Competitor Profiles
Keith Cunningham
Profile Index
Keith CunninghamI am a young 55 and from Armagh in Northern Ireland. I started competing in rallies in the 1970s always as a navigator both on stage and road rallies. I have competed on 5 Circuit of Ireland rallies when they were actually a circuit of Ireland and lasted 4 days with only two overnight breaks. The first two attempts were in a Wartburg Knight which was a two stroke, 3 cylinder car.

The last 3 attempts were in a MK11 Escort. To prove how much of a rally fanatic I was, my honeymoon was spent in Killarney spectating on the Circuit of Ireland.

My main discipline was however road rallies which were very popular in Ireland and were a launching pad for many of the top stage drivers. These were the days when a night navigation was actually one big special stage from start to finish with no speed restrictions whatsoever. I finished my road rallying career when the events were restricted to 30mph regularity as I found them less enjoyable and many clubs were forced to cancel events due to lack of entries. Thankfully this has now changed and events are proving very popular again with an event on nearly every week in the North.

I still continued to co-drive on stage rallies but due to ill health was forced to give this up in 1995. I now help the local club with the paperwork required for rallies especially the very popular ( in Ireland) Lurgan Park Rally. I have also helped the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs on the inter-association road rally events which attracts some of the top mainland competitors.

Because of my love of maps, road rallying and being unable to compete, table top rallying seemed the obvious answer. So after a quick search of the web I found the TT site, saw the intention to hold a Championship and hey presto I was hooked. I entered the 2003 Championship but was completely out of my depth and only entered one rally. With running two classes in 2004/2005 I decided to try again and found that the experts class, although requiring a lot of brain work, was 'doable' and provided many hours of entertainment over the winter months.

With me being retired I am able to devote most of my time to the events and have been known to be on the maps for most of the day to the dismay of 'she who must be obeyed'. Fortunately I was able to do all the events in the comfort of my own home.

I liked the idea of having two classes. If only one class was available I doubt if I would have participated.
I tried some of the masters clues but did not have any idea as to how to go about solving them. My admiration goes out to the regular masters competitors.

My method of tackling the events is I am sure the same as all the rest. I download the route cards, take a quick look through them, and start with those I think are the easiest working back to the hardest. On the Rally Round event I went on to 2 newsgroups to get help with cards 5 & 11. One was a Welsh speaking site where I got in contact with a person who was able to translate the instructions and the second a newsgroup for Microsoft Excel experts who I was able to get in touch with someone who provided a formula which was able to help with the various permutations as to what spot heights on the area of the map used added to 860. Not cheating, but using my initiative!

There is nothing more satisfying than pondering over a route card for a couple of days and all of a sudden the solution and it becomes obvious how much thought had been put into the clues.

I do not think I have any anecdotes other than saying that one of my favourite and most successful places to try and solve the clues is in the bathroom.

Keith Cunningham
April 25, 2005