Marty McCormack, ably guided by his niece Caron, took a fantastic victory in their local rally, the Tour of the Sperrins on Saturday. The pair crossed the finish line with a convincing lead of 22.8 seconds over the MINI WRC of Derek McGeehan.
Coming off the back of a superb 5th overall in the Pirelli Carlisle Rally, spirits were high in the McCormack camp heading into their home event. Caron McCormack took up navigating duties for the event, her first time sitting in the TigerRisk Skoda Fabia. This was a big step up from the Ford Escort she was used to navigating in, but it proved no stumbling block for her.
The rally made a return to gravel this year after a number of years as a tarmac event. Gravel is a surface that really suits Marty and it showed, as he was fastest out of the blocks! The TigerRisk clad car traveled over the 4 mile test 1.1 seconds faster than anyone else. Desi Henry in his newer Skoda Fabia R5 put the pressure on over stages 2 & 3 to take a slender lead over Marty & Caron heading into 1st service.
With some small adjustments made to the car in service by the McGeehan Motorsport team, Marty & Caron went on a mission to reel in Desi. A fastest time on stage 5 kept them in touch and with only a 5 second gap with 3 stages to go it was still all to play for. Stage 7 the 3.8 miles of Wolfs Hill & Marty went on the attack, but midway through the test he passed the stricken Skoda of Henry. His car had slid off the road on a slippery right hander and was stuck fast, this allowed the McCormack’s to relax and cruise to victory!
Marty commented at the finish ramp “I am absolutely over the moon, winning my home rally is very special and to have Caron beside me made it even better! The TigerRisk Skoda seems to get better and better with ever mile we do in it. We had a very good result at the last round of the British Rally Championship in Carlise and now we get to spray the champagne here, it couldn’t be better! I have to thank the whole team for the massive effort over the last number of events and especially a massive thanks to Caron for an excellent job on the notes. It was great to give her, her first win!”
The McGeehan crew will now go to work on the car to get it changed over to tarmac specification ahead of the Ypres Rally in June. The event descends on the historic town of Ypres in west Belgium every year and is a true classic on the rally calendar. Like the Circuit of Ireland the event is a counting round of the European Rally Championship. Marty & David were on a massive pace during the Circuit of Ireland holding 4th place overall until a fuel pump failure put them out of the event. Marty had a very good run in Ypres last year, claiming an 8th place overall after an excursion hampered his progress.
Marty said “I am really looking forward to competing in Ypres again, I really love the event. The atmosphere, the roads & the competition are incredible! Last year we went really well considering it was only our third time in the car. We were also really encouraged by our pace at the Circuit of Ireland battling with the European Championship regulars. I am hoping to improve on last years result in Ypres!”
You can keep up to date with Marty on Twitter @martymccormack and Facebook.com/marty.mccormack1.
Marty is competing this season with the support of Tiger Risk Partners, P McCormack and Sons Ltd.
Photo: Ruaidhri Nash