The sixth round of the 2015 MSA ANICC McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship took place on closed roads, for the Northern Ireland Motor Club’s Todds Leap Ulster Rally. The two day event, based in Enniskillen featured two night stages, and second placed Desi Henry emerged the top points scorer in his Skoda Fabia S2000. For Desi, the winner of the Tour of the Sperrins in an Impreza WRC, it was an excellent result. Winner of the event was Donagh Kelly in his Ford Focus WRC, after leader Garry Jennings retired his Impreza just two miles from home with an engine fire.
Derek McGarrity took second placed points further strengthening the Glengormley driver’s series lead with just the forestry rounds on Lakeland Stages on the 5th September, and Omagh’s Bushwhacker Rally on 26th September still to go. The Ulster wasn’t Derek’s strongest performance of the season, arriving at the event with an older Impreza WRC that wasn’t familiar to him. “It took me quite a while to get back into right hand drive, a bit longer than I thought” exclaimed Derek. “We lost a bit of time on Friday with that, and then on Saturday we had some serious gearbox issues, as the car was sometimes shifting down two gears at once. It was a matter of nursing it home for the points.”
Just 0.2 of a second behind Derek was Kesh’s Jon Armstrong a fabulous sixth overall in his Peugeot 208 R2, and taking a maximum score in the Carryduff Forklift R2 Wales series. His 208 rival Rob Duggan, finished seventh, just thirty-two seconds back, a wrong tyre choice costing time. Third place was taken by Callum Devine in the neat Opel Adam R2, as the 1600 chargers squeezed into the top ten. Just about squeezing into the top ten was Camillus Bradley in his MK2 Escort, the Draperstown driver climbing up from a steady start on Friday, as the Saturday stages took their toll, with 2.5 rival Frank Kelly retiring with a broken final drive, and Shane McGirr running into clutch issues.
Top McGrady Insurance Historic runner was Raymond Johnston in his MK2 Escort RS1800, who finished in a fine eighteenth place, ahead of more modern machinery and in front of top English Historic driver Rob Smith. Overall the event was much enjoyed and now the crews will fit gravel suspension to their machines for the Lakeland and Bushwhacker events, two classic NI Championship rallies to round off the season.
McGrady Insurance MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Rally Championship 2015-Round Six
1st Donagh Kelly / Kevin Flanagan Ford Focus 1:42:31.3
2nd Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan Škoda Fabia S2000 +1:46.4
3rd Derek McGeehan / Arthur Kierans Mini WRC +2:21.6
4th Jonathan Greer / Kirsty Riddick Citroën DS3 R5 +2:51.5
5th Derek McGarrity / Dairmuid Falvey Subaru Impreza WRC +4:18.5
6th Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Jnr Peugeot 208 R2 +4:18.7
7th Robert Duggan / Gerard Conway Peugeot 208 R2 +4:51.5
8th Daniel McKenna / Gordon Noble Toyota GT86 +6:21.2
9th Callum Devine / Keith Moriarty Opel Adam +6:40.6
10th Camillus Bradley / Crawford Henderson Ford Escort MK2 +7:36.2