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Donegal Forestry Rally - (Sat) 28 Jan 12

Posted: February 4, 2012 3:05 PM - 12751 Hits

Round 1 - 2012 Irish Forest Rally Championship


Posted: February 4, 2012 3:05 PM

Garry Jennings has begun his 2012 rally season in style with victory on the Donegal Forest Rally last weekend. This weekend his attentions will turn to a very different challenge as he takes on the stone wall lined roads of Galway for the opening round of the Irish Tarmac Championship.

A last minute opportunity to drive a Subaru Impreza 555 car on the Donegal Forest rally turned into an emphatic victory for the Fermanagh man partnered on the day by Barry McNulty. The decision was only made on the Thursday night to take part and it was primarily planned to be an event to get the reflexes back up to speed for the new season and promote the newly opened Donegal Bay Fuels company to the locality.

As it was 2006 since Garry last sampled the loose surface and this was to be his first foray in the 555 Subaru, there was no prior expectations of a podium result. However, that thought was short lived as Garry arrived at the finish of stage one leading the event from Stephen Wright in his Mitsubishi. The short slippy stages left it difficult to get a feeling for the car but Garry had full faith in the setup which Kenny McKinstry and his Banbridge team had derived at for the Subaru. A short service in Pettigo allowed the crew to refuel and Garry was to extend his lead over the following two stages to hold a 13 second lead heading into the first main service in Donegal town.

A few slight changes to the car and a more confident Garry allowed the crew to dominate the afternoon’s six stages to extend their lead to a comfortable 53 seconds as they made their way the victory celebrations in Donegal Town. Speaking after the event Garry said;
“It’s been a brilliant day’s fun, difficult conditions to try and learn a new car but the stages ran faultlessly, a testament once again to the Donegal Motor Club. I must thank Barry for doing an excellent job on the notes and the McKinstry team for their preparation work at such short notice”

This weekend will see Garry along with Donegal man Rory Kennedy on the notes begin their defense of the Tarmac Championship GPN title with the Galway International Rally. Action starts with a spectator stage in Galway City before moving to the 9 challenging stages in the Headford area of the county. The Mitsubishi Evolution IX has been rebuilt over the winter months and with the event reduced from the traditional two day format to a single day’s action, it will be a difficult event to approach.

Speaking of the event Garry said;
“Galway will be difficult as the championship has offered 50% bonus points for competitors on this event making it important to reach the finish, yet with the single day format we will have to push from the outset to achieve a good result. I have had mixed results in Galway in the past but the car is well prepared and we had a short 30km test so I feel confident heading into Sunday. Conditions are forecasted to be dry but very cold; Kumho Tyres who I have worked with for a number of years now have an excellent tyre specifically for these conditions so we are looking forward to the challenge. I have Rory back on board this weekend and his experience is invaluable to me. He has multiple rally wins along with tarmac titles so he knows better than anyone the approach needed.”

Northern drivers dominate Donegal rally

Posted: February 4, 2012 12:59 PM

The 2012 Valvoline Forest Rally Championship kicked off in great style on last weekend’s Donegal forest rally. Garry Jennings dominated the ten stage event, leading from start to finish and claiming nine fastest times. Jennings, who hails from nearby Kesh was at the wheel of a Group A Impreza. He is current Group N Tarmac champion and he won the Peugeot U.K. 206 cup in 2002.

Second place was a fine result for young Stephen Wright in the Evo6. While the Monaghan driver finished 53 sec behind the rally winner, Wright held second place all day, and he equalled Jennings time on stage2. On the final round of last year’s Valvoline championship Wright was first of the Valvoline Championship crews over the line.

Colin Britton was third, the Strabane driver a mere thirteen seconds behind Wright. Britton was the first of three Group N cars, and he finished a mere second ahead of Donegal’s Conor Harvey who had just 22 seconds to spare over Beragh’s Ian Cochrane.

The excitement was no less intense in the 2WD class, where Tyrone drivers ruled the roost. As expected Frank Kelly was on top rung, and the Moy man finished in sixth place in the rally, with a margin of eighteen seconds over Adrian Hetherington (8th O/A)in the V6 Rover powered Mk2. Third in the class was claimed by Shane Mc Girr (9th O/A) in the Starlet RWD, just 9 seconds behind Hetherington. Other finishers in the top ten included Corkman Ger Lucey who was 7th despite an electric niggle all day in the Evo 8, and local driver Paul Reid who was tenth in a Mk2.

A new class in the 2012 Valvoline Forest Rally Championship is the Class 11 which caters for the Historic class, and Tommy O’ Connell created history when he was the first starter (and finisher) of this class in his lovely LHD Escort Mk2. His father Seamus created another bit of history, when he was the first retiree on Saturday. A drive shaft failed in the Derryman’s Mk2 en route to the first stage. Other retirements included 2010 forest champion Pat O’ Connell (engine overheating), Vincent Mc Aree (anti-lag), Mark Murphy (transmission) and Mick Nevin (spark plug). In total eighteen crews retired from a starting list of forty five. As anticipated most of the crews had Ulster addresses, but there was a significant turnout of championship regulars from the South.

While the Donegal M.C. is more famous for its International tarmac rally, the 2012 Forest rally was the second occasion the club hosted a round of the Forest rally Championship. Clerk of the Course Michael Kelly and his team worked assiduously during the winter and they pulled out all the stops to produce a very successful event. It had a total stage distance of 65km, with four stages in the morning near Lough Derg and six in the afternoon in the Barnesmore Gap area.


Posted: February 4, 2012 9:23 AM

Frank Kelly & Liam Brennan


Posted: February 4, 2012 9:10 AM

1 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555) 38m 56s,
2 Stephen Wright/Suzanne Wright (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 39m 49s,
3 Colin Britton/Arthur Kierans (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 40m 02s,
4 Conor Harvey/Paddy McDaid (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 40m 03s,
5 Ian Cochrane/Ray Fitzpatrick (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 40m 25s,
6 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escort Mk II) 41m 14s,
7 Gerard Lucey/James Lucey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 GpN) 41m 14s,
8 Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Ford Escort 2.0 V6) 41m 32s,
9 Shane McGirr/Niall Connolly (Toyota Starlet RWD) 41m 41s,
10 Paul Reid/Karl Reid (Ford Escort) 43m 43s.

Leaders After SS1-10 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)

Stage Winners:
SS1 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS2 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
& Stephen Wright/Suzanne Wright (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6)
SS3 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS4 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS5 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS6 Ian Cochrane/Ray Fitzpatrick (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN)
SS7 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS8 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS9 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS10 Garry Jennings/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza 555)

“From Tar to Forests”

Posted: January 27, 2012 12:50 PM

Donegal Motor Club today published it entry list for the ABBEY HOTEL Forest Rally scheduled for Saturday 28th January 2012.
With almost 50 compeitors from all across the island of Ireland, this is the first round of the Valvoline/Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Rally Championship, and act as a counting round of the Bassett’s Plumbing & Heating Donegal Motor Club Championship

Top of the entry list is Vincent McAree and Damien Connolly, a regular competitor from County Monaghan, who will lead a field of drivers and navigators who are more regular on tarmac events than in the loose surfaces of the forest tracks through Ireland. There are many regular Co. Tyrone championship competitors, as shown by the top 10 on the entry list, but Pat O’Connell form Tipperary, Stephen Wright from Monaghan and Gerard Lucey from Cork hope to be there in the points at the conclusion of the competition late on Saturday afternoon.

The event is based in Donegal Town, with an drivers briefing at 8am in the rally HQ, the Abbey Hotel. This is followed by an 8.30am start time, with the first car due at the first special stage at 9.05am.

Michael Kelly, Clerk of the Course thanked the sponsor of the event, the Abbey Hotel, and hoped everyone had a good, safe enjoyable days rallying. He appealed to spectators to watch from a safe distance, and treat the forest property with respect. He praised Coillte for the assistance they provided over the past few difficult weeks, and the Forest Rally Championship for giving Donegal Motor Club the opportunity of hosting this event for the 2012 season.

Michael also thanked John Quill, Chairman of the Motorsport Ireland Forestry Committee for his personal, and his committee’s full support given for the planning of the 2012 event. Michael said,
”Without John’s support, this event could not have got off the ground all here in Donegal appreciate that!”

Press Release - Owen Murphy Rallying

Posted: January 25, 2012 10:46 PM

Owen Murphy / James O’ Brien the current Valvoline National Forestry Champions sadly will not be at the start ramp this weekend in Donegal for the first round of the 2012 Valvoline National Forest Championship.

All had been going well and preparations were at an advanced stage when Owen hurt his back.

He has been seeing a chiropractor since and it’s a case of one day good and the next day in a lot of discomfort. Owen said I really wanted to go to the rally but my chiropractor said no way would you last the day in the car. I went to get into the car the other night and had a lot of trouble getting back out, I am really sick about this but stuff happens my chiropractor is confident that with a little time it will sort itself out.

Owen said I will be back for round two in Carrick-on-Suir , it’s not a great start to our season and means we will be playing catch up all year.

Hankook are back on board as main sponsor for another season and Owen and James are confident of some good results later in the year.

Final Instructions / Time and Distance Schedule

Posted: January 25, 2012 10:41 PM

Available on:

2012 Valvoline Forest Rally Championship Preview

Posted: January 25, 2012 10:18 PM

The 2012 Valvoline Forest Championship roars into life on this Saturday’s Abbey Hotel Donegal Forest rally. Hosted by the Donegal Motor Club and based in Donegal town, the Clerk of the Course is Michael Kelly and he has planned a route of 65 competitive kilometers spread over 10 stages. The first car leaves Parc Ferme at 830am to head to the Pettigo area where two stages will be done twice. In the afternoon there are three stages repeated in the Barnesmore Gap area.

The forty five strong entry includes a mixture of forestry regulars and newcomers. The list headed by Vincent Mc Aree (Evo9) who was Valvoline Championship runner up in 2011. Enda Mc Nulty (Impreza) is next in line, ahead of Pat O’Connell (Evo9) who won this series in 2010. The next seeds include Martin Cairns (Impreza), Ian Cochrane (Evo9), Colin Britton (Evo9), Stephen Wright (Evo9) and Ger Lucey (Evo8). Next up are the all-singing and dancing rear wheel drive cars, with Frank Kelly, Adrian Hetherington, Seamus O’Connell (Escort Mk 2’) seeded ahead of the Toyota Starlet RWD of Shane Mc Girr.

Commenting on the work done by the Donegal MC, John Quill Chairman of the MI Forestry committee said
“We are delighted with the quality of the entry. Donegal MC have put in a huge effort putting the event together.
It's great that the northern lads get a round of the championship on their door step. Over the years they put in a huge effort supporting the national championship by travelling south to do the regular events. This year along Donegal the inclusion of the Dogleap and the Bushwhacker is just reward for their loyal support.”

Seeded Entry List

Posted: January 23, 2012 12:51 PM

No. Driver Name/Navigator Name (Car) [Class]
1 Vincent Mc Aree/Damien Connolly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
2 Enda Mc Nulty/T B A (Subaru Impreza WRX) [7]
3 Pat O'Connell/Mark Wiley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
4 Martin Cairns/TBA (Subaru Impreza WRC) [7]
5 Ian Cochrane/Ray Fitzpatrick (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
6 Colin Britton/ (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
7 Stephen Wright/Susanne Wright (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) [6]
8 Gerard Lucey/James Lucey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [8]
9 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escort Mk II) [5]
10 Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Ford Escort Mk II) [5]
11 Seamus O'Connell/T B A (Ford Escort Mk II) [5]
12 Shane Mc Girr/Niall Connelly (Toyota Starlet) [5]
14 James Coleman/K Shanaghan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [5]
15 Gary Mc Elhinney/Paddy Mc Crudden (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
16 Brendan Comiskey/Conor Foley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
17 Conor Harvey/Paddy Mc Daid (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
18 Patrick Keenan/Peter Ward (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
19 Sam Moffet/ (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
20 Mark Murphy/Carol O'Keffe (Subaru Impreza WRC) [6]
21 Jer Connors/Sarah Whelan (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
22 Derrick Jobb/Thomas Nugent (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
23 Mickey Mc Gillin/Aaron Johnston (Ford Escort Mk II) [5]
24 Paul Reid/Karl Reid (Ford Escort) [5]
25 Bob Scanlon/Liam Mc Laughlin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) [8]
26 Niall Henry/John Rowen (Subaru Impreza N12B) [8]
27 Adrian Mc Elhinney/T B A () [3]
28 Ian Chadwich/Stephen Quin (Subaru Impreza WRX) [6]
29 Pat Price/Stephen Price (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) [6]
30 Ben Gormley/Darren Mc Guiness (Subaru Impreza) [8]
31 Stephen Cullen/Seamus O'Grady (Subaru Impreza) [8]
32 Martin Howley/Shaun Lafferty (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [7]
33 Damien Mc Gauran/Thomas Mc Gauran (Toyota Corolla) [5]

100 Joseph Mc Gonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Citroen C2 R2 Max) [10]
101 Andrew Fanning/Derek Bibbs (Ford Ka) [1]
102 Tommy O'Connell/Phillip Hunter (Ford Escort) [11]
103 Ian Downey/T B A (Opel Corsa) [9]
104 Daniel Cronin/Sean Duggan (Peugeot 206) [9]
105 Dean Rafferty/T B A (Honda Civic) [9]
106 Dermot Mc Gorary/Eamonn Doherty (Talbot Sunbeam) [2]
107 Michael Nevin/T B A (Ford Escort Mk II) [2]
108 Trevor Hutton/Tristen Hutton (Ford Ka) [1]
109 Pierce Doherty Snr/Pierce Doherty Jnr (Opel Corsa) [2]
110 Damian Mc Vey/Raymond Scott (Ford Escort) [9]
111 Michael Bradley/Stephen Gallinagh (Talbot Sunbeam) [2]
112 Dermot Mc Cafferty/Gerry Hughes (Subaru Impreza) [6]

Late Entries will be taken.


Posted: January 17, 2012 11:56 AM

All details to do with park ferme, scrutiny, trailer park and service and be obtained from Michael on 086 2403383 / +353 86 2403383 Call for full information.

Accommodation details available on:

Back in the Forests

Posted: January 16, 2012 12:30 AM

Donegal Motor Club has released details of the ABBEY HOTEL Forest Rally due to take place on Saturday 28th January 2012. Based in Donegal Town, the DMC event will host the first round of the Valvoline/Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Rally Championship, and act as a counting round of the Bassett’s Plumbing & Heating Donegal Motor Club Championship Michael Kelly, Clerk of the Course said “We are delighted with the Abbey Hotel’s continued support of this event and my team and I have brought together some of the best forest stages anywhere in Ireland. My thanks go to Coillte and the assistance they have given over these past months, as we have worked hard to overcome difficulties thrown up by the terrain and the weather. I hope everyone will find this very worth while and a challenging motorsport competition for the competitors. Thanks also to the Forest Rally Championship for giving us the opportunity of hosting this event, and we hope the event will be a strong round of the championship for the 2012 season.”

Michael give brief details of the event with first car leaving Parc Ferme at 8.30am, and the first car due to start the Special Stage 1 at 9.05am. The total distance is almost 65km stage miles, running over 10 stages.

Finally, Michael appealed to competitors to get their entries sent to the Secretary of the event, Eileen Kelly as soon as possible and hoped to see everyone on the start line on Saturday 28th January.

Full details of the event will be found by downloading the regulations from the club website:


Posted: January 4, 2012 3:40 PM

Club Website

Posted: January 4, 2012 3:39 PM

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