National Rally Championship wraps up with this weekend’s Donegal Harvest Rally

Meath's Gary McNamee (left) and Donegal's Michael Boyle - the contenders in the Triton Showers Junior National Rally Championship. Photo: Martin Walsh.
Meath's Gary McNamee (left) and Donegal's Michael Boyle - the contenders in the Triton Showers Junior National Rally Championship. Photo: Martin Walsh.

This season’s Triton Showers National Rally Championship concludes on Saturday with the Martin Howley Memorial Donegal Harvest Rally in Killybegs. The event has attracted over 160 crews – and while the series has already been won by Clonmel’s Roy White (Fiesta WRC) and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien, the Motorsport Safety Group N award, the Junior title and a number of class awards will be decided on the eight stage event that skirts the coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Former double champion and winner of four rounds of the current series Declan Boyle (Fiesta WRC) is the top seed. The Lettermacaward driver summed up his season, “Yes, it’s been very mixed but we are glad we have the car well sorted now. Winning the last few rallies was great and I would like to have a good go at the Harvest. I’m looking forward to doing nothing for the rest of year and maybe a better start to next year, we have the pace but just need that extra bit of luck.”
On his 2017 plans, he added, “We are definitely doing the Triton Showers National Championship again next year and at the minute we are sticking with the Fiesta WRC.”
Boyle will need to be at his very best to fend off the likes of Garry Jennings (Subaru WRC) and another local hero, this year’s Donegal International Rally winner Manus Kelly (Subaru WRC). Earlier this season Kelly on his debut in a Subaru WRC won the Carlow Rally, a counting round of the Triton Showers series. Jennings is a former winner of both the Harvest and the International event in Donegal. The battle for supremacy even between this trio should be intense.

Meanwhile, former triple champion Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) – a regular in the national series - can secure second overall, the popular Monaghan driver will occupy the number four berth in Killybegs.
Donegal’s Joseph McGonigle will debut his recently acquired Skoda Fabia R5 and it will be interesting to see how he compares with the Fiesta R5 of Brendan Cumiskey, who was eighth overall in last week’s Cork “20” International Rally.
The top ten also features Frank Wray (Subaru WRC) and the trio of rear wheel drive cars of Gary Kiernan, Declan Gallagher and Chris Armstrong.
Local hero Gallagher will campaign his usual Toyota Starlet while Kiernan and Armstrong are in Escorts.
Having won the National section of last week’s Cork “20” event Brian Brogan (Ford Escort) will be determined to continue his good form in his native county. Other entries in the Modified section that is both fascinating and competitive include the Escort quartet of Damien Toner, Damien Gallagher, Ryan Loughran and Paul Purtill.

The Motorsport Safety Group N award within the Triton Showers series will be determined in Donegal. Currently, defending champion Aidan Wray Mitsubishi Evo X) is a mere point ahead of the Mitsubishi Evo IX of Shane Maguire.
Meanwhile, Maynooth’s Paul Barrett in his Vado liveried Subaru is also on the Donegal entry list.

Other entries include J F Shovelin and Enda McCormack in Subaru WRC’s, Michael Carbin (Mitsubishi), John Bonner (Escort), Columba Heena (Toyota Corolla) and Patrick McHugh (Escort).


The Triton Showers National Rally Junior series will be decided in Donegal with local ace Michael Boyle (Honda Civic) and Meath’s Gary McNamee (Honda Civic) continuing their epic battle for success that also secures automatic qualification for the selection process in the Billy Coleman Young Driver of the Year award. McNamee has taken top points in Kerry, Cavan and ALMC but he’s failed to finish in Carlow and the last two events – in Tipperary and Clare. Boyle has scored in all seven rounds to date including maximum points in the last two rounds. With the series decided on the best four results there is a possibility that the title could even be decided on a tie-break.