Nial Murphy reprised his role as CoC of this event again this year, with newcomer to the organisation side of house Eamonn Creedon as Assistant. The Headquarters this year was the Aghinagh GAA complex located a few miles North of Macroom. The event, which was a counting round of both the National & Munster Championships, was run over almost 120 miles initially in “Traditional” night navigation territory to the North-West & North of Macroom, but then moving into areas further North above Rylane that hadn’t been used in some time .
Scrutiny passed off without problems, and the navis were presented with an Initial Card containing no more than a dozen gates, NGs & unmarked roads, but which did require the plotting of both SRSs junction by junction using map references.
The Actual Route contained 56 points, 22 points before petrol and 34 thereafter.
Following a run-out, the competitive action started just north of Ballinagree with the first and smaller “half” of the event before petrol going anti-clockwise to areas of Carriganima & Clondrohid using traditional farm yard lanes and tight and twisty roads to challenge both driver and navigator
The second half was a very compact and intense affair, with the entire of the 60+ miles of competitive action, contained in the Rylane/Ballinagree area with a lot of looping over the same areas which would cause difficulty for even the most experienced navigators.
After leaving control 1 the penalties started to come as soon as TP5 , which was the first plot and bash with a twist – at the hall they received the plot for VIA6 without the approach or departure. The Via was at the top of alaneway marked on the map, that had been used many times in previous years, but unknown to the crews there had been a new discovery made by the COC that there was a looped farm lane north of that as well, and at TP5 they received a line diagram showing a “new” approach via that Lane. The unexpected additional laneway, allied to the short distance from TP5 and the somewhat unconventional use of a Line diagram to describe the Approach & Departure needed keen & alert eyes. Two of the top crews were caught out by this – Alan Shinnors & Denis O Donovan got a wrong approach, also Gar Collins & Patrick O Sullivan missed Via6 .
A tight nested series of looped roads at TPs 7>17 saw crews using a lot of twisty challenging roads and the odd farm lane for bit of muck and fun, but passed away without many marks for the top crews. At TP17 they another plot and bash for Via 18 , with the hand out being a set of tulips to get around lanes some of which were brand new and some that hadn’t been used in over 10 years, but care was required with reading of tulips as the starting point was at the entrance to the laneways, not at TP17 , but everyone passed although almost all crews dropped time coming in C19 which brought a finish the first time card .
Out front at that point were local crew James Fitzgerald & Ken Carmody on 6 marks, nipping at their heels were Packie Duffy& Evin Hughes on 8 Marks , 3rd was the semi expert crew of Owen Murphy & Shane Maguire on 10 Marks ,
On leaving C19 they got a chance to breath on a time recovery section, but not for long with the first SRS section with a twist of 50KPH which was advised at first route card along with time tables for crews to get the calculations correct on this section. Murphy & Maguire lost 12 Marks on this section to drop back to the pecking order . Once crews had completed this section they proceeded to petrol halt for refuel vehicles , Drivers & Navigators.
At Petrol halt still out front was Fitzgearld / Carmody on 8 Marks , 2nd Packie Duffy / Hughes on 10 Marks ,Joint 3rd Place was Duffy/Johnston and Semi Expert crew Patsy McDonagh & Patrick Corcoran, both on 12 Marks ,
Winning Semi Expert at this stage was McDonagh/Corcoran
, closely followed by Owen Murphy & Shane Maguire on 22, Leading Novice was the leap pairing of James French & Ciaran French on 55 Marks , and Out front in Beginners was again another west cork pairing of David Beamish & Gary Kelleher on 93 Marks in their Focus.
The action then moved north back up past the HQ to start the second Section of the event , TP 102-106 (CMC numbers the restart after Petrol as C101) initially using farms lanes that would been know to competitors from the typical “Macroom” night navigation farm lanes , 3rd place crew Colin Duffy / Jonston made a mistake here into V103 getting a wrong approach ,
When Crews arrived into TP107 above Rylane they received their final plot and bash consisting of 4 points but this would prove to be turning point in the results for many of the crews , not least as the crews would have plotted many time points in this area at the HQ but to discover that the additional plots were all in the same area , so that neat & tidy plotting in the HQ would have been advantageous.
. TP108 was up a smooth Gravel / Forest lane which was an enjoyment to drive , but the real sting the in tail for the night followed -TP109 was approached via 2 already-plotted unmarked roads, and the access to time point 109 was down one of these …. ( But to say it was hard to find was an understatement !!) it was below the road and somewhat overgrown so you would have to your exact distances to be sure that you were taking the correct one , and couldn’t see it until you turned the car into it. The real “catch”, howeverwas that TP111 was 200m up the road … ( So if you had missed the entry into the lane you were straight into TP111 with a WA and missing two points )
The first crew to oblige on this offer was Alan Shinnors & Denis Donovan
, which dropped them out of contention for the overall awards ,
At the end of the Third Card, Fitzgerald & Carmody were still out on front after dropping two marks in the Second SRS Section to bring them to 10 Marks , 2nd place Crew Packie Duffy / Evan Hughes made an error on the navigation SRS Section missing the ITC check point equating to getting 40 marks , which put them out of running order , which was unfortunate given their fantastic run up to this point !
Semi Experts were doing well at this stage, with McDonagh & Corcoran up to an excellent position only dropping 4 marks over this card to leave them on 18 , while flying back into 3rd Position was Murphy / Maguire, only dropping 3 marks on this card bringing them very much in contention at this position even for on honours depending on how the last card went !
At that point, leading novices were Father & Son crew of James & Ciaran French on 109 marks and leading beginners was the other West Cork crew of Beamish & Kelleher on 63 marks ,
The crews began the 3rd card only a few hundred metres up from the HQ (at the same point at the start after petrol) hall
The last card took crews back up to Rylane area using some of the same roads, tracks and time points again in but in different directions so navigators needed to be fully awake to get part of the navigation correct. However, it wentwithout any real drama and with some crews clearing it !
Back to HQ where both driver and navigator deserved a well earned rest ! Results were finalised quickly and without any fuss -. a credit to the Marshals, Results Team and the Competitors.
Leading from start to Finish Fitzgerald & Carmody cleaned the last card to finish up on impressive 10 marks ,! Finishing up Second overall and winning the Semi Expert class was McDonagh & Corcoran lying on 24 marks – a great effort from the west of Ireland pair. Third overall with a Great come back from there earlier loss on SRS1, and on their first outing together were the Cork/Monaghan pairing of Murphy /Maguire who cleaned the last card to finish on 25 marks. 4th Overall 1st in expert class was Colin Duffy & Sam johnston keeping there natioal title chances alive to finish on 34 marks
5th overall , 2nd in expert class Packie Duffy & Evan Hughes finishing on 58 marks , 6th overall was the Limerick/Cork pairing of Gar Collins & Patrick O Sullivan to finish 3rd in expert class and end up on 60 marks
7th overall and 3rd in semi export class was Mark Phelan & Ryan Farrell finished up on 72 marks .
Top in the novice class was the Leap Father & Son crew of James French & Ciaran to finish on 118 marks , 2nd in class was Seamus Mchugh & Tomas Mulcahy ended up on 222
In The beginner class 1st was David Beamish & Gary Kelleher ended up on 166 , 2nd in class was Eric Calnan & Ph hegarty on 192 , 3rd in class was Padraig McCarthy & Darragh Lynch to finish up on 292 marks .
All points, including a significant number of Stops, were marshalled. Even the weather was kind-of OK, with a generally fine calm night, but with frequent heavy showers. All in all, it was an excellent event, A big thank you to all the marshals that tunred out , we had huge numbers and without these people the night wouldn’t have ran so smooth , but there was one disappointing element – In current times our minorty of sport seems to be struggling with entries , With this and the extra costs that have been imposed on smaller events by MI since the start of the year it is getting more difficult to see the sport surviving into the future, For our great sport to keep a beating heart we and MI need to look and see what we need to do improve, as many top stage navigators would often say to people if you havent done a night navigation that they couldn’t be considered a real navigator.
It was a huge undertaking to take on 120 mile event as they’re not that common these days , and Nial , Eamonn and chief Marshal Aaron O’Regan should be very happy with such a calibre of an event – it certainly seemed that the competitors who did turn up were very happy .
Until next time thank you all.
1 James Fitzgerald/Ken Carmody (Subaru Impreza) 10 marks,
2 Patsy McDonagh / Patrick Corcoran (Subaru Impreza ) 24 marks
3 Owen Murphy/Shane Maguire (Subaru Impreza) 25 Marks
4 Colin Duffy / Sam Johnston ( Subaru Impreza ) 34 Marks
5 Packie Duffy / Evin Hughes ( Subaru Impreza ) 58m Marks
6 Gar Collins / Patrick O Sullivan ( Subaru Impreza ) 60 Marks
7 Mark Phelan / Ryan Farrell ( Subaru Impreza ) 72 Marks
8 Alan Shinnors / Denis O Donovan (Subaru Impreza) 80m,
9 James French/ Ciaran French ( Subaru Forestor ) 118 Marks
10 David Beamish / Gary Kelleher ( Ford Focus ) 166 Marks