2014 Update & Mayo Stages- with Tonya Fortune,
April 1, 2014 by Tonya Fortune
Between one thing and another it’s been quite a while since I’ve had time to update this!
To sum up 2013, it finished out on a high taking another class win in my local rally, the Wexford Stages, and 2nd overall in the Junior section of the South East Stages Championship.
2014 sees me set my sights on the Dunlop National Rally Championship. The Dunlop is something I’ve had in mind right from the start, and I’m delighted to finally be in a position to compete in this Championship. I also have a new navigator in the hot seat this year, Damian Lawlor from Co. Kilkenny.
The first round of the Championship took place on Sunday 9th March with the Mayo stages rally, hosted by the Mayo Motor Club, and meant a six hour spin to reach the event. Setting out on recce on the Saturday it was soon clear to see how difficult the stages were, being extremely tight and twisty, and a huge difference from what I was used to competing on. Added to that was thick mud in places, which would make the conditions even more difficult.
Sunday morning we were greeted by reasonably dry weather, after heavy rain Saturday evening, and I made the decision to chance intermediate tyres. This seemed to pay off with the first loop staying dry, but I found I wasn’t on top pace, with a mix of unfamiliar ground and getting used to my new navigator. A small throttle problem also caused some slight issues throughout the day.
The second loop was where I was set to lose the most time, following service the weather was holding, and on stage four we managed to knock a little time off our first run through the stage. However by our arrival at stage five the rain had started to come down, and by the halfway point of the stage I found the car seriously lacking in grip, and after a bit of a slide had to ease off on pace. So after stage six it was in to service and on with the wets!
The last loop was uneventful, and our minds were set on the finish line, and securing our first Championship points. The Mayo stages was also my first time to compete in the main field, having spent the last number of years in the junior section of events only, and I was delighted to finish 82nd overall, and top lady driver on the event.
The finish has also left us 4th in class in the Dunlop, and we are hoping to pick up the pace, and more points on the Carlow Stages Rally on Sunday 11th May. It is also our intention to also sign up for the South East Stages Championship, so Carlow will see our first opportunity to secure some points for that Championship.
My next event however will be the Wexford Hillclimb which will take place on the weekend of the 13th and 14th of April.