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A great day out in the Galway summer stages.

It was a leisurely start to the day with the Mini's completing the last 5 stages of the day ( similar to the juniors ) Unfortunately the weather gods were against us and a heavy drizzle decended on Galway for the day which made the stages treacherous..Having been forewarned that the stages were lethal we went into them with some caution.
It was quite a sight to see 10 minis lined up behind each other at the start of the stages and spirits were high. That said there was fierce competition between the mini men and the seconds were being counted with good humour.. unfortunately there were 4 retirements so only 6 minis crossed the ramp. A very enjoyable days competition that hopefully will take off.
praise must be given to the organisers and marshals that kept the stages running even after some road-blocking crashes, none of the stages were lost.. Well Done !!

Results :
1st -- Ray Cunningham / Elaine Cunningham
2nd -- Mervyn Johnston / Wendy Blackledge
3rd -- Willie Fitzpatrick / Anders Reid

Ross Forde has taken 2nd place in the fiesta cup in Isle of Mann

Ross and Co-driver Gary McElhinny have put in a great performance this weekend in the Isle of Mann. Proving his strength on Tarmac Ross rose to the challenge and had a trouble free run to finish in 2nd place behind Craig Breen in the Fiesta challenge.. He also competed in the challenge rally on saturday and he pipped fellow competitors at the post and took the win in this !! Well done Ross .. keep up the good work

Ross and Arron Forde have steady debut run in Rally Ireland.

Again Severe weather is hampering the crews on Rally Ireland and Ross is finding the tyre restrictions within the JWRC a bit of a nuicance..but he is still there and doing very well even though his car is very underpowered compared to the other contenders.. he is hoping to gain invaluable experience on this his first JWRC event..

Keep up with Ross on his Blog

Galway Mini Centre top of class in Galway

With Ireland on a severe weather alert the conditions were difficult ( to say the least ) on the crews especially in a little mini that does not like getting wet !! The first day was frustrating for Ray and Richard when their mini was running with a misfire all day due to the water flooding the electrics constantly..
Even so they were winning the historic section by the end of the day and 9 seconds behind Derek Boyd in the post historic Porsche .
Day 2 showed a brighter day with good dry spells in between the wintery showers although frost in the morning was a bit tricky..
The mini showed none of its misfire in the dryer weather and the lads ' had a good cut'.Very shortly they caught up with Derek and took the overall lead. Even with catching the 00 car in stage six and spinning, they held a good lead and soon took the laurels..
Congrats to Ray and Richard !!!!
Many thanks to the service crew especially Gerry Forde
Many thanks also to Therese who provided food for everybody.

Ross Forde Wins prestigious Billy Coleman Award

After putting in a huge effort during the year Ross was shortlisted to interview for the Billy Coleman Award, which recognises up and coming talent in Irish Rallying.
He had also competed in the Swift Challenge in England last year but victory was taken away from him in the final round when a shaft broke in a stage and he had to retire .
He wins a fully supported drive in the Fiesta Cup in England for 2009 and we wish him the best of luck in his venture.
We will be keeping a close eye n his progress throughout the year and in fact will be involved in running him on these events so watch this space !!!

Killarney Historic Rally 2007

As is often the case in Killarney in December, the weather was wet, wetter and stormy.. Someone commented over the weekend that it wouldn't be Killarney if you didn't get soaked . Weather aside though we had a fantastic weekend ! It was quite a production running 5 Cars but we managed admirably .
Saturdays stages were fast and with several thunder showers hampering the cars in the stages it was by all accounts very challenging. However all our cars got through the first loop without much bother even if Ross decided to check out an escape road in Shanera ...The second running of these stages was in the dark and the weather didn't dissapoint !!!! But all crews came to the overnight halt safely and Ray had built up a lead already in the Historic rally.

The following day offered 9 greulling stages for the crews with the Famous Molls Gap being the first.. Ray Cunningham and Richard Hyland had a fantastic run and had the 3rd fastest time of all competitors here...Vinnie and Derek had a bit of a scare and had to stop on the stage when 4 Deer decided to cross on front of them.
The weather had dried up considerably and a gale was blowing so the stages were quite dry.. Frank and Arron , who were putting in some great times found that the escort just wouldn't turn in at the flying finish of Healy pass and they fell into the bushes and got bogged down.. No damage done but well and truly stuck !

Ray And Richard had built up a good lead in the Historics and headed off for the second loop of stages in good spirits. Ross was struggling with a rotor arm that kept giving up the ghost ( fustrating ) but all the same was doing very well. Vinnie was getting to grips with the blue escort and enjoying himself thoroughly . Paul Aherne ran into trouble in this loop losing 2nd and 4th gear and decided in service to call it a day. Ray had the gasket in the water pump go on healy pass after a few heavy landings and there was a big panic when on the road section the water temp was 125 degrees and the engine dropped onto 2 cylinders.. Fearing the worst he put some water in and when he tried starting it up it sounded ok. So he limped to service where we got a gasket from someone.(FOC) who said "take it ..just get to the finish"
Thank You, whoever you are.. I hope we can sometime return the favour

All remaining cars made it through the last 3 stages to a fantastic finish

Ross Forde and Gary McIlhenny ...2nd in class
Vicente Frontinan and Derek Power.. 2nd overall classics and 1st in class
Ray Cunningham and Richard Hyland..Winner Historic Rally and Best Mini crew
Paul Aherne retired ss10
Frank Cunningham BD-DTi retired ss7

To all the service crew:
Billy O Connell , Kevin Keane, Patrick Cunningham, Orlando and Junio( sorry if that is spelled wrong )
To Elaine and Ruth on catering
To Frank Cunningham for the use of his beautiful Mini
To all the marshalls who stood out in that awful weather
To killarney and District Motor Club for a fantastic event.

The Rally Show at Chatsworth House

This is the first year that this event has been held and when we were contacted and asked did we want to be involved we thought we'd try it and see !! So we packed the camper with spares and the kids and the mini on a trailor and off we went.
When we arrived the place was very well set up and despite the saturday being wet there was plenty to see..various car clubs had a show there, then there were the rally cars mostly historic and post historic but some wrc's were there too, i.e. M-Sport Ford focus. The rally stage was a version of the Chatsworth House stage that was run in the old RAC rally, including the famous water splash. There were several competitive 'events' (similar to a sprint)and in between these were 'stage sessions' where you could bring out your rallycar for a spin.
We were competing in events 1 and 3.. and did surprisingly well as we spent most of the time laughing. It was a tad slippy !!!! and we were mowing grass most of the time. we ended up winning event 3 outright ( historic cars) and came 3rd in event 1. The kids were catered for as well with dodgems and a remote control car track.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have it pencilled in again for next year.
We also met Jim Bamber at the show and got a photo of himself with his cartoon on the Van (below)

Frank Cunningham /Arron Forde a close second in Belgium /

Congrats to both Frank and Arron who were pipped to the post by David Stokes in a similar escort for maximum points for the english historic championship at Flanders. Frank and Arron have really got the hang of the escort now and were actually leading until a problem on the last stage.. It lends itself to an interesting season next year..Frank is next out in the Killarney Historic Rally at the start of December.

Western region Mini Day 2007

What a cracker !! The sun split the rocks, the car park filled with mini's of every type, a great day of fun for all the family .

Well done to Adrian and all who were involved in organising the event, we had a great day . The Mini balancing was one of the most fun items at the show, where you had to try and balance the trailor horizontally by driving the mini up on to it. not as easy as it sounds !!... not sure if anyone managed to do it but it was a laugh watching them try !! The western regions web site will have photos of the event .. worth a look and if you are available next year, well worth a day out

Season Review 12/12/2006

Well its been a hectic year to say the least.. With sucess on the Ulster rally the 2006 Irish Historic Tarmac champions are Ray Cunningham and Richard Hyland...CONGRATULATIONS !!! Ray has also sewn up his class in the Hillclimb championship this year so GMC Success all around .. so whats in store for 2007 ??? Well with the latest GMC novice now on the scene there probably won't be as much happening this year but Frank Cunningham plans on doing the English Historic Championship in his "Escort" (traitor....) so GMC will be busy keeping him going..Watch this space!

Killarney Historic Rally 2006

Pipped at the post !!!! It was a titanic battle all weekend between the Porche of Dessie Nutt and the Mini of Ray Cunningham.... The 1st night Ray built up a lead of 18 seconds or so and hoped to get a good run at Molls Gap in the morning...And indeed he did keep his lead over the stage but the weather was atrocious and with floods everywhere he was struggling with the Mini aquaplaning all over the place. It was nip and tuck all day with Dessie clawing back in some stages while Ray Pulling away in others .. The crux came at the last two stages.. with carragh lake stage cancelled it was down to Shanera stage run twice ..Unfortunatly it was a very fast stage with a lot of standing water much more suited to the Porche and on the 1st time through Dessie pulled the gap back to 10 seconds so both crews sat in service and pulled as much weight out of the cars as possible and prepared themselves for a ride on the doorhandles ... At the end of the stage Ray commented ' well if he beats me there, he deserves it' . As it goes he had 1 second.. What a dissapointment for Ray and Richard but as they both said ' the best weeked rallying in a long time '..Tough luck lads !!! Congratulations to Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride on their well deserved win.

Welcome to the newest GMC recruit !

We at GMC are delighted to introduce you to our newest recruit 'Lisa Cunningham' . Born halloween night .

Manx Rally ( Isle of Mann 2006 )

Ray Cunningham and Kevin Flannagan take their class win and a comfortable 5th overall in the Manx Historic Rally and they scored top Irish Historic Tarmac championship points.
It was 1st time for both of them to participate in the Manx and they were looking forward to competing against some of the british historic competitors.

There were 6 stages on the Thursday evening but 2 were cancelled..however the lads had built up a good lead overnight, from the minis of Glenn Leese, Mervyn Johnston, and Alan Courtney.
The Fri ( day 2 ) was a long day with many problems.. Half way through the Day a broken shock absorber caused some delays. and was close to making a hole in the petrol tank.. so they removed it at the end of a stage and ran without it until service ( hairy to say the least )
Then later a cracked rear subframe caused problems. However this was removed , welded and made good to go in the evening service and luckily they still had a considerable lead in the class.

Saturday then thankfully there were no problems and the Lads took no risks in getting the car to the finish to clinch the class.
Many thanks to Kevin Keane and Billy O'Connell ( service crew for the weekend )

Ray is now focusing on the Ulster Rally where (all going well ) he has a chance to seal the Irish Historic Tarmac Championship..Watch this space !!

Phoenix Park Races 2006

GMC are delighted to extend their congratulations to Conor O'Brien in his GMC prepared Historic Race Mini, who won his race in the event this year..
A great achievment Conor ..Well Done !

Goodwood Festival of speed 7th - 9th July

GMC visited to Goodwood Festival of Speed this year in early July.. What an event !!! It is well worth a visit sometime.We got to meet and see so many of the legends of motor racing and rallying as well as some of the current World Rally Crews.

But the highlight of our day was when Ray got a spin around the rally stage at goodwood with Miko Hirvonen, in the 2006 WRC focus ...( the one that had just won the acropolis no less )
I'd say he enjoyed himself - see pic -
An event not to be missed next year !

Galway International Rally

Another sucessful weekend was had by the Galway Mini Centre crews on home territory, with Ray Cunningham and Richard Hyland taking the outright Historic win , in fact Ray and Richard not only led the historic field but battled hard against the post historic entry to come home ahead of them as well ...WELL DONE !!!!

Ross forde and Natalie O'Connell had a great time in the hire mini as 004 course car..Overcoming the few mishaps ( getting beached on a low wall and running out of petrol.....)they cruised home after a very enjoyable two days rallying..

The escort of Frank Cunningham and Arron forde were going very well in day 1, coming second only to little brother Ray.. and the caps were off between the two of them on sunday moring, but unfortunately on the second Sunday stage the oil light came on indicating serious engine trouble and the end of their rally...

GMC would like to congratulate Galway Motor Club on a fantastic, well run Rally..

Galway Mini Centre triumph at Killarney

Ray and Elaine Cunningham have clinched a memorable win over Russell Brooks and Maurice Hamilton in the Killarney Historic stages rally on the 3/4 Dec. They were driving a Mini Cooper S belonging to Rays brother Frank,who was using his Mk1 Escort for the event. The win was especially poignant as Rays father Martin, had sadly passed away shortly before the event.

" The 1st 2 stages were in the dark and after a hairy stage 1, as the brakes were adjusted too far to the rear, and a good second stage, we had 20 seconds up on the porche of Russell Brooks. At the end of the second stage on the road section we ran out of petrol as the fuel consumption had been much higher than anticipated, but luckily there was a petrol station down the hill within pushing distance.....

The following morning after the overnight halt Molls Gap was the 1st stage up..Ray Decided that Russell was only going to get quicker over the day, so he pushed hard on the gap ( his favourite stage ) to try and get an early advantage over Russell. halfway through the stage he could see the taillights of a Mk1 ( green ) Frank Cunningham .... and that spurred him fact Frank was catching the Stratos of Steve Perez who was having problems and we in turn were catching Frank whose comment was " its a bummer to be beaten by your own car ! ". At the end of that stage we had taken a further minute out of the porche and were placing the order to peltor for the supersize helmet !!!!

On the next two stages, Killmacalogue and Healy pass, we built up our lead to approx 2 1/2 mins at service in Castletownbere .
We decided that with such a cushion to second place we would ease off the loud pedal a tint and pace ourselves with a view to getting to the finish. The next stages Cods Head and Ardgroom saw us ease off a little and we backed off in the tight part of the Healy pass which was incredibly bumpy. This left us still 2 mins clear of Russell in 2nd place.
Armed with this knowledge and the councel of many saying " Take her home now..don't make a stupid mistake." we nursed her home to the the same breath Russell was getting rightly into the swing of things and was taking 20-25 seconds a stage out of us.. but with only 3 stages left we finished the last stage 34 seconds in the lead..

The car didn't miss a beat all weekend and you would wonder if the old man hadn't played his part in getting us to the finish line..Thanks Dad ! "

There are a few people we would like to thank for their part in one of our greatest achievements.

Firstly.................................... Frank Cunningham, for the car and the moral support.
Our service crew.................... Kevin, Ross, Billy and Kevin who kept us going all weekend.
Gareth Lloyd's service crew ...Woody and Eric who provided the entertainment.
Killarney Motor Club .............. for a very well run event.
Thanks everybody !!!

Tynagh Sprint

Yellow Hillclimb Mini Congrats to Ray in his yellow and black mini for winning class 1 in the Galway sprint in Tynagh ( Pallas Karting track ) on the 6th of Nov . It was a well run event even though the weather was very wet and cold. Thanks to all the marshalls who stood for hours in the bitter cold and heavy rain in the name of motorsport...

Drive for Life

In September of 2002, Elaine Cunningham and Suzanne Joyce got together to try and raise money for the Irish Cancer Society..In collaboration with Galway mini centre they were given a car to drive and they set about the task of raising money. Through business sponsorship, selling lines, and selling T-shirts on the day, they managed to raise over 11,000 .
The girls would like to thank everybody who contributed to their success especially Ronan Ward ( who did tremendous fundraising ) and Jim Bamber ( who donated the cartoon for the T- Shirt )and Galway Mini Centre for the car and service crew( Kevin and Ross ).

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