By Martin Walsh
CLONAKILTY’S Cal McCarthy is hoping that his Citroen DS3R5 will be ready for next week’s Circuit of Kerry Rally in Tralee. He was an opening stage casualty in the recent Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally where he was forced out with a damaged radiator.
‘We are due to have the new radiator installed. I want to do the Circuit of Kerry as I really need seat time in the car,’ Cal says.
‘The plan for the season is to compete in the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship but I just want to get over Kerry first now. Apart from the first stage in Abbeyleix I really haven’t got a proper run yet. It is frustrating as there is a lot of work gone into the car.
‘The West Cork Rally incident was a freak really and that was annoying, but I suppose it is all part of rallying.’
Meanwhile, a flick though the top results for the recent Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally illustrates that it wasn’t as successful for local drivers in comparison to other years. Dunmanway’s David Guest 13th place finish in the International event was the only local in the top 20 while in the National section, there were just two locals in the top 20 – Dunmanway’s Conor McCarthy (Mitsubishi), who was third overall, and Ardfield’s Eoghan Calnan (Ford Escort), who was 12th.
In the international section, the opening day retirements of Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin (Ford Fiesta R5) and Clonakilty’s Cal McCarthy (Citroen Ds3R5) diluted the challenge while Stephen Carey’s (Fiesta R2) progress was stymied by a puncture.
The local contingent is hugely important and popular within West Cork but there is a growing concern that the numbers now involved has diminished considerably especially in the Skibbereen area, once a stronghold for rally drivers. Indeed, the friendly (most of the time) rivalry is now a fading pattern. Hopefully, the drought is only temporary.