Friday 20 September 2019

Scallans keep up solid form

Eighth in Circle of Munster

Graham Scallan and co-driver Tomas taking part in the Ravens Rock rally in Waterford
Graham Scallan and co-driver Tomas taking part in the Ravens Rock rally in Waterford

Graham and Tomás Scallan continued their impressive 2015 form with eighth overall and another class win at the Circuit of Munster Rally.

The Circuit of Munster was round four of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship and, having won the class on the previous two rounds of the series, the team was leading the class championship and confident of another strong showing.

There was early drama as they headed to stage one with unexpected heavy rain showers arriving. Running uncut Kumho tyres, the crew expected to struggle but were pleasantly surprised with the grip levels.

They were even more surprised when the times came out as they were not only quickest in class, but an incredible eighth overall ahead of some WRC cars and just five seconds slower than the second quickest time.

Clean runs through the following two stages which completed the loop ensured that the brothers maintained their impressive eighth overall and class lead as they returned to service. In service the Kumhos were changed for Michelins as they had previously planned and they headed back for the second loop.

Despite having to get used to their new rubber, the Scallans kept the class lead and they became embroiled in a battle with Group N leader Aidan Wray and Forestry champion Pat O'Connell.

With Graham happy with the new Michelins, the team made a decision on the final loop to use their heads and think of the championship points. Despite this, they retained their eighth position overall, beating Wray by just 1.5 seconds and taking the all-important class win once again.

'We are delighted to finish in the top ten of a National Rally event as they are so competitive and strong this year,' Graham said.

'We are really getting to grips with the car and enjoying it more every day out. We are very happy with the new Michelins too and think we can push harder on them next time out. Thanks to everyone who made this weekend happen.'

Elsewhere James Bradley finished third overall in the Juniors after a puncture on the last stage took the overall win on them. Graham and Garry Bradley finished 50th overall, leaving all three Wexford crews winning their classes heading to the next round!

Round five, the Ravens Rock Rally, was on in Waterford and Wexford had a strong attendance as usual.

Graham Scallan was running car ten on the road, which put him in the mix between some top Irish drivers. The first loop saw the Scallan brothers come out eighth overall and top car non-WRC. He was leading guys like 'The Milkman' aka Jonathan Pringle and Irish hero Craig Breen.

Unfortunately, on stage five Scallan got caught out on gravel into a square left and slid into a ditch with heavy impact. It was over for them as the damage was too excessive but the crew were fine. They reported the car was only cosmetic and they will be in Sligo in two weeks to try to score points and keep their national championship dreams alive.

Liam Howlett unfortunately didn't have a great start to the day with a few minor excursions, but the afternoon saw him really on the pace and finishing 14th overall.

In the Junior section, Wexford crew James Bradley and Maria Kehoe continued their winning streak and bid to become Billy Coleman award winners. They were on the pace all day and held off other local driver Richard Moore very well.

Other locals in the Junior section were Leon Galvin and Marie Stafford (sixth overall). Novice driver Aaron Waters and Paddy Carroll were 16th overall on their first day out let's hope it's a start of many good finishes for them. Finally, Eoin Gregg and Chris Lacey were 18th overall and very happy with the day's racing.

Ravens Rock results - main field: Liam Howlett, 14th overall; Stephen Cullen and Seamus O'Grady, 32th overall; Tommy Kelly and Joe Kiernan, 33rd overall; John Pettitt and Michael Coleman, 57th overall; Eoin Neville and Derek O'Brien, 61st overall; Eamonn Bates and Alan Maloney, 63rd overall; Mark Hayden and Paul Furlong, 67th overall; Shay Byrne and Fran Kinsella, 81st overall; Liam O'Neill and Declan O'Neill, 88th overall; Gabriel Lodge and David Busher, 89th overall; J.J. Furlong and Stephen Shore, 90th overall; Colin Roche and Lisa Knox, 102nd overall.

Juniors: James Bradley and Marie Kehoe, first overall; Richard Moore and Richard Cleary, fourth overall; Leon Galvin and Marie Stafford, sixth overall; Aaron Waters and Paddy Carroll, 16th overall; Eoin Gregg and Chris Lacey, 18th overall.

Wexford People