Dessie McCartney had a great run on the Pacenotes Stages Rally, run at the Kirkistown race circuit, last weekend. For this rally Dessie had Geraldine McBride sitting next to him calling out the corners. They had a bit of a shaky start over the first two stages and lost time with a spin which dropped them down as far as 30th place. After that they really got going and posted some very quick times to finish the day in 10th place overall and second two wheel drive. If it hadn't been for the time lost early on then the result would have been a lot more impressive. The picture above show just how hard Dessie was pushing. The Darrian is a different animal than the Porsche 911 that Dessie is famous for rallying with great success but we think he's got the hang on the GTR. Below is a picture Dessie sent us of him competing on the Cork 20 Rally 'many years ago'. Perhaps we can re-create this fantastic photo with the Darrian!
Well done to Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett who had a great run on this years Melvyn Evans Tour Of Epynt rally. They started off the day being a little cautious over the first two of the morning stages but once they had got these out of the way it was a full on charge all day and they ended the day in an excellent third overall. Huw and Anthony were in fact fastest of all on stage five in the afternoon. Despite taking huge chunks of time out of the second place crew their pace wasn't quite enough to grab second with the gap being just six seconds at the end. Richard Merriman was also back on the ranges with Kath Curzon in the co Drivers seat. They came home with third, in a very competitive class, and ninth overall. Chris Simmons and Andy Moss finished 17th overall.
Well done to all three crews, a great day rallying in Wales!
Kevin Gallagher travelled down from Donegal to compete in this years Quality Hotels Clonakilty West Cork Rally in his new T90 GTR+. Kevin, along with co driver Brendan McElhinney, had a great run over both days of the rally which saw varying stage conditions from dry to very slippery. By the end of the event on Sunday afternoon they had climbed their way up to finishing second overall in the National rally, in a very competitive field, with a time that would have seen them finish 11th in the international rally. The car and crew show some great promise and speed and we look forward to seeing more top results from Kevin in the future.
With three wins on three different rallies it was an incredibly successful weekend for Darrian Cars.
It was a close fought battle for the win at this years SMC stages held at the Anglesey Circuit in North Wales. This time, however, a Darrian was going to win the event but which one? It would be Brandon Smith and Dylan Thomas who claimed the top spot ahead of fellow Darrian competitors Chris Simmons and Andy Moss. Simmons and Moss were charging in the later stages, closing in on the top spot but they couldn't quite overhaul the leaders and the eventual gap was just one second! Just to make it all the more impressive the top three was rounded out by Gareth Richards and Ian Jones in yet another Darrian. What a great result, well done to all three crews and congratulations to Brandon and Dylan for a great win.
Bob Shaw Memorial Stages
Well done to Nigel Gibbard and David Jones for winning the Bob Shaw Memorial Stages at Talbenny in South Wales. After a slow first stage they went on to post fastest times on all but one of the rest of the days stages eventually finishing the day with over a minutes gap to the second place crew.
It was another top three lockout for Darrians in the rally car class at the Nutts Corner Sprint in Northern Ireland. It was seasoned hillclimber and sprinter Seamus Morris who came out on top in his new rally spec T90 GTR+. Second and third place went to the McCartneys, both in the same car. It was Richard McCartney who came out on top of that particular father son battle and Dessie had to settle for third. How often has a car achieved two podium places on the same event? Well done to all three drivers, it's quite something to lock out the top three in such a competitive sprint.
Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon made a return to good form with a podium finish of this weekends BG LandRovers Dixies Challenge rally. Richard and Kath put in some very quick times all day over the epynt ranges and they eventually finished the day in third overall, first two wheel drive, against some very competitive crews. Well done to both and we want to see some more great performances like this for the rest of the year now.
Toyota Harlech Rally 2-5-17
Brandon Smith and Dylan Thomas continue their good form with a third place overall on the Toyota Harlech stages this weekend. Well done to both for another great result. Gareth Richards and Ian Jones finished in seventh overall.
EMC Sprint 1-7-17
Image Copyright Rosemary Mccartney
Three drivers showed exactly how comptitive the Darrian is at the Eniskillen Motor Club Sprint in Northern Ireland. Barry Morris had an excellent drive and came out on top in the rally car class, not only beating his father Seamus in the same car but beating Dessie Mccartney too. Barry ended the day in fifth overall, 1st in class and was the quickest non race car and he also broke the class record which was previously held by Dessie. Dessie did not have an answer to Barrys pace but he still came home with 2nd in class. Seamus Morris came in 4th in class with a little bit of work to do to catch up with Barry. Thanks to Rosemary Mccartney for the great picture!
Enville Stages 2-7-17
Geoff Roberts and Terry Martin had a good run on this years Enville stages held at the Anglesey Race Circuit. They finished fourth overall and second in class in amongst tough competition. Brandon Smith and Dylan Thomas had a few problems on the day but still managed to finish the event in 7th overall and third in class.
Brawdy Stages 9-7-17
Dai 'Dot' Davies and Gerwyn James had a great run yesterday on this years Brawdy Stages. In his first event in the new car Dai took very little time getting to grips with the car and was soon posting very competitive times and one overall fastest time as well. They finished the day in 3rd overall and second in class. Not bad for the first go in a new car. John Lewis and Dilwyn John had another fantastic result finishing 4th overall and first in their class by a forty second margin to their nearest class competitors. Two great drives, well done.
There were some great results at this years Midsummer Caerwent Rally with Chris Simmons and Andy Moss finishing the day in 5th overall and second in their class. Jonathan Davies and Tom Wood also had a good day finishing in 20th overall and second in their class. Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon unfortunately missed out on any class results in a very strong field, they finished 4th in class and 8th overall. Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps finished 10th overall.
Mini Epynt Stages 04-06-17
Image Copyright Joáo Moura
The Epynt weather was up to it's usual tricks this year for the Mini Epynt Stages. After being dry through the early hours the heavens opened just after the cars had left to start the first loop of stages. This meant a lot of people were caught out on slick tires in very wet conditions. Despite the early tricky conditions there were some great drives. Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett came home with first in class after finishing 7th overall. Nigel Gibbard and David Jones would take third in class and tenth overal.
Well done to all the crews who made it round in some tricky conditions!
Brief reports of Race and Rally results for Darrian and Davrian. For older results go to the Results Archive page
Well done to Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett for an excellent performance on this years Harry Flatters Rally. Reed and Hackett posted consistently quick times all day in the showery conditions and came home at the end of the day with fourth place overall and first in their class. Rhichard Merriman and Kath Curzon also had a great run over the ranges finishing 10th overall and third in what turned out to be a very competitive two litre class.
Hopefully we will see equal or even better performances on the Mewla rally at the end of the month.
Mewla Rally 27-8-17
Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon had a good result on this years Mewla rally. The event took on a new form this year with some stages at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells but with the majority taking place up on the Epynt Ranges as usual. Merriman and Curzon got off to a great start at the showground but really came into their own up on the ranges and were soon in third place overall. Unfortunately they were not able to keep this place and by the end of the day they had slipped back to sixth overall and came away with second in class.
Promenade Stages Rally 2-9-17
Image Copyright Graham Roberts
Well done to Nigel Gibbard and Simon Rogers for their fantastic win on this years Promenade Stages Rally. The Friday night stages began with Geoff Roberts and Terry Martin, in another Darrian, topping the time sheets and it looked as if they would be the Darrian to beat. Saturday was a different story and it was Gibbard and Rogers who moved up to the lead in and managed to stay there in an incredibly tight battle between the top three or four cars. There was no chance to ease off towards the end of the rally and they eventually took the win by just one second. Geoff Roberts and Terry Martin had a few problems later on Saturday and slipped down the order to eventually finish in 5th place overall.
Neil Howard Stages Rally 4-11-17
Joshua and Tamsyn Davey had an excellent result in the first round of the MSN Circuit Rally Championship at Oulton Park. With this being only their second event in the Darrian T90 they were seeded a long way down the field but with a lot of very quick people up ahead. This certainly didn't worry them as they soon had the car up into the top ten and three fastest stage times through the day saw them finish the day in sixth overall and first in class. It would have been fourth overall but they recieved a ten second penalty on the last stage. Still a fantastic drive though and we hope to see more performances like this from Joshua and Tamsyn.
Image copyright John Gorton
Challenger Stages Rally 20-11-17
Dan Gibson and Alf Chanter, 2017 ASWMC Tarmac Rally Champions
Well done to Dan Gibson and Alf Chanter for clinching the 2017 ASWMC tarmac rally championship. They had a steady run on the Challenger stages at Bovington Camp to make sure they did all they needed to win the championship. By the end of the day they were seventh overall and second in class.
Tony Rees and Lloyd Morgan also had a good run in Tonys new T90 GTR+. After a very cautious start they soon found that they had the pace to compete at the top of the results and set fastest stage times. The early caution and a spin on the last stage meant they finished in fourth overall and first in class.
Joshua and Tamsyn Davey continued their good form in the second round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship at Cadwell. The times were incredibly close at the top and at one point Joshua and Tamsyn were up to second overall. A few problems to overcome later in the day saw them drop down the order a little bit but they managed to fight back to finish fourth overall and took another class win. They certainly showed that they have the pace to run at the front of a very competitive national rally!
Northern Ireland Championship Success For Dessie and Seamus 22-11-17
Image Copyright Neil Coulter Photography
Image Copyright Gary Craig
It has been an incredibly successful year in Northern Ireland for Darrian. Dessie McCartney and Seamus Morris have been nearly unbeatable in every event they have entered this year and between them they have secured four class championship wins and two second places.
Dessie McCartney - Darrian T90 GTR 1st in Class 2017 Northern Ireland, McGrady Insurance Special Stage Rally Championship
1st in Class 2017 Northern Ireland ANICC S.W. Adair Sprint Championship.
2nd in Class 2017 Northern Ireland Millars Oils Hill Climb Championship
Seamus Morris - Darrian T90 GTR+ 1st in class 2017 Naylor Engineering Southern Hill Climb Championship.
1st in Class 2017 Northern Ireland, Millars Oils Hill Climb Championship.
2nd in Class 2017 Northern Ireland ANICC SW Adair Sprint Championship
Well done to both Dessie and Seamus for all your championship wins this year an we hope 2018 will prove just as successful, if not more!
Chris Simmons and Andy Moss had a great run on the Glyn Memorial Stages at the Anglesey circuit to finish fourth overall and second in class. They had a very close battle over the two day event with the eventual class winner with Simmons and Moss having the upper hand on the first day but they dropped a little bit of time and ended up a close second. A great result on what looked to be a very competitive event.
Paul Culverwell and Terry Martin had a great run on this years Hall Trophy Rally taking a class win and finishing tenth overall. Paul admitted to being a little nervous after his last outing in the T9 didn't go to plan but it would seem that it all came back to him pretty soon. A great result.
Rali Cwm Gwendraeth 4-2-18
2018 is off to a good start for Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon after they got their first class win of the year on Rali Cwm Gwendraeth in Pembrey. After spending the morning trying a few different setups with the car they were down in third place in class but Richard and Kath put in two very quick times later in the afternoon which saw them jump up to take the class win and finish seventh overall. Hopefully this will be the first of many class wins this year for them!
This years Tour of Epynt rally had a very strong entry with it being the first round of the MSA Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship. As is often the case on Epynt the first stages were damp and very slippery and as the day went on the roads did dry out a little bit. But the rain came eventually for the last stage with competitiors just having time to change to wet tyres!
Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett were the highest placed Darrian at the end of the day. They led their class all day but it looked as if they might lose the win on the last stage after suffering a puncture but they had done enough to secure the class win and 9th overall. A good start to the year and some good championship points. Not far behind were Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon in the T90. They finished 10th overall and first in their class by a very small margin! Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas had a good run, not pushing as much as they could have done because they will be off to compete on the West Cork Rally next weekend. They finished the day with 3rd in class and 15th overall in the GTR+.
Well done to all the Darrian Crews, not a bad start to this years Epynt rallies.
Stuart Darcy and Keith McCarthy had a great result on this weekend Mayo Stages. They brought their GTR+ home with seventh overall, first in class and first two wheel drive. After a very close battle for the class lead in the morning Darcy and McCarthy put in some very fast times in the afternoon to clinch the win. This was a very competitve performace from them this weekend and it bodes well for the West Cork Rally next weekend where they join three other Darrian teams, all new GTR+ models. It should be exciting!
This years West Cork rally saw the long awaited return of John Dalton and Gwynfor Jones in the latest 'Works' Darrian T90 GTR+. This was the first event for the new car with it only having done a small ammount of testing since it's unveiling at last years Castle Combe rally day. Johns last rally was five years ago but he quickly remembered which pedal did what. The car, and driver, certainly lived up to expectations and was very fast straight away on the saturday morning stages. The ring was the first stage and John and Gwynfor set the fastest time in the national category and 6th fastest in the overall field including the internationals. As the day went on John and Gwynfor set many more fastest stage times and got in to a great battle with Gary Kiernan and Ryan Moore. Kiernan had hired a Millington powered Proton for the event and was posting some very good times. Both the Darrian and the Proton were a long way ahead of the rest of the national field but at the end of the first day Kiernan had edged ahead by just over five seconds. On day two John and Gwynfor were again quick off the mark in the Darrian and set the fastest time on the first stage managing to equal Kiernan to a tenth of a second on total time! Kiernan got the upper hand again on the next couple of stages and then, later in the day, John and Gwynfor had a disagreement with a sea wall causing damage to the Darrian but were able to carry on carefully and finish the last two stages. This meant they couldn't take the battle with Kiernan right up to the end of the rally but they still proved that the new car has pace. Before the incident with the wall there was a gap over almost three minutes to the third place crew behind them! Second in the national category was a great result and John and Gwynfor were also fastest two wheel drive car and the highest place Welsh crew.
John Dalton was also the first driver to be awarded the Donal O'Brien trophy for the fastest class 14 driver. Donal was a much loved and talented rally driver who was tragically killed in a collision on the road last year where he was knocked off his bicycle. He had competed in all kinds of motorsport, go karts, single seater formula racing and grass track racing. Donal came back to stage rallying in recent years and was a regular front runner throughout Ireland in his pride and joy class 14 Mk2 Escort. Donals family were there at the prize giving evening to see John recieve the trophy.
Over the course of the saturday stages Stuart Darcy and Keith McCarty were also having a good run in their GTR+. Not quite able to keep with the pace of John and Gwynfor but still giving the rest of the field a good battle. After five stages they were third in the national category. Kevin Gallagher and Gerard Callaghan were also showed promising speed on saturday morning but problems for them half way through the day saw them drop away.
Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas were another Welsh Darrian crew who went over for the weekend. Still gaining confidence in the car they drove a steady rally sith the aim of getting to the end. They gradually made their way up the the time sheets and eventually came home safely on sunday evening in 22nd place. having started with number 75 on the door this was great progress for Tony and Geraint.
Well done to John and Gwynfor for a fantastic result, hopefully there will be many more! Thanks to the Cork Motor Club for another fantastic event. The 'works' Darrian team may have been away from the West Cork Rally for a few years but we were very pleased to be back again.
Images from the service area, click to view. Copyright Dafydd Robertson-Williams
Tour of Caerwent 25-3-18
Image Copyright Neil Jones Central
Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon had another great result on sundays Tour of Caerwent stages where they finished in fourth overall and first in class. It wasn't an easy class win for them though. They had a great day long battle with Lee Edwards and Mike Roberts but some fast stage times in the afternoon saw Merriman and Curzon claw their way up to win the class by just one second! A great result again.
Stuart Darcy and Keith McCarty had another great result in the Darrian T90 GTR+ on sundays Circuit of Kerry Stages. Again they were the highest placed two wheel drive car finishing in seventh overall and first in class. This is the same result as the Mayo stages last month and it shows great consistency and a great start to the Triton Showers National championship with them taking two class wins from two rallies.
Bruce Edwards and Jim Smith had a fantastic result when they made the trip down to Anglesey for this years SMC stages. They took the overall win after a day long battle, trading fastest times, with Chris West and Keith Hounslow. Coming in to the last stage, Edwards and smith were trailing by just one second. With a big push on the last stage they were quicker than West and Hounslow to win the event by just three seconds. A very close result but a win is a win by whatever margin and it certainly keeps it exciting!
Corbeau Seats Rally - Essex 22-4-18
Mark Straker, after spending the last two years rebuilding his Darrian, finally debuted his new look car at last weekends Corbeau Seats Rally in Essex. The new red paint was not the only thing different about the car though. Mark was using a new 1.6 litre turbocharged engine for the first time. After many months of development work the engine and the car ran very well for the first time out and Mark, joined by his regular Co Driver Michael Coady, finished the event in fourth place overall taking first in class and top two wheel drive honours. Not bad at all for the first event!
The Corbeau Seats rally was also a huge success. As the first closed road rally in England there was a lot of pressure on for the event to go according to plan and be popular with the locals and rally fans. Hopefully the success of this event will mean that many more motorclubs will work towards introducing more closed road events across the UK. Closed road rallies provide a different challenge for UK crews, something they could previously only get by going abroad, we need more events like this in the UK.
Well done to Mark and Michael on their result. With a bit more seat time they could be a team to watch out for on the closed roads in the UK as well as Ireland!
Photos by Carl Leavold
Horiba D'Isis Stages 22-4-18
Mark Straker had another outiing in his Eco Boost powered GTR on Saturday at the Mira proving ground which he used as a chance to do more running and testing in the car before taking it to bigger events in Ireland. Conditions could not have been more different than last week in Essex with the rain coming down hard. Straker, this time co driven by his brother Jeremy, struggled on the first two stages finding that old, hard tires in the wet do not give you much grip at all! After that they put fresh tires on and suddenly jumped up the leaderboard, setting two fastest stage times, eventually finishing in third place overall.
A great comeback, considering it was only supposed to be testing, and we look forward to seeing what Mark and this car can do over the next few months.
Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon had a fantastic run on Epynt yesterday on the Dixies Challenge rally. After some more work developing the dampers Richard seems to have got back on it and now he and Kath are getting right up there to the top of the results table again. They finished in third place overall yesterday having lost out on second place on the last stage by just one second. Still, finishing third behind a WRC and a Group N evo is a good result.
There was also a return to the stages for David Morgan. David has had a lot of success in a 1600cc Darrian T9 but this rally saw his first outing in his new T90 GTR with a Millington 2.5 engine. Quite a different car compared with the T9 and a significant step up in performance. David and his co driver Richard Suter had a good first rally in the car, taking it steady, learning how the car performs. They finished in 11th overall, not too bad considering the car is new to them.
Fantastic, hot and dry weather greeted the six Darrian crews who traveled to Harlech on sunday for the Toyota Harlech Stages Rally. With a lot of quick Darrians there was always going to be a good battle and this time it ended in a complete lock-out of the podium positions at the end of the day. In the morning it was Dave Morgan and Alan Thomas, in the T90 GTR, who took the lead of the event with Gareth Richards and Ian Jones in the T90 not far behind. Richard Merriman and kath Curzon were a little further back in fourth at this stage. Dave Morgan and Alan Thomas stayed at the top of the results through the day which considering it is only the second event in the car for Dave this is very promising for future events, but some trouble on the final stages dropped them some time and they eventually finished in second overall. Richard Merriman and kath Curzon put in some very quick times through the afternoon and got ahead of Gareth Richards and Ian Jones and by the end of the day they climbed up the leaderboard further to take the overall win. Gareth Richards and Ian Jones had a couple of slower stages on old tires in the middle of the day which probably hurt their chances of a win somewhat but they still managed third place overall, not far behind Dave Morgan and Alan Thomas, to lock out the top three. At one point during the day there were five Darrians in the top six but at the end of the day that had changed to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th. Finishing fifth overall was Alan Oldfield and Sion Cunniff in the new T90 GTR+, only four seconds from getting on to the podium themselves, showing just how close and competitive it was. Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps finished in eighth place overall taking second in class 4
1st overall - Richard Merriman and kath Curzon - Darrian T90 2nd overall - Dave Morgan and Alan Thomas - Darrian T90 GTR 1st in class 3rd overall - Gareth Richard and Ian Jones - Darrian T90 2nd in Class
5th overall - Alan Oldfield and Sion Cunniff - Darrian T90 GTR+ 3rd in class
8th overall - Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps - Darrian T90 2nd in class
This was an amazing result for Darrian cars, a few more days like this would be great!
Carlow Mini Stages 20-5-18
Two rapid GTR+ models entered the 2018 Carlow Mini Stages and this year times were very close and competitive all day, a few seconds either way could change the order dramatically.
Ian Barrett was back in a Darrian again but this time with Millington power. He and his Co driver, Eoin O'Flaherty, had a great run and set very competitive times all day and one fastest stage time. They were up to second overall before problems on the last stage dropped them down the order where they eventually finished in sixth place overall and second in class.
Kevin Gallagher and Noel O'Sullivan with their Honda powered GTR+ were also running at the top end of the very competitive field. At the end of they day they found themselves in fifth overall, finishing just ahead of the other Darrian crew, and getting first in class.
Well done to both crews, a good result on a competitive event. Lets get some more Darrians out to Carlow next time!
TSH Stages 19/20-5-18
The TSH stages in Cornwal is a very popular single venue tarmac rally that runs over two days. Two Darrians competed this year with Tony Rees and Jamie Vaughan in the GTR+ and local crew Dan Gibson and Alf Chanter in the T90.
Rees and Vaughan were quick off the mark setting the fastest time of the first stage and they would go on to set a few more over the next two days. A couple of slower times on Saturday put them back a bit but they fought their way back up to finish in third overall. Thier pace was definitely promising for future events.
Dan Gibson and Alf Chanter also had a great run setting some fast times but not quite able to challenge the top three. They were able to overcome some final stage drama to finish in fourth overall and first in class. A great result.
Cavan Stages Rally 27-5-18
Stuart Darcy continued his excellent form with a great run on yesterdays Cavan Stages Rally. Co driven by William Lynch, Darcy was setting top two wheel drive times in the Darrian all day with some strong competition behind. They held off a charge from Gary Kiernan through the afternoon and finished the day in seventh overall with only WRC cars ahead. This meant coming home with first in class and first two wheel drive honours, another great result.
This years Mini Epynt stages saw some rare hot and dry weather which lasted through the day. Times were very competitive at the top of the field leaving very little room for error for any of the crews. Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett posted four fastest stage times and led the rally for most of the day but had to retire later on with fuel pump issues. This was all the more unfortunate as it really looked like they were on the win. Top Darrian honours went to Ray Horton and Paul Williams who finished in fifth place overall just 21 seconds off the rally winners, Dave Willett and John Davies. A relatively small gap from first to fifth which shows how competitve the times were. Horton and Williams did also set two fastest stage times through the day so this was definitely a promising result for them. Not far behind in sixth place were Tony Rees and Lloyd Morgan who overcame a few issues earlier on in the day, which put them down the order, but they showed some promising speed later on. Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon continued their run of form in the Darrian T90. They ended the day in 9th overall and they won their class by over a minute! Gareth Richards and Ian Jones finished in 13th place overall and also had the fastest time on stage 6. David Morgan and Richard Suter continue to get used to the GTR, a bit of a difference from the older T9, and they gradually gained confidence and speed through the day and finished in 15th place overall.
Acrorn Travel Caerwent Stages 10-6-18
Image Copyright David Price
Well done to Dave Morgan and Richard Suter for their second place on Sundays Caerwent stages. They were quick right from the start with equal fastest time on the first stage and only one second slower on the second. A wrong tyre choice gave them a bit of trouble over the next few stages, putting a bit of a gap between them and the leaders but back on the right tyres for the last two stages saw them setting the quick times again. A great result and surely the win will come soon now!
Abingdon Car-nival Stages 10-6-18
There were three rapid Darrians at the Abingdon Car-nival stages this year but it was Chris Woodhouse and Alan Gilbert in the T90 GTR who came out on top in the Darrian battle and they won the event overall. Swapping fastest times with Graeme Bell and Russ Radford they eventually ended the day with an 11 second advantage over the Proton Millington. In a clear third place were Geoff Roberts and Terry Martin in the T90. They also showed great pace and consistency throughout the event with every stage time being in the top three. Alan Oldfield and Steve McNulty finished in 7th overall in the T90 GTR+. After a slow start they spent the rest of the day climbing up through the time sheets and coming home with third in class.
Well done to Chris Woodhouse and Alan Gilbert for the win. This was definitely another good Darrian day!
The three day long Donegal International Rally is a fantastic event every year and is always a great test for any rally car and the crew. This year it was clear that a couple of the Darrians were serious contenders for the overall win in the national category.
After the first six stages Ian Barrett and Paul McGee in the Millington powered GTR+ were in second place just 0.3 seconds off the leaders, Damian Tourish and Domhnall McAlaney in the Escort, and looking forward to the next morning. Charging hard behind them in third place were Kevin Gallagher and Noel O'Sullivan in a Honda powered GTR+. After the first six stages they were forty seconds down but with some familiar stages coming up for local man Kevin they hoped to close that gap.
Unfortunately the rally leaders would not start the next mornings stages after discovering a problem in service so Barrett and McGee started the day as leaders. Gallagher and O'Sullivan were the ones with all the work to do to close the gap to the leading Darrian. The two drivers were very well matched and spent the day swapping fastest times, sometimes the gap would come down only to go back up again but after a full days rallying it was still Barrett and McGee who held the lead and the gap had only gone down to 34 seconds.
Barrett and McGee could not take it easy in the lead Darrian on day three as Gallagher was determined to get closer to them to see if they would break under pressure. It didn't happen though as Barrett and McGee held on to take a fantastic overall win in the national category. Although they did get the gap down to 27 seconds by the end of day three that was as close Gallagher and O'Sullivan could get and second overall in the national is a great result.
What a fantastic event the Donegal International Rally is and it was a great result, first and second overall in the national for Darrian Cars. Well done to all the crews and well done to the organisers for another great event.
The 'Works' T90 GTR+ had a very successful second outing at the Ravens Rock Rally in Waterford last weekend. John Dalton and Gwynfor Jones were on the pace right from the start setting top times. After a couple of fastest stage times through the day they finished in very strong second overall. With more and more time in the car John and Gwynfor keep getting faster as they discover the potential of this new car. It's great to see them back out on the stages and still going at such a pace!
Brawdy Stages 8-7-18
Image Copyright Gareth Edwards
There were some great Darrian results at this years Bob Shaw Memorial rally in Brawdy. Top seeds Nigel Gibbard and Ian Taylor very narrowly missed out on a third place finish. Just one second was the gap ahead of them. Still, fourth place and first in class was a great result in very strong competition. Tony Rees and Jamie Vaughan finished in 9th overall which was enough to take second in their class on Tonys first visit to the Brawdy airfield stages. Possibly the most suprising result came from Gethin Davies and Ben Ruff. This was Gethins first stage event and the first time driving the Darrian T9 in competition. They got faster and faster through the day and although they were seeded at 51 to start the rally they finished in 11th overall and first in the 1600cc class beating the more experienced Darrian driver John Lewis and his co driver Jade Phillips who were second in the class. Back in a Darrian, after a few years away, Ian Lloyd with co driver Emyr Jones finished in 15th place overall and Trevor Morgan and Rhys Edwards finished in 17th. Well done to everyone who finished, a good show from the Darrians!
Mach 1 Stages 15-7-18
Well done to Bruce Edwards and Jim Smith on their win of the Mach 1 Stages at the Machrihanish RAF base on the Kintyre Peninsula. The rally wasn't completely straight forward for them though! The car got to the finish minus a few bits of bodywork but thankfully all the hard work earlier on in the event meant they had enough time in hand. They brought the Darrian home, ahead of three Subarus, with a margin of 16 seconds.
With the whole country baking in one of the driest summers on record there were a lot of people hoping the good weather would carry on over the weekend. It was an Epynt weekend though, so it didn't. Heavy rain faced the competitors for this years Stephen & George Print Group Harry Flatters Rally. Two Darrian crews battled their way through the weather to great results at the end of the day. Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas finished fourth overall and first in class with Tony feeling much more at home in the GTR+ now and putting in some great times in tough conditions. Finishing in 6th overall and second in class were Dave Morgan and Richard Suter, a great result for them showing that they are making progress with their new car. Well done to all who made it to the end of a tough rally, hopefully we will have better weather for the Mewla in a months time!
Well done to Barry Morris and Declan Campbell who had a great result on the Dogleap stages this weekend. Barry and Declan, driving the Darrian T90 GTR+ belonging to Barrys father Seamus, led the rally from start to finish and set fastest times on four of the six stages to win in a strong field of WRCs and Escorts. A great drive and we hope to see more top results from Barry and Declan in this car!
Stonethrowers Rally 12-8-18
Images Copyright Thomas Furlong
Stuart Darcy and Patrick Brides had a great result in the Honda powered Darrian T90 GTR+ on Sundays Stonethrowers stages. They were quick off the mark in the morning and were mixing it with the WRCs and R5 cars and leading class 14. They did lose their lead briefly but their times later on were quicker and they were reeling in the class leaders, Chris Armstrong and Chris Melly, but a puncture for them just made Darcy and Brides job easier and they claimed the class win and seventh overall. They definitely showed some great pace through the event with some tough, competitive cars around them.
Bovington Stages 4-8-18
Brandon Smith and Steve McNulty had a good run on the two day Bovington Stages rally. After a steady begining day two saw them climb up the leaderboard to finish is 16th overall which was enough to give them third in their class. Not far behind them in 17th were Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps in their 2ltr Darrian T90.
There were some great drives yesterday up on the Epynt Military Ranges. Top in the battle of the Darrians were Dave Morgan and Richard Suter in the T90 GTR. Consistently quick times saw them well inside through the day and eventually they finished in sixth place overall with first in their class. Coming into the last three stages they were closing in on fifth but in the end there wasn't enough time left. They finished in sixth place just three seconds behind but this was enough for Morgan and Suter to comfortably win their class. Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon were showing some strong pace in the 2ltr T90. They also comfortably won their class finishing in 7th place overall only just over half a minute behind Dave Morgan and Richard Suter. Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas ended the day with 9th overall and second in their class. Not quite able to match the pace of Dave Morgan and Richard Suter up ahead of them but still a great class result.
Well done to everyone who got through the tough conditions up on the Ranges yesterday, hopefully we will have a dry Epynt again soon!
Well done to Nigel Gibbard and Simon John Rogers for their fourth place in this years Promenade stages rally. After winning the event last year, Gibbard was not able to make it a double but still put in a very competitive performance and had a great close battle with John Stone. At the end of the two day event Gibbard and Rogers, having swapped places with Stone a few times, were just three seconds away from getting on the podium. Brandon Smith and Terry Martin also had a good run and came away with seventh place overall with just a one second gap to eighth behind them.
The 2018 Wexford rally got off to a very wet start on Saturday but the rain certainly didn't dampen the excitement of the day. John Dalton and Gwynfor Jones in the works Darrian T90 GTR+ got off to a great start in the tricky conditions setting times pretty close to the leaders. It was the start of a great, day long, battle in the race for two wheel drive honours with Gary Kiernan and Darren O'Brien in the Escort. Every stage saw just a small gap between them in third and fourth positions. Having swapped positions a few times the first day ended with Dalton and Jones edging the Darrian out in front a little bit more which would give them a bit of confidence for the battle on day two. Unfortunately there was no battle the next day as Kiernan and O'Brien slid off the road in the morning leaving Dalton and Jones to take two wheel drive honours finishing third overall. Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas had a good trip over to Wexford in their T90 GTR+. After a cautious first day in the slippery conditions they spent Sunday climbing up through the field and they eventually finished in a respectable 16th place overall.
With Steve Wood winning the rally ahead of Meirion Evans it meant that this year the Wexford podium was an all Welsh affair. Next year hopefully it will be John Dalton and Gwynfor Jones on the top step!
Patriot Stages - Caerwent 30-9-18
Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon had another great run on Sunday at the Patriot Stages, held at the Caerwent military ground in South Wales. At one point they were up to third overall in the rally but at the end of the day they were 5th overall which was enough to get them the class win. Trevor Morgan and Tom Marrot had a great event in the T90 GTR+. They climbed their way up the field from a starting number of 55 to finish in 14th overall and second in their class.
Geoff Roberts and Terry Martin had a great result at the Weston Park AGBO Stages on Sunday. After a slow start in the morning, some quicker times came from the T90 later on in the day, including a fastest time on stage eight, saw them in fourth overall coming into the final stage. By the end of the stage, with the loss of Chris Ransley and Darren Ikin, they would gain the third podium position. A great drive in a close and competitive field.
Gareth Richards and Heather Gilmore finished 6th overall in their T90 and Rick Neale and Ed Gamble finished in 18th overall in the Davrian Dragon Mk8.
Fairfield Merlin Pembrey Stages - Merriman and Curzon clinch the championship 22-10-18
Congratulations to Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon for their performance in Pembrey on Sunday. It was enough to clinch them the 2018 Welsh Tarmac Championship win. This year has seen them find their speed again in the Darrian T90 and they have been consistently running at the high end of the field and getting class wins. Sunday was no different and despite an excursion on Beach Road they finished 1st in class and 5th overall. Richard is now a three time winner of the Welsh Tarmac Championship, we wish him and Kath the best of luck for next year and hopefully championship number four! Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps also had a good run over the Pembrey stages and brought the car home in 10th overall which was enough for 3rd in class for them. Trevor Morgan and Tom Marrott finished 21st overall and were 3rd in their class in the GTR+
Well done to James Stafford for his performance on yesterdays Fastnet Stages rally. James and his navigator, also James Stafford, got faster and faster through the morning and by the afternoon stages they were setting very competitive times at the top of the leaderboard. They eventually climbed their way up to finish in third overall. Not bad after a three year break away from the stages. Their pace certainly showed a lot of promise and next year we hope to see James and James back where they are used to being, at the front and competing for wins again.
MGJ Brands Hatch Stages Rally 19-01-19
Mark Straker and Simon May had a good run at the MGJ Brands Hatch stages. With development work still ongoing, with the new 1.6 litre ecoboost engine, this was a good chance for Mark to get some more testing done. Despite this, and after a slow and steady first stage, they set consistant times and were running in sixth overall throughout the day. They would eventually finish with exactly the same time as the fifth place crew and just three seconds away from fourth place overall. Those three seconds also separated them from a podium position in their class. Not bad for a test day and we're looking forward to seeing what Mark can do with this car this year.
Joshua and Tamsyn Davey were back behind the wheel of the Darrian T90 at this weekends Snetterton Stages. After a bit of a break from the car they were quick to get back into the groove. By the afternoon they were in 5th place overall but going quicker than some of the more powerfull 2.5litre cars ahead of them. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time left to climb the leaderboard so they would finish in 5th overall and would take the 2litre class win by over a minute and a half.
Now that they have the car sorted it surely won't be long before we see Joshua and Tamsyn back at the front, battling for the overall win! Enjoy the video above showing them on their way to a third fastest stage time on the final stage of the day.
Thie Birr Stages was the first event for James Stafford this year and there was a very strong WRC and R5 entry on the start sheet ahead of him. James, along with his Co Driver Jeff Case, got off to a great start. After four stages they found themselves in 6th fastest overall, right in amongst all the four wheel drive cars in slippery conditions and comfortably leading the modified class 14.
By the end of the afternoon stages they would slip down to 8th overall but they still came away as fastest two wheel drive and the class 14 win ahead of Kevin Eves and Chris Melly in the Toyota.
This was a great result for James and Jeff and hopefully the first of many for this year.
Brandon Smith had a good run yesterday at a very soggy Three Sisters Circuit. This was also the first event for his son Sion in the co drivers seat of the Darrian. The father and son team survived some incredibly tough and wet conditions to come away with second in class finishing 14th overall. It's great to finish your first event and even better to bring a trophy home as well. Well done to Sion and Brandon, hopefully the next event won't be so wet!
Donington Park Stages 03-03-19
Joshua and Tamsyn Davey were back out in the Darrian T90 at the Donnington Park Stages yesterday. In a strong entry they held their own throughout the day always posting times in the top three or top four. They would finish the day in fourth overall, getting ever closer to those podium positions, and first in class with a margin of over three minutes to their nearest competitor. Fifth overall last time out and fourth overall this time, with some more seat time we can expect Josh and Tamsyn to be up in those podium places next time. They're already going in the right direction!
Here's another in car video with Josh and Tamsyn on a wet stage seven.
Bad weather is often expected for the Tour of Epynt with it being the first visit of the year up to the Ranges. This year the weather was pretty awful again with the stages very slippery in changeable conditions and strong wind and rain effecting competitors, service crew and spectators. The on stage action was just as exciting as ever though. From the outset Gareth Richards and Deian Rees showed great pace and considering that Deian communicates through sign language this was all the more impressive. After two stages they were leading their class and were the top two wheel drive car. Richards and Rees would briefly be overhauled by two fellow Darrian competitors, Roger Moran and Den Golding and Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett, but by the end of the day they had regained control of the class. They finished 7th overall and first in class. Roger Moran and Den Golding finished second in the class and 11th overall which was a great result for them with it being their first time on Epynt in the GTR+. Not far behind Moran and Golding was the T90 of Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon. After a steady first few stages in the morning they spent the day gradually climbing up the leaderboard to eventually finish first in the 2ltr class and 12th overall. Well done to everyone who got to the end of such a tricky event and hopefully it will be dry on Epynt next time. The pictures below show the weather that the competitors and service crew had to deal with!
Tour of Caerwent 24-03-19
Image Copyright Neil Jones 'Central'
Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon put in a great performance at this years Tour of Caerwent Rally. Consistently posting fast times all day saw them finish in fourth overall and first in class and first two wheel drive car. It was only a small winning margin but a class win is a class win!
Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps also showed some good pace and they ended the day in ninth overall and third in their class.
Mark Straker and Ian Meakin were very fast in the T90 GT R5 on the first stage untill engine problems finished their day before they could show what the car could do.
James Stafford and Jeff Case had another great run in the Darrian T90 GTR on the Midland Stages Rally. With a very strong WRC entry they had quite a bit of work to do to get a decent result. Of course they were well up for the challenge and spent the day posting some very quick times and were the only two wheel drive car right in amongst the top WRC competitors. At one point they held a podium position but by the end of the day it was a very respectable fourth place overall and first in class by more than a minute.
Well done to James and Jeff, that was a great drive.
Another strong result for Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon in the Darrian T90 yesterday on the Altratech SMC stages in Anglesey. They set some very quick times through the day and were mixing it with more powerful machinery up at the front. In the end they would finish fourth overall and first in their class by a comfortable margin. Brandon Smith and Terry Martin were also setting very quick stage times but with a big chunk of time lost on one stage they unfortunately didn't get a top result. With this only being the first event for the car with it's new engine we can expect the teething troubles to be sorted out and the results will soon follow, there is definitely some potential there!
Corbeau Seats Rally 29-04-19
Well done to Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas for a great performance on yesterdays Corbeau Seats Rally. Tony was hoping for a day of dry weather in Clacton but early morning slippery conditions and some rain later on certainly added an extra challenge to this event. That didn't phase them too much though. They spent the day in the top ten in very strong competition with the time gaps being very small. With two stages to go Tony and Geraint were in 9th place but with massive push and fastest overall time on the final stage they climbed up to 6th overall by the finish. Times were still very close, it was only four seconds up to 4th place! First in class and first two wheel drive honours, not a bad day at all. Some more performances like that final stage and we could be seeing Tony as a regular podium finisher. Jonathan Davies and Daniel James were another Darrian crew to make the trip from Wales over to Essex and they came home with third in their class in the Darrian T9. A good drive and well worth the trip.
Dixies Challenege Rally 07-05-19
Tony Rees and Jamie Vaughan had another fantastic result on this years Dixies Rally Challenge on the Epynt ranges. Fired up by his performance over in Essex last weekend Tony was on the pace right from the start and after two stages was leading the event by just one second. The pace up the from was very strong though and Tony and Jamie couldn't quite hold their lead through the day and it would be a third place overall by the time they got to the finish line. This was a great drive by Tony and he certainly seems to be making big steps forward in pace now he is comfortable with the car.
Gethin Davies and Ben Ruff had a great result up in Harlech on Sunday. They were really on the pace in the 1600cc Darrian T9 and beating many much more powerful 2 and 2.5ltr cars. There was no more that a handful of seconds between them and the rally leaders on each stage through the day. They would finish the day in second overall and first in their class by quite a big margin. This was an amazing performance from Gethin and Ben considering it was only their second event in the car and we hope to see more like this throughout the year. Gareth Richards and Ian Jones weren't quite able to keep up with Gethin and Ben but they brough their Darrian home with 6th overall and 3rd in their class.
Manx National Rally 13-05-19
Geoff Roberts had a good first rally in the Isle of Man on the Chris Kelly Memorial Rally, part of the Manx National Rally. With experienced co driver Terry Martin sitting next to him in the T90 they drove a steady rally through the Friday stages and were in a good top ten position by the end of the night. On Saturday morning they got off to a good start and through the day managed to get up to 5th place overall and first in their class for the Chris Kelly Memorial Rally. A good result on a challenging rally and not bad for a first visit the the Isle of Man.
Carlow Stages Rally 13-05-19
The Carlow stages are always exciting and 2019 was no different. Three really quick Darrians entered with James Stafford and Jeff case at the head of the pack. They were quickest on stage one but unfortunately an accident on stage two put them out of the rally. After stage two Ian Barrett and Paul McGee took Staffords place at the head of the field and set quickest times on stages three and four untill their rally also ended prematurely. Kevin Gallagher, with his new car finished just hours before the event, did keep going all through the day. Kevin, along with his navigator William Lynch, was posting some very promising times and finished within grasping distance of the podium in fourth place overall. With a bit more time in the new car they will get back up to the top and be fighting for the win again.
Cetus Stages 13-05-19
Congratulations to Jason and Lee Wilson for winning this years Cetus Stages at the Three Sisters race circuit. In only their second event in the car the Wilson brothers were setting the pace right from the start. They were fastest on eleven of the days twelve stages and lead the rally from start to finish. It certainly hasn't taken them long to get to grips with the Darrian! A fantastic result and we hope to see more like this in the future.
Tony Rees has been really getting to grips with the Darrian this year and this weekends two day TSH Stages in Cornwall certainly proved that. With Jamie Vaughan on the notes along side him Tony was flying. They had a comfortable lead by the end of the first day after trading fastest times throughout the afternoon with James Harvey and Holly Creamer in the Subaru. On day two Tony and Jamie seemed to get even faster again, increasing their lead at the front of the rally, and after Harvey and Creamer retired in the closing stages they won the rally by over two minutes!
Well done to Tony and Jamie on such a comanding win and congratulations to Tony as this was his first overall rally win. The TSH Stages Rally is always a challenging and to win it in this way is very impressive.
Caerwent Mid Summer Stages 16-06-19
Image copyright Neil Jones Central
There were some great results on yesterdays Caerwent Mid Summer Stages. Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon, no strangers to the podium positions, finished in third overall and were second in their class. Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps had a very quick start to the event posting some top times but being caught in the rain on the wrong tyres pushed them down the order. They managed to climb back up to 6th overall and third in the 2ltr class. Not a bad run in a very competitive class. Dave Morgan and Richard Suter came away with 8th overall and third in their class. Well done to all, some good results in tricky and changeable conditions.
JRT Enville Stages 30-06-19
After not driving the car for over ten months Alan Oldfield had a fantastic result on last weekends Enville stages at the Anglesey circuit. Alan, with Steve McNulty along side him in the co drivers seat, was setting very competitive times all day and it was enough for second place overall. With a bit more seat time the top step won't be very far from their reach! Brandon Smith and Catrin Jones were quick in their V6 powered Darrian and were ahead of Oldfield and McNulty in the morning. The times between the two Darrians were very close but they were eventually overhauled and came home with third overall.
John Dalton and Gwynfor Jones made their way over to Ireland last weekend for the Ravens Rock rally. After a great result last year they were hoping for more of the same this year. They couldn't quite match the pace of two very strong R5 competitors up ahead but they got into a great battle for third place overall. John and Gwynfor were swapping times throughout the day with Richard Moore and John McGrath in their Escort. Eventually John and Gwynfor would miss out on the podium by just 1.4 seconds. Not the result they were hoping for but it was an exciting battle.
Brawdy Stages 07-07-19
It was a bit of family affair at this years Brawdy stages with three Darrians driven by three people from the Davies family. Dai 'Dot' Davies must have been proud of his two sons Rhys and Gethin, they certainly showed some great pace. Rhys Wyn Davies and Dafydd Evans were the quickest Darrian crew all day. This was all the more impressive as it was the first time Rhys had driven the car in competition. It certainly didn't take him long to get to grips with the car and third overall and first in class at the finish was an amazing result.
Gethin Davies and Ben Ruff have shown their pace in the 1600cc T9 before and this event was no different. They took a clear lead of the class early on and by the end had a gap of over three minutes to the next 1600cc crew and finished fifth overall. That second place would go to John Lewis and Jade Phillips. Lewis, in a similar T9, is a regular class winner but he couldn't find an answer to the incredible pace of Gethin Davies up ahead and had to settle for second in class and 17th overall.
Dai 'Dot' Davies and Gerwyn James weren't quite on the pace of the Davies sons but they had a tidy run through the day to finish 12th overall.
Well done to all the Darrian crews. Fantastic results and it's nice to see some healthy family rivalry!
There was a strong Darrian entry on Epynt yesterday for the Harry Flatters rally with quite a few cars that could fight for podium positions. Through the morning it would be Tony Rees who would be at the head of the Darrian battle, continuing his recent good form. With Ian Taylor sitting in the co drivers seat they managed to get into third place overall but it wasn't such a comfortable gap behind them. Mark Straker and Ian Meakin were the chasers in Mark's turbo GT 'R5' Darrian. The latest engine developments were definitely worth it and Mark was showing much improved pace, getting faster throughout the day. Mark and Ian would eventually get ahead of Tony Rees on the afternoon's longer stages. It was still close though, no more than a few sceonds between them on every stage and the gap at the end was ten seconds. Well done to Mark Straker and Ian Meakin for a great third overall and first in class and well done to Tony Rees and Ian Taylor for their fourth place and second in class. It was also a Darrian 1-2-3 lockout in the class with Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett having a good trouble free run to third in class and seventh overall. Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon had a good run, leading the 2ltr class through the day and finishing in eighth overall. Another class win for them, they must be running out of room for trophies! Ian Sutton and Karen Phelps also had a good day and got themselves a top 20 finish ending the day in 19th overall.
After his win on last years Dogleap Stages Barry Morris was back to try and repeat the performance but this time with his own Darrian. With the car only finished the day before the event it was going to be a tall order but Barry, with Declan Campbell in the co drivers seat, was on the pace straight away in the morning setting second fastest times on both of the first stages. Being caught on hard slicks in a downpour on the next stage dropped them a bit of time to the leader but they still managed to finish the day in a strong second place overall and first in class. A fantastic first event for Barry and the new car which definitely shows a lot of promise for future events. Seamus Morris and Jarlath Kelly had a great run in their GTR+, the car that won in Barry's hands last year. They were consistently well into the top ten times all day and it was enough to get them eighth overall and second in class.
Well done to Rhys Wyn Davies and Gerwyn James who had a fantastic day up on Rally Marketing Epynt Stages on Sunday. In only the second event in the car for Rhys, and Gerwyns first time on pacenotes, they dominated the six stage afternoon rally which runs alongside the Mewla rally.
The idea was to get a bit of experience and seat time before the Rali Bae Ceredigion in September but they weren't slowly getting up to speed and after the first loop of three stages they already had a lead of over a minute. They wen't on to be fastest on the next two stages as well with the final stage being the only one where they wouldn't top the timesheet. By the finish their lead was stretched to over a minute and half.
With stage times that would have put them easily into the top ten in the main field their pace shows a lot of promise for the future and we look forward to seeing what they can do on the closed roads of Ceredigion in September where the competition will no doubt be very strong in the 2ltr class.
The Promenade stages almost always feature a strong Darrian performance or two and this year was no different. Geoff Roberts is one driver who always goes well on the prom and, with Co Driver Johnathon Kennedy, he worked his way up the time sheets over the course of the two day event and finished in a strong third place overall. Dale and Darrel Thomas has a steady start to the rally but by the end were posting some much faster, top ten times. They couldn't quite break into the top ten overall positions but they did come very close, eventually finishing in 11th overall. John Lewis and Kath Curzon had a great event coming first in class and 14th overall. John must have been having a bit of deja vu after the finish! He entered the promenade stages as car 7 and won the 1600cc class way back in 1994. In the same car, 25 years later and with the same start number, John did it again. Not many drivers could say the same. Some great results there, well done to all the Darrian crews.
The Three Shires Rally is another new closed road rally based near Ledbury in England. It's name comes from the fact that it's stages take the competitors through three 'shire counties', Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Two Darrians and one Davrian took part with a great battle going on at the head of the field. Roger Moran and Den Golding had the upper hand in the Darrian battle and held second place overall throughout the morning with Andy Fraser and Alan Jones close behind in third. By the afternoon, Fraser and Jones had got into their stride posting a couple of fastest times they got ahead of their Darrian rivals into second place. Unfortunately Moran and Golding were forced to retire before the end so they couldn't challenge Fraser and Jones. Rick Neale and Ed Gamble finished in 29th overall. It always nice to see a Davrian out on the stages. Well done to Andy Fraser and Alan Jones, second overall on the inaugural Three Shires Rally.
There was a lot of excitement in the lead up to Rali Bae Ceredigion, the first closed road rally to be held in Wales. The rally was very close to the Darrian headquarters and the stages took place in some of the most beautiful scenic locations to the east of Aberystwyth. John Dalton and Gwynfor Jones were hoping for a good result in the works Darrian T90 GTR+ but unfortunately it wasn't to be. With a spin on the first stage they got into the groove a bit more on the longer Nant Y Moch stage and were on a respectable pace but unfortunately on the second loop of stages gear selection issues put an end to their rally. Their exit meant that the prize for the fastest Darrian was still up for grabs. There was a very close battle going on between a few GTRs and it was Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas who had the upper hand to begin with but they wer being chased hard by Barry Morris and Declan Campbell. This was the first event on closed roads for Barry's new GTR+ and they wanted to make sure they got to the finish so after a steady start they were closing in on Rees and Thomas. In the last two stages Morris and Campbell were really speeding up, now setting times that were well inside the top ten, and they managed to get ahead of Rees and Thomas finishing sixteen seconds ahead! Congratulations to Barry Morris and Declan Campbell, finishing 18th overall and winning the Best Darrian Crew award, well worth the trip over from Northern Ireland! Tony Rees and Geraint Thomas finished 19th overall. Roger Moran and Den Golding had a very busy weekend. After almost finishing second on the Three Shires Rally on Saturday they made their way to Wales on Sunday, got the car fixed and went out onto the Welsh stages. With everyone saying how technical and full on the stages were their performance must have been hampered by the fact they couldn't do the recce the day before but they had a trouble free run to finish 21st overall. Huw Reed and Anthony Hackett enjoyed the Welsh stages and were not far behind Moran. They finished in 23rd overall. Barry's father Seamus was the final Darrian finisher. He and co driver Jarlath Kelly had a steady and trouble free run and finished 52nd overall. Well done to all the Darrian crews for finishing what turned out to be a tough but enjoyable rally.
The rally itself was a huge success, an incredible achievement for all the organising team, and it was great to be a part of such an event so close to home. Hopefully it will be the first of many rallies based in Aberystwyth.
Well done to James Stafford and Jeff Case, winners of this years Wexford stages. This is also the third time James has won his home event! Saturday started off with a great battle for the lead with Andrew Purcell in the Fiesta WRC. James and Jeff in the Darrian were on a mission and several fastest stage times saw them swap places with Purcell a number of times throughout the day. On Sunday James and Jeff were on a blistering pace again and they got back into the lead. After Purcell in the Fiesta retired on stage eleven James and Jeff had a huge lead from another Fiesta. That didn't mean they were going to take it easy though! They went on to set a few more fastest times and overcame some late dramas to finish first overall with a lead of almost two minutes to the R5 car behind them. Well done to James and Jeff, definitely an impressive and entertaining drive!
Ian Barrett and Paul McGee had another great run in Ian's T90 GTR+ at the Clare stages on Sunday. It was a very close battle from the outset with Barrett and McGee quickest on the first stage and holding a small lead over the next few stages. They were swapping fastest times with Roy White in the WRC Fiesta. Rain came later on and Barrett and McGee couldn't hold on to the lead and would eventually drop to third overall after a slow time on stage seven. Over the rest of the afternoon stages their times were still very quick but not quite enough to pull them back up in the wet conditions. They missed out on the overall win unfortunately but a third place and first two wheel drive, by almost five minutes, is still a fantastic result.