The Milkman delivers another title in Cork

6 Replies

Declan Gallagher and co-driver Ryan Moore secured a second consecutive Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Modified Championship at the Ace Signs Cork 20 rally, in their diminutive Toyota Starlet. Gallagher set a ferocious pace from the first stage, blowing away his nearest challenger, Frank Kelly. Any chance of a final round showdown between the two title contenders disappeared on stage 3 when the engine in Kelly’s Escort expired just before the finish. With Kelly out, Gallagher capped another dominant season with a commanding victory.

Declan Gallagher Toyota Starlet sideways

By contrast, the Group N Championship did go the full distance. Since the start of the season, the upper hand had passed back and forth between Brendan Cumiskey’s Subaru Impreza and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution of Aaron MacHale. The latter held the advantage prior to this final event, so Cumiskey knew he had to set the pace and hope MacHale would falter.

And set the pace, he did. However, MacHale had the comfort of knowing that a controlled drive would secure the points required and simply shadowed Cumiskey’s times across the fourteen stages. So whilst Cumiskey won the final round, Aaron MacHale’s second place ensured that one of Ireland’s most famous rallying families would be title winners yet again.

Brendan Cumiskey Subaru Impreza Circuit of Ireland

Brendan Cumiskey in this year’s Circuit of Ireland

As Donagh Kelly had wrapped up the overall Championship on the previous round, his primary objective was to stop Cork native, Daragh O’Riordan, from taking his fifth consecutive event win. O’Riordan surged into an early lead, but by the end of the first day, Kelly had pegged him back, topping the time sheets by the relatively slender margin of 5 seconds.

Donagh Kelly Irish Tarmac Rally Champion 2015

Donagh Kelly – 2015 Irish Tarmac Rally Champion

The pulsating battle continued into day 2, until O’Riordan went off the road and out of the rally on stage 11. Roy White, who had unveiled his new Ford Fiesta WRC prior to rally, had a fighting chance of inheriting second place from O’Riordan. But he too, foundered on stage 11. This enabled two time British Rally Champion, Keith Cronin to move his Citroen DS3 R5 onto the leaderboard, behind Kelly’s Focus WRC.

Donagh Kelly rounded out the 2015 season with a fifth victory, with Cronin in a comfortable second and Melvyn Evans taking the final podium position.

In the Junior section, Rob Duggan was in the ascendancy once again, winning by well over 3 minutes. Even so,  a second place finish was enough for John O’Sullivan and JJ Cremin to be crowned Junior Champions in their Honda Civic. In the Historic Championship, second place was also good enough for Ernie Graham to fight off Gareth Lloyd and take the title by a mere 6 points.

Results

Ace Signs Cork 20 Rally 2015

1. Donagh Kelly / Conor Foley – Ford Focus WRC

2. Keith Cronin / Shane Buckley – Citroen DS3 R5

3. Melvyn Evans / Mark Glennerster – Subaru Impreza WRC

National Rally

1. Declan Gallagher /Ryan Moore – Toyota Starlet

2. Eugene Meegan / Sarah Whelan – BMW 130i

3. Enda O’Brien / John Butler – Ford Escort

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About Author

Chris, known as Cess on the forums, is a long time RMS member. He is a fervent motorsports enthusiast and lover of all things automotive. He can be found on the ditches of most Irish rallies, at Mondello watching drifting or in front of the TV watching motorbike racing.

RMS Forum Comments

cormac81 07:37 | Thu 08 Oct, 2015 | Report
Some of the incar of this guy is unreal. The car seems to be so light on the road compared to an escort. Mucho respect!
Cess 08:55 | Thu 08 Oct, 2015 | Report
Totally agree @cormac81. Gallagher has also managed to lift two titles in a Class 13 car, seeing off some big money Class 14 Escorts in the process. His pacenote provider suggested in a tweet that Gallagher is moving to an S2000 machine of some sort. Would be great if he does.
Cartunes 08:57 | Thu 08 Oct, 2015 | Report
| On the RMS Blog: Declan Gallagher and co-driver Ryan Moore secured a second consecutive Irish Tarmac Modified Championship at the AceSigns Cork 20 rally, in their diminutive Toyota Starlet. Gallagher set a ferocious pace from the first stage, blowing away his nearest challenger, Frank Kelly. Any chance of a final round showdown between the two title contenders disappeared on stage 3 when the engine in Kelly's Escort expired just before the finish. (Read the Full Article Here) http://reallymeansounds.com/wp/wp-content/gallery/sligo-stages/24.jpg Read the Entire Article Here
Would the car not be more aerodynamic with that sign removed from the roof? Might be even quicker!! :p
davecoupe 09:16 | Thu 08 Oct, 2015 | Report
Great write up @Cess . Gallagher is unreal to watch, he is on the doorhandles all the time and just throws that wee starlet about. Sad event for Irish rallying imo ...... the end of the WRC era (which is no bad thing) but its also the last time top spec rally cars will be eligible for our premier championship.
KevM 09:23 | Thu 08 Oct, 2015 | Report
The grip that wee car finds in something else! Works really well on the stages
Cess 11:09 | Thu 08 Oct, 2015 | Report
Agree @KevM and that's largely down to Gallagher's style. I think it's noticeable that the really fast modified men aren't flamboyant and don't go sideways everywhere. Sideways may entertain, but it isn't the fastest way from point A to point B! Gallagher has a real knack of keeping the momentum going and you rarely see the car stepping out much. It's very rare for him not to finish either. The car has become a total icon of Irish rallying. You've kinda got me thinking about the "end of an era" thing @davecoupe. Might be time for a rummage round the RMS archives!


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