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Tour of the Sperrins - (Sat) 8 May 10

Posted: May 12, 2010 10:56 PM - 15407 Hits

Round 4 - 2010 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

  • McGarrity/McKee take last stage Victory!

Photo: Mark Breen

Derek McGarrity/James McKee seal another last gasp TNR Alu Systems Tour of the Sperrins Rally victory!

Posted: May 11, 2010 3:38 PM

Derek McGarrity overcame a plethora of suspension setup issues in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12c to claim a last gasp victory at the TNR Alu Systems Tour of the Sperrins Rally, round four of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship!

Navigated by James McKee, the Glengormley driver entered the final stage 13 seconds adrift of the rally leaders but a massive charge through the closing miles saw the crew nip in front by 2.9 seconds.

Sean Devine and Robert McDaid had led from the start in their Impreza WRC. While rival McGarrity struggled in his errant handling Subaru, Devine took the opportunity to take control of the rally from the front.

Fastest on the opening two stages, Devine had a cushion of 19 seconds over second placed Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan, while Derek McGeehan and Eugene Donnelly were third.

Then Hankook Championship leader, Derek McGarrity, started his comeback charge. Fastest time over stage three was enough to propel him from fourth to second overall, and with his car fitted with the correct springs in service, there was nothing stopping the Circuit of Ireland Rally winner.

McGarrity set the pace over the following stages but he still trailed Sean Devine by 13 seconds going into the final stage. He had a mammoth task at hand but in a do or die effort, he was quickest by 16 seconds, and snatched a last gasp victory by a slender 2.9 seconds.

Ironically, 12 months earlier, McGarrity sealed a last gasp win at the same event. This year, he did it again, adding a second Sperrins trophy to his cabinet and bolstering his position at the top of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship tables.

Gracious in defeat, Sean Devine and Robert McDaid were forced to settle for second position, while Derek McGeehan and Eugene Donnelly were third. Donagh Kelly, who held second overall after the opening stages, retired from the event when he landed his Ford Focus WRC in a field.

In the Hankook two-wheel-drive category, Camillus Bradley and Danny O'Neill claimed victory, as well as fourth overall, in their Mark 2 Escort. Bradley led the category from start to finish, with Seamus O'Connell and Andrew Grennan finishing fifth overall with their Escort.

The Sunoco Fuels Group N category saw Mark Donnelly and Stephen O'Hanlon take the spoils as well as sixth overall. Enda McNulty had been one of the top tips for victory but he hit a wall on stage one.

Cyril Doherty and Graham Henderson nabbed the Group N advantage shortly afterwards, but then Raymond Johnston and Rodney Hicks moved in front. The new leaders dropped time on stage five, so it was all to play for between Cyril Doherty and Mark Donnelly.

Three tenths of a second separated the two leading crews going into the final test but it was Donnelly who emerged victorious. He also finished sixth overall, leaving Doherty to settle for second in class ahead of Raymond Johnston and Rodney Hicks.

For Donnelly, the result puts him at the top of not only the class two championship standings, but he also heads the Sunoco Group N and Hankook Group N prize drive tables, and is a leading contender for the Superdrive Junior category.

In the Montgomery Motorsport Historic category, Andy Johnston and Chris McSherry claimed the award while Barry Greer and Suzanne Wright emerged as the leading Fiesta crew from Jonny and Jackie Leonard. Finally, the Autofashion.ie Group A cup was won by Gerard McFall.

Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship action will resume at the Modern Tyre Service Mourne Rally on Saturday 05 June. Derek McGarrity will be aiming to extend his six point championship advantage over Stuart Biggerstaff, who finished just outside the top 10 at the Sperrins event. More details will be announced in the coming weeks at www.nirally.com.

Mixed Results For VSM SPORT At Start Of May

Posted: May 10, 2010 11:40 AM

VSM started the month of May with the Cartell.ie Killarney International Rally of the Lakes with two customers competing on the two day event. Danny MacBride / James McNulty in the JB Homes Evo 8 had a good run and finished the event in 11th overall and 4th in Group N even after some clutch trouble on SS7 Molls Gap.

Also competing in Killarney was Brian O'Keeffe / Carol O'Keeffe in their Subaru N11. The Co.Waterford crew unfortunately retried on the Saturday stages with electrical problems while in 19th overall but returned on the Sunday and won the Sunday run category by over a minute.

At the McAleer Spar Stages Rally Gary and Keith McEvoy in their Group A Mitsubishi Evo 4 finished the event 5th overall and 3rd in class 8.

Next up for VSM was the TNR Alusystems Tour of the Sperrins Rally with Donagh Kelly / Kevin Flanagan and Graham Ballantine / Donagha O'Callaghan. Donagh Kelly unfortunately retired on SS3 Stone Circles after setting 2 second fastest times. Sadly he put the AirTricity sponsored Focus WRC off the road and had to call it a day. Another unfortunate retirement was Gary and Keith McEvoy who retired with engine trouble on SS3.

Graham Ballantine was on his closed road rally debut and set some good times during the day. He finished the rally in 49th overall and 8th in Group N.

Video Clips

Posted: May 9, 2010 12:26 AM

Full Results and Times

Posted: May 9, 2010 12:19 AM

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subru Impreza WRC) 37.20.5
2 Sean Devine/Robert McDaid (Subaru Impreza WRC) 37.23.4
3 Derek McGeehan/Eugene Donnelly (Toyota Corolla WRC) 38.02.0
4 Camillus Bradley/Danny O'Neill (Ford Escort Mk2) 38.33.0
5 Seamus O'Connell/Andrew Grennan (Ford Escort Mk2) 38.59.4
6 Mark Donnelly/Stephen O'Hanlon (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 39.29.3
7 Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Ford Escort Mk2) 39.29.8
8 Cyril Doherty/Graham Henderson (Subaru Impreza N12 GpN) 39.34.0
9 Declan McNaughton/Sean Hayde (Escort) 39.35.9
10 George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Impreza WRC) 39.49.5

VSM hoping for better luck

Posted: May 5, 2010 4:49 PM

VSM will be attending the TNR Alusystems Tour of the Sperrins Rally this weekend with Donagh Kelly / Kevin Flanagan in their Ford Focus WRC and will be hoping for better luck than they had on round three, the UTV Drive Circuit of Ireland National Rally.

The oil pressure problems that have hampered Donagh’s progress in the car have now been cured and he is looking forward to round four of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship 2010 in Maghera.

Last year Donagh and Kevin finished 4th overall and were runners up in Group N. This year they will be looking to repeat last year’s performance and get another good result to get some points on the board.

The rally kicks off at 10am from Walsh’s Hotel with 6 tough stages to complete before returning to the finish at 5.30pm.

McGarrity heads entry for Saturday's TNR Alusystems Tour of the Sperrins Rally

Posted: May 5, 2010 3:47 PM

More than 100 crews are set to contest this Saturday's TNR Alusystems Tour of the Sperrins Rally, round four of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

Based at Walsh's Hotel, Maghera, this year's event returns to its closed road format with two loops of three stages. Starting at 10am in Maghera, competitors will tackle three stages before returning to the town for service shortly after 1pm.

Crews will then tackle a further three stages before returning to the Walsh's Hotel finish ramp where the winners will be crowned at 5.25pm.

"Many months of hard work have gone into the preparation for this event," said Clerk of the Course, James McKeefrey. "I cannot thank or praise enough the army of volunteers who have assisted, from rally officials to marshals and timekeepers."

"A special thanks goes out to the neighbouring clubs who have offered assistance as well as the residents on the special stages, Magherafelt and District Council and the PSNI."

Reigning champion Derek McGarrity tops the entry in his Subaru Impreza WRC. He currently holds the joint series lead with Stuart Biggerstaff, who has been seeded just outside the top 10.

Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan start the event at number two in their Ford Focus WRC. Kelly was forced to retire from round three with oil pressure problems but those issues have now been cured so he is hoping to enjoy a trouble free rally.

Declan McNaughton, who narrowly missed out on victory in 2009, is seeded at number three in his Mark 2 Escort. He heads Draperstown's Camillus Bradley, while Raymond Johnston is the top seed in the Sunoco Fuels Group N category.

George Robinson and Tommy Speers complete the top six entrants with their Subaru Impreza WRC, while the remainder of the top 10 seeds are all Mark 2 Escort competitors.

Further down the order, there is a selection of Montgomery Motorsport Historic crews, with Gary Owens and Ciaran Donnelly topping the entry ahead of Tommy O'Connell and Sean Magee.

Plenty of thrills are guaranteed and spectators are welcome to come along and catch some of the spectacular action. Programmes, which include stage maps, are available to purchase from shops in the Maghera area, and more details can be found online at www.nirally.com and the club website.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: May 4, 2010 10:31 AM

List of Entries Received:

Posted: April 29, 2010 10:50 AM

Available on Club Website:

Regulations available

Posted: March 29, 2010 9:33 PM

Club Website

Posted: January 1, 2010 12:01 AM

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