend’s rally Estonia. Gus Greensmith will replace the Welshman for the Finish WRC event. Evans finished fourth overall last weekend but following some physio work on his back, he has been advised against tackling the notoriously fast Rally Finland. M-Sport have given Evans their full support for the future and had stated that Greensmith was always due to drive for the factory team again this year, but this situation has fast tracked that position. Haydon Paddon will drive the third car as planned.

 Brian & Liz Patterson & Michael Patterson

Irish Notes – 10th July 2019

Slightly damp conditions initially which then metamorphosed into a beautifully sunny day made last Saturday’s Rainbow Communications Loughgall Stages pretty idyllic, especially so for Damien Toner as he powered his Escort to his sixth win at the venue. Toner, co-driven by Ronan Comerford, led from the start on this North Armagh organised event, and never looked like being headed. The rally was principally for 2wd cars, and indeed it was Mk2 Ford Escorts that dominated proceedings. John Bradley/Paul McKenna were 2nd in their Escort, albeit over 50 seconds behind the flying Toner. Also in one of Boreham’s finest was Wesley Patterson/Johnny Baird, just over 2 seconds further back. The remainder of the top half dozen, in finishing order were, James and Rebecca Kennedy, Barry Morris/Declan Campbell and Joe Hegarty/Niall Magee.

6 Times Loughgall winner – Damien Toner

 

Also last Saturday was the North Ulster Car Club’s TOC Utilities Targa Rally, based around Garvagh and Aghadowey. The warm dry conditions meant that the opening tests were dusty and gravelly, which slowed the front runners on the opening loop, but status quo asserted itself and Mark Francis/Katie Lemon in their Mazda MX-5 came through to win by just a fraction from Eric Patterson/Raymond Donaldson, also in an MX-5. Paul and Brendan Mooney overcame an early difficulty to finish strongly in their Nova and take 3rd place, just a couple of seconds ahead of 4th placed Matthew Mason/Marshall Kennedy (Micra). David Burns/Connor Murphy (Fiesta ST) and Steven Cromie/Taylor Gribbon (MX-5) made up the top six finishers.

 

This weekend coming there are several interesting rallies on the cards – Estonia, Nicky Grist and Sligo Stages. The Estonian event is seen as a great promotional tool for the country and for Ott Tanak, as well as being a terrific ‘warm up’ for the WRC Rally Finland, or 1000 Lakes as some people still call it. The Estonian government is backing the rally this weekend, possibly with an eye to the future also as a round of the WRC. Indeed, this Shell Helix backed Estonia rally resembles a mini WRC rally, with Ott Tanak at number 1 in the works Toyota Yaris WRC, Elfyn Evans at 2 in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC, Andreas Mikkelsen at 3 in the Hyundai i20 WRC, Esapekka Lappi at 4 in the factory Citroen WRC and our own Craig Breen at 5, on his first competitive outing in the Hyundai i20 WRC. Craig will have Paul Nagle co-driving, and for the Irish pair this will indeed be the chance they so desire to break back into the World Championship ranks.

 

There are several more very top names in the list, such as Markko Martin and Teemu Sunninen, while tucked away at number 14 is the sensational 17 year old Oliver Solberg and his co-driver Aaron Johnston, to drive a Volkswagen Polo GTi R5. This is a big opportunity for young Solberg, and indeed Johnston, to continue their stellar rise through the rallying ranks. Aaron has been with Petter Solberg’s son Oliver for a while now, but the young Tyrone man still has his feet firmly on the ground. For example he was out competing last weekend in a Fiat Panda, with Tony Kelly co-driving, on the TOC Utilities North Ulster Targa Rally! Aaron finished down the list, but commented afterwards, “Just a little bit of cheap fun, thoroughly enjoyed the day!”

 

In Wales, it is the turn of the Nicky Grist Stages, a round of the BTRDA series. Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton in their Focus WRC will be bidding to tie up the title on this attractive rally through the forests and gravel tracks in and around Epynt military range. Making the trip over from here are such drivers as Connor McCloskey (Fiesta R5) and Brendan Cumiskey (Fiesta WRC). There is a historic section as well, with Builth Wells man Jason Pritchard in his Escort reckoned to be the man to beat on that part. Going over to scatter some stones, and also try to beat Jason, is Marty McCormack in his Escort, to be co-driven by Barney Mitchell.

 

Also this weekend is the FAAC Simply Automatic/Sligo Park Hotel Sligo Stages Rally, fifth round of this season’s eight round Triton Showers National Championship and also round of the Sligo Pallets Border series. The battle at the top of the series has crystallised into a title fight between former National Champion Roy White and Josh Moffett, both driving Fiesta WRCs. At the moment the odds are stacked in favour of Moffett following a series of outright wins, only a puncture on his home Monaghan Rally depriving him of a clean victory sheet. However Cork ‘20’ winner Roy White can be a model of consistency and this battle for the Triton title is far from over. Seeded at 3 in Sligo is Jonny Greer/Kirsty Riddick, driving a Fiesta R5. The Carryduff man was the winner of his home Down Rally last season and this run in Sligo will serve as a useful warm up for him. Former Tarmac Champion Derek McGarrity is seeded at 5, and like Greer wants some match practice before the Down event. Certainly the Sligo Stages will provide some really excellent mileage for the two NI drivers.

 

There will be many driver battles of interest on these Sligo Stages, not least for GpN supremacy between Shane Maguire and Niall Devine, both in Lancers. The battle for best modified should be pretty hot as well, with the likes of JF Shovelin, 3rd o/a last year in Sligo, driving his Escort, against such modified ‘hot-shots’ as Kevin Eves, Damien Toner and Johnny Jordan.

 

Looking further forward, to one week after Sligo, the entry list for the Carryduff Forklift backed Down Rally (20th July) shows a talented variety of drivers. Reportedly the event, a round of the MSA National, BRDA Tarmac Championship, was oversubscribed within hours of the regulations being published. Jonny Greer/Kirsty Riddick head the list in their Fiesta R5, with British Rally Champion Matt Edwards at 2 in his Fiesta R5, and with Welsh crew Melvyn Evans/Aled Davies at 3 in a Skoda Fabia R5. Behind those top three are loads of really good drivers, which should make this challenging rally, with the stages over and around the drumlins, as well as one over a slice of the Mourne Mountains, really enjoyable for the drivers, and entertaining as well for the spectators.

 

Also next weekend is the Imokilly Stages, what was once a small rally and is growing steadily into a big rally, with great stages outside Midleton. More news on both rallies next week.

 

Further bits of news include a statement from the Donegal Motor Club that the decision has been taken not to run the new Lagoon Donegal Mini Stages which was scheduled for 10th August. The decision was taken as a mark of respect to Manus Kelly’s family, friends and the many people deeply saddened by the recent tragedy. The event will hopefully go ahead in 2020.  

 

Shane Kenneally has taken the lead of the Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally series and the next event is the first day of the two day Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally (27th/28th July). On the class based Suirway Group South East Stages, Casey Jay Coleman is the current overall points leader, and obviously class leader as well. The Sligo Pallets Border series is also class based and Brian Armstrong currently leads the points. The Cookstown Club is changing tack slightly by running a Targa Rally at Benone on Saturday 27th July. The six tests will not be difficult or confusing, rather ‘straightforward linear tests’. There is even tea coffee, biscuits and afternoon meal included for the competitors! CoC is Bob McKeown, who can be contacted on 07866253696.

 

Eoin Longworth has sent us notification regarding the Birr Multi Venue Autotest on 21st July – which promises to be a fun packed day of autotesting and passengers can be carried. The tests are described as simple, easy to remember and will be suitable for multi-venue, Endurance, retro and road cars. Drivers must have either a valid competition licence or a 1 event licence which are available for this event. The well respected Bill Ryan is CoC and the multi venue event starts at Donaghmore Famine and Agricultural Museum, Donaghmore, Borris in Ossory, Co. Laois.

 

The Connacht Motor Club will be presenting the Martin Kearns Award on this weekend’s Sligo Stages to the highest placed finisher on the event, not in receipt of any other award, where one of the crew is a fully paid up Connacht MC member. The Award recognises the clubman, a cause close to the heart of the late Martin Kearns.

 

Finally, we are delighted to report that our Davy (Patterson) completed the Tour Divide Endurance cycling event unscathed after 21 days hard slog over 2731 miles of dirt tracks through the Rockies from Canada to Mexico, and has just arrived back in Straid, complete with bike. He wasn’t first home, far from it, but there were many behind him and also plenty of retirements. As this piece is being typed there are still many riders battling to make the finish! There are no prizes, no accolades, definitely no finish ramp. There is just the great satisfaction of finishing this demanding event. A fascinating aspect of this enormous challenge is the lack of rules. In contrast to rallying, with its hundreds of cross referenced pages in blue books, green books, FIA yellow books and goodness knows what else, the Tour has just four short rules: For example:  ‘ You must follow the route’ and ‘No outside assistance allowed” 

The four rules are followed by the short pithy quote –

“To thine own self be true” Which is from Hamlet

After a long trek – Davy P

 

Brian & Liz Patterson

Irish Notes 3rd July 2019

Craig Breen and Paul Nagle after winning Rally Ypres – Photo: Sean Hassett

Copybook’ more or less sums up the performance of Craig Breen & Paul Nagle regarding their

dominant win on last weekend’s Renties Ypres Rally. Their VW Polo Gti R5 performed impeccably throughout this tough 23 special stage rally. Sky high temperatures made the rally even more daunting than usual, and many drivers paid the penalty of sliding into the sometimes unforgiving ditches, and of course with all the cutting of corners punctures were an ever present danger. Kevin Abbring finished 2nd o/a and Kris Princen 3rd, to make it a Volkswagen top three. ‘Fast’ Freddy Loix, for so many years the master of the Ypres Rally, was 4th in a Skoda.   Following the devastating events in Donegal last weekend, this win was just the fillip Craig Breen needed as he prepares for his Hyundai outing on Rally Finland. Craig commented after the Ypres Square finish ramp, “This is a very special feeling, to win the Ypres Rally. A massive thanks also to BMA Autosport for a sublime car.        

                                      The event was also a counter in the British Rally

Matt Edwards / Patrick Walsh Ford Fiesta R5

Championship, with current Champion Matt Edwards in his Swift Caravans Fiesta R5 surviving a couple of punctures to take maximum BRC points with 6th o/a. His closest rival Tom Cave (Hyundai R5) was 7th o/a, 56 seconds back. Another driver contending the BRC is Alex Laffey (Fiesta R5) and he clawed his way back to 9th.  Marty McCormack/Barney Mitchell were well into the top ten despite several overshoots and jumping their Skoda so hard on the Kemmelberg stage they broke the windscreen! However in stage 10 Marty ditch-hooked the car too hard and broke a rear suspension arm: end of rally but he had a ball while he was going!

Martin McCormack / Barney Mitchell Skoda Fabia R5

 

It was a mixed picture for the Junior category drivers from here who were competing in Belgium, and only William Creighton/Liam Regan made the BRC Junior podium, 3rd Junior home behind James Williams/Tom Woodburn and Ruari Bell/Darren Garrod (Fiesta R2T). James Williams had an exemplary drive, having switched from an Opel Adam to a new Fiesta R2T just before the rally, and

William Creighton / Liam Regan Peugeot 208 R2

with little or no testing had a dream run. Creighton got knocked back early on when his Peugeot 208 R2 sustained a puncture, but he stuck at it and stage by stage worked his way back up the classification. Josh McErlean/Keaton Williams (Peugeot) did make the finish, but they were a long way back, in Rally 2, as was Jordan Hone/Aileen Kelly (Opel Adam R2) and they did receive some points. James Wilson was on the back foot from the start after a shakedown accident. He retired from the event after he started to feel unwell. Marty Gallagher retired with overheating issues.

 

 

Also last weekend, round 5 of this year’s Triton Showers National Championship was won by Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes in their Fiesta WRC, with Roy White/James O’Brien 2nd in their Fiesta WRC. White led by a couple of seconds from Moffett at service after three stages. Visiting drivers Hugh Hunter and Sebastien Ling (Focus WRC & Citroen DS3 R5 respectively) retired their respective machines following contact with the Waterford scenery. In the middle loop of three stages, White’s Fiesta WRC misbehaved and Moffett surged ahead, eventually winning by 18.7 seconds. Having won four of the five rounds to date, Moffett has amassed 100 points to White’s 87. 3rd and 4th in the points, Declan Boyle and Peadar Hurson gave this counter a miss. Bit of a shame really, as the stages around Dungarvan were absolutely brilliant.

Wexford’s Richard Moore and his co-driver John McGrath made a terrific charge and finished 3rd in their Mk2 Escort, relegating Welsh crew John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR) to 4th. David Guest/Jonathan McGrath (Skoda Fabia S2000) were 5th and Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (Mini WRC) 6th. Shane Maguire/Anthony Nestor were 10th o/a and won GpN with their Lancer. Brian Brady/Gary McNamee (Civic) won the Junior Category, while Colin Donoghue/Sean Collins (Escort) won the 16A Cup category.

Next round of the Triton Showers National Championship is the 13th/14th July Sligo Stages. We had a run through the Sligo stages earlier this week, and they are very good, with a bit of everything!

This weekend coming it is the turn of the North Armagh Club’s Loughgall Stages, the event backed by Rainbow Communications. There are still a few places left on this superb event through the roads of this attractive park. The man to contact is rally secretary Barry Taggart on 07771892423. The entry list, at time of writing was not finalised, but it has to be five times winner Damien Toner at the top of it!

2018 CFF Cork Forest Rally Winners Barry McKenna & Leon Jordan. Pic By; Cian Donnellan

Looking forward to the end of July, (27th/28th) Cork Motor Club is again running the Mallow based forestry rally as a two day event, following the success of this format last year. CoC Paul Casey has put together a ‘fast flowing and exciting route for spectators, utilising a number of two stage loops with regular service intervals throughout both days.’ The Sunday leg marks a return to the Ballyhoura Mountains for 8 stages, which should be really special. The event is being sponsored for the fifth year by Mallow company Crafted Fitted Furniture. Scrutiny is at EARS Motorsport. The stages are a mixture of old and new, more info next week. All the signs are that competitor involvement for this Valvoline Championship round will be high.

Following the Manus Kelly tragedy on the Donegal International last week, little was reported on co-driver Donal Barrett. Thankfully he was soon out and about, although his arm is in a sling following a damaged collar bone.

Speculation continues to rumble that the WRC will have a round in NI next year. However Bobby Willis, whose brainchild it is, refuses to confirm or deny any progress on this front. Indeed if it comes about, it possibly may be 2021 and not 2020. However Willis will not comment, nor indeed will he give an indication as to which part of the year it is likely to take place. Although autumn is considered a strong possibility. He also deflected any thoughts about the Ulster Automobile Club using the Circuit of Ireland tag in 2020 for what is currently known as the Easter Stages. However it is mooted to be strongly possible. There are mixed feelings on this. On the one hand the Easter Stages has built up its own identity. On the other hand, the ‘Circuit of Ireland’ tag is known in worldwide rallying circles and has a tremendous heritage. One other point is that the Easter Stages may not necessarily be at Easter – some would prefer the expediency of a fixed date. Heads you win, tails you lose!

Last week we mentioned our own Davy Patterson and his pushbike exploits on the Tour Divide from Banff in Canada down to the Mexican Border at Antelope Wells. Davy is still going strong averaging over 100 miles a day over the at times rocky/snowy/flooded, gooey mud filled tracks, through rain, hail and headwinds. Cycling through these tracks is described as ‘like riding through peanut butter’. He is on schedule, fingers crossed, to finish later this week, within his target. As this was being typed he had over 2000 miles chalked up through the Rocky mountains. He has had a few problems with the bike’s rear wheel/gears which he has managed to sort. 

Latest text from Davy received yesterday Caught in storms in Polvedera Mesa crossing . Peanut butter mud track no way around . Push pull carry clean ride, chain and transmission derails. X 50. Many hours lost . But many others same . Was careful to protect transmission as much as possible , use rivers to clean and water bottles to clean wash chain as riding. Ride with Geoff Blanche a lot, one of the best TD riders out there. On a single speed bike, strength like you can’t believe , and knows the course and resupply points real cool guy. We try to go together to finish. He can be the first person in history to finish in geared bike, single speed and tandem… weather is critical now between here and AW.  Grants tomorr. Pie Town wed. Silver City thurs. rain stops the game because of mud. It’s impassable no way thru. So it needs to go a strategy because after rain the tracks dry quick a few hours.  Bike and kit serviced every day”

There are ‘waypoints’ along the route, to aid the tracking, and just some of the later ones as he moves into New Mexico from Colorado include ‘Abiquiu, Pueblo Pintando, Grants, Gila Wilderness, Silver City’ and so on. It all sounds really exciting and adventurous, but looks like a pure nightmare to us sitting at home in Co. Antrim!

Brian & Liz & Michael Patterson