Limerick Forestry Rally 2020 – Pre-Event Stage Data & Sample Video

Limerick Forestry Rally 2020

Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples for the Limerick Forestry Rally 2020. We have completed our pre event recce and the notes and video are ready for posting from Posting from Wednesday 19th Feb to Wednesday 26th Feb. The stages are in top condition and once again the organisers had the stages set up for our recce, so the safety video is as goos as it gets.



Limerick Forestry Rally 2020 – Stage Data.


Limerick Forestry 2020 HD

Limerick Forestry 2020 HD

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Irish Notes 12th February 2020

Irish Notes 12th February 2020

Matt Edwards took the spoils on last weekend’s Cambrian in his GS Yuasa backed Fiesta.

Last weekend’s Cambrian Rally was the opening counter in both the British and BTRDA Championships, as well as several other series, with Matt Edwards winning the rally outright to take maximum BRC points. Edwards, who has won the British title for the last two years, was co-driven by Darren Garrod in a new latest generation M-Sport Fiesta R5. Tom Cave led the rally initially but his Hyundai R5 clipped a rock face and he lost several minutes, but fought back to finish 6th. Osian Pryce/Noel O’Sullivan (Hyundai) took 2nd and Rhys Yates/James Morgan (Fiesta) were 3rd. Two Proton R5s were 4th and 5th, driven by Oliver Mellors and James Williams respectively.

Josh McErlean from Kilrea was up as high as 3rd overall until his Hyundai R5 was sidelined by broken steering after hitting a rock in the penultimate stage. The Cambrian stages are tough, harsh and unyielding in places. Current Billy Coleman Award winner McErlean was co-driven by Keaton Williams. Their next test in the BRC will be the West Cork Rally.

William Creighton and Liam Regan took top Junior British Rally Championship (JBRC) points on the Cambrian. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Finaghy’s William Creighton had a more successful outing. Co-driven by Liam Regan in his newly acquired Fiesta R2T19, Creighton won the BRC Junior Award, while Donegal crew David & Darragh Kelly, also in a Fiesta, were 3rd best BRC Juniors. Other notable results by drivers who made the trip from here across to Wales included Alan Carmichael/Claire Williams (Fiesta R5) winning the National Category on the rally by finishing 11th o/a.

Closer to home Simon & Gary Woodside in their Mazda MX5 claimed victory on the Rosspark Hotel Targa Rally, with David Crothers/Barbara Kane 2nd and Steven Cromie/David Stewart 3rd, both crews also in Mazdas. In Drumlish, Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes won the Midland Motor Club’s Navigation Trial last weekend, driving a Subaru Impreza. Indeed all of the top 10 were in Subarus, with one Legacy tucked into 7th, otherwise an Impreza wipe out!  Derek Mackarel/Conor Boylan were 2nd and Mickey Carbin/Conor Mohan 3rd.

This weekend coming it is the turn of Rally Sweden, Kirkistown and the Wm. Loughman Forestry.

Snow Joke – A heavily revised Rally Sweden route is now in place for the weekend due to a lack of snow and frozen roads.

On the Swedish, 2nd round of this year’s WRC, the crews will face a shortened route because of a snow scarcity, but it should still be an exciting rally with 180 km of stages, starting with a Super Special in Karlstad on Thursday evening. The icing on the cake for Irish fans is of course having Craig Breen/Paul Nagle in a ‘works’ Hyundai for the rally. The Irish pair join World Rally Championship leader Thierry Neuville and current World Champion and last year’s Swedish winner Ott Tanak, so they are in good company. M-Sport Ford is running two cars, for Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen. Toyota Gazoo will have five WRC cars tackling the rally. The usual team members, Sebastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera will be the drivers. In addition Takamoto Katsuta will drive a Yaris WRC, and the always popular and exciting Jari-Matti Latvala will be in a WRC Yaris, albeit privately entered. Just what exactly will happen over the weekend we must wait and see, especially as regards the conditions, but no doubt there will be plenty of excitement. Late news this morning is that it has started snowing with a few of the WRC drivers posting photo’s on social media.

Here at home we can only hope there is not too much snow in the hills above Carrick on Suir for the Wm. Loughman event, opening counter in this year’s Valvoline Forestry series. Just some of the drivers entered include Enda McCormick, James Wilson and Andrew Purcell in ‘R5s’. Mickey Conlon should be amongst the leading Escort drivers, while top R2 contenders include Marty Gallagher (Peugeot) and Jordan Hone (Opel Adam).

Derek McGarrity won the last round of the 2019 NI Championship in his Skoda.

At Kirkistown the North Armagh Club’s Pacenotes Magazine Stages Rally kicks off this season’s McGrady Insurance NI series. The rally has attracted an interesting entry. Current NI Rally Champion Stephen Wright, with Keith Rainey co-driving in his Fiesta R5 heads a strong list, with former Champions Derek McGarrity (Skoda Fabia R5) and Kenny McKinstry (Subaru Impreza WRC) seeded in close proximity. Other top drivers include Derek McGeehan (Mini WRC) and fresh from his Cambrian success Alan Carmichael (Fiesta R5). Some of the top Escort drivers in the 80 plus entry include James Kennedy, Keith White and Drew Stewart. There is an innovative class as well, for Micras.  Several top drivers have decided to rally for fun in Micras, enough of them indeed to make up a class of their own. Contestants include, Stevie Whitford, Pete Dowds and Barry Meeke. Another interesting Micra entry comes from Laura Phillips, the daughter of former NI Champion and VW works driver Robin Phillips. This time Robin will co-drive for his daughter.

On the news front, the always popular West Cork Rally organisation has released entry details of their St Patrick’s weekend Clonakilty event, a round of both the Tarmac and British Championships. The organising Cork Motor Club has tightened their collective belts to keep the entry as it was in 2019 – that is €1095 for the full rally – 14 stages, 220 competitive km. The club’s release emphasises this is in the face of “additional regulation, complexity and cost to our sport” and if the regulatory costs were to be reduced, the saving would be passed on to the competitor. One driver who is always a great fan of West Cork is former multiple forest and GpN Champion Owen Murphy. He has obtained a Fiesta R5 and hopes to contest West Cork, and may tackle the Birr stages as a shakedown. Owen is always formidably competitive in West Cork, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the burgeoning R5 field.

The Birr rally will take place over the weekend of 22nd/23rd February and is based once again in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel. Not being a counter in the Triton Showers National series this year, Clerk of the Course Bill Ryan has planned a rather different rally from his norm. There are to be   two quite long stages near Durrow, each stage repeated three times in a very compact format. The stage roads are fairly fast, smooth and open. The service area is near Urlingford. The format of the rally should make for a good day out for the drivers, and would also lend itself to being a seriously handy test venue, especially for West Cork.

On the Saturday of the same weekend as the Birr Stages the Omagh Motor Club is running the excellent Fivemiletown forestry stages. Admittedly one is a forest and the other an asphalt event, but still it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to run two such good stage rallies on the same weekend, especially in these times when entries are slightly sparse on the ground. Reportedly the Fivemiletown event is attracting a decent entry. Certainly the stages are brilliant. More detail on both events next week.

The Limerick Motor Club is very well advanced in the arrangements for the 1st March forestry rally, 2nd round of the Valvoline MI Championship. Well known co-driver Anthony Nestor is organising things, and apart from the stages being in lovely order, Anthony and his team have  gone to the extraordinary lengths of setting the stages up completely so that the pace note DVD is showing exactly how the three stages close to Abbeyfeale will appear ‘on the day’. An innovation that Nestor has introduced is a blue and white canvas type wraparound on the first bale of each chicane which not only, rather like a chevron board, can be easily seen from a distance and indicates the direction of entry to the chicane.

The Ulster Automobile Club is running it’s stage event over Easter weekend (10th/11th April) and will regain the use of the title ‘Circuit of Ireland’,

Wastewater Solutions Circuit of Ireland International Rally 2020 event launch in Antrim Castle Gardens. 

rather the Easter Stages title that has applied in recent times. The event will be the third round of this season’s Irish Tarmac Championship and will be sponsored by Philip Johnston’s Wastewater Solutions Company. Graeme Stewart is the rally director. The event will again be based in the Chimney Corner Hotel at Glengormley and the service area is at the Dundrod Motorsport Centre. (The Ulster Grand Prix pits! Or at least hopefully it will continue to be the UGP). The rally should consist of 140 stage and 395 road miles. There are three stages on Good Friday and three on the Saturday, every stage repeated three times.

Finally for now, it is with immense sadness that we record the death of Nicola Dignam, nee Lyons, a daughter of Ken Lyons of Limerick. Nicola, or Nikki as she was known, took ill a few years ago, she seemed to recover, but the illness came back and she lost the battle peacefully at home surrounded by her family. Nikki was married to Alan and they have 3 children, Anna, Kian and Nial.  The family is based in Co. Wexford. Her death is surely just the most awful tragedy for all concerned. We extend our very deepest condolences. Brian & Liz Patterson.

Samsonas Fivemiletown Rally 2020 – Pre-Event Stage Data & Sample Video

Samsonas Fivemiletown Rally 2020

Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples for the Samsonas Fivemiletown Rally 2020. We have completed our pre event recce and the notes and video are ready for posting from Tuesday 11th February.



Samsonas Fivemiletown Rally 2020 – Stage Data.



Notes & DVD are now available to order. Telephone 028 90844111 or order online at – Click Here

Online Entries available here – Fivemiletown Online Entries




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Birr Stages Rally 2020 – Pre-Event Stage Data & Sample Video

Birr Stages Rally 2020

Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples for the Birr Stages Rally 2020. We have completed our pre event recce and the notes and video are ready for posting from Thursday 13th February.



Birr Stages Rally 2020 – Stage Data.



Birr Sample 2020 HD

Birr Sample 2020 HD

Notes & DVD are now available to order. Telephone 028 90844111 or order online at – Click Here

Online Entries available here – Birr Stages Entry Form




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Irish Notes 5th February 2020

On last weekend’s Galway International Rally Fermanagh’s Alastair Fisher, co-driven by ‘Gordy’ Noble, took a first stage lead in their Dom Buckley prepared VW Polo GTI R5, then stayed in front for the rest of the day. Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley (VW Polo GTI) and Sam Moffett/James Fulton (Hyundai i20 R5) had a massive battle throughout the day’s 9 stages for the runner up spot with Sam Moffett fastest on the final stage to just ease ahead of Donagh Kelly, taking 2nd place by 1.7 seconds. Fisher won by over 20seconds.

Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (VW Polo GTi R5) on their way to victory in the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally. Photo: Martin Walsh.


However Sam Moffett was subsequently excluded from the results by the stewards as his car did not appear at post event scrutiny as instructed. Sam Moffett has the right of appeal to this Stewards’ decision, so the results remain provisional in the meantime, as they appeared at the rally finish. This does mean that all the crews who finished behind Sam Moffett will move up one place if the Sam Moffett appeal is unsuccessful. Obviously, championship points already published will need to be revised.


Earlier in the rally Desi Henry/Stuart Loudon had made a push for a top three slot but their Hyundai stopped in stage 4 because of a broken hub. Garry Jennings was expected to figure but the Subaru driver decided overnight, with thoughts of last year’s rally tragedy still on his mind that, in consideration of his wife Kerry and his young children that he would not start the rally. 69 crews did start. Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson put up a good performance in their Polo GTI R5 to take 4th, Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarity (Hyundai) finished 5th and Stephen Wright/Liam Moynihan (Fiesta) were 6th.


Alastair Fisher gets a hug from his mum Hazel. Photo: Martin Walsh

Alastair Fisher remarked at the Clayton Hotel finish of this Corrib Oil backed rally, “It is good to take our first Tarmac (Championship) win.” Co-driver Gordon Noble said, “The VW was new to us, and we softened the suspension, but otherwise everything went well. We had a good run over the early stages and then managed our lead, went reasonably quick, although sharp enough at times as Donagh Kelly and Sam Moffett were battling hard behind us. That kept us on our toes. The gap was manageable, but we didn’t dither. Conditions were quite tricky, heavy showers, some small puddles, mud on the road. We picked a ‘wet’ Pirelli tyre from the start, and stayed on them.” For Alastair it was quite a relief to win, not just because this was his first run in the VW, more down to the fact that he has been so close to a ‘Tarmac victory’ so many times, but up to now it always eluded him.


Forestry Champion Cathan McCourt finished 7th in his Fiesta, Declan McCrory 8th. Declan is shown in the results as having won ‘RC3’ but his co-driver Stephen O’Hanlon told us that their Fiesta was a normal R5 car and the results ‘RC3’ classification was an error somewhere along the line. He also said that they had a subdued rally following a very big ‘moment’ early in the first stage, but they did learn a lot on the event! Paul Barrett was 9th in his Fiesta R5 and William Mavitty, in his Lancer was 10th. Eamonn Kelly won RC4 in his Fiesta R2T, with Jason Dickson 2nd in the class and Johnnie Mulholland 3rd. Early retirements from the top runners, as well as Desi Henry, included Daniel Cronin, Eugene Donnelly and Joe McGonigle. The latter was in a new Fiesta R5 and was delighted with his new car. He did manage to get on the pace in the latter part of the day but lost time early on with a puncture and then towards the end got caught in very heavy rain and the car aquaplaned into the scenery, causing some rear suspension damage and retirement for the day.


Pat O’Connell, co-driven by Mark Wiley in his Lancer, won the National part of the rally, from Jason Black/Karl Egan (Starlet RWD) and with Richard Whelan/James Whelan 3rd in their BMW 1 series. Jason McSweeney/Liam Brennan (Fiesta R5 RHD) are shown in the results as having won the National, but this is not so. They were in class 24, which really should have had its own section. Pat O’Connell, who remarkably was on his first Galway despite his years of experience, commented afterwards, “We had a really good run, no problems. I felt the conditions were not as bad as they appeared, thought it would be worse, maybe a little smooth tar on Blacks Road, but mostly pretty good grip despite all the water and mud.” Maurice & Stephen Meskell (Escort) won the Historics and Noel & Jason Murphy won the Juniors by a slender 4 seconds from Gareth Deazley/Ashley Boulton, both crews in Civics.


Kris Meeke on his way to victory on the Boucle de Spa Legends.

Also last weekend Kris Meeke, driving a Mk2 Escort, took a storming victory on the Boucle de Spa Legends. Mikko Hirvonen and Craig Breen were anticipated to be his likely main rivals, but that wasn’t to be. Hirvonen had some early trouble with his Mk2 Escort and finished down the order somewhat. Breen withdrew his entry when he was nominated to drive for Hyundai on Rally Sweden. Craig and his co-driver Paul Nagle are due to commence testing for Sweden this week.

Further news on Craig Breen is that it was announced yesterday that he and co-driver Paul Nagle have concluded a deal to contest the full ERC in a Team MRF Tyres Hyundai i20 R5 prepared by the Italian outfit BRC Racing. Craig said: “I am really happy to start this adventure with MRF Tyres. We worked together last year placing emphasis on tyre development. It will be a great adventure to get back to some rallies I have done in the past along with some new rallies.”


William Creighton & Liam Regan looking forward to the new season.

This weekend coming heralds the opening round of the British Rally Championship, the Cambrian, in North Wales. The event is also the opening BTRDA counter. Just over 20 crews have entered for the BRC part of the event, with top names including defending Champion Matt Edwards, Tom Cave and Rhys Yates. Billy Coleman award winner Josh McErlean, to be co-driven by Keaton Williams in his R5, is hoping that he will be able to mix it with the top crews. Valvoline forestry champions Cathan McCourt/Barry McNulty should also be in with a shout, as could Alan Carmichael/Claire Williams (Fiesta R5). Just some of the other drivers who are making the trip from here include David Kelly, William Creighton, Brian Brady and Brendan Cumiskey. Shane McGirr is having a crack at the BTRDA part of the rally in his Starlet, with Denver Rafferty co-driving.


Further ahead, on the 15th February, is the North Armagh Club’s Kirkistown stage rally, opening round of the McGrady Insurance NI Championship. The series this year is being cut back to five tarmac events, and following Kirkistown it will be the Bishopscourt Stages (7th March), Maiden City (25th April), Sperrins (6th June) and Tyrone Stages (18th July).  There will be a separate NI Challenge series for those competitors wanting to compete in the forests.

NI Rally Championship sponsor Fintan McGrady in action. Pic Graham Baalham-Curry


Rally Sweden will go ahead, albeit with a heavily revised route including two days in Norway. After a day of discussions and driving through the stages on Tuesday, representatives from the organisers, the FIA and WRC Promoter agreed to run the Torsby-based World Rally Championship event despite drier and warmer conditions than Rally Sweden CEO Glenn Olsson says he can ever remember. Two-time world champion co-driver Timo Rautiainen inspected the stages and, based on his report, the revised schedule of stages was agreed. The new timetable will include 112 miles of stages, with a single pass of Norwegian tests on Friday and Saturday – these replace the southerly Swedish roads initially planned. The Torntorp, Hagfors and Vargåsen stages will be dropped – meaning Colin’s Crest will not be included on the route next week. Thursday night’s superspecial stage in Karlstad remains, as does the Torsby Sprint test on Saturday evening. Sunday’s Likenas test also stands, with the second stage becoming the power stage. The Historic segment of the Swedish has been cancelled.

Cal McCarthy in action: Pic Kevin McCarthy

Preparations are coming on well for next month’s Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally. Round 2 of both the ITC and the BRC, the event will have a rally launch this Friday (7th) in conjunction with the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce at 8pm in the Clonakilty Park Hotel.

There is a meeting planned to take place this Wednesday evening at 8.30 in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. This has been prompted by clubs and competitors voicing their dissatisfaction/disillusion as to how the wind is blowing in several Irish Rallying matters.

 Regards, Brian, Liz & Michael Patterson