The excitement is building in Donegal with the Boathouse Restaurant/Bailey Nite Club Harvest Stages Rally less than two weeks away.
The level of interest in the final round of the Sligo Pallets Border Championship and Donegal Commercials, Donegal Motor Club Championship has exceeded expectations. Over 130 entries have been received and they are all assured of a warm Donegal welcome.
In a field that has plenty of quality as well as quantity, the top 10 includes former ITRC and National Champion Donagh Kelly in his new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, this will be the first Polo R5 to compete in Donegal and only the second one to compete in Ireland after Marty McCormick’s success at the Cork 20.
“The car is being picked up this week,” says Kelly. “There are a couple of things that need to be sorted and we hope to have a familiarisation run before the rally”
“I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel, the Polo appears to be a well-sorted car.”
Also expected at the Harvest is Callum Devine. He has been the undoubted star of this year’s Irish Tarmac Championship in his Fiesta R5. His speed and commitment should make him favourite to take the win.
Seamus Leonard, Joe McGonigle and Aaron McLaughlin will all no doubt be determined to take the win as well. Seamus Leonard showed in June’s Donegal International Rally he’d lost none of his speed as he became more familiar with his new Focus. Muff’s Joe McGonigle hasn’t competed since the same rally in June but is keen to get back behind the wheel of the Fiesta WRC. Joe is on home ground and determined to go well. Aaron McLaughlin from Carndonagh is fresh from a fantastic result on the Rallye Charlemagne where he took sixth overall in a PCRS ran Fiesta R5.
The modified battle is going to be frantic as the lineup includes Kevin Eves, Kevin Gallagher, Damien Gallagher, Camillus Bradley and newly crowned ITRC modified Champion Damien Toner.
There are many other crews who will no doubt be battling for top positions not just in overall battles but also in their classes. The fight to clinch championships and bragging rights before the end of the season is well and truly on.
Tony Boyle, clerk of the course for the event, has urged any marshals who are available to please get in contact. Like all rallies, the Donegal Harvest will require a strong marshaling presence to ensure the rally runs smoothly.
1 Donagh Kelly Conor Foley Frosses VW Polo GTI R5 5
2 Joseph McGonigle Ciaran Geaney Muff Fiesta WRC 7
3 Callum Devine Brian Hoy Derry Fiesta R5 5
4 Seamus Leonard Paul McLoughlin Omagh Focus WRC 7
5 Kevin Eves Chris Melly Pettigo Corolla 14
6 Kevin Gallagher Gerard Callaghan Rathmullan Darrian T90 14
7 Damien Gallagher Mac Walsh Letterkenny Escort Mk2 14
8 Damien Toner Denver Rafferty Armagh Escort Mk2 14
9 Camillus Bradley Crawford Henderson Tyrone Escort Mk2 14
10 Aaron McLaughlin Darren Curran Carndonagh Fiesta R5 5
11 Declan McCrory Stephen O Hanlon Tyrone Fiesta R5 5
12 Anthony Cairns Mark Preston Strabane Subaru 20
14 Gary Cairns Strabane Evo X 4
15 John Bonner Paddy McCrudden Dungloe Escort Mk2 14
16 Kyle Mcgettigan Dale McGettigan Letterkenny Escort Mk2 14
17 Martin McGee Kevin Kearney Milford Escort Mk2 14
18 Colin O Donoghue Sean Collins Killarney Escort Mk2 14
19 Daniel Conaghan Terence Magee Milford Escort Mk2 13
20 Ramond Conlon Damien Fleming Monaghan Corolla 13