News 2018-02-18 - A Wet & Wild Start in Nenagh

McGeehan Motorsport had 3 cars for first rally in Nenagh. Joe McGonigle, Paddy McVeigh & Liam EganAbbey Court Hotel Nenagh – Birr Stages Rally 2018 Team Report

The first tarmac rally of the year has finally come and gone. The team had waited all winter and now we can tick the first event off the to-do-list. The weather wasn't ideal even though the morning had started off dry but the forecast was saying different. Just as the cars were leaving parc ferme, the light rain started to come down. We were going to be in for constantly changeable conditions.

Joe McGonigle & Ciaran Geaney - McGeehan Mini WRC - on their way to 4th Overall.After the first stage, Joe McGonigle & Ciaran Geaney had set a respectable 5th fastest time only 4.3 seconds behind Garry Jennings. A lot was learned in that first stage and it gave Joe the confidence to push on and use the day as a first proper test on closed public roads. On stage 3 he was faster than Declan Boyle by 2.2 seconds and on the final stage, they were able to grab another 5.7 seconds away from the Ford Fiesta WRC to secure a 4th place overall just outside the top 3 podium.

As we met Joe at the finish he told us that he really enjoyed the day, the Mini WRC was an awesome car and he can't wait to the first round of the National Championship in Mayo when they'll get to take it out again. This will be a learning year for Joe as he steps up to the WRC level of machinery and already it looks promising as we analyse the times and data from his first proper rally in this car.

Paddy McVeigh & Gary McElhinney - Subaru Impreza S12b WRC - on their way to 5th Overall. Paddy McVeigh & Gary McElhinney had a cautious start to their Birr Rally as the memory of their crash here the last time, was bound to be in the front of their minds as they headed into stage 1. But still, even after saying that they set a 7th fastest time on the first stage and held 7th overall after stage 2 which surprised a lot of people considering this car and crew hadn't competed in a closed road event in over a year. The pace was still there but the conditions were making it a very difficult day to return to rallying. They now found themselves battling for 6th overall with recent HeroSpec winner Padraig Egan in another Subaru Impreza. The times got better stage by stage and by the end of the last stage they had managed to pass Padraig Egan in the results and finished 5th overall right behind Joe McGonigle. Paddy told us he had a good day back and was happy with the result. Just needed to get more miles in the car again and is looking forward to his next event.

Liam Egan & Ray Coppinger - Subaru Impreza WRX - on their way to 5th in Class.Another man who hasn't competed in a good while was Liam Egan. Originally from Loughrea, Co. Galway, Liam's business is based in New York and he flew home just to take part in the event. Liam would be better known for competing in the Toyota Corolla WRC but in 2016 he purchased a new Subaru Impreza WRX. Unfortunately he hasn't been able to take the time to enjoy the new machine but finally, in 2018, Liam plans to take more time out and get more miles in the new car. Like Paddy McVeigh, Liam hasn't competed in over a year so the main aim of the weekend was to get used to the car again and get a finish. Even with the difficult conditions he and Ray Coppinger calling the pace notes enjoyed the day and got the confidence back up stage by stage. We even caught a glimpse of a video on YouTube of Liam catching another Impreza and passing them in the stage on their way to a fine 5th in class result. They too are looking forward to the next event and we'll post their plans and the others here on the website as the details are confirmed.

McGeehan Motorsport - Photo: Cars in Service.At the moment our next plans are to go to the first round of the National and Border Championships on Achill Island on the 10th & 11th March for the Mayo Stages Rally. Hopefully, we'll see you there but please stay tuned to the website for much more to come.

Many Thanks to GMC Video (Ger McCarron) for the use of these video clips below:

Published on  February 26th, 2018