Curley Earns A 12 Second Win in Easter Rally.
Cahal Curley (BMW 2002 Alpina) won the Killarney Easter two-day rally by just 12 seconds from Corkman Gregg O’Gorman (Ford Escort T/C), with Dublin garage-man Charlie Gunn (Ford Escort T/C) in third place overall, after two days of driving over 16 special stages in Counties Cork and Kerry.
Curley, from Derry, who was in second place for all of Saturday, jumped into the lead only 20 miles before the Finish on Sunday when local favourite, Billy Coleman of Millstreet, retied on the last special stage at Mullaghanish with a connecting rod sticking out of the engine block on his Renault Alpine.
Coleman had led right from the start and left Killarney on Sunday morning with a 7 second lead over Curley. Rain, mist and then fog on Moll’s Gap slowed Curley on that stage as Greg O’Gorman set up his big challenge from an overnight third place.
Even fastest times on three of the first five stages on Sunday morning wasn’t enough to get him into the lead as both Coleman and Curley recognised the challenge and put on the pressure again.
A group of five drivers had been contesting O’Gorman’s third place, and Gunn, runner up in the recent Galway International, got the upper hand in this bunch when Mick Dolan retired with a broken wheel on his Escort at Fahiry, Arnie Poole (Cooper S) aquaplaned into a bog at Borlinn, and Mick Barry (Ford Escort BDA) hit a tree at Lough Allua.
John O’Gorman had already retired on Saturday with a broken water pump and Gerry McNamara was put out when he spun on oil and hit a wall at Yitterbring’s Bridge on the Breanagh River Stage near Brosna.
The Gortnagane stage near Millstreet claimed two of the fastest Mini Coopers on Saturday when Jimmy Reid rolled and John Dempsey hit a bank.
Dubliner Maurice Forde finished fourth overall, his best performance to date, but his brother Gerry was not so lucky – he rolled 20 ft off the road on Sunday morning on the Ardgroom stage. Fifth place went to the Belfast man David Agnew in the second BMW to finish on the leaderboard.
Irene Neely from Ballinamallard was third in her class driving a Cooper S.
- C. Curley / A. Frazer (BMW) 162.12
- G. O’Gorman / L. Whyte (Escort T/C) 162.24
- C. Gunn / H. McEvoy (Escort T/C) 167.13
- M. Forde / D. McSorley (Escort T/C) 168.55
- D. Agnew / R. Harkness (BMW) 169.31