By: Ivan Hurley
KDMC and Kerry Motor Club member Noel O Sullivan JNR said it was “the stuff of dreams” on the finish ramp to win a home rally after he and Derry driver Callum Devine landed the 2022 International Rally of the Lakes in dramatic fashion.
Drama is a word often thrown around in sport, but on Sunday last, the finals stage of the International Rally of the Lakes will go down in history for a long time to come. Overnight leader Alastair Fisher had a 7.7-second lead coming into Sunday but a quick run up Molls Gap and Ballaghbeama early on Sunday morning cut the gap down to 5.8. Following a dead heat on the second run over the Gap, the battle came down to the final stage of the event, Caragh Lake, with just 3.1 seconds between the pair. Alastair was first on the road and halfway through the stage he crashed off the road and couldn’t get back out to finish the stage. That let Callum Devine in his VW Polo R5 past and won the Derry man a maiden rally victory in Killarney.
The ’Acesigns’ Irish Tarmac Rally Championship leader Josh Moffett, who said he was finding the going difficult all weekend, left Killarney in second place, a result which he said he was happy with going up the road to Monaghan. Jonathan Greer rounded out the podium places in his Citroen C3.
National honours went to Killarney club man Rob Duggan and Ger Conway. Having complained of clutch issues from the word go, Rob battled hard throughout setting multiple fastest stage times to win out by 48.9 seconds from Donegal man Kevin Eves in his Toyota Corolla Twin Cam. Conor Murphy brought his Ford Escort home in third place in what was a fantastic outing by the Killarney man.
Alan Ring went one better than his 2nd place result in the Killarney Historic Rally last November by taking the Historic win on his home rally in the Subaru Legacy. Alan and his codriver Adrian Deasy had 45.8 seconds to spare over Fergus O Meara in the Escort while Neil Williams rounded out the podium positions in third.
Meanwhile, Killarney and District Motor Club member Jason Farrell has extended his lead at the top of the standings in the Irish Junior Tarmac Rally Championship following an emphatic Junior rally win. After just 8 rally stages, Jason won the rally by 2 minutes, 20.5 seconds from Robbie O Hanlon in 2nd place. Just a sign of what is to come for Jason in the future. Local debutants Gary Healy and Gearoid Moynihan brought their Honda Civic home in 3rd, a fantastic result for them given it was their first outing on home soil. Rallying has a strong future in the Kingdom!
The rally was held in some glorious weather over the weekend, with just some showers early on Sunday morning to test the driver’s skill and technique. Thousands of spectators lined the stages in what was one of the biggest crowds seen at the International Rally of the Lakes. A testament to Clerk of the Course Darren McCormick and his hard-working team, who, without their time and effort the rally simply would not have run.