Circuit of Clare / Thomond Rally
The Thomond Rally name has been used on a variety of rally formats since 1965 prior to that it was known as the circuit of Clare, navigation, tarmac and forestry, one day and two day. this article is based on period news stories about the event.
11 Oct 1953
This event started at the Dock road, Limerick and travelled a 140mile coursevia Kilkee (lunch halt), Lahinch, Blackhead and Corkscrew hill to Ennis
Thurles driver A G Ryan (VW) was the winner
9 Oct 1955
1st P B Hopkirk
2nd S H Logan
7 Oct 1956
The event was the first of 16 rounds in the 1956-57 Hewison Trophy Trials championship. The Event was won by P Hopkirk
F B Geary, Beford Row, Limerick was secretary for the event. this event became a talking point at the time. some competitors wading waist deep into a river to rescue a stranded car. Actually it was not necessary to go theough the "ford" to reach the next checkpoint, but it seemed a good isea to navigators!
J R Davidson (Ford Prefect) was the winner 7.2 seconds ahead of Declan O'Leary. Best performance on the tests was made by club member Hector Newenham but dropped 40 marks on the road sections.
Winner M Ivis (Austin A35)
4 Oct 1959
Winner Cecil Vard (Triumph Herald)
1st D Cullen
2nd K Sherry
3rd Cl Vard
The top ten frivers were J Moore, T Connolly, D Glover, M Ivis, C Vard, J O'Mahony, T O'Sullivan, P O'Flynn. F Kealy and L Woulfe
4 Oct 1964
Four of the 19 entries received no penalties on the naviagation route this meant the top placings were decided by test times. B Kehoe navigated byTerry Harriman of Belfast won from Noel Smith, club member Connie Bourke was third.
2/3 Oct 1965
As well as a name change from Circuit of Clare to Thomond, the event ran from Saturday evening (8:30pm start at Bunratty Castle) to a Sunday morning finish near Shannon Airport, the Circuit of Clare had been a day time event. Clerk of Course Steve Moran had 170 miles of navigation and a number of special stages on closed roads in the event.
Athlone driver Jim O'Brien with Limerick's Philip Deegan navigating won the event in a Ford Cortina GT. Brian Kehoe/Terry Harryman were second in a similar car. Dublin's Dermot Carnegie with Cork's Noel Davin was third in a Morris Cooper S. Tom Burke navigated by Reggie Tilson was fourth
11 Oct 1966
This years event had no special stages.
1st Connie Bourke/Brian Geary
2nd Dermot Carnegie/Noel Davin
Several crews from Galway Motor Club competed in The Limerick Motor Club Thomond Daylight Rally on Sunday last. The 180 mile Rally started in Scariff, Co. Clare, and had 13 special stages. The Galway crew of John Dempsey and Ray Murphy finished in seventh place overall.
Limerick Rally. The Thomond Rally last weekend was made all the more tough by the wet and foggy conditions. It is indicative that 23 starters were reduced to 7 (seven) finishers and all credit is due to the only Galway finishers Pat Higgins, Dave Ray (Alfa Romeo), who survived 7 stages and 200 miles of navigation to take 7th place overall and a class win.
The Limerick Motor Club have announced that the the Thomond Rally will start from Ennis (rally H.Q. is the West County Inn) at 9.00 a.m. on Sunday next and will cover ten closed road Sections in two loops. The first loop will start with the Crusheen stage, north of Ennis, and continue in the Ennistymon direction, while the second loop will cover new sections west of Ennis. Scrutiny will take place on Saturday at Lyons Garage, Ennis.
The Limerick M.C. will run their Tile Boutique Thomond stages rally on 29th October. Entries are being handled by Shawn Wall at ________, Shannon, Co. Clare. Much emphasis has been laid on the leisure aspect of the bank holiday weekend, and already the O'Connell crew from Cork have been seeded at number one.
The present word is that the Limerick Motor Club are going ahead with their Thomond Rally on Oct. 26/27, and details are available from James Doherty, Adare, Co. Limerick.
15th October 1981 Galway Advertiser
The Thomond Rally '81 should provide some Bank Holiday Entertainment on October 25th in Limerick. Entries close on 17th October. For further details contact Frank Hogan, Dublin Road, Limerick. Phone (061) 46000 during business hours.
Motorsport Death Of Brian Sparling
Brian Sparling was a director of Limerick Motor Club and his untimely death last Saturday when a competitor in the Thomond Rally, meant the cancellation of the second day in the rally. Aged 54 years, he was a popular competitor and often contested events in Galway, often in a Mini. He was a garage proprietor in Croke, Co. Limerick.
The 1983 event had attracted 75 entries for stages run in rhe Castleconnell/Oola areas. Ken Lyons (Escort) was declared the winner based on the first days times, AJ Keating (Escort G3) from Janturk was 47s behind, Haro;d Thompson (Sunbeam) from Manorhamilton was third.
The club continued its tradition of secret stages, this was believed to be the reason for a low entry of just over 60. Geprge Robinson was the winner ahead of Kenny Colbert.
25 October 1987
Nenagh was again the location for 90 miles of stages. Hal Lewis was clerk of the Course and Barry Tobin deputy CoC.
Fermanagh driver Alan Johnson (Lotus Sunbeam) was the winner 24s ahead of Donie Keating (Escort). Billy Connelly (Chevette HSR) from Kilkenny was third. There were 64 finishers from 84 starters.
Thomand Forest Rally - 18 Oct '98
Round 2, RIAC Forestry Championship
1 D. Kelly/G. Shinnors (Escort RS Cosworth)....53.45
2 D. McNeill/M. Carey (Escort RS Cosworth).....54.39
3 N. Driver/J. Shinnors (Escort RS Cosworth)...56.08
4 J. McGaffin/W. Russell (Escort RS Cosworth)..56.31
5 P. McCullagh/P. Barry (Escort RS Cosworth)...56.34
Thomand Forestry Rally 9 Jan 2000
Round 5 1999/2000 Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship
Dermot Kelly/Greg Shinnors extend their lead in the National Forestry Championship
1 D McNeil/F Regan (Escort RS Cosworth).....48:47
2 D Kelly/G Shinnors (Escort RS Cosworth)...49:32
3 F Barrett/D Tumilty (Subaru Legacy RS)....50:13
4 N Driver/J Shinnors (Escort RS Cosworth)..50:15
5 J McCarthy/T O'Regan (Sierra RS Cosworth).59:39
6 K Barrett/S Mullaly (Subaru Impreza 555)..53:03
The Thomond Rally name has not been used since 2000.