BY MARTIN WALSH
‘WE couldn’t have done anything more, really,’ declared Drinagh navigator Denis O’Donovan who, along with his driver Mallow’s Derek Butler (Subaru), maintained a clean sheet on the recent Newcestown-based Skibbereen ‘100 Isles’ Navigation Trial, a counting round of the Motorsport Ireland National Navigation Trial and the Munster Navigation Trial series.
However, they had to be content with fourth overall and second in the Expert category after three other crews, all from Ulster, did likewise. The results were then decided by category and subsequently on the lower cubic capacity of the cars. The top two overall places were annexed by the Semi-Expert crews of Shane Dalton/Ryan Treanor in a 1990cc Subaru with Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan in a 1996cc Subaru second followed by the Expert crew of Darragh Kelly/Oisin Sherlock in their 1994cc Subaru with Butler/O’Donovan’s 1995cc Subaru completing the top four and taking second in the Expert category.
In fine conditions, a total of 22 crews participated as the aforementioned top four were in fine form. Top seeds, the Mogeely/Ballincollig duo of James Fitzgerald/Ken Carmody (Subaru), who were the highest-placed Cork crew in the MI series prior to the event, collected their first penalties close to Newcestown and another at Murragh before finishing with three penalties to claim fourth in the Expert class and sixth overall.
In the Novice category Rosscarbery’s Brian O’Mahony and his Leap navigator Amy Gallwey (Subaru) took the laurels. They incurred seven penalties on the 85-mile event, most of them (five) on the ITC section north of Enniskeane towards Coppeen.
Cork crews wrapped up all three spots in the Beginner’s section where positions changed towards the end. Victory went to Bantry’s Seamus McHugh and Bweeng’s Thomas Mulcahy (Subaru Justy), who finished 13 penalties ahead of Rosscarbery’s Eric Calnan and Clonakilty’s Michael White (Subaru); they dropped 20 penalties at TP 29, south of Beal na Bláth. Ovens driver Owen Murphy and Damian O’Donovan (Subaru) were just two penalties further adrift in third; they incurred 20 penalties at the ‘Via’ near Mossgrove.
The event also counted towards the Munster Navigation Trial Championship and the next round of both will be on the Cork ‘1000 Shakes’ Navigation Trial on February 12th/13th that will be headquartered in Shanballymore.