1978 Kildare Hideout

Rosemary Smith snatched second place just six miles from the finish.

Tansey and Inglis uncover the Hideout – Rosemary Smith second.

This report is reproduced from Motoring News 30 November, 1978

John Tansey and Rea Inglis, a long-time partnership in Irish rallying, scored their most convincing win yet when they took their BMW 2002tii to top spot in the third round of the Shellsport National Navigation Championship, Kildare Motor Club, Hideout Rally.  After a 200 mile route in Counties Kildare, Laois, and Offaly, they had no less than 22 minutes to spare over the Chrysler Ireland Team BP Sunbeam 2-litre of Rosemary Smith and Peter Scott.  Third was Peter McCullagh and Don Foley, this pair only dropping out of the runner-up place some 6 miles from the finish when their ex-works Escort ran out of petrol.

All the series points-chasers were out to add to their totals, with leaders Eamonn Cotter and Paul Phelan top seeds in their V6 Escort, its driveshaft vibrations now cured.  Last year’s champions, John Coyne and Christy Farrell were at 2 in the 1.6 Chrysler Ireland Sunbeam, while team-mates Rosemary Smith and Peter Scott had the 2-litre engine in their BP sponsored car.  

The strong Chrysler line-up continued with an ex-works, ex-Robin Eyre-Maunsell Avenger in the hands of Monaghan Drumlin winners David Wright and Leslie Fannin.  David Yeates and Frank O’Donoghue had borrowed Coyne’s Avenger for the night as none of the Fiat (Ireland) fleet was ready;  the 131 still hadn’t recovered from its last roll, while the new 127 Sport which will be campaigned in future, wasn’t fully prepared yet.

The early 10pm start was from the carpark of the sponsor – The Hideout, Kilcullen – with a long run out to the first tight section over Church Mountain.  But for Coyne, disaster came straight away.  Leaving the first route check, his engine gave out a loud bang, put a rod through the block, and that was that.

Shortly afterwards there was another casualty when Cotter came a cropper at a 90 left near the end of Church Mountain, hitting a front corner and pulling a wheel back.  He limped down to the control, still one of only three to clean the section, but there was too much damage to continue.  The others to stay clean were David Wright’s Avenger and the Escort Mexico of Clive Evans and Gordon Graves, while a string of others dropped one minute.

Another tight one almost immediately cost everyone time, including a hefty 8 minutes for Rosemary Smith when Scott tried to use a road which hadn’t existed for decades and only appears on very old maps!  Others already out included the Escort Sport of Frank Rogers, and the Fiat 124 Sport of Ezio Fusco who had the shortest rally of all, collecting a bridge parapet just a tenth of a mile from the start.

The Coan ford in the Glen of Imaal, well known to Circuit of Ireland competitors but only cautioned in the route instructions, claimed its usual quota, with Coote Geelan’s Vauxhall Magnum doing in its steering rack, but able to continue slowly.

At the petrol halt near Nurney, Clive Evans and Gordon Graves, to their surprise, held the lead on just 1 mark, with Yeates, Mike Dunnion/Chris McNally, Tansey/Inglis, Dave Patton/Mark Slevin, and Jim Fitzpatrick/Noel Daly all on 2.  The petrol halt was long, at 90 minutes, and the second “half”, at some 115 miles, was much longer than the comfortable fuel capacity of most of the cars, causing problems for those without service cars that could be placed at strategic points.

However, the principal troubles concerned not fuel, but wrong approaches.  Not long after the restart, the largely unmarked complex of roads at Emo was used, with the entrance to two roads within yards of each other, causing many to take the wrong one, giving them a wrong approach at the next time point.  Among those caught were Wright/Fannin, Yeates/O’Donoghue, Seamus Burke and Patton.

Those who had correct approaches all dropped time, so there was a complete shake-up.  Even before this, the lead had changed hands as Evans and Graves had a major disaster near Monasterevin, where they spent so much time searching for a tricky approach that they went over lateness and had to cut a complete loop.

Patton had an excursion shortly after, the Mexico visiting a barbed wire fence, but there was no serious damage.  Peter McCullagh’s ex-works Escort TC had a battery fire, but he lost only a single minute and as a result held second place behind the BMW of Tansey/Inglis which was showing everyone the way.

Rosemary Smith’s Sunbeam and David Yeates’ borrowed Avenger both damaged their exhausts but continued, while there was another spate of wrong approaches at the Rock of Dunamase, where there is another unmarked triangle.  This one caught Eugene Glynn’s BMW, Mike Dunnion’s Avenger, and Clive Evans’ Mexico, putting the early leaders even further back.

Peter McCullagh’s Escort ran out of petrol just six miles from the finish, spoiling a good run by Don Foley on the maps, but their 12 minute loss only cost them one place, leaving them a good third behind Rosemary Smith and Peter Scott.

An unsuccessful protest by Frank O’Donoghue over an approach direction delayed the final results somewhat, but there was no disputing John Tansey and Rea Inglis’ victory.  They had a great run to give them a healthy lead in the Shellsport Championship, with Mike Dunnion and Chris McNally taking over second spot from Cotter/Phelan.

There was more emphasis on local knowledge and trickery than people expected, while the long section after petrol could easily have turned the whole thing into an economy run rather than a rally.


  1. J.Tansey/R.Inglis (BMW 2002) 7m;
  2. Miss R.Smith/P.Scott (Sunbeam) 29m;
  3. P.McCullagh/D.Foley (Escort TC) 37m;
  4. D.Yeates/F.O’Donoghue (Avenger) 40m;
  5. M.Dunnion/C.McNally (Avenger) 41m;
  6. S.Burke/H.Inglis (Escort RS2000) 42m;
  7. E.Glynn/J.French (BMW 2002) 49m;
  8. S.Murphy/T.Britton (Escort) 49m;
  9. S.Murray/N.Treacy (Avenger) 54m;
  10. M.Breslin/M.Dunn (Viva) 73m.