The eighth round of the 2015 MSA ANICC McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship took place in the forests, for the Omagh Motor Club’s fortieth anniversary McKelvey Asbestos Removal Bushwhacker Stages Rally. The event like the Lakeland Stages before it had received over one hundred entries, as the cars set off for six stages in the Carrickaholten, Lough Braden and Killeter forests, all classic Bushwhacker tests, and in fine weather conditions.
It was declared that Derek McGarrity was the 2015 Northern Ireland Rally Champion, having won the opening four rounds of the series. It’s a record sixth title for the delighted Co. Antrim driver who was unable to make the start of the final round due to a car being sold. However there were other titles to be decided on this final round, including the Carryduff Forklift R2 Wales prize drive, the Group N and Historic titles.
It was former Pirelli Star Driver- Mark Donnelly from Omagh, in his S10 Impreza WRC who led the event from start to finish with co-driver Barry McNulty, finishing twenty seconds ahead of Monaghan’s Josh Moffett in his Group A Mitsubishi Evo 9. Desi Henry, fourth on the first stage, soon moved into third, in the screaming Skoda Super 2000, a position he held to the finish, ahead of former NI Rally Champion Kenny McKinstry in his S14 Impreza. Martin Cairns in another S14 Impreza was fourth before incurring a stage maximum on the final stage. The two wheel drive challenge was led initially by Paul Barrett in his Historic Pinto MK2, but he dropped back on stage three and
unfortunately went off the road before the finish. Frank Kelly took up the front running on stage three, but gear-box problems forced his retirement, leaving Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott to take the two wheel drive honours in the little 2 litre Starlet. Group N winner on the event was Cathan McCourt, but the championship was decided in Simon Woodside’s favour, with team-mates Clive Kilpatrick second and Geoff McMahon third all in Mitsubishi Evos. 1994 NI Rally Champion- Stephen Mawhinney, took his Lotus Sunbeam to the Historic title after a controlled drive on the event, with Historic honours on the rally going to Ryan Barrett. Much of the attention was focused on the Carryduff Forklift R2 Wales runners. Killarney’s Rob Duggan did what he needed to do, second place on the event to rival Jon Armstrong being enough to scoop the magnificent Wales Rally GB drive in the DGM Sport DS3 R3. The series has been a welcome addition to the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship this year. Now after a great year’s rallying, it’s planning time for the ANICC for the 2016 Northern Ireland Rally Championship!
McGrady Insurance MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Rally Championship 2015-Round Eight Results
1 Mark Donnelly/Barry McNulty Subaru Impreza S10 35m 25s
2 Josh Moffett/Jason McKenna Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +0m 20s
3 Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan Škoda Fabia S2000 +0m 33s
4 Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr Subaru Impreza S14 +1m 17s
5 Niall McCullagh/Ryan McCloskey Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI +2m 03s
6 Shane McGirr/Jackie Elliott Toyota Starlet +2m 05s
7 Jonny Leonard/Niall Burns Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +2m 08s
8 Frank O’Brien/Stephen O’Brien Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI +2m 29s
9 Seamus O’Connell/Sean Magee Ford Escort MkII +2m 31s
10 Adrian Hetherington/Andrew Grennan Ford Escort MkII +2m 43s
Copyright free pictures by Wayne Turkington