Ryan Treanor along with his Ballinalee driver Shane Dalton secured the overall win on this year’s Midland Navigation Trial, which was based out of Creggs National School on the Galway/Roscommon border. Patrick Brides along with Sam Johnston organised a 65 mile route that took in the area between Dunamon and Ballygar. There was no easy introduction to the event as two plot and bash time points were received at TP1 for the location of TP2 and TP4. At TP1 a trace diagram was handed out for to find the position of and the departure of TP2. Located on the back of the sheet was the plot for TP4, so any navigator who didn’t turn the sheet over would miss the TP or drop time as they went searching for the discarded piece of paper at TP3. The trace brought crews along a three and a half mile journey into the forest and gravel tracks of Mount Mary. After heading into the forest at Attifarry, it was turn right for Mallyree and travel a half kilometre before taking a left turn in the forest. Failing to take this left turn would spell disaster as TP5 was waiting out of sight around the corner. After taking the left turn competitors had to travel another kilometre before turning off right to come out on a public road at Ballynahowna and turning left to arrive at TP2 at the next crossroads. At TP2, a page of plots was handed out with the grid reference for TP3 disguised in the middle of them. Once plotted, competitors had to do another loop through the forest tracks of Mount Mary to arrive at the TP which as the crow flies was only 350m away. TP4 was the only check point along the entire route that every competitor dropped time, mainly due to having to take yet
another trip through the demanding Mount Mary tracks as well as some navigators not having realised that they had received the location at TP1 and thus still had to plot its location.
As straight forward as this opening section was despite the P&B section, eight crews missed TP2 and a further seven missed TP3 along with three wrong approaches. A fourth pass through Mount Mary brought competitors into TP5 before a straight forward road section to the time recovery area of TP6 and TP7 located at Coolavehy. A bog pass at Boggauns led to TP8 at Creggan, and this lane/pass caused the first and only casualty of the night. National Championship contenders Darragh Kelly/Oisín Sherlock got caught out on a section of the lane which was covered in bog mud and they slipped off the route and dropped into a drain. Car 10 Aidan Keenan/Sean Marron stopped and tried to tow out the stricken car but to no avail, which left Kelly/Sherlock having to wait an hour and a half for a tractor to arrive and free them. By the time they were towed out, the pair were well over their allowed thirty minutes maximum lateness at the next control and thus went their event and any National Championship hopes for 2023.
From TP8 it was all back on public roads with plenty of looping around Cregganagrogy for TPs 9 and 10 before moving back north to TP11 at Monasternalea. From here it was yet another pass through Mount Mary and most of the same lanes as the route to TP2 for to reach the midpoint control at Ballynahowna. At this point Dalton/Treanor were out front, with just a minute
dropped on the way to TP4. In 2nd place was Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan, down 3 marks, with a minute dropped at each of TP3, 4 and 6. Holding 3rd OA was the Squealing Pig Border Championship leaders and Drumlin winners Michael Tynan/Ciaran Tynan, down 4 marks. National Championship leaders Derek Butler/Denis O’Donovan were down 7 marks with 3 dropped at TP2, 2 dropped at TP4 and a further 1 at each of TP7 and 8. An ITC section stared off the second half, timed at a speed of 24mph. This uncommon average speed for an ITC section threw up some difficulty for the crews. Tynan/Tynan who were first on the road dropped 3 marks on this route. Carbin/Mohan, Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes along with ten others all dropped a minimum of 1 mark here in what turned out to be quite a complicated route. TP13, just west of Dunamon, was the end of the ITC and more P&B was on the cards here. Competitors were issued with a two page box tulip, and to make the P&B extra difficult, the tulip counted every gate, road and unmapped lane along the route. Most of the distances along the route were only a few car
lengths apart which took serious concentration on the navigators part for to not get lost. Crews had to turn right off the yellow road and onto a grey lane that was a dead end on the map at Kilbegnat. Once on the grey lane, it was another kilometre of skipping gates and lanes before turning left onto an unmapped farm lane which brought crews into a farm yard. A great trick lay in store here as there was a crossroads on the lane. On the tulip diagram, the COC had swapped box 20 with box 26. Box 20 showed a ‘go straight through’ at a crossroads, but box 26 showed a ‘turn left’ at a crossroads. Anyone who missed the switch would inevitably get lost and possibly miss the TP or a least drop considerable time. In the farm yard at the end of the unmapped lane, crews had to keep to the right hand side of a cattle shed to reach the TP on the correct approach. At TP14 a similar P&B tulip was received for the location of TP15. This tulip
brought crews back up the same grey lane as before, but this time they had to turn into a farm on the right hand side. Once into the yard it was mayhem and there were bales and machinery parked everywhere. The correct route was down a cattle shed with the entrance hidden by a cattle trailer. Once out the far side, there was a hidden left turn after a lorry, and then travel under the boom of a loading shovel before turning right around a tractor and traveling through a chicane made up for agriculture equipment before reaching the safety of the TP. The headache was not over yet unfortunately, as a herringbone tulip was handed out here for to reach TP16. The exit of TP15 was down an unmapped forest lane and turn right onto the grey lane again and taking the same unmapped lane that led to TP14. Navigators had to be switched on here as any wrong measurement would lead to a double visit and a nasty 30 marks. This time on reaching the farm, crews had to turn left and reach TP16 hidden at the corner of a silage pit. This P&B section proved to be very difficult as everyone apart from Dalton/Treanor dropped at least 3 minutes here. Eight crews in total missed TP14, which included Butler/O’Donovan. This costly mistake would drop them well down the leader board. By only dropping 3 marks through this section, Duffy/Hughes jumped to 2nd OA at the expense of Mohan/Carbin who had dropped 7 marks. Martin Tynan/David McCrudden went into 3rd OA here after dropping just 5 marks.
From this location, it was a straight forward run into the final control with three TPs to visit via using a bog lane at Clooncunny multiple times to reach TP17, TP18 and TP19 all in the vicinity of Shanballyeden, and then visiting TP20 before a final via at Tonamaddy. In the end Dalton/Treanor’s 1 minute penalty was more than enough to secure their first overall win this season which will keep the pressure on Butler and O’Donovan in the National Championship as they finished down in 7th place. In the classes, Duffy/Hughes finished 1st on 9 marks, with Tynan/McCrudden in 2nd , also down 9 marks. Carbin/Mohan finished in 3rd , down 11 minutes.
Patsy McDonagh/Patrick Corcoran had a comfortable win in the Semi-Expert class. They finished the event on 19 marks, well ahead of 2nd placed Ray O’Neill/Stephen O’Neill who were down 43 marks. 3rd in class went to the Donegal pairing of Darragh Kelly/Eamonn Doherty who dropped 48 marks. Declan Tynan/Aaron McElroy won the Novice class on 34 marks, with Andrew
Stewart/Robert Howard finishing 2nd on 55 marks. In 3rd place was another Donegal team of Damien Sheridan/Keith Sheridan who had dropped 75 marks. Ciaran McGorman/Aaron McGorman finished 1st in the Beginner class on 37 marks, with David Kelly/ Gerry Hughes finishing 2nd on 86 marks. 3rd in class went to Shane and Molly Maguire, who finished up on 99 marks.