When Mac Kierans packed his bags for Australia in 2019, even his most far-fetched imagination couldn’t have placed him navigating a McRae on the other side of the world. But 20 months later, still living the Australian dream, Kierans had his name beside Max McRae on a rally in Western Australia.
Indeed, with eight stage wins from 12 in their Subaru Impreza, it was almost the perfect McRae-Kierans debut, only for fuel pump issues to spoil their party on Novus Glass Winvale Park Stages.
“When I got a phone call to sit with Max, I couldn’t turn the offer down to get my name on the same side window as a McRae,” admitted Kierans.
“The event went well even though we retired on Stage 5 with fuel pump issues. We were leading the rally by 7.4 seconds.
“We got back out on SS7 and completed the rest of the stages.
“The speed from the word go came as a surprise because Max is only 16 and this was only his fourth rally ever.
“I wasn’t expecting to be right on the pace from the word go, but then he is a McRae and it’s in the blood.”
Kierans competed alongside Brian O’Neill in an NPL Ford Escort Mk2 across New South Wales last year and the Monaghan native already has a fondness for rallying in Australia.
“There are rallies on the east coast of Australia every weekend if you are willing to travel,” said Kierans.
“It’s a bit different from home, for me it was strange at the start because I didn’t know anyone but once you get to know people it’s great. The Aussies are very welcoming and willing to help you out.
“Like everywhere else, they have their own set of ways of running and doing things but it’s easy to adapt when you do an event or two.
“The stages are unreal, forest rallying is the most common. There are only a few tarmac rallies.
“The amount of gravel roads they have is unbelievable. A 10-15 kilometre stage is normal.
“Most events throw in a long stage which could be anywhere up to 45 km long. You usually do it twice which is a rally at home in itself.
“It’s just a pity Australia is so far away from the rest of the world because it is some country for rallying.”
After their promising start to 2021, Kierans is looking forward to his next event with McRae. The pair are expecting to compete on Rally Queensland in May, the next round of the Australian Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta R2T.