The fourth round of the 2015 ANICC McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship took place on closed roads, for the Magherafelt Motor Club’s MKS Ryan Bradley Memorial Tour of the Sperrins Rally. As a fitting tribute the motor club had dedicated the event in Ryan’s memory, the club member having lost his life in an accident on the Down Rally last year, and fittingly his brother Kevin also returned to the wheel for the seven stage event.
Indeed the stages were fresh this year, and coupled with dry weather they were praised by the competitors. It was Derek McGarrity in the S14 Impreza WRC who opened a lead on the opening Knockoneill test, recording a further four fastest times on the event. With Co.Kerry co-driver Diarmund Falvey alongside he was to record his fifth Tour of the Sperrins win, and fourth McGrady NI Championship win in a row, by just 14.5 seconds. “We had a great day” commented Derek. “We had no real problems, maybe just over-cautious on tyre choice on the final tests. The stages were very enjoyable, great driving stages, you really had to commit to them, and it was no easy day as Desi was never too far behind.”
Second placed Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan put in a fine showing in their older S9 Impreza, also ending a run of mechanical niggles with that car, whilst the battle for third raged until the final stage. It was decided by just over one second in favour of Derek McGeehan and Arthur Kierans in the Mini WRC, the Draperstown driver revelling in the handling of the Mini. Fourth was Marty McCormack in the Skoda Super 2000, with Paddy McVeigh in his Impreza WRC dropping to fifth with a stall. Multiple Scottish rally champion David Bogie was sixth in his R5 Fiesta and impressed at the pace of the front runners.
In the two-wheel drive race Alastair Cochrane was an early retirement with mechanical trouble on stage one, and Adrian Hetherington a late retirement when he broke the suspension on the penultimate test. It was Frank Kelly’s day however as he took a seventeen second victory over local ace Camillus Bradley, with Davy Armstrong third all in MK2 Escort’s.
In the Carryduff Forklift R2 Wales series, Kesh driver Jon Armstrong brought his 1600cc Peugeot 208 R2 into tenth, just 16 seconds in front of Killarney rival Rob Duggan in the Fiesta. Seamus O’Connell was the first of the Historic runners in his BDA Escort, just ahead of Group N winner Clive Kilpatrick in his Evo. Round five is all new tarmac closed road event on July 25th run by the Cookstown Motor Club.
McGrady Insurance MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Rally Championship 2015-Round Four
1st Derek McGarrity / Diarmuid Falvey Subaru Impreza S14 32:53.6
2nd Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan Subaru Impreza S9 +0:14.5
3rd Derek McGeehan / Arthur Kierans Mini WRC +0:26.5
4th Martin McCormack / James O’Reilly Škoda Fabia S2000 +0:27.7
5th Paddy McVeigh / Gary McElhinney Subaru Impreza WRC +0:31.3
6th David Bogie / Kevin Rae Ford Fiesta R5+ +0:57.8
7th Frank Kelly / David Vance Ford Escort MkII +1:17.6
8th Camillus Bradley / Crawford Henderson Ford Escort MkII +1:34.6
9th Davy Armstrong / Marty McGarrity Ford Escort MkII +2:36.9
10th Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Jr Peugeot 208 R2 +2:45.9
Image from Wayne Turkington