DRIVE OF THE WINNERS
Wilson & Lennon Win HASS Drive of the Day Award in Sligo
Peter Wilson and Domhnall Lennon have become the latest recipients of a HASS Border Championship Drive of the Day Award. The Honda Civic pairing won the award by setting fastest time in class 11 on special stage 3 of the Sligo Stages Rally.
Their time of 11 minutes and 40 seconds over the stage was twelve seconds faster than that of their nearest competitors Martin McPhillips and Arthur Kearns, these two crews being the only competitors in class 11 to set a time under twelve minutes.
At the rally finish Wilson and Lennon were presented with their awards by Brenda Flynn of the HASS Border Rally Championship. It capped a hugely successful day's rallying for the pair, who not only won their class comfortably on the Sligo event, the fifth round of the 2010 HASS Border Rally Championship, but finished in the top ten overall, at one point having been as high as sixth overall.
The Drive of the Day Award is presented at each of the six rounds of the 2010 HASS Border Rally Championship. Open to all registered championship competitors, a class and stage are selected at random before the start of the rally, with the winner being the fastest crew in the class on that stage to finish the rally. If the preselected stage is cancelled, the organizers can use their discretion to move either to the previous or following stages.
Leonard and Foley Lead HASS Border Championship
But Title Race Still Wide Open
The HASS Border Rally Championship is looking set for an exciting finish as the series enters the penultimate round this week-end in Sligo.
Going into round 5, David Leonard from Grange in Co. Sligo and his co-driver Adrian Foley from Ballyhaise Co. Cavan have established themselves as the competitors to catch. With a total of 35 points, they are four points clear of their nearest challengers thanks to a series of consistent top place finishes. In recognition of their achievement in leading the championship at this stage, the class 6 Citroen Saxo crew will be presented with a special award at the Connacht Stages Rally.
Despite their apparent healthy championship lead though, Leonard and Foley's championship lead is far from secure, and the pair will need fortune to favour them if they are to lift this year's HASS Border Rally title. In fact even if they were to take maximum class points on both remaining rounds, they could still end up losing out on the overall title. With a competitor's four best scores from the six rounds of the series being taken into account, they will now have to start dropping scores, having taken points on all four rounds thus far. It means other competitors, who already have dropped scores to their names, could potentially overtake the Sligo / Cavan duo, and means, almost certainly, that once again the HASS Border Rally Championship is heading for a nail-biting finish.
Currently lying second overall on 31 points, and one of those that could overtake Leonard and Foley with maximum points scores in Sligo and Donegal are the Derry pairing of Eamonn McGuigan and Michael Moran. The class 12 Escort crew took nineteen points from a possible twenty on the last two rounds. A continuation of that run of form will see them as definite title contenders. Ironically they themselves will be under pressure from class rivals Gerry Smyth and Gregory McQuillan. Currently third in the series with 29 points, a non-finish in Cavan was a setback, but they recovered well to score strongly in Newry. A brace of class 12 wins would see the Monaghan Escort crew reach the maximum forty championship points.
Four crews currently share joint third in the championship on 27 points. Monaghan's David Smith and Austin Hamill are keeping David Leonard / Adrian Foley honest in class six, having taken a class win on the last round in Newry, and could yet force their way into contention for the main title. The Peugeot 106 pairing also became the first crew to win a HASS Border Championship Drive of the Day Award for the second time, claiming the prize on the Mourne Rally to add to their earlier success in Monaghan.
In classes nine and ten Pa Bellew / Willie Fitzpatrick from Meath and Monaghan's John Kelly / Adrian Flynn lead their respective categories with identical scores, each having second in class finishes from the opening three rounds. The fourth crew sharing third in the series are Michael Conlon and Aiden Boyle from Monaghan, whose Escort leads class 13 by a single point from Donegal's Samuel Kelso / Gareth Doherty.
Two further competitors are worth keeping a close eye on as the season heads towards an exciting conclusion. The Mini of Lloyd Hutchinson and Kevin Flanagan has been the pacesetter in class 9 all season. A non-finish in Cavan and not starting Newry have pushed the Wicklow men off the overall leaderboard for now, but they can still claim a maximum forty points before the season is out. Likewise Carlow's Enda McLoughlin can also reach forty points in class 10, making him another who could yet be crowned HASS Border Champion for 2010.
Other class leaders not already mentioned include Pauric McGee / Fergal Loughney in class 2 and Alan McMahon / Benny Grainger in class 3. Trevor and Kenny Bustard share the class four lead with Shane Maguire / Paul Kelly, Eamonn McCafferty leads class 5 ahead with Jackie Donaldson heading the co-driver's section, and Anthony Masterson / Andrew Browne are the class 7 leaders.
Niall Maguire / Enda Sherry head class 8, Mervyn Wedlock / Adam Kinkade are the class 11 pacesetters, while Declan and Brian Boyle are on top of class 14 with Paddy McCague level on points with Brian in the co-driver's section.
This week-end's Connacht Stages Rally marks a critical juncture of the 2010 HASS Border Rally Championship. With positions in every class as well as the overall title still firmly up for grabs, competitors will be desperate for good results in Sligo to bring their championship hopes forward to the final round in Donegal in October. It all promises for a memorable day's rallying!