It’s a long time since this small little island was represented by five riders at any event (save the 6 days) let alone a rallye in Africa . Its way back in the 90, s when rallies were just more than a virgin sport that Adrian Lappin , Richard Fair , Philip Gunn, Vinny Fitzsimons , Vincent Dooly and Nick Craigie ploughed the furrow for others to follow …. And they did Paul Maguire , Ian Graham , Gary ennis , Alan Graham , Philip Noone , Bernard MC Kevitt to name a few who followed . Then as always the cycle stopped but rallies continued to grow and are now amongst the strongest form of motor sport …. They cover the globe from Australia to Norway, Africa in between and of course S America hosts the daddy of them all the DAKAR …. Perhaps (?) not what it was but still considered to be top of the pile. Time might tell on that one but it has the franchise of the name ……… now the ECO Rallye , Merzouga , Hellas and Morocco Rallye are becoming ever more popular, within budget reach and achievable to ride for those who fancy a crack at rallies .
The 5 …… they went to the Moroccan Desert Challenge finished this week in Africa ….. Brian MC Girr ( some experience) , Bernard MC Kevitt ( lots of Experience) , Ciaran MC bride ( newbie ) , Jonny Blackmore ( newbie) , Maurice Gilfoyle ( Newbie) took on the challenge of the desert . It was not all plain sailing but both Bernard and Brian ran strong all week with Bernard finishing a fine 10 TH overall ; Brian running just behind Bernard lost over 5 hours with a broken navigation tower bouncing him down to 21st nonetheless an excellent ride ….. the rest did not fair so good but some bad luck and possible inexperience blunted their positions . Maurice suffered a badly damaged hand when hit by a rock from a passing car … he was forced to forfit 2 days before rejoining ; Ciaran dropped the bike in a dune hurting his shoulder as did Jonny pulling his ACL with too much pain to continue …. Very easy to do when riding a big bike trough soft sand. Ciaran like Maurice rejoined after 2 days rest to ride to the finish. No doubt the latter 3 were disappointed but such is the draw of a rallye that they will go back to finish the job. “Every day is a school day” said Maurice, we cannot argue with that !
Well done to them all for just getting there in the first place … that takes organisation and time to plan …. We look to the next adventure.