A couple from Newry were both bemused and delighted in equal measure on Sunday after inadvertently winning the 2016 Louth Rally Championship. Keith and Stephanie Wright had been on a day trip to IKEA in Dublin to take advantage of the favourable exchange rate when, despite years of TV warnings, they realized they’d left the chip pan unattended again.
“We were in the kitchen section of IKEA when it dawned on me that I’d left the chip pan unattended on the stove,” explained Steph. “Thankfully Dublin is only about 15 minutes away in the car so we were able to get back and put a wet tea towel over it before the house burnt down again.”
Chip pan fires and paramilitary activity vied for top spot in the Ulster death charts from the 1970s to the mid 1990s. In comparison, throwing Frisbees into pylons and then climbing up to get them topped the Irish death charts during the same period.
Steph hadn’t been 100% sure she’d left on the chip pan so hubby Keith didn’t take any undue risks on the M1 north to Newry, keeping the car at a steady if unspectacular 245kmph. The happy couple had been arguing about sitchayshuns the whole way home and hadn’t noticed themselves overtaking all other vehicles on the road.
In fact, they were initially unaware they’d won the Rally Championship.
“We only found out we’d won when friends recognised our car on a social media campaign. Apparently we blew the rest of the drivers out of the water – which surprised me as I didn’t think we were going fast at all, especially as we had to leave the motorway between Ardee and Dundalk on account of an accident.” said Keith.
Keith and Steph are due in Drogheda later this week to collect their prize – a €350,000 cheque from the Louth Rally Board. However, their euphoria could be short lived as it emerged that the fee may be used by Gardaí to partially pay the speeding fines of northern reg cars that day. The fee is expected to cover the hours between 09.00 and 10.30.