meirion killarney

Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson on their way to another strong result on the Killarney Rally of the Lakes (Rnc Rally-pics)

The weekend of the 24th or April and 1st of May saw the fourth round of the Irish tarmac rally championship take place with the Killarney and district motor club rally of the lakes. The rally would include fourteen stages over the course of the two days giving 240 kilometres of competitive mileage. Once again Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson would be competing in an attempt to score a good haul of points for their Irish tarmac championship bid, and would again be using their R5 specification VW polo GTI. They were seeded at car 4 on the 127 car entry.

The first day would be made up of six stages, three repeated twice, and would include Kilsarcon, Banard and Gortnagane. With Kilsarcon being first up. On this 19.9km test Meirion felt as though he was struggling to come up to pace on this opening stage as the tyres came along and believed that he gave away too much time. Even so they set the eighth quickest time overall with 9 minutes and 56.2 seconds. They improved greatly on the second stage and set the fourth quickest time over Banard, here they were only eight and a half seconds down on the overall fastest time. Gortagane was up next and here Meirion and Jonathan went one better, setting the third overall quickest time with 6 minutes and 19.9 seconds over this 10.96km stage. 

A service halt followed and our pair were currently holding fifth overall. The second loop followed Meirion and Jonathan improved their time on the second run of Kilsarcon which saw them take the seventh overall quickest time. Stage 5 and 6 saw them set the fifth fastest time on both of those stages, meaning after the first day of competition Meirion and Jonathan held fifth overall with a total time of 53 minutes and 31.6 seconds, with a long day full of stages to follow

The second day of the event would be made up of eight stages, two pairs of stages, each run twice, and would include the very famous Molls gap and ballaghbeama stages. Molls gap was the first of the day, and here Meirion and Jonathan achieved the fourth fastest time here with 8 minutes and 19.3 seconds, followed by seventh fastest time over Ballaghbeama. 

A service halt followed then it was back to Molls gap where they placed the fifth fastest time. Ballaghbeama 2 was cancelled so it was off to the second loop of stages, Shanera and Carragh Lake. Meirion and Jonathan did very well here on stage 11, with the third quickest overall time, something that they repeated on the following stage. The final loop of the rally would involve a repeat of stages 11 and 12. On Shanera 2 Meirion and Jonathan achieved the fifth fastest overall time, with 4 minutes and 8.3 seconds. On the final stage of the event, they were fourth fastest. This meant that they finished the rally in an excellent fourth overall after what had been a very challenging event. Their total time was 1 hour, 41 minutes and 42 seconds. Meirion admitted that he at times did struggle with the pace on stages where knowledge was a big factor. The next round of the championship will be the Donegal International rally that takes place on the 17th to the 19th of June. 

Also taking place over the weekend was the Corinium stages, held by Cirencester car club. It would take place on Down Ampney airfield and would consist of some fifty competitive miles over eight stages. This rally attracted a couple of club members, with the first being Stefan “DR” Davies who would be competing in his Mk2 Ford escort, he had Daniel Petrie in the passenger seat. Also out was James Davies, who for this rally had swapped seats and would be on navigator duties. He would be calling the notes for Marc Mayes in Marc’s immaculately prepared Vauxhall nova. They were seeded at 18. 

On the opening stage of the day both club representatives set excellent times, with Stefan and Daniel achieving a time of 6 minutes and 19 seconds, and not far off were Marc and James on 6 minutes 29. On the following stages both club members continued to set excellent times, with Stefan and Daniel battling for a potential podium finish and Marc and James looking to break into the top ten. Conditions were very slippery and Marc and James felt that they were fighting for traction in the little nova, even so they set some excellent times. 

Stefan and Daniel continued to do well, as they pushed their escort hard through the stages, battling with the modern cars all throughout the event. After having a fairly sensible start to the rally Marc and James decided to really push on the later stages, in an attempt to open up a lead in their class, something that they went on to achieve. 

At the end of a tough but enjoyable event Stefan “DR” Davies and Daniel finished in an excellent fourth overall, winning their class in the process. MArc and James also went on to win their class, by a margin of over three and a half minutes as they finished in eighth overall, an excellent result given as it was their first time at the venue.

Another event taking place over the weekend was the R.J. Matthews Haulage Dixies challenge, co-promoted by Forresters car club and Forest of Dean car club. The rally consisted of 10 stages, all on the famous ranges, giving 42 miles of competitive motoring. The rally attracted a couple of club members, with the first being in car 16, where Stefan “DR” Davies and Rhys Jones would be out in Stefan’s Mk2 ford escort. Also out was Emyr Morgan at 40 in his Mitsubishi lancer evo 10. He had Paul Jones reading the notes. 

On the opening stage of the rally Stefan and Rhys set a blistering pace and found themselves third overall, something that they repeated on the following stage. Emyr and Paul also got off to a great start and were fifteenth fastest on the opening stage as well as seventeenth fastest on the second. For the third stage Stefan and Rhys went and set the fastest overall stage time, an excellent achievement among a strong entry. They were a second clear of everyone else in their escort. Emyr and Paul improved on their times and were eleventh quickest on stage 3. 

For the next few stages Stefan and Rhys set some very quick and consistent times, featuring in the top three on the next four stages. Sadly it was not meant to be as they retired on stage eight, a great shame as surely there was a place on the podium for them. Emyr and Paul continued to do well and broke into the top ten times on the later stages. They finished the event in a very respectable tenth overall and third in class. Their total time at the end of the event was 42 minutes and 54 seconds.

With thanks to Rnc Rally-pics for the use of their image in this report.