BY MARTIN WALSH
FAMILY ties were a very strong theme in the Westlodge Hotel Fastnet Rally as brothers-in-law and Dunmanway duo Jason McSweeney and David Guest finished second and third overall respectively.
Another Dunmanway driver Conor McCarthy took fifth overall; his father Liam won the event in 1988, 1992 and 2008.
For Jason McSweeney, second overall was a personal best in rallying and one that, considering all the heartache he’s endured with non-finishes down through the years, was well merited.
Whatever happens in the future, Jason can always say he actually led the event. After the second stage he was 1.3 seconds ahead of early leader, Bandon’s Vincy McSweeney.
While this year’s event did not have the quality of former Fastnet events, local success is still hugely important. Although a transmission problem threatened to thwart his position McSweeney managed to guide his Mitsubishi through to second spot.
One of his rivals for a podium spot was David Guest, who survived a major moment of drama on SS 6 to secure third. David lost out in his bid to win the Motorsport Safety Team Group N award within the Triton series as Monaghan’s Shane Maguire, in a similar Mitsubishi, made a welcome return to the event to take the national Group N title.
Conor McCarthy (Mitsubishi) can be well pleased with his sixth place finish.
From a media perspective, the Doheny trio were a pleasure to deal with, as were all the other local competitors.