WHILE Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley were celebrating overall victory following Sunday’s Monaghan Stages Rally, two Tyrone drivers were also enjoying success at the event.
Just outside the overall top 10, Castlederg’s Darren McKelvey, assisted by Dean O’Sullivan, finished an impressive 11th to take second place in class 20 onboard their Mitsubishi Evo IX and Clogher’s Brian Armstrong and Aodhn Gallagher, 26th overall in their Ford Escort, took the top spot on the class 12 podium.
Dungannon’s Bryan Jardine and Declan McKenna, in a Mk II Ford Escort, finished 48th overall and ninth in class 14.
“I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get the class win, but going into the last stage I knew even finishing second means we’ll get some good championship points, so for once I did the smart thing and we’ve increased our lead in both the National and the Border Championships,” said McKelvey, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Clady’s Declan McCrory endured a somewhat frustrating outing in Monaghan after a promising start to proceedings.
With Stephen O’Hanlon alongside on the notes, the Tyrone pair ‘had a brilliant run at six of the nine stages’ and were ninth overall after the first stage.
Unfortunately, a braking error on stage two saw them lose 25 seconds, dropping them down to 15th. However, within four stages they were back up to eighth overall after a stunning run between stages three ans six.
Disappointingly, that was as good as it was to get for the pair as without a part needed for their Subaru Impreza during the service halt after stage six, they were unable to go any further.
“We had a load of positives to take from it,” stressed a philosophical McCrory afterwards. “Our times are starting to come and I am sure with some more seat time everything will come together.”
Another local competitor was Strabane co-driver, Eathan McColgan, who was partnering Letterkenny’s Josh Harris on the day.
They had been progressing nicely until stage three when they slid wide, hitting a gate and a concrete post, which caused them to exceed the maximum time for the stage.
They returned to action for the remainder of the event in their Honda Civic, finishing 89th overall and ninth in class 11F.