Another year almost over and time for a look-back at the rallying year.
Personally I attended just 20 events in 2016 but I know many BMMC/BRMC members have been out on many more occasions.
Highlights for me included working on the Circuit of Ireland at Easter plus timing on the three days of the Donegal Rally in June. As usual we had a large presence at the Lurgan Park Rally last July. Due to my youngest son getting married in August I missed the Ulster Rally. Well done to Rory and his rescue crew who saved the life of well known Strabane driver Pat Kirk.
Derek McGarrity won the local NI Championship yet again although the opposition was very thin on the ground. The Irish Tarmac Championship was very competitive this year as all the main contenders were in R5 cars. Keith Cronin won, but the title went down to the wire and Alastair Fisher was unlucky to crash out in Cork after putting it up to Cronin all season.
On the WRC front Kris Meeke was sensational in Finland setting record stage times on his way to winning. Rookie Craig Breen was a fantastic third in Finland, this from a driver who has had to pay a fortune to join Citroen. Next year he will be a full team member and good luck to him. The big surprise on the World scene was the withdrawal of VW from the 2017 Championship. Toyota will join in and the new regulations mean the cars will look really aggressive and mean. A throw-back to the good old days of Group B! Ogler became 2016 World Champion and now could go to M Sport to drive their new Fiesta. I wasn't in Wales this year but the Rally was disappointing. Meeke could only manage fifth while Seb Ogier controlled the event.
So that was 2016, not a classic year but there were some outstanding moments to savour.
I forgot about the British Championship won so convincingly by Elfyn Evans. Another series in which R5 cars were to the fore. I was surprised at how these machines have progressed and they seem to be as good to watch as World Rally Cars.
Next year there will be no Circuit of Ireland, whether the event will ever return is perhaps the big question.
All that remains is for me to wish all of you a very happy Christmas and keep on RallyBuzzing!
Tuesday 27 December.......
It's Not The Boxing Day Rally.....
The UAC Targa-type event will be based again at the Tannery in Moira. We have been asked to supply timekeepers and marshals. Sign-on from 7am.