Jonny Greer and Brian Crawford in their Citroen DS3 R5 took a superb victory on the Pacenotes Stages Rally, held at Kirkistown race-circuit round one of the MSA ANICC McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship on Saturday. The Carryduff driver in his DGM Sport machine was fastest on the opening two tests, but the Citroen worryingly trundled into service on two cylinders after stage two. The fault was traced to a simple wire, and with the DS3 back to full health, fastest times on the final three tests sealed a thirteen second victory. “We had a great day, really enjoyed the rally and delighted to get the win” said Jonny at the event prize-giving. “Thanks to everyone who made it possible. Brian Crawford for keeping me right all day, the team for a great car again also to the North Armagh Motor Club and all the marshals and volunteers for a brilliant event!”
Seven times NI Rally Champion- Derek McGarrity in an R5 Ford Fiesta took second place, but was lucky to even make the start! “A seal went yesterday (Friday) at lunch-time in the turbo and the car was pluming out expensive smoke! The team worked frantically until 1am this morning to get us here. In that respect too I’m more than happy with second. The R5 car is a nice car, and I like it but I do have a WRC version coming in soon.” In third for the second year in a row was Peader Hurson in his new Ford Fiesta WRC. The former Irish National Champion’s only drama was a spin on the second stage which dropped him to lower reaches of the top ten, before clawing back to third. A fine fourth in his S10 Impreza was Robin Phillips with his daughter Laura in the co-driver’s seat. The Saintfield driver was a NI Champion back in 2000. Another former champion- Conor McCloskey was holding third place after four stages in his Fiesta WRC only for engine failure to halt the Kilrea driver on stage five.
Fifth was rally car trader Kieron Graffin in another DS3 R5, with Alan Carmichael in the Mini WRC sixth after a steady start. Alan is planning a full attack on the championship, and at Kirkistown finished ahead of three times NI Champion Kenny McKinstry in his S8 Impreza WRC. In eighth and winning Group N were names Allen and Connolly. Back in 2007 the late Glenn Allen won the series with Damien Connolly alongside in his WRC Corolla. Now his son Philip made a sensational rally debut with Damien’s brother-Martin along-side, and the new Allen team complete with the support of Philip’s grandmother Vera had much to celebrate!
Two wheel drive winner in a fine ninth overall was Keith White with Paul Mulholland in the 2.5 Millington MK1 Escort, another great performance by the Crumlin driver. Tenth and just four seconds behind was an amazing achievement for Dessie McCartney. Taming his 2.5 Millington engined Darrian, the 1975 Galway and 1980 Ulster Rally winner, now into his 70’s has carried on the McCartney rallying dynasty, so famous in the 70’s and 80’s when Dessie and his late brother Ronnie competed at the top level in the UK and Ireland. Third two wheel drive car home was the 1600cc Peugeot 208 R2 driven by Kyle White in thirteenth overall, whilst the top three in Group N was completed by Evo’s of Clive Kilpatrick and Geoff McMahon.
Other class winners were: Karl Fallis- class 1 (Honda Civic), Colin Price- class 3 (Vauxhall Corsa), Kyle White- class 4- (Peugeot 208), Jamie Grant- class 5 (MK2 Escort), James Kennedy- class 6 (MK2 Escort), Kyle Orr- class 8 (Mitsubishi Evo) Richard Hall- class 11-Historic (Porsche 911), Drew Wylie- class 12- FIA Historic (MK2 Escort). Round two of the McGrady Insurance series is at Bishopscourt for the Ballynahinch Motor Club’s event on 11th March.
2017 McGrady Insurance MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Rally Championship-Round One results
1st Jonny Greer/ Brian Crawford Citroën DS3 R5 30:13.0
2nd Derek McGarrity/Robert Travers Ford Fiesta R5 +0:13.0
3rd Peadar Hurson/Gary McElhinney Ford Fiesta WRC +0:55.4
4th Robin Phillips/ Laura Phillips Subaru Impreza S10 +1:07.9
5th Kieron Graffin/Paddy Robinson Citroën DS3 R5 +1:12.7
6th Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont Mini WRC +1:19.3
7th Kenny McKinstry/John Wallace Subaru Impreza S8 +1:36.6
8th Philip Allen/Martin Connelly Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +1:42.1
9th Keith White/Paul Mulholland Ford Escort MkI +1:48.6
10th Dessie McCartney/ Geraldine McBride Darrian T90 GTR +1:52.9
2016 McGrady Insurance MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Rally Championship 2017—Rounds
1 Pacenotes Stages-Kirkistown Tarmac North Armagh Motor Club
2 Bishopscourt Stages Tarmac Ballynahinch Motor Club 11th March
3 Ballypatrick Stages Tarmac Mid Antrim MC 6th May
4 Mourne Rally Tarmac Newry Motor Club 10th June
5 Lakeland Stages Rally Gravel Enniskillen Motor Club 2nd September
6 Bushwhacker Rally Gravel Omagh Motor Club 23rd September
7 Down Rally Gravel Rathfriland Motor Club 14th October
*Reserve events- Cookstown MC- 29th July, Magherafelt & District MC- 4th November
Images from Phil Stewart- www.philpics.net