For some, the darker evenings and cooler weather would mark the year coming to an end, but in motorsporting terms it signals the return of navigation trials. Clerk of Course Sean Marron, with Assistant COC Aidan Keenan and his team organised the first event of the season, which was run out of Kingscourt and won by the expert pairing of Conor Boylan and Derek Mackarel. The 70 mile route took in a mixture of roads, lanes, farms and a quarry all within Kingscourt, Carrickmacross and Shercock. The first car left the HQ at 9.01pm and it was from the departure of TP3 that crews had to be switched on. The map coordinates for TP4 were known from the start of the event, but a route card in the car window would give the correct approach and departure, as well as the trace for TP5. However on the sheet, the approach and departure were switched and if the trace wasn’t plotted before leaving TP3, crews could have landed upon TP5 out of sequence and from the wrong direction. Only six crews would make through this plot and bash section without incurring time penalties. The trial then went relatively straightforward towards Magheracloone, where TP14, TP15 and TP16 featured a number of tuliped road-goes across the road from the hotel known by some of the more seasoned competitors as the Oasis. It would be at TP16 that Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes and Shane Dalton/Ryan Treanor would both pick up a large 50 penalties and see them fall out of contention. At that point Mackarel/Boylan led on 2 penalties, with Michael Tynan/Ciaran Tynan (Expert), Darragh Kelly/Eamonn Doherty (Semi-expert) and Martin Swinburne/Gretchen Swinburne (Beginner) all tied on 3 penalties. TP16 to TP17 was an intermediate distance tulip diagram that counted all gates and roads - which also had to be read from top to bottom and started further up the road from where it was handed out. Over half the field would either approach TP17 the wrong way, or miss it altogether, with the rest all dropping time. A time recovery section and ITC from TP19 was a welcomed change of pace to all crews after a hectic few timepoints in such a small area. For TP22, another route card came through the window where navigators would have to find the timepoint coordinates from the scrambled order and again notice the departure and approach being switched. The final plot and bash handed out at TP26 would challenge even the most experienced crews - a double-sided tulip going from top to bottom with intermediate distances counting all goers, non-goers and dotted trails and leading to both TP27 and TP28. As a reward for the efforts, the final timepoints incorporated some enjoyable quarry trails before returning to Kingscourt for final controls. At the end of the event, Mackarel/Boylan fared the best, dropping just 12 penalties during the night. The slimmest of margins separated Michael and Ciaran Tynan from Martin Tynan and David McCrudden. 16 penalties to 17 in favour of Michael. The Beginner crew of Fintan and Aaron McGorman took a very strong fourth overall on 54 penalties. Mac Kierans/Jack McKenna (Novice) and Kelly/Doherty both finished on 63. The National Navigation Championship gets underway on 14/15 October with the Startrek Navigation in Cork.
Boylan and Mackarel top the sheets at Monaghan navigationOct 3, 2023 10:52 By Sean McCaffrey
The Subaru Impreza pairing had 4 penalties in hand at the end of the night
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