The fifth round of the 2015 MSA ANICC McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship took place on closed roads, for the Cookstown Motor Club’s POC Oils NI Tyrone Stages Rally. This all new six stage event took in some challenging, undulating stages to challenge the one hundred plus crews.
Number one seed and championship leader, Derek McGarrity was a non-starter, having sold his S14 Impreza on the eve of the event. That left number two seed Peader Hurson, originally a Co.Tyrone man, first on the road in his S10 Impreza. “It’s the first time I have actually ran first on the road in a rally, so I’m a bit nervous” he said at the start, but he need not have worried as with co-driver Damien Connolly he took a commanding fifty-six second victory. “It was a good day, a great event, certainly very challenging and we very much enjoyed it” said the former Irish National Rally Champion.
The second placed battle of the 2.5 litre MK2 Escort’s was epic, with Frank Kelly victorious by just over three seconds from Camillus Bradley. “I’ll remember that last stage forever” said Camillus. “Fair play to Frank as that was a real fight to the finish and we were both flat out. Brilliant!” In a fine fourth on his debut in an R2 208 Peugeot was Killarney’s Rob Duggan, further extending his advantage in the Carryduff Forklift R2 Wales series. He was engaged in a day long battle with Jon Armstrong, the pair separated by 0.1 of a second at service, until Jon slid off and got stuck close to the finish. The Citroen C2’s of Alan Smyth and Kyle White took second and third in the R2 class. Damien Toner in his MK2 claimed a fine fifth overall despite rear differential issues, with Enda McNulty just ten seconds behind. In an amazing seventh was Historic winner Seamus O’Connell in his MK2 BDG. Keith McIvor in his beautiful Porsche was second in the Historic’s. Completing the top ten- Rodney White took the 2 litre class in his Sunbeam after a late charge into eighth, with Alastair Cochrane ninth, and Shane McGirr who had handling problems with his Starlet tenth. Some top ten retirements included Mark Donnelly who had been fourth until his Evo developed transmission woes, and Declan McNaughton who crashed out on stage two, clipping a spectator who thankfully only suffered minor injuries.
The Group N battle was intense with Clive Kilpatrick taking the win from Robert Woodside, both in Mitsubishi Evo 9’s. Round six of the McGrady Insurance series is a big one- the Ulster Rally on the 14th and 15th of August.
McGrady Insurance MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Rally Championship 2015-Round Five
1st Peadar Hurson / Damien Connolly Subaru Impreza WRC S10 37:30.8
2nd Frank Kelly /David Vance Ford Escort MK2 +0:56.9
3rd Camillus Bradley / Crawford Henderson Ford Escort Mk2 +1.00.6
4th Rob Duggan / Ger Conway Peugeot 208 R2 +2:35.3
5th Damian Toner / Martin Toner Ford Escort Mk2 +2:53.1
6th Enda McNulty / Paul Sheridan Ford Escort MK2 +3:02.6
7th Seamus O’Connell / Sean Magee Ford Escort MK2 +3:14.9
8th Rodney White / Evin Hughes Talbot Sunbeam +3:35.5
9th Alastair Cochrane / Paddy McCrudden Ford Escort Mk2 +3:40.5
10th Shane McGirr / Aaron Johnson Toyota Starlet +3:42.0
Images from Ruadhri Nash