1983 Donegal Rally

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The 1983 Donegal Rally will go down as yet another dramatic and Classic weekend in the Hills of Donegal with great Cars,plenty Drama,big Crowds,superb Weather and at the end of it all a very popular local Winner in Vincent Bonner from sweet Dungloe,Bertie Fisher was there in his Opel Manta 400 and was bringing the new Car out for its first competitive outing,but Austin McHale set the early pace in his Vauxhall Chevette HSR just edging ahead of Fisher in the new Manta 400 with Vincent Bonner next up in his beautiful Escort RS1800 which were both built and Ran by Sydney Meeke,also competing were Richie Heeley Escort,Phil Collins Opel Ascona 400,Mike Pattison Escort,Mal Stuart and Derek Boyd both having Sunbeam Lotus power and Kenny McKinstry Ford Escort amongst many more,McHales lead of 8 seconds didn`t last long unfortunately as he suffered a jammed Gearbox and a flat Tyre which cost him 5 min and the lead which Bertie Fisher now held,McHale got his Gearbox changed in record time and fought his way back up to 4th overall by the end of Day 1 in a remarkable recovery run,Fisher led at the end of Day 1 but Bonner was holding his own in second in the Escort with Heeley 3rd,Saturday was a long day and Fisher unfortunately went off and dropped to 8th overall but retired soon after so Vincent Bonner was now leading but McHale had a trouble free run and was closing in fast to move up to 2nd overall ahead of Richie Heeleys Escort with local man John Connor going great in 4th place in his Chevette,Sunday dawned and it was to be an eventful day with Austin McHale continuing to take time away from Bonner who couldn`t match the more powerful Vauxhall and with 3 Stages to go had gone back to second 9 seconds behind Austin but then disaster struck for McHale with 3 Punctures on Atlantic drive in a cruel twist of luck robbed Austin of his first big to hand the lead and victory back to a delighted Vincent Bonner and what a popular victory it was for the likeable Man from Dungloe,McHale was a disappointed 2nd in the end ahead of Richie Heeley with John Connor having a great run to finish 4th overall,Michael O`Carroll directed a great Show here for RTE and we thank Pat Sullivan Carrignavar for the use of this Footage which includes at the end of this video images of both Pat and his great Friend Vincent Bonner with Pat being one of his biggest Fans down in the South of Ireland,Do Enjoy.
Richard Lyons
Richard Lyons

Hard to credit it'll be 40 years this June...! 😯🤦‍♂️

Twin cam GT IRL
Twin cam GT IRL

Vincent bonner pure gent still to this day one of the most naturally gifted escort drivers ever to compete just to even see the way he went through letterkenny stage that year it was poetry in motion. Big man to😁he must have lost a few stone that weekend. 1991 he even drove better on the 400 manta leading most of rally against way better cars only for his rotar arm broke It was the tightest donegal rally over 3 days

LedSexton
LedSexton

The last man to win an international rally wearing a polo shirt. Some pilot

Máire Savage
Máire Savage

Vincent Bonner was one of the Most popular Rally Driver from that Era...Allways prepared to have a word or two with the public during Events...he had some very good Results too..as well as Winners of 1983 Donegal Rally..he had many more inspiring drives in Ascona & Manta 400's considering he was 3 or 4 years behind in Technology regarding Cars....when you see Coleman's and Lovell's and Llewellin's Works Entrys during that period ...Glen Village on that Video was absolutely Frightening Crazy Times 😃@Pat Sullivan🎥🏁👏🌹 Cork. ....