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Bitter Sweet Finale for Henry/ Moynihan

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The final round of the 2014 Valvoline Forest Rally Championship was staged by Mid Antrim Motor Club in the Springwell and Cam Forests on Saturday 8th November. The rally featured 6 fast open stages (2 done 3 times) with Rally HQ and Service Park at the River Ridge Recycling Complex in Ringsend, Co. Derry. Weather was dry but bitter cold causing the grip levels to vary through the forests.

Martin Cairns (Impreza WRC) was fastest out of the blocks, leading by 2.5 secs after ss1 (Springwell). Josh Moffett (Evo 9) was his closest pursuer with top seed Kenny McKinstry (Impreza WRC) in 3rd only 0.2 secs back. Desi Henry (Evo 9) held fourth 1 sec back with Owen Murphy (Evo 9) slotting into 5th a further 1.5 secs in arrears. Shane McGirr (Starlet) led the 2WD’s – 1.5 secs up on his rival Frank Kelly (Mk2). Desi Henry had a big charge through “Cam” (ss2) setting the pace to move into a slender lead of 0.3 secs. Moffett maintained second and McKinstry 3rd. Cairns was off the pace, slipped from first to fourth and felt that he just didn’t get a good flow. Murphy held fifth and was doing enough for the championship. Gareth Sayers (Evo 7) was joint 5th while Sam Moffett (Evo 9) was 7th and leading GpN. Liam Regan occupied 8th, Shane McGirr 9th and Frank Kelly completed the top ten at first service. The second stage was cancelled after Marty McKenna/ Martin McGarrity crashed their Impreza WRC – thankfully both crew members were ok.

Josh Moffett took the lead having set a blistering pace on the repeat of Springwell. Desi Henry dropped to second, now 1.7secs off the lead. Cairns got it together to leap-frog McKinstry moving into third and Murphy held station in fifth. Stage four was shortened due to the earlier accident. Desi Henry upped the ante through Cam stopping the clocks on a staggering 6.29.2 over 8 secs up on Moffett to regain the lead arriving at final service. Josh felt he had good clean run but had no answer for Desi’s pace and now trailed by 6.5 secs going into the closing stages. McKinstry was unchanged in third while Murphy moved up to fourth following another slow time by Cairns on his bogie stage (Cam) – the Strabane man slipped to fifth. Gareth Sayers held 6th, Sam Moffett 7th, Niall McCullagh (Evo 6) 8th, Niall Henry (Evo 9) 9th and Shane McGirr rounded off the top ten.

Martin Cairns showed his flair setting FTD on the penultimate stage (ss5, Springwell) elevating him one place to fourth ahead of Murphy. Josh piped Desi by 0.1 secs however this had no major impact on the leaderboard and Desi held a 6.4 sec lead ahead of the final stage. McKinstry had looked safe in third but now Cairns had closed to within 4 secs. Murphy was driving for points and now the title was in his grasp as the Cork man drove a controlled rally. Frank Kelly set the 2WD pace, 3.8 secs up on McGirr but the latter was still ahead albeit 1.7 secs going into the final forest stage of the year in the dark – no pressure!

It was a bitter sweet day for Desi Henry/ Liam Moynihan, the Derry/ Cork duo won the rally by 5.9 secs. While they struggled to get a rhythm on Springwell they made their mark on Cam each time to take the laurels on Desi’s home rally. However sometimes winning is not enough, Desi tied with Owen Murphy on points but missed out on the title as Murphy won the tie break (by virtue of his hat-trick of wins over Desi’s two victories). Liam Moynihan was crowned the champion co driver and will receive the esteemed “Ger Fahy” Memorial Cup as James O’Brien was a non-starter. Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna had a fraught final stage (Cam) as their lamp-pod went faulty – they resorted to indicators to light up the black dark forests. Incredibly they still managed to set FTD 0.5 secs quicker than Henry but it was not enough and the Monaghan pair finished second overall. Martin Cairns/Peter Ward charged to 3rd overall on their final attempt at Cam where it finally clicked for them. Kenny McKinstry/ Noel Orr were fourth and had to yield to the speed of the younger generation on the day.

Fifth was all Owen Murphy needed on the day to claim the title and he did just that, guided this time by Anthony Nestor on the notes. The Cork man was the 2011 champion and has now secured his second Valvoline Forest Rally Championship title. Ironically he had not intended contesting the championship this season and missed the curtain raiser in Clonmel. The Moonraker was his first event which he won and went on to complete a hat-trick winning Wicklow and Cork. The Bushwhacker was a drop score; he was out of contention due to coil pack failure and he slipped to third on the last stage in Carrick.

Sam Moffett/ James O’Reilly were 6th and won GpN. Gareth Sayers/ Gareth Gilchrist took 7th; Niall McCullagh/ Ryan McCloskey 8th, Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9) claimed 9th on the day and more importantly have secured the Gp N Championship laurels. Frank Kelly/ Russell Harold were fastest 2WD on the final stage 1.4 secs up on Shane McGirr/ Jackie Elliott. However McGirr/ Elliott secured 10th overall claimed the 2WD honors along with the bragging rights! (Albeit by 0.3 secs) and Shane has retained his crown as 2WD Valvoline Champion.

Class Winners
Class 1 (1400cc): Janice Magee/ Evelyn Warwick (Nova).
Class 2 (1600 8v): Mervyn Wilson/Richard Gamble (Escort).
Class 3 (1600 16v): Kevin Eves/ Chris Melly (208 R2).
Class 4 (2000 8v): Alan Atcheson/ Gary MCCrudden (Escort).
Class 5A (2000 16v): Shane McGirr/ Jackie Elliott (Starlet).
Class 5B (2100): Frank Kelly/ Russell Harold (Escort).
Class 6 (Gp A): Gary Kiernan/ Finbar Smith (Impreza).
Class 7 (WRC’s): Kenny McKinstry/ Noel Orr (Impreza).
Class 8 (Gp N): Sam Moffett/ James O’Reilly (Evo 9).
Class 9 (Junior’s): Thomas/ David Lowry (Nova).
Class 20 (4WD): Owen Murphy/ Anthony Nestor (Evo 9).

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Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship

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Round five of the 2014 Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship takes place in
Omagh this Saturday September 27th. The championship returns to co. Tyrone for the
annual “Omagh Grand Prix” which is also a counting round of the Northern
Championship. Organized by Omagh Motor Club the rally is renowned for its’ short
snappy but very fast and technical stages. Despite the small stage mileage (just 33
competitive miles) over 11 stages (6 locations) this is event always sees epic
battles for supremacy throughout the field.

CoC Ronnie McAleer and his team have everything in place for what should be a
spectacular day through the Lough Bradon, Carrigaholten, Slievedoo and Killeter
Forests. Scrutiny and Documentation take place at the Old Nestle Factory on the
Derry Road, Omagh on Friday evening. The event starts from the Car Park at rally HQ
the Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh with first car away at 09:01 Saturday morning. There
are two service halts at Aikens Caravan Yard near Castlederg. The first after stage
two at 10:17 and the final service after stage seven at 13:30. Both man and machine
need to survive a challenging 5 stage loop between the service halts and survive the
final four stages unscathed to make the finish ramp at rally HQ. The first
competing cars are due back at the Silver Birch Hotel at 16:45 for a champagne
reception.

Championship leaders Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna (Evo 9) were unlucky not to win the
recent Lakelands rally. The Monaghan crew will be even more determined to score
their maiden win here. Owen Murphy/ James O’Brien (Evo 9) led after the opening
stage last year but retired with transmission failure on stage two. The Cork pair
have unfinished business to in Omagh. Pat O’Connell/ Mark Wiley (Evo 9) make the
long trip from Cashel and on current form will be a serious front runner. O’Connell
was fourth here in 2013 and is well on the pace this year.

Desi Nenry/ Liam Moynihan finally have their Evo 9 sorted and have high hopes to
revive their championship. Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9) are a very consistent
crew and should score well this weekend. The Subaru’s of Martin Cairns and Enda
McNulty will be a fly in the Evo ointment. Cairns is on home soil and tends to be
untouchable here. McNulty is always a hard charger and even more so now armed with
a sequential gearbox. A dark horse could be Liam Regan, his unusual 4WD 206 tends
to be ultra-competitive on these stages. Marty McKenna (Impreza WRC) is hoping for
a better run following his retirement in Cork. The “Valvoline” contenders have the
additional challenge to mix it with the Northern Championship regulars with the
likes of Derek McGarrity, Donagh Kelly, James Gillen, Frank Kelly and Adrian
Hetherington all set to wheel out for the “Whacker” as they affectionately call it.

There’s a strong Valvoline 2WD line up with Shane McGirr/ Jackie Elliott back in
action with their Starlet’s engine rebuilt. The Escorts of Micky Conlon and David
Crossen hope to make amends following their retirements in Cork. Damien McGauran
(Corolla) currently leads class 5A and should be in the hunt. Alan Actheson missed
Cork and looks set for a good haul of point s as it appears his class 4 opponents
have opted to miss this round. Conor McCarthy/ Dan O’Donovan (Civic) and Shane
Kenneally/ Jer Connors (Mk2) travel from West Cork and West Waterford respectively
in their quest for the Valvoline Junior title. County Cork rivals Tim/ DJ Howard
(Nova) and Tom Murphy/ Colin Moynihan (Mk2) are after class two points. Murphy has
won the previous two rounds but the Howard’s have been to Omagh last year and could
hold the edge.

The Seeded Entry List is due to be published Wednesday 24th September on
www.omaghmotorclub.com. Further information including time & distance schedule,
final instructions & live results during the rally are also available from the club
website.

.

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Murphy/ O’Brien Homeground Hat-trick




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The Jim Walsh Memorial Cork Forest Rally based in the Ballyhoura Forest complex on
the Cork/ Limerick border took place on Sunday August 24th.  The event was the
fourth round of the 2014 Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship and is widely
regarded as one of the finest gravel rallies in the country.   Hosted by Cork Motor
Club there was 8 challenging stages (4 repeated) with centralized service at the
Charleville Show Grounds nearby offering a very compact competitor friendly format
with service after every two stages. 



A cool overcast morning dawned as competitors assembled for the safety briefing at
Greenhall Motors early on Sunday.  There was a formidable entry with 62 starters
including a mix of regulars, new comers and club members. The array of machinery was
stunning from the very latest spec Mini WRC, Corolla WRC’s, Subaru’s and various
Evo’s along with the best of high powered 2WD Escorts, Toyota’s, Civic’s and
Peugeot’s.  Rain fell as competitors set out for stage one but spirits were not
hampered knowing the quality of the terrain in the Ballyhoura Forests.  After a
3-month layoff the “Valvoline” competitors were eager to let loose in the woods.



Owen Murphy/ James O’Brien (Evo 9) set the pace on the opening 10.5km stage in
“Ballinaboula” 2.6 secs clear of top seeds Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna (Evo 9). 
Derek McGeehan/ Darragh Mullen held third a further 2.5 secs back in the Mini WRC. 
Andrew Purcell/ John Rafter (Evo 6) held 4th, Pat O’Connell/ Mark Wiley (Evo 9) 5th
and Brendan Cumiskey/ Ronan O’Kane (Impreza WRC) held 6th with only 11 secs
separating the top six.  Adrian Hetherington/ Gary Nolan (Mk2) led the 2WD
contingent while Frank Kelly/ Sean Hayde (Mk2) dropped 3 mins due to fuel
starvation.  Shane McGirr/ Jackie Elliott (Starlet) were the first major retirement
due to a blown engine while Marty McKenna/ Damien Fleming (Impreza WRC) had to
withdraw due to damaged steering. 



Rain persisted and there was fog on stage 2 “New Fields” (11.5km).  Murphy/ O’Brien
continued to set the pace to hold a 6.9 sec lead at first service.  Moffett/ McKenna
held 2nd with McGeehan a mere 0.1 sec adrift showing good pace on his first visit to
the Cork Forests.  Andrew Purcell held fourth and Pat O’Connell 5th having set
second fastest time on stage two only 0.6 secs off leader Murphy.  The 2WD category
lost two front-runners as Micky Conlon/ Ciaran McPhilips (Mk2) suffered a broken
bell-housing and David Crossen/ Andrew Bushe (mk2) crashed out.  Hetherington/ Nolan
maintained the 2WD lead, from the Keane brother’s Donal/ Diramuid (Mk2).  Donal flew
home from Brisbane for this event not having competed since 2011.  Frank Kelly was
on a charge having sorted the fuel issue.



Stage times were almost identical on the repeat of Ballinaboula where Owen Murphy
continued to set the pace and extend his lead to 9.3 secs.  Josh Moffett held second
while Pat O’Connell climbed to third.  McGeehan slipped to fourth after hitting a
rock and Purcell fifth.  Conor McCarthy/ Dan O’Donovan (Civic) led the Junior class
by 1 minute as their nearest opponents Alan Moran/ Trevor O’Connell (206) rolled. 
Derek Mackeral/ Peter Deery (Nova) lost 5 mins with electrical trouble elevating
Shane Kenneally/ Jer Connors (mk2) into second with David Beamish/ Muireann Hayes
(Nova) holding third.

Desi Henry/ Liam Moynihan (Evo 9) set FTD on ss4 (New Fields) with McGeehan only 0.4
secs in arrears.  Leader’s Murphy/ O’Brien were a further 3.5 secs adrift, their
lead now trimmed to 7.8 secs at the halfway point.  McGeehan jumped to second by
virtue of his increased pace on ss4.  Josh Moffett slipped to 3rd, only 1.9 secs
back.  Pat O’Connell fell to fourth after losing some time with intercom failure. 
Brendan Cumiskey held 5th, Desi Henry 6th, Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9)7th,
Hetherington 8th and leading 2WD, John Reid/ Edna Shiels (Corolla WRC) 9th and
Michael Carbin/ Stephen Thornton (Evo 4) completed the top ten. 

Owen Murphy maintained his lead on the afternoon stages scorching through ss5
(Streamhill). Pat O’Connell trailed by just 0.8 secs with Josh Moffett a further 6
secs back following a small excursion on the first junction.  John Reid (Corolla
WRC) rolled out.  Andrew Purcell retired with brake problems and Junior leader Conor
McCarthy was out due to a broken driveshaft.  Pat O’Connell and Owen Murphy were
credited with Josh Moffett’s time for ss6 (Coolfree) because of a timing issue. 
Coolfree claimed the Escorts of Donal Keane and Alan Commins, both slipped off the
road sustained little damage but their rally was over.  Murphy held a 15 sec
advantage at service before the final loop.  Pat O’Connell was up to 2nd, Moffett
3rd, McGeehan 4th, Desi Henry 5th, Cumiskey 6th and Hetherington 7th with a strong
2WD lead.

The sun came out for the closing stages, but the fog was slow to lift off the
mountains.  Josh Moffett set his first FTD of the day on ss7 (Streamhill), O’Connell
trailed by 2.7 secs while leader Murphy appeared to back off as he was a further 3.2
secs down.  Desi Henry damaged the transmission on the startline, limped through the
stage but did not finish.  The scene was set for an epic showdown with less than 12
secs between the top three (Murphy, Moffett & O’Connell) going into final stage
(Coolfree).  The Junior battle was down to the wire as well, less than 11 secs
dividing Shane Kenneally/ Jer Connors (Mk2) and David Beamish/ Muireann Hayes
(Nova).

Pat O’Connell and Owen Murphy tied on the final stage elevating O’Connell/ Wiley to
second overall, their best result this year.  However there can only be one winner
and the day belonged to the Cork pairing of Owen Murphy/ James O’Brien who led from
start to finish completing a hat trick of victories in the “Valvoline” championship.
 Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna lost 10 secs on Coolfree demoting them to 3rd.  However
the Monaghan crew maintain the championship lead as the series heads to the Northern
rounds.  Derek McGeehan/ Darragh Mullen (Mini) claimed 4th and Brendan Cumiskey/
Ronan O’Kane (Impreza WRC) took 5th.

Adrian Hetherington/ Gary Nolan had a red letter day; 6th overall, Best 2WD and
winner of the Mk2 “Master of the Woods” award.  Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9) were
7th and took the Gp N spoils.  Monaghan’s Michael Carbin/ Stephen Thornton (Evo 4)
survived brake failure and a slight excursion to finish 8th.  Lucey Brother’s Ger/
James were 9th while Martin Donnelly/Brian Doherty (Corolla WRC) completed the top
ten on their first venture into the Cork forests.  Dungarvan’s Shane Kenneally/ Jer
Connors (Mk2) won the Junior class ahead of Cork’s David Beamish Muireann Hayes
(Nova).  Clones pair Derek Mackarel/ Peter Deery finished 3rd Junior on their first
stage rally.

Plenty of the silverware went to local crews/ club members with Johnny Kenneally/
Grace O’Brien (Mk2) winning class 1, Tom Murphy/ Connor Collins (Mk2) class 2, Paul
Fitzgerald/ Pierce Doheny (Mk2) class 3 and Mike O’Sullivan/ Carol O’Keeffe (Mk2)
class 4.  The esteemed Ger Fahy Memorial “Spirit of the Rally” award went to David
Crossen/ Andrew Bushe who crashed heavily on stage 2 and embodied the spirit of
rallying as they marshalled for the reminder of the event before the long journey
home to Co. Down.



      Class Winners
      Class 1 (1400cc): Johnny Kenneally/ Grace O’Brien (Escort).
      Class 2 (1600 8v): Tom Murphy/ Connor Collins (Escort).
      Class 3 (1600 16v): Paul Fitzgerald/ Pierce Doheny (Escort).
      Class 4 (2000 8v): Mike O’Sullivan/ Carol O’Keeffe (Escort).
      Class 5A (2000 16v): Damien/ Thomas McGauran (Corolla).
      Class 5B (2100): Adrian Hetherington/ Gary Nolan (Escort).

      Class 6 (Gp A): Brecan McBreen/ Breen McNamee (Impreza).
      Class 7 (WRC's): Martin Donnelly/ Brian Doherty (Corolla). 
      Class 8 (Gp N): Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9).
      Class 9 (Junior's): Shane Kenneally/ Jer Connors (Mk2). 
      Class 20 (4WD): Derek McGeehen/ Darragh Mullen (Mini).
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Jim Walsh Memorial Cork Forest Rally

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The fourth round of the 2014 Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship takes
place in the vast Ballyhoura Forest complex on the Cork/ Limerick border this Sunday
August 24th.   The Championship resumes following a 3 month lay-off since the
Wicklow Forest Rally last May.  Hosted by Cork Motor Club this event has a huge
reputation for its’ smooth fast flowing stages all within the Ballyhoura Forests.
The exceptional stages make the rally the crown jewel of forest rallies and very
much a “Gravel Grand Prix”.  



Named in honor of Jim Walsh – a club member affectionately known as “Fr Jim” a man
who worked very hard behind the scenes on this and many other club events.  Jim lost
his fight for life due to kidney failure just as results on the 2006 Cork Forest
Rally were declared final.  Widely regarded as the holy grail of forest rallies
competitors pull all the stops out to get their name on the prestigious “Jim Walsh
Perpetual Cup”.



The Club has very strong links to the “Valvoline” series with many club members
contesting this year’s championship.  Interestingly several club members have tasted
success in the championship since its’ inception back in 1990.  The club has
produced 5 champion drivers and 10 navigators along with many class winners.  It’s
only fitting that the National Navigators’ title is dedicated to the late Ger Fahy. 
Ger was a club member from Buttevant who clerked this rally in 2005, regularly
competed and or helped on events throughout the country.  Ger was a hardcore clubman
and is sadly missed following his untimely death in 2007.  The “Spirit of the Rally”
award is also dedicated to Ger.  The Club has also been very active on the
championship committee with members holding the roles of Chairman, Secretary,
Registrar and PRO over the years.  One could possibly say that this is the
“Spiritual Home” of the Championship.   



Last years’ format proved very popular with competitors so this year is quiet
similar with only a slight variation to the stages.  CoC Sean Daly and his team have
everything in place for what should be a spectacular day through the vast Ballyhoura
Forests.  Scrutiny and Documentation take place at Greenhall Motor’s Opel Dealership
in Buttevant on Saturday evening.  Following Scrutiny all rally cars will be placed
in a secure overnight parc ferme opposite scrutiny.   The safety briefing takes
place at 08:00 Sunday morning at Greenhall Motors before the first competing cars
leave parc ferme at 08:30.  

There is a brief service at Charleville Show Grounds before the opening 10.5km stage
in “Ballinaboula” followed by the 11.5km “New Fields”.  The first loop offers a bit
of everything so drivers will need to be wide awake as timing is to the tenth of a
second.  The first car is due at service (centralised in Charleville Show Grounds
all day) at 10:30 before a repeat of Ballinaboula and New Fields.  Following the
lunchtime service competitors embark upon the awesome “Streamhill” 10km stage.  This
is a very fast flowing gravel stage and rarely will Irish forest competitors spend
as much time in top gear.  “Coolfree” is next up, while relatively short only 7.5km
it can be deceptive with various surface changes and junctions tightened with bales.
 After the final service there’s a repeat of Streamhill and Coolfree with
competitors due at the finish ramp outside rally HQ “Corbett Court Restaurant”
Ballyhea (only 200yards from Service) at 17:00.

Championship leaders Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna (Evo 9) have been very consistent
to date but need to go one better in Cork to consolidate their position.  Owen
Murphy/ James O’Brien (Evo 9) bid for a hat trick having won the last two rounds. 
The Cork pair are on home soil and have tasted success here in 2012.  Pat O’Connell/
Mark Wiley (Evo 9) won here in 2011 and have shown good speed this year but have
been jinxed with a lack of reliability.  Desi Henry/ Liam Moynihan (Evo 9) want to
make amends following their retirement in Wicklow.  Other Lancer pilots capable of a
strong result include; Peter McCullagh, Niall Henry and Michael Carbin.  While
Lancer’s currently top the Championship standings the WRC’s of John Reid, Martin
Cairns, Brendan Cumiskey, Derek McGeehan, Marty McKenna and Martin Donnelly should
be right in the mix for outright victory. 



The 2WD contingent will thrill the crowds with their high revs screaming through the
woods in spectacular sideways fashion.  There’s an extra incentive with the “MK2
Master of the Woods” award.  Frank Kelly was the inaugural winner last year and
returns to defend his title.  Micky Conlon, Ollie Williams, Adrian Hetherington and
David Crossen are just a sample of those bidding for the coveted mk2 laurels.  Dare
we forget the Toyota’s; current 2WD Champion Shane McGirr has the potential to blow
the MK2’s away with his rapid 2.0 Starlet.  Damien McGauran is right on the pace
this year with his 2.0 Corolla.   Allen Treacy currently leads class 3 with his 1600
Corolla however the rapid local Escorts of Paul Fitzgerald and Jimmy Deane are
likely to fight tooth and nail for the class win on home ground.



Conor McCarthy has enjoyed 100% success so far winning each round in the Juniors but
it just got interesting.  Mayo’s Alan Moran (206) showed good pace in Wicklow. 
Shane Kenneally (mk2) is more competitive each day as is David Beamish (Nova) add in
Derek Mackeral (Nova) and this could be the battle to watch.



The Seeded Entry List is due to be published Wednesday 20th August on
www.corkmotorclub.com.  For Further information including time & distance schedule,
final instructions & live results during the rally go to:



Entry List 

Rd 4, Cork Entry List.
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Cork Forestry – Marshals Required Sun 24th Aug

 

Marshals required for Cork Forestry Rally next Sunday 24th August.

Meeting Points: Londis Shop, Doneraile

Time: 8:20am

Stages: 2 & 4

Tipperary Club Contact: John Ward

Contact Details: 086-6030121

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.217757,-8.584371,3a,75y,257.51h,86.23t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1schM9j5oc6jU250eSJK49EA!2e0?hl=en

 

Details on the event – http://www.corkmotorclub.com/

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