It was tough, it was fast but what an end to the 2016 West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters Challenge season.
The highlight of the calendar the Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic Stages would cover just over 100 kilometres of high-speed action over 7 stages starting with 17 kilometres of the iconic Moll’s Gap.
Setting third fastest time in the historic section would be Stanley Orr and Guy Weaver stopping the clocks at 9:58.4 a time that would better eventual rally leader Ryan Barrett by 0.01 seconds.
But it would all end there… During the year, they’ve become the best of friends and the closest of rivals seeing Stanley parked on the side of the road Shawn Rayner and Declan Dear didn’t want the challenge to be decided this way, so towed the Ford Escort Mk1 back to service, but it was going no further and Stanley had to retire.
The Hehku Rally sport team were in the driving seat knowing they had won the challenge but they wanted to complete the year in style. They did that… despite a high speed 360 end-to-end spin without touching anything they selected 1st gear and carried. Both admitted to being nervous as they completed the last stage in the rain which had made the roads extremely greasy and finishing second in class.
There were two Porsches taking part Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride were third in class B going over the gap stopping the clocks in 23rd place rising to 15th by the end of the day.
It took Duncan and Kate Buck 17 hours to make the trip to Killarney and had an enjoyable day getting used to the stages after a limited recce. 21st overall would be their reward staying consistently around the top 20 times and enjoying the rally immensely, only having to refuel the 3.0 litre car.
Rhodri Williams admitted to being in awe of Moll’s Gap and having a moment locking up before a 2 left with a drop outside but he regained his composure and couldn’t stop smiling throughout the day he and Llion Tractor Williams left the drama until after the final stage the car was overheating after throwing a fan belt – they nursed the car back to the final time control and parc ferme but missed going over the finish ramp.
Guy Weaver remained at the finish to welcome home the new West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters Challenge champions and present Shawn and Declan with the champagne.
It was an awesome and fitting end to the first season – thanks to all the competitors, service crew and organisers for making 2016 one to remember!
Killarney Historic Rally 2016 – HRCR contenders and significant others
|4||Gareth Lloyd/David Byrne#||D5||1:01:12.2|
|6||Shawn Rayner/Declan Dear||D3||1:01:54.8|
|15||Dessie Nutt/Gearldine McBride||B5||1:06:13.1|
|16||Chris Browne/Ali Cornwell-Browne#||C5||1:06:24.4|
|21||Duncan Buck/Cate Buck||C4||1:09:07.5|
|30||Rhodri Roberts/Llion Tractor Williams||C1||1:15:20.1|
|RTD||Stanley Orr/Guy Weaver||C2||RTD|
# NO POINTS SCORED