An Interview With… Darren Gass

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Other News

Markethill’s Darren Gass secured victory at Saturday’s Modern Tyre Service Mourne Rally, round five of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship. The 24-year-old driver is the reigning Irish Tarmac Champion and also lists the British Junior title amongst his many rally accomplishments. He finished the Mourne event more than one minute ahead of reigning Carryduff Forklift champion, Derek McGarrity. We caught up with young Gass to find out a little bit more about him after his Mourne Rally success…

Did you have any problems during the event?

Darren: “We had a puncture for about a mile on one stage, then spun on another stage and lost maybe 10 or 12 seconds but other than that, everything was fine. We were trying hard enough for the first five or six stages to be honest.”

Did your local knowledge help?

Darren: “The stages were fairly local to me but they’re not roads that I would ever be on. They were tricky stages with very little room for error so it was good to get around them with no hassle. It was a great day and I think the weather helped make it a great day for everybody.”

How has this season gone for you so far?

Darren: “It hasn’t been great to be honest…we haven’t done much. We crashed on the first stage in Galway (round one of the Irish Tarmac Championship) then round two was cancelled because of the bad weather. So the Mourne Rally was our first proper run this year.”

What happened in Galway?

Darren: “We made a mistake in making the pace notes before the rally. We had the finish of the stage in the wrong place, so I didn’t have the last square right noted. We crashed at the last corner, about 20 metres before the finish of the stage. It was a silly mistake but that shows how vital it is to have good pace notes.”

When did you start rallying?

Darren: “I navigated a couple of times for my dad (Maurice) and we won the New Year Stages Rally at Kirkistown together. My first event as a driver was when I was 17 years old. That was in a Citroen Saxo at the Sligo Stages.”

What is your biggest accident?

Darren: “We had a bad accident at the Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland with a Celica about five or six years ago. I just lost control and the car rolled into the trees. Thanks to all of the safety equipment – helmets, roll cage, safety harness – we were able to walk away.”

What’s next?

Darren: “We were using the Mourne Rally as a shakedown for the Donegal Rally, which takes place in a couple of weeks’ time. So it is nice to get the win and boost the confidence ahead of that event. My birthday is on the Friday of the rally – I’ll be 25 – so I’ll be aiming for a good birthday present!”

And the rest of the year?

Darren: “Depending on how Donegal goes, I might enter the Ulster Rally. I’d also like to enter Lurgan Park again.”

Go Motorsport

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