14th-19th May 2006 - A Great Craic  
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Event Reports and Results

Event Reports and Results from The 4th Emerald Isle Classic  


Find the Emerald Isle Classic day by day overall results >> HERE

The 64 page results booklet with Award winners, overall and daily results plus test and regularity listings is available on the CRA Downloads page, or quick link .  >> HERE


Leg 6 - Kilkenny to Dublin— Friday 19th May

After five days of rallying we have reached Dublin at the end of the 4th Emerald Isle Classic and the winner is Paul Wignall and Mark Appleton – Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. On arrival at the finish the sun shone brightly so from now on we’ll pretend that it was sunny all week.


 
Mark Appleton & Paul Wignall — Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint — winners of the 4th Emerald Isle Classic

Everybody was in good spirits and we held the Dublin traffic up while the finish photos were taken. It was a slightly quieter day than yesterday with two tests and four regularities but as you would expect there was a good number of timing points so plenty of potential for penalties to be scored.

This is Paul Wignall and Mark Appleton’s first time out together so to win is an outstanding achievement. In fact until 18:00 on the day before the start he had never even sat in the car. Richard Prosser and Andy Gibson will be very pleased with their second place – the Scimitar is not a car that you would ordinarily expect to do well on the driving tests – perhaps it will go some way towards compensating the disappointment when they crashed out on the final night of the Winter Challenge.

Jayne Wignall and Peter Rushforth were in third place just 19 seconds back. In fourth place was Kevin Haselden and Dave Kirkham – another crew making up for a disappointment – last year they spent much of the event locating and fitting a new cylinder head. Fifth was our first Irish Crew – Tom Callanan and Frank Hussey in a Triumph TR4. Tom and Frank were also part of the triumphant “Triumphant” team along with Michael and Lorna Harrison, Jonathan Hancox and Richard Lambley, all were driving Triumph TR4s.

It is not until you reach 24th place that there is a greater margin than there was between first and second stressing even more how decisive was the Wignall / Appleton victory. From this point down the penalties increase at a fairly rapid rate. There is discussion as to whether the revised “softer” penalty scales are appropriate but they do seem to be retaining interest down the whole entry list and although the crew who make the least mistakes win it is now possible to make some mistakes and have a possibility of recovering. Also, the penalty free lateness allowance goes towards removing some of the pressure to reach a control on time when traffic conditions have been more difficult than anticipated.

In the special awards categories the Against All Odds award went to Maryjo and Mark I’Anson for keeping going with the substituted Morris Minor. The Spirit of the Rally to David Garrett and Nick Reynolds, they broke the propshaft on their Lotus Cortina – the one they obtained was too long, had it shortened and welded before catching back up with the event. They were so keen to continue they requested that their daily handouts be faxed to the hotel near where the car was being repaired. The Autoglym Concours prize goes to Tony and Pauline Mather in the pretty Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder. Tests Co-ordinator / Deputy Clerk of the Course Mickey Gabbett continued his pattern of special awards and in between MC’ing the awards presentation we had several special awards including one presented to Mickey himself. Marshals Annabel and Mary Brown received the in at the ‘Deep End Trophy’ – a set of swimming armbands – this was because Gerry had flown home just before the evening section started so they had to cope on their own. Ian Grant received the ‘Evo Stick’ award for the manner in which his rally plates had been secured – and also for having, in the absence of Robert Harley the bushiest eye brows! Paul Hernaman received the ‘Daftest Query’ award and is to also receive a roll of white tape so that he can put his rally plates on a bit more discretely next time. Vic Mounter and Danny Fenske got the ‘T-Cut Award’ – me thinks it is going to need a bit more than T-Cut to remove the dents relating to a slurry induced spin. Anne Marie van Dam van Isselt Reinout de Waal received the ‘Furthest Travelled’ award, rumour has it they may even have got this had they not travelled so far to the start of the event. A co driver with the initials TL got an award for putting up with a driver called JB for a week and finally the ‘Golden Duck’ award went to David Liddell and Karen Ignatowicz for having the highest number of “incidents”.

The light hearted nature of these special awards is a good reflection of the careful balance between a competitive rally and a social tour that the Emerald Isle Classic strives to maintain. Competitors were talking animatedly about returning next year and how they were going to do so much better.

Keep looking at the website to see updates on the 5th Emerald Isle Classic and don’t forget that in October you will be able to track the progress of the 18th Tatry Classic Marathon. The Classic Rally Association is one of the few to provide a daily reports and results service.

Are you a competitor on CRA events yet? Come and experience what makes competitors keep returning to our events – many compete on several events each year.
 


Leg 5 - Bunratty to Kilkenny — Thursday 18th May

As usual we start with the weather report and are pleased to say that there’s been some sunshine today – although there have also been some heavy showers…..


 
Leading their class by a good margin — the Mini Cooper of Kevin Haselden and David Kirkham.

Today was probably the toughest of the event with six driving tests and five regularities! It was a late start from Bunratty to compensate for the previous late night. Once free of the Limerick traffic Leg 5 started with a test at regular competitor James O’Mahony’s Tara Oil depot. Richard McAllister did a wrong test here as did Roy Perkins, Jon Edward and Mark Smith. From here it was off to the Kilorglan Kart Circuit – scoring a very quick time was the Volvo 122S of Mark Smith and Gary Twigg – Mark’s previous karting experience being put to good use although it must be assumed that the Volvo handles in a totally different way to a kart!

The lunch halt was at Knocklofty House Hotel and there was a lot of stories being told as the crews tucked into their excellent lunch. The atmosphere at the control table is always interesting to watch – while the top crews discuss seconds lost on regularities the lower you move down the field the discussion topics vary dramatically. Within the space of five minutes subjects went from how many episodes of “Andy Pandy” were made – Kenny MacEwan reckons it’s only six. This discussion lead to Jocelyn Williams being renamed Loopy Lou – then a couple of minutes later we had preacher man Malcolm Neill sitting in the rocking chair reading passages from the scriptures picked off the bookshelf – this led to the Home Maintenance encyclopaedia of annual inspection jobs for the householder. If they had looked a bit further perhaps there would have been a workshop manual for one of the competing cars. However, at the far end of the field there are now a couple of experienced competitors who saunter in just as their time is due – not really feeling part of the club that exists at this level but it is so good to see them still competing and not just retiring because things have not gone as planned.

After lunch it was straight off to a short test at Barne, followed by three regularities and three further tests. Kiltorcan Raceway provided another kart track test, on his first lap Frank Fennell clipped a large hay bale, this came back to haunt him on his second lap when he had to manoeuvre his way around the bale! Tests five and six were on Mickey Gabbett’s land so no problem in getting permission for these. Mickey describes the final test as a good “lash”, from here it was a short run up to the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny.

Paul Wignall is still in the lead but Richard Prosser has moved up into second place, but he is two and a half minutes behind so barring Paul having car problems the final day battle is going to be for the placings. A further thirty seconds back is the Sunbeam Tiger of Jayne Wignall and Peter Rushforth. The leading Irish crew is Tom Callanan and Frank Hussey – just thirty two seconds further back. Making up for the disappointment of last year Kevin Haselden and Dave Kirkham are seven seconds further back but are over eleven minutes ahead of the second person in their class.

Don’t forget to look at the results pages for a fully comprehensive guide to who has done what and where.


Leg 3 & Leg 4- Westport to Bunratty - Wednesday/Thursday 17th-18th May


 
The Bentley 3-4½ of James Phillips and Catriona Rings on the spectacular Sky Road today were leading their class but have now retired with a failing differential.

Following a splendid dinner on Tuesday night crews were in a very good mood as they left Westport and headed for the far western coast and the aptly named “Sky Road”.

Ian Swift and Jon Sandilands reached as far as the western coast before their Mini Cooper S cried foul and refused to start, after changing various electrical components it was decided that the cause may be more serious – a broken crankshaft being the prime suspect. They re-joined the event at Bunratty in a hire car and went out spectating on Leg 4 – the evening section. Several other crews probably wished that they had stayed in the hotel… Colin Forster and Dave Harvey retired their Mini Cooper S after damaging the steering rack. Paul Minassian and Tony Davies parked their Volvo PV544 in an unusual place and will be returning tomorrow to collect the car….

Also retiring today was the Bentley of James Phillips and Catriona Rings – the differential is failing and rather than risk an even larger bill they are going to have the car trailered back home.

There was only one driving test today so it was a taxing day for the navigators, the final regularity section – the “Burren Mega Reg” was over 60 km long with multiple timing points, still at least by this time the sun had started to shine and it remained dry throughout the evening leg.


 
Second overall after Leg4 is the Scimitar of Richard Prosser and Andy Gibson seen passing the Minassian/Davies Volvo emerging from a wrong-slot. The Volvo has now retired (see story).

Vic Mounter and Danny Fenske had an eventful day and a lapse in concentration saw them have a close encounter with the Irish scenery, they drove back to Bunratty and a local resident offered his services to help repair their Volvo Amazon.

Michael and Marjie Ridley are debuting their newly restored Alfa Romeo and have a trouble free run to date. Currently they lie in 21st position but will hope to improve on this as the week draw to its climax. Also debuting a new car are Jane and Kenny MacEwan – they have recently acquired an Alvis Speed 25 – finding it to be somewhat lighter to drive than other pre war cars.

John and Sarah Harmer are out on this event in a very standard looking Cooper S – they have plenty of experience of “modern” rallying but this is their first venture into historic motorsport – they are also going to be taking part in our Touring event – the Route des Vins but for this gastronomic tour they’ll be out in Sarah’s newly acquired Porsche 911.

Paul Wignall and Mark Appleton retain the lead but now in second is Richard Prosser and Andy Gibson in a Reliant Scimitar, third spot is held by Tom Callanan and Frank Hussey whilst Jayne Wignall has dropped back to fourth.

Thursday has 6 tests including two on kart circuits which may prove quite a struggle for some of the larger cars but at least the class based scoring lessens the impact of this on the results.



Leg 2 - Enniskillen to Westport - Tuesday 16th May

At last we are enjoying some sunshine but the best of it broke through after we arrived at the Castlecourt Hotel here in Westport.

Day two has been an eventful one starting off with a short test at Castle Coole less than 1km from our overnight halt in Enniskillen. David Garrett and Nick Reynolds didn’t even get that far, the propshaft on their Lotus Cortina crying foul – we have had a phone call from them and they hope to rejoin us tomorrow.


 
Overall leader at the end of Leg 2 — the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint of Paul Wignall and Mark Appleton at Temple House

Following on from the test came a regularity section named “Two Dogs” by our route designer. We can only assume that while Keith was doing his route survey he only saw two dogs on that section – if we used this naming convention we’d normally end up with regularities called 86 dogs, 97 dogs etc. It gets better as the next checkpoint was outside the “Ballroom of Romance” a throwback to past times one assumes.

The second test of the day at Annaghmore was the first test of the event issued in the form of a tulip description. It was an excellent test and landowner Durcan O’Hara was out cheering as the drivers did their best to keep to the roadway. One Volvo driver proved none too good at this and reshaped the front of his PV544 – perhaps he wants it to look more like a Volvo Amazon.

After Annaghmore came Temple House for lunch followed by the third test of the day – once again we were made very welcome in this delightful house, last visited by the Emerald Isle Classic in 2004. It’s also possible to stay as house guests at Temple House so if you want a real taste of Irish “home” hospitality it’s an ideal place to go.

The afternoon was purely regularities but a couple of well known crews did manage a small coming together – perhaps that is why they will be sharing a car on October’s Classic Marathon to Slovakia. It was no surprise that one of the crews involved was the recipient of a Gabbett special award – in this case a pair of L plates.

It has not been a good day for the pre war cars – James Phillips and Catriona Rings are unable to use reverse gear and James’s father Gordon is also having trouble in selecting gears – meanwhile Catriona’s parents are running a Porsche 356 that to date seems to have been relatively trouble free – David did mention upgrading the fuses as he delved around under the bonnet last night. Wife Margaret was originally promised a run in the Clubmen class with a tulip route book but was “persuaded” that it would be more fun with maps! It’s thought that her Irish parentage may come in useful when it comes to seeking assistance in the more rural areas out west.

It’s a family Wignall effort at the front of the field with Paul and Mark Appleton leading Jayne and Peter Rushforth by 29 seconds. Richard and Jo McAllister have moved up into third place. Richard did consider bringing out his Mercedes 300SEC but decided that the old faithful Volvo Amazon was probably better suited to the narrow Irish lanes. Another local crew moving up the board is Tom Callanan and Frank Hussey – Tom has recently re-shelled his TR4 and it is no longer necessary for the co driver to hang on to the door – the previous shell flexed so badly the door used to open regularly – unaided.

Roy Perkins and Chris Pringle are CRA returnees and are settling in and can be expected to move up the rankings as the event progresses – the nimble Anglia doing well on the tests. Terry and Janet Powell are yet another crew sampling their first CRA event – their smart green MGB GT standing out from the more commonly used MGB roadsters. Also first time out with us are Mike and Lorna Harrison, Lorna humbly describing their TR as the working version but it’s not impeding their performance and they currently lie 23rd.

Conn Williamson from Northern Ireland has brought along an extremely smart BMW 3.0CSL, last minute stand in co driver is Malcolm Neill, ex Clerk of the Course of the Network Q World Championship Event. Rumour has it that Malcolm had never done regularity before the start of the event but he is coping well and is keeping Conn on the right road.

Leg 3 sees the event head out west before an early finish at Bunratty but tomorrow is the “evening section” so by the start of Leg 5 on Thursday morning it’s highly likely that there will be many changes in the results.

If you haven’t already discovered it why not have a look at the comprehensive database of results from over 40 previous CRA events. Chris Bruce has worked hard to compile 18 years worth of results data. The archive is searchable so you can see who has done the most events, what is the most popular car etc. After checking the latest classification from the Emerald Isle give the CRA results archive a look to see who did what and when.




 
Paul Hernaman and Stan Appleton meet with Major Shirley on the Lough Fea estate after taking an unscheduled detour.

Leg 1 - Newcastle to Enniskillen - Monday 15th May

The rain did little to dampen the spirits of the competitors on Leg 1 of the 4th Emerald Isle Classic.

The first test was at the Forest Service car park in Castlewellan, the main problem here was in stopping the course markers blowing away.

From here it was a series of regularities for the rest of the day via a lunch halt at the Nuremore Hotel. Some crews obviously relaxed a little too much over lunch and the Porsche Carrera mounted crew of Paul Hernaman and Stan Appleton had an unplanned meeting with Major Shirley on the Lough Fea estate. The Major had been told by one of his estate workers that the crew of the errant Porsche were German so there was some fierce interrogation about what they were doing on the wrong estate roads before Stan explained in a broad Yorkshire accent that they were in fact English.

The overnight halt at Killyhevlin Hotel, just outside Enniskillen is located in a stunning riverside location and as the sun set our Deputy Clerk of the Course – Mickey Gabbett, now also promoted to chief raconteur in the absence of Keith Baud, presented several special prizes during dinner. Waiting for the wine to flow before starting ensured the “gifts” were most welcome! In true farmer style Mickey spared no expense in selecting the special awards, for driving all day with the hood down Tony and Pauline Mather received an umbrella that Mickey had found hanging in the trees and David Cook / John Topham received plastic shower caps!

The final test of the day was at Belle Isle where milking of the cows was delayed to allow the test to take place. This test incorporated a code board at which crews were supposed to stop and take a note of the code – the rain had obviously got to the Mathers by this point as they were the only crew not to have recorded the required letters.

The new pairing of James Phillips and Catriona Rings are leading the pre 1960 class in a 1929 Bentley – not only do they have the oldest car but are also the youngest competitors on the event. Their current 12th place puts them in front of the winning crews from the first three Emerald Isle Classics.

Overall leaders at the end of the first day are Kevin Haselden and Dave Kirkham in a Mini Cooper - having a lot better run than last year when they spent the first three days of the event repairing their car. In second place is the Sunbeam Tiger of Jayne Wignall and Peter Rushforth , separating Jayne from husband Paul is the Aston Martin DB6 David MacKay and Brian Johnson, David now really showing his true potential. CRA Newcomers Jonathan Hancox and Richard Lambley are in 5th place, Jonathan was complaining about lack of power and adjusting the points of his Triumph TR4 but it didn’t seem to be hampering them too much!

Maryjo and Mark I’Anson had been intending to enter a Jaguar Mk 2 but this was not ready in time so instead of withdrawing he went out and bought a Morris Minor from the local paper. After a quick change of fluids they set off for Ireland and survived the first day pretty well – the bump stops failed but the sweep crew managed to substitute something from their stock cupboard and the Minor will be back out tomorrow, starting in 38th place. The I’Ansons also received one of Mickey’s special awards for being overtaken by a Terrier on one of the tests – power is not one of the Morris Minor’s strong points.

Tuesday will see the crews head south for Westport. It will be another busy day with three tests and six regularity sections to be completed.