Sam Pearson, Clerk of the Course for the Jacksons Hotel Harvest Stages Rally in Ballybofey on October 13th, has expressed his surprise at the flood of entries already received for what is one of the biggest one-day rallies in the country.
Organisers h flagged that the closing date of Wednesday 3rd October is coming up fast.
It has also emerged that a strong Scottish contingent are making the trip to compete on what is also regarded as the most sociable rally in the calendar.
Not only has British Rally champion David Bogie entered but top championship runners Gordon Morrison, Brian Watson, Lee Hastings, Shaun Sinclair and Barry Groundwater are also entered.
A Tartan army on wheels, no less.
“The Harvest stages is the finale of three different rally championships, not least the Motor Club’s own Donegal Commercials series, and is very popular with clubmen in the County,” Pearson said.
“We have received over 100 entries already and event Secretary Shauna Harper reports that more and more are coming in every day.
“We first heard from Scotland that David Bogie was coming, and now it’s almost a mini invasion of the best possible kind.
“These guys all have very strong results and I’ve no doubt they are going to be in the frame for trophies when we get to the finish ramp at Jacksons Hotel on the Saturday evening.
“It’s a fantastic boost for the Harvest and another mark of how popular Donegal is for rally competitors.
“The overall champion in the Triton National Rally championship will be decided on the Harvest, and many of its classes, but as priority is only open for championship runners who enter before the closing date of October 3rd, it would be wise to have everything in order well before then, and entries can be made on the Motor Club’s website: www.donegalmotorclub.com
“The Rally is also the closing round of the Sligo Pallets Border rally championship – a hugely popular series in its own right – and most of the top border runners are entered. We are looking at a really high quality entry, and there’s a real buzz about the rally office already.
“We will be using stages that have never been used before, and are monitoring them very closely to ensure the rally runs smoothly. It will be an open contest on a level playing field to crown the winners of three major championships.
“We are working closely with the Management and staff at Jacksons Hotel for what is going to be an action-packed weekend and again I would urge everyone to get their bookings made early. The Hotel is running a special rate for the rally which is available on their website: www.jacksonshotel.ieor by telephone at: 00-353-7491-31021.
“We will be holding a marshals training event in the Hotel on Sunday 7thOctober and are calling for all available marshals, or anyone who is available for training, to contact us via our website and help us run a safe event.
“We will be announcing more about the Rally in the coming weeks, and once the entry list is finalised. As an early taster, and bearing in mind the list is growing by the day, we have entries from the following so far:
In WRC cars: Declan Boyle, Sam Moffett, Francis Barrett, Frank Wray, PJ McDermott, Brian Watson, Shaun Sinclair, Gareth Sayers.
In Class 14: David Bogie, Ian Barrett, Johnathon Pringle, Chris Armstrong, Wesley Patterson, Gary Kiernan, Stuart Darcy, JF Shovelin, John Bonner, Kevin Eves, Martin McGee, Gary McPhilips.
Marty Gallagher has entered his Peugeot 208 R2, and Donal Barrett is entered in an Escort co-driven by Paul Harris. Johnny Jordan has entered his Starlet and Malcolm Pedlow brings his distinctive BMW 2002 to Ballybofey where he’ll meet Martin & Darragh Doherty’s immaculate Historic Escort RS1800 to help him light up the stages.”