The second round of the 2017 McGrady Insurance ANICC Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, in association with www.rallysales.eu took place at Kirkistown, for the Ulster Automobile Club’s New Year Stages event. Four Junior 1000 crews lined up for the six stage event, as the 14-17 year old rally stars of the future took to the mixed surface stages for the first of two visits to the County Down race-circuit.
15 year old Sam Adams from Armoy, who made his rally debut on round one at Shackleton, led the point’s race into round two and started at number one this time. It was Peter Bennett who actually took victory on the opening round, but didn’t register for points and is unlikely to contest more of the rounds as he readies his R2 Skoda. So it was going to be battle between Sam Adams in the Skoda Citigo and Scottish regular Peter Beaton, who looked at one stage to be on his way to maximum points on round one before sliding onto the gras
15 year old Peter, who was third in last year’s championship in his Peugeot 107 started off well at Kirkistown, and on stage one he was visibly catching Sam Adams on the stage who had made a rather tawdry start. It was to be Adams who recorded the fastest time however as Beaton spun his 107 on a slippery section near the end of the stage.
16 year old Rory Byrne from Mayobridge in his Volkswagen UP, was a little down after stage one, having slid onto a bank and got stuck for twenty seconds. But Rory with his cousin James alongside this time was to have a good day and third place was a reward for a drive that improved with consistency and pace. Youngest driver so far this season is 14 year old Marcus McElwee in his Nissan Micra. The Magherafelt teenager with John Henderson alongside is running a Micra on a shoe-string budget, and very much built his confidence up again on the event, with a spin being the only real drama of the day, and times improving all the time.
At the front Sam Adams set a scorching time on stage two, and would take wins on the remaining four stages to score his first Junior 1000 victory. “A great day- very much enjoyed the rally and the venue, and it was so much fun! We had one big moment at fairly high speed on stage three but it all worked out well.” said Sam at the finish. The margin of one minute sixteen seconds over Peter Beaton and Kenny Foggo didn’t reflect their superb efforts as they had another moment getting stuck for over thirty seconds on top of a tyre, but the pairing all the way from the Inverness region came away with a commendable second place. Once again they raved about the standard of the event and venue, and they are activity trying to get more Scottish crews to come across.
Round three is back at Kirkistown on 11th February for the North Armagh Motor Club’s event, and co-ordinator Andrew Bushe is keen to see more Junior crews enter the successful N.I based series which has run since 2012. “It’s an ideal way into rallying from the tender age of fourteen, and if you are interested don’t hesitate to contact me through the regulations on the ANICC website to help get you started.”
2017 McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland- Rnd 2 Positions
1st Sam Adams Andrew Bushe Skoda Citigo Sport 33m 48.1s
2nd Peter Beaton Kenny Foggo Peugeot 107 +1m 16.1s
3rd Rory Byrne James Byrne Volkswagen UP +2m 20.9s
4th Marcus McElwee John Henderson Nissan Micra +3m 19.3s
Junior 1000 Driver Championship Points after Round 2
1 Sam Adams 24
2 Peter Beaton 20
3 Rory Byrne 16
4 Marcus McElwee 7
Registered co-driver points after Round 2
1 Andrew Bushe 24
2 Kenny Foggo 20
3 James Byrne 8