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HAS McGARRITY A HAND ON N.I. TITLE....AGAIN?

It would seem that Derek McGarrity could be on course for a seventh MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The Glengormley driver steered his Ford Fiesta WRC to a 21.8 second win over his only challenger, the Fiesta R5 of Brendan Cumiskey, on July’s Tyrone Stages Rally.

After the Ulster Rally last month Camillus Bradley is 11 points behind McGarrity with just the gravel of the Bushwacker and the tarmac of the Down Rally to come. Bradley needs to score well on the closed-road Down to have any chance as he is not a gravel driver! Alastair Cochrane who goes well on any surface is third, 9 behind Camillus. Strangely though, McGarrity didn’t start the Ulster.

The Cookstown Motor Club’s Tyrone Stages event, which was based in Limavady and finished on Benone beach, was the last rally I assisted on as for most of August I was on holiday. We were providing timekeepers and radio cover for the 12-stage tarmac rally. The three-mile tests were completely new to motorsport. There were two stages run three times in the morning. In the afternoon the tests were reversed. Some showers made the morning loop tricky but it would dry up later. 43 crews started while 34 finished. Emma McKinstry was out in the family Subaru S14 WRC and finished an excellent third while Camillus Bradley was fourth and best 2-wheel drive in his Escort.

Well done to Elfyn Evans on his Ulster Rally win with his Fiesta R5. Hard to believe its been 27 years since I was on hand at the finish of the final stage to see his Dad Gwyndaf win the 1989 Ulster in the pink Sierra. Gwyndaf also won the rally in 1998 driving a SEAT Ibiza.

Elfyn also clinched the British Rally Championship with that Ulster win. Exactly as his Dad had done 20 years ago!

Rally Diary

SAT. 3RD SEPTEMBER.
LAKELAND STAGES RALLY

Not a round of the Northern Ireland Championship this year but round 5 of the 2016 Irish Forest Rally Championship. 73 entries have been received by organisers Enniskillen MC as I write. We have been asked for Radio cover, Rescue and possibly Timekeepers. There will be 8 gravel stages in and around Derrygonnelly and Belcoo with a Start/Finish at Grosvenor Barracks, Coleshill Road Enniskillen. The event is sponsored by TuffMac Trailers.

SAT. 24TH SEPTEMBER.
BUSHWACKER RALLY

The penultimate round of the 2016 MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship. This gravel event will be using the usual West Tyrone stages. Based at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh and organised by Omagh Motor Club we normally provide Timekeepers, Radio cover, Rescue and marshals.