Heartlands rally to showcase local drivers

Laois Rallysport Club are currently gearing up for the Heartlands Mini Stages Rally 2011 which takes place on Sunday, June 12.

Laois Rallysport Club are currently gearing up for the Heartlands Mini Stages Rally 2011 which takes place on Sunday, June 12.

This rally, with main sponsors O’Loughlin’s Hotel and Laois County Council, is Round 3 of the Loughran Signs Midlands East Rally Championship. Local man Sean McEvoy of SM Tyres is Stage Commander for the stage on The Heath. Nigel Moody of NM Electrical from Mountmellick is Stage Commander for the stage in Ballyfin.

They are very happy with their selected stages and have worked hard to pick out a fast, challenging stage which competitors and spectators alike will be happy with. A route of about 120 stage kilometres is covered between the two stages. The entry fee of €395 has delighted competitors who feel they are getting great value for money in the current economic climate.

Recce of the stages takes place on Saturday, June 11 from 9.30am to 3.00pm with a maximum of three runs per stage and there will be a penalty of exclusion if any competitor exceeds this number. On Sunday the action kicks off with drivers briefing at 8.50am at Rally Headquarters in O’Loughlin’s Hotel, Portlaoise with the first car away at 9.50am. The first car to finish is expected back in at 4pm, and full provisional results should be in no later than 5.30pm.

Clerk of the Course, Ray Fitzpatrick, reckons there will be great rivalry among the Laois Club members to see who will be the first Laois Crew to finish. Locals competing include Christy Kelly and co-driver John Kelly from Castlecomer who will be in Class 9 with their Suzuki Swift. Their father Ned Kelly along with co-driver Paul Kelly will compete in Class 11 in his Peugeot 206 GTI.

Brendan Hearns of Abbeyleix along with co-driver and nephew Stephen Hearns will compete in Class 9 in their Vauxhall Nova. Class 13 promises to be interesting with Larry Brady of Brady Signs along with co-driver and son Anthony Brady in their Ford Escort Mark II competing against Mountmellick men Dan Gorman and brother Eoin of Derrycloney Developments in their Mark II also.

Up against them in Class 13 is Pat Delaney of Ballyfin Autos in his Peugeot 205. Pat is currently looking for a co-driver brave enough to sit in with him! While all were enjoying the craic at the launch on Saturday night camaraderie will go out the window when the stopwatch starts on Sunday! Also in Class 13 is Portarlington man Paul Lacey and co-driver Arthur Walshe in their Ford Escort G3.

Class 4 sees Dave McLoughlin and Garrett Mullally in their Mitsubishi Evo 6 up against Peter Sreenan in his Subaru Impreza GpN. Finally, Class 11 currently pits two Abbeyleix crews against each other in the shape of Paddy Nolan and Padraig Gorman in their Toyota Starlet and John Forgarty and Michael Culleton in their Peugeot 205 GTI.

Other Drivers of note to watch out for are Loyd Hutchinson from Wicklow in Class 9 in his Mini Cooper and Tommy Doyle from Longford in his Evolution R3 Renault Clio in Class 7. For further details keep an eye on the Leinster Express over the coming weeks and www.laoisrallysport.com