Monaghan navigators top the bill in British Championship

Aug 16, 2022 10:08 By Sean McCaffrey
Monaghan navigators top the bill in British Championship Monaghan navigators top the bill in British Championship
Eamon Kelly and Conor Mohan on their way to victory in the Junior British championship
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It was a successful weekend for Irish competitors in the Scottish forests

Conor Mohan and Eamonn Kelly scored their second win in a row on this year’s Grampian Forest Rally, round 4 of the 2022 British Rally Championship. The pair finished the six stage event with a 3:50s advantage over 2nd place, and fellow Irish crew, Johnnie Mulholland/Eoin Treacy. On the opening stage, the 8.26km ‘Durris’, both Kelly/Mohan and Kyle White/Sean Topping set identical times to hold joint 1st overall. Mulholland/Treacy finished the stage in 3rd OA, 13s down on the joint leaders. A great start from the three Irish crews. On SS2 ‘Drumtochty’ Kelly/Mohan pulled a 5s advantage over White/Topping. Unfortunately, Mulholland/Treacy were hampered with fuel pump issues and dropped close to a minute but still held 3rd. After service it was into the 15.8km ‘Finglenny’ and White/Topping took the stage win to reduce Kelly/Mohan’s advantage to just 3s. Kelly/Mohan struggled on the middle loop due to the stages being well cut up from the previous cars and the high temperatures which reduced the grip of their well worn tyres. On SS4 ‘Scare Hill’, once again White/Topping took another 2s out of Kelly/Mohan to leave the Donegal/Monaghan pair with a 1s advantage with just two stages remaining. Ongoing mechanical issues left Mulholland/Treacy a distant 3rd, but crucially still involved.

During the final service, Kelly/Mohan put two harder compound tyres on the front of their car which allowed them to give the last two stages a good push to try and extend their narrow lead. The change of tyres worked immediately as on SS5 (Strathgyle) they went a full 6s faster than the second fastest junior. Horrible luck was to strike White/Topping as they picked up a puncture and to add insult to injury, the puncture ripped off a break pipe. The crew made it to the end of the stage dropping 48s, but retirement followed stage exit. This is the second year in a row on the Grampian that a puncture and burst break pipe spelled retirement for the crew. With White’s retirement, it left Kelly/Mohan with over a 3 minutes lead with just the 14km ‘Hurlie Bog’ stage left meaning the team could relax and concentrate on bring the car home in one piece. Arthur Kierans was also in action on the Grampian navigating for Alan Carmichael. The pair once again won the National BRC section, making it their third win of the year. Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin were the overall winners of the rally in their VW Polo GTI R5.

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