Rahill & Duggan Excel in Carlow  

craig rahill wins mijrs battle in carlow. picture by ruaidhri nash.

Keeping track of the times last Sunday, every stage seemed to bring ever more drama from the lanes as the fortunes of our MIJRS (Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series) crews ebbed and flowed over the 110km route, but come the finish it would be Craig Rahill & Ciara Duggan who would leave the happiest having claimed their respective Class wins.

Contested on both Tarmac and Gravel surfaces, the Carlow Stages Rally marked the halfway point in this season’s battle, having seen crews tackle the forests of Killarney & Carrick-on-Suir as well as the Mayo asphalt lanes. Tailored to the development of the next generation of young Irish Rally talent, the series has seen huge uptake this year with 44 drivers registered across the four classes, all competing for a prize fund totalling over €70,000 in support through the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.

2024 saw the introduction of Class 2A which is a more budget friendly avenue for aspiring talent to move into Homologated machinery such as older R2 class machines, and so far this year the battle has been raging amongst a trio of J1000 Graduates. For Jack Kennedy, his day would be one of frustration as he encountered mechanical issues on the opening stage, putting him out of contention. A pair of fastest stage times in the afternoon will be a massive plus, but the frustration will be at not backing up the Roun 3 victory in Carrick.

Jack Harris is another who had a frustrating afternoon, hitting issues on Stage 4 put a stop to his flying form, but he still managed to finish the day claiming 8 points and retaining a slender lead. Harris leads the MIJRS Class2A by just two points, and that is from Carlow Stages round winner Ciara Duggan who finished a remarkable weekend that included competing on the Tour of the Sperrins on Saturday before turning the car around to win on Sunday. 

In Class 2, it was a frustrating day for our 2023 J1000 Champions Tommy Moffett, as he had led the class at the first service halt before losing time and later retiring as the afternoon progressed, while Mossie Costello also hit trouble in the morning loop that left him chasing his rivals for much of the day. After four rounds, just a single point separates the pair of J1000 graduates.

Oran England made his long awaited MIJRS debut for the year in Carlow and impressed immediately, setting strong times in his Ford Fiesta Rally4, but the real standout star on the round was undoubtedly the winner on the day Craig Rahill. Romping clear of his MIJRS rivals, the Billy Coleman Shortlisted star really showed his class to claim maximum points, and closed the gap at the top of the table to just two points behind Dylan Eves who did not compete in Carlow.

The MIJRS now takes a bit of a summer break before we remain in Tarmac trim for the Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally on July 14th, while our J1000 crews also head onto sealed surface next when they tackle the Wexford Rallysprint on June 16th.

Full championship information and registration details can be found at www.MIJRS.ie

Cian Donnellan

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