After possibly one of the most difficult events of the year Marty McCormack and David Moynihan can hold their heads high as they reached the finish of the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally in 4th place.
The event which is based in the walled city of Derry consisted of 14 stages in the surrounding area. The narrow Northern Irish roads were treacherously slippy with heavy farming activity prior to the event the lanes were strewn with mud, adding to the difficulty. Following a big accident at the Ypres Rally, The McGeehan Motorsport team were tasked with fully rebuilding the TigerRisk Skoda Fabia R5 in preparation for the Ulster Rally. To shakedown the car Marty completed a pre event test at the Tyrone Stages Rally where he finished 2nd overall. “It was really nice to get back into the Skoda at the Tyrone Stages, we had a good run there and finished 2nd overall, it was a good shakedown for the Ulster as the roads and the conditions were quite similar”
The Ulster Rally started with an 11 mile run over the Holly Hill test where the TigerRisk team bedded into the rally with an 8th quickest time. This put them right in the mix of the top British Rally Championship crews. Marty & David followed this up with 2 more strong times before service to move them into 6th overall. Marty commented at first service “The stages are unbelievably tricky, we could have been higher up the standings was it not for a puncture on stage 2, that held us up a bit but we are happy with where we are [6th overall]”
With a change to the roll bars to aid with traction on the slippy roads, the pair headed out to the next loop of stages where a nip tuck battle with Desi Henry would ensue. Through stage 4 Desi snatched 6th place, but Marty responded on SS5 taking it back. Marty held the advantage before the overnight halt in Derry at the end of the first day. “It’s been a difficult day, the grip levels were all over the place and it made it very hard to push, but we are here and in 6th place. We will have a good push tomorrow and see if we can catch Sam Moffett”
Day 2 of the event consisted of 8 more stages totalling over 84 miles, starting with the Slievekirk test. Marty & David had a good run through the stage, closing the gap to Sam Moffett to 6.2 seconds. Following a quick service, 3 more stages lay ahead of the crews but it wasn’t going to be easy for the TigerRisk Team. A big spin on stage 8 cost some time but Marty finally got the upper hand over Moffett on stage 9 ‘Barnes Gap’ where he took a 2-second advantage over him. Marty’s pace continued to increase eventually claiming the fastest time of the rally on the penultimate stage! Come the finish ramp in Derry City Marty & David claimed 4th overall in the event and a podium finish in the British Rally Championship.
This puts the Tiger Risk Skoda in 4th place in the British Rally Championship standing, 9 points behind Osian Pryce in 3rd. With championship points available on both day of the final event of the championship the Isle of Man Rally a podium position in the championship is still on the cards for the team.
The next rally for the Marty is his local Sunset Stages Rally based in Draperstown. Marty will have his niece Caron along side for the event, the last time the pairing were together they won the Tour of the Sperrins Rally can they do the same again? For more information about the event keep up to date on Marty’s social media channels. Twitter @martymccormack and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marty.mccormack1. Marty is competing this season with the support of Tiger Risk Partners and P. McCormack and Sons Ltd.
Photo: Ruaidhri Nash