Thursday, May 02, 2019

CARLOW Car Club’s annual Sheehy Motor Group Carlow Stages Rally, featuring the O’Brien Cement MkII Challenge, takes place this year on Sunday 12 May.

This year’s event was launched at the Seven Oaks Hotel and they are looking forward to another  busy day of action.

The rally will run in a mini-stage format over two stages on roads east of Tullow which will be repeated three times. There are 90km of competitive stages which are a mix of fast flowing and twisty roads, something for all drivers to enjoy.

Drivers and their teams travel from all over to compete in Carlow for the weekend. Last year saw 40% of the competitors coming from the UK and Northern Ireland, with others travelling from as far away as America and Australia.

Brendan Harpur, Michael Walsh (Seven Oaks Hotel), David Kidd (Sheehy Motors), Des Ryan (President Carlow Car Club), Alan Corrigan (Clerk of the Course), John Hennessy (O’Brien Cement) and Willie Cecil (Carlow Car Club Chairman) at the launch of this year’s Stages Rally in the Seven Oaks Photos: Thomas Nolan Photography

Based on previous years, the rally hopes to attract in excess of 100 cars and their crews to the county. One of the main features of the event will be the O’Brien Cement MkII Challenge. The Ford Escort MkII is probably one of the most iconic rally cars in motorsport and draws a large crowd of spectators to watch these tail happy cars. Last year there were more than 60 MkII Escorts competing for the coveted trophy.

The teams will start their rally by driving through the stages on Saturday, making pace notes to aid in the rally on Sunday. The rally cars are checked for safety on Saturday afternoon in The Sheehy Motor Group premises on Green Lane, Carlow. Then they are securely locked up for the night, ready for the rally to start in earnest on Sunday at 9am.

After the morning loop, cars will come back to Tullow for service in the mart from 11am onwards. Spectators are welcome along the stages and are asked to heed the safety marshals’ directions at all times.

“We would like to thank our main sponsors, the Sheehy Motor Group, Seven Oaks Hotel and O’Brien Cement for all their help and support during the year, and of course the residents on the stages for their cooperation,” said this year’s Clerk Of The Course, Alan Corrigan.

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