DRINAGH navigator Denis O’Donovan and his Mallow driver Derek Butler (Subaru Impreza) enjoyed a double success recently.
Their victory in the Inchigeelagh-based Cork ‘1000’ Shakes Navigation Trial has promoted them into the lead of both the Motorsport Ireland National Navigation Trial Championship and the Munster Navigation series.
In terms of the national series, it was a much-needed win for the duo as they bid to reclaim the title they won two seasons ago. It was also a first win for O’Donovan in this event.
Through the 120-mile route they were in fine form and O’Donovan’s navigating skill came to the fore – particularly at a time-point near Renaniree, as he was the only navigator to negotiate the section of road without incurring any penalty. Some of his rivals were penalised for a wrong approach, others for their failure to visit the time-point.
The event consisted of a total of 51 time-points spread south and north of the N22. A farm lane close to Toons Bridge also posed difficulties for their rivals. Incurring a total of 13 penalties during the course of the event, Butler/O’Donovan lost time at TPs close to Ballymakeera and Carriganimmy.
Looking for some help in their national bid and to deny their Ulster counterparts some top points, two Limerick crews assisted the winners as Mike O’Connor Jr and Greg Shinnors (Subaru) took second spot on 35 penalties and Alan Shinnors/George Shinnors (Subaru) were third with 43 penalties.
The highest-scoring Ulster crews were Shane Dalton/Ryan Treanor (Subaru) and Derek Mackerel/Conor Boylan (Subaru), both of whom ended the night with 45 penalties with the former taking precedence courtesy of a tie-break.
The second-best Cork crew was that of Ovens driver Owen Murphy (Subaru) and his Donoughmore navigator Patrick O’Leary (Subaru), who netted fifth. Indeed, were it not for late penalties at TPs near Renaniree on the return journey, they could have snatched third spot. Victory in the novice category went to Inchigeelagh’s Kieran Lynch/Eamonn Creedon (Toyota Starlet), who finished on 292 penalties. The Macroom/Leap duo of Pádraig McCarthy/Ciarán French (Subaru) finished third in the beginners’ section.
Afterwards, O’Donovan said: ‘It [the route] looked good on paper but in reality, it was tough going, it was relentless. The lads that finished second and third took points off the championship contenders and I was hoping that would happen. Everything just worked for us on the night.’
Meanwhile, the next round of both championships is the Skibbereen and District Car Club’s Skibbereen ‘100 Isles’ Navigation Trial on February 11th.