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Tour of the Sperrins - (Sat) 7 May 16

Posted: March 10, 2017 7:10 AM - 7204 Hits

Round 3 - 2016 Northern Ireland Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2016 Irish Forest Rally Championship

Photo: Kevin Glendinning- www.kgrallypics.com

Full On The Limit Sports TV Program on Line

Posted: March 10, 2017 7:10 AM

Full On The Limit Sports TV Program on Line

Posted: January 8, 2017 3:05 PM

McCormacks Clock Home Win. Slick Perfomance from Carbin/Kelly in Valvoline Championship!

Posted: May 18, 2016 7:43 AM

Round three of the 2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, the Tour of the Sperrins Rally, run by the Magherafelt and District Motor Club was back on the championship menu again, as it went back into the forest tracks once again for nine stages, and it was to prove a dramatic round. Despite a dry weather forecast, the conditions were changeable soon after the cars left the Maghera start, making the stages slippery in places, and this was evident right from the first Banagher Stage.

It was local driver Marty McCormack in his high-revving Super 2000 Skoda who led overall on the first two tests, but Moonraker Rally winner- Desi Henry, with his 1600 turbo-charged Skoda Fabia R5 was just 0.1 of a second behind and soon to move into the lead. It was lead that Desi and co-driver Liam Moynihan extended to 5.9 seconds after the sixth test, but on stage seven, the Skoda slid off the road on a slippery right hander and was stuck fast. It left McCormack with a clear run to victory, with event sponsor Derek McGeehan a fine second in his Mini WRC. With Desi out the race to be top Valvoline point’s scorer was to prove an interesting one!

The drama started at the first corner of stage one, when one of the favourites- former forestry champion-Pat O’Connell in his Evo 9 slipped off the road and retired. Championship leader Ger Lucey’s day started with a lack of intercom, not good for the Macroom driver on these fresh stages. It was to prove an off day for Ger, as a road penalty also helped to relegated him to twenty-second place. Derek McGarrity- registered for the series in his WRC Fiesta, and was right on the leading pace, but over-heating issues and a ten minute penalty for failing to start stage one on time classified him forty-first. Cathan McCourt’s run of ill luck continued as he bent the rear suspension on stage three, whilst Robert Moffett’s WRC Fiesta and Adrian Hetherington’s Corolla WRC also fell victim to that tricky Wolf’s Hill stage. Another favourite was top Valvoline scorer on round one- Patrick O’Brien. A puncture on that third test cost the young Tyrone driver two minutes, and may have contributed to gearbox failure which was to leave him side-lined once again.

Amidst the carnage- Brendan Cumiskey in his Fiesta R5 was moving up the leader-board despite a trip into a stage three ditch, an over-shoot on the Glenshane stage, and a puncture on stage seven after running wide at the corner that claimed Desi Henry. Nevertheless it was a great run, and on stage times Brendan and co-driver Ronan O’Kane would have taken third place and maximum Valvoline points. However a one minute penalty for a jump start on stage four demoted them to seventh and fourth in the points. Darren McKelvey was another driver on form in his Lancer Evo 8, lying fourth overall after six tests, but retirement at the finish of stage seven ended his chances, and Mark Donnelly retired his Super 2000 Fiesta with an off on stage four. Driving a neat and fast rally Michael Carbin and Darragh Kelly claimed a magnificent third overall in their old model Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4.
“I really enjoyed the day and we had a very clean run” commented Michael. “Our only drama was luckily on the final stage when we broke a rear shock absorber, but it’s great to finish here so well.” More great news for Michael is that his third place moves him into the lead of the championship.

The two-wheel drive race was equally as frenetic with Oran Donnelly the initial leader in his MK2 Escort, before differential failure. Shane McGirr back in action with his affectionately named “scrap-box” Toyota Starlet was scrapping for the lead from the start. The Fivemiletown driver with co-driver Liam McIntyre soon powered into that position after stage five, and into a remarkable fifth place at the finish, claiming second overall points. “The stages were slippery but it generally held up well. It was a good race once again” said Shane. Seventeen seconds back in sixth was David Crossen in his Duratec powered MK2 Escort. A big moment on stage six was the only drama on what was a fine showing for the Comber driver. Just fourteen seconds back and eighth overall was class winner John Gordon, who felt his Escort’s suspension was too soft on the early stages, and dropped time with an over-shoot on stage three. Micky Conlon just six seconds further back lost time when he wedged the Escort in a small bridge on that third test, and when he broke a rear axle link on the final stage which was starting to get rough.

Another rapid MK2 man David Condell in his 2.4 version was delighted to finish with no damage this time in fourteenth, but significant non-finishers were Damien McGuaran- his rear wheel drive Corolla suffering gearbox failure and Hugh McQuaid as he slid his MK2 off on stage seven.

Winner of the rallytrader.ie/ Kumho tyres Junior category, collecting two tyres from Ears Motorsport Ireland was Castlederg’s Adam Bustard with his R2 Ford Fiesta 1.0t. The former Junior 1000 Champion finished an excellent thirteenth overall, just missing the 1600 class win by 0.8 of a second. “It was great to win the Junior prize today and to also take the first win for M-Sport’s R2T in the Valvoline Irish Forest Championship” said Adam. ”We just missed out on a class win, and have a little more work to do on our car set-up but next for us is the British Championship Scottish Rally.” Round one Junior winner Derek Mackarel retired his Nova once again, whilst Stephen Dickson in his R2 Fiesta, Shane Kenneally in his MK2 Escort and James Driver in his Ka collected valuable points.

Other important class winners were included Ruari Maguire, despite stage five delays in his Vauxhall Corsa, and Niall Devine taking Group N, from Simon Woodside and a consistent Ashley Dickson third. Now it’s the traditional break in the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship before the Jim Walsh Memorial Forest Rally kicks it all off again in August. The championship positions certainly make it a difficult bet to put on who will be the 2016 champion!

McCormacks Take Home Win on Round Three of the 2016 MSA ANICC McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship!

Posted: May 18, 2016 7:39 AM

Marty McCormack and his co-driving niece Caron took victory on the Tour of the Sperrins Rally, run by the Magherafelt and District Motor Club, for round three of the MSA ANICC McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship.
“It’s been a child-hood dream to win this rally” said Marty at the finish. “I can’t believe it. I’m just delighted! ”It was not an easy win for the local driver in his Skoda Fabia Super 2000 as for much of the event Desi Henry in an R5 version of the Fabia led the field. Indeed the Portglenone driver, had moved ahead of McCormack by stage three, and held a narrow 5.9 second lead heading into the seventh Wolf’s Hill test. But it was here that’s Desi’s challenge came unstuck, or as the case was- he got stuck, the Skoda running wide on a tight right hander and into a Sperrins bog. Derek McGeehan in his Mini WRC who was also sponsoring the rally finished an excellent second ahead of Michael Carbin’s Evo in third.

But what of Derek McGarrity, the NI series leader going into this round? Once again the reigning champion was having issues with his Fiesta WRC, the over-heating and missing once again. He started stage one after his allotted time and was later issued with a ten minute penalty which left him forty-first overall. Without the penalty he would have been third, and when the car was on song he was on the pace- being fastest on stage three. Ending the rally in an excellent fourth place was Group N winner- Niall Devine with Crawford Henderson on the pace-notes in their Subaru. Second in Group N was Simon Woodside in eleventh overall with his Evo 9. The two-wheel drive battle was led initially by Oran Donnelly’s MK2 Escort before diff failure, and Shane McGirr soon took over the front running in the nimble Starlet. He romped home a fine fifth overall ahead of David Crossen, John Gordon and Micky Conlon’s Escorts in that contest. Other top ten finishers were Brendan Cumiskey in seventh despite a one minute jump start penalty in his Fiesta R5, and Stephen McKenna ninth with his Evo 6.

Heavy rain at times made the conditions very tricky, and the attrition rate was high due to both off-road excursions and mechanical mayhem. Retirements included a slow to start Kenny McKinstry with problems in his Impreza WRC, Adrian Hetherington who got his Corolla WRC stuck, Darren McKelvey’s Evo 8 with mechanical issues, Mark Donnelly who slid off his new Super 2000 Fiesta, and visiting driver Shaun Sinclair’s S9 Impreza with transmission failure.

Other class winners on the event were: Jason Dickson - class 1 (Ford Fiesta), Ruari Maguire- class 3 (Vauxhall Corsa), Alan Smyth- class 4- (Swift S1600), John Gordon- class 5 (MK2 Escort) and Shane McGirr- class 6 (Toyota Starlet). Round four of the McGrady series is back on tarmac on the 11th June for the Newry Motor Club’s Mourne Rally.


Posted: May 18, 2016 7:38 AM


Posted: May 18, 2016 7:30 AM

 1 Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000) 29:50.9
 2 Derek McGeehan/Arthur Kierans (Mini WRC) 30:13.7
 3 Michael Carbin/Darragh Kelly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV) 31:54.4
 4 Niall Devine/Crawford Henderson (Subaru Impreza N12B) 32:12.0
 5 Shane McGirr/Liam McIntyre (Toyota Starlet) 32:17.5
 6 David Crossen/Chris McSherry (Ford Escort MkII) 32:35.1
 7 Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O Kane (Ford Fiesta R5) 32:39.4
 8 John Gordon/Thomas Wedlock (Ford Escort MkII) 32:49.8
 9 Stephen McKenna/Mark Donnelly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI) 32:52.6
 10 Michael Conlon/Ciaran Mc Phillips (Ford Escort MkII) 32:56.4

Class Winners
Class 1:  Jason Dickson/Vinnie Boyd (Ford Fiesta R2) 
Class 2:  Niall Devine/Crawford Henderson (Subaru Impreza) 
Class 3:  Ruairi Maguire/Grace O' Brien (Vauxhall Corsa) 
Class 4:  Alan Smyth/Christopher Mellie (Suzuki Swift S1600) 
Class 5:  John Gordon/Thomas Wedlock (Ford Escort) 
Class 6:  Shane McGirr/Liam McIntyre (Toyota Starlet) 
Class 7:  David Condell/Eugene McGrath (Ford Escort MkII) 
Class 8:  Michael Carbin/Darragh Kelly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV) 
Class 9:  Derek McGeehan/Arthur Kierans (Mini WRC) 
Class 10:  Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000) 

Leaders After:
SS1-2 Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000)
SS3-6 Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan (Škoda Fabia R5)
SS7-9 Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000)

Stage Winners
SS1 Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000)
SS2 Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan (Škoda Fabia R5)
SS3 Derek McGarrity / Barry McNulty (Ford Fiesta WRC)
SS4 Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan (Škoda Fabia R5)
SS5 Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000)
SS6 Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan (Škoda Fabia R5)
SS7 Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000)
SS8 Derek McGeehan/Arthur Kierans (Mini WRC)
SS9 Marty McCormack/Caron McCormack (Škoda Fabia S2000)

Sperrins Spectacular in Store! - Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Championship Round Three

Posted: May 6, 2016 9:57 AM

Round three of the 2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, the Tour of the Sperrins Rally, run by the Magherafelt and District Motor Club takes place this Saturday, and it promises to be a spectacular event with the Valvoline runners going up against the Northern Ireland Rally Championship runners. It's a move back into the forests for the club after running this event as a tarmac road closed rally for many years, and a move back to the classic stages through Banagher, Davagh and Glenshane.

With eighty-five entries, the continuing trend in popularity of forestry rallying is once again evident. Starting at number one, is Desi Henry in his R5 Fabia. The local driver is now happy with the car, and the victory on the last round of the Valvoline series- the Moonraker Rally, was followed up by a seventh overall finish on the second round of the British Rally Championship in Carlisle. Despite a few problems, during the event they posted a second fastest overall time amongst the cream of the BRC. "We are looking forward to the event. It's quite some entry, so the competition will be intense. Nevertheless I'm looking forward to getting back into these local forests again" said Desi.

At number five, the top Valvoline points scorer on round one- Patrick O'Brien is hoping for better fortune than on the Moonraker when he retired with mechanical problems. Along with co-driver Aine McGuigan they need to clock up points this weekend in their Evo 9 to keep in the title race. Next up is Pat O'Connell fresh from a fine second overall on the Moonraker, where he started his title campaign. Brendan Cumiskey finished just 0.1 of a second behind Pat on the Moonraker, as he really got the hang of his new R5 Fiesta. Championship leader Ger Lucey starts at number eight in his familiar Evo 8. The ever consistent Macroom driver is always a force to be reckoned with, and is very much looking forward to the Northern forests, having immensely enjoyed last year's Lakeland Stages.

Adrian Hetherington, seventh on the Moonraker in his newly acquired Corolla WRC has been mixing events between his regular MK2 Escort on tarmac and now the 4wd car on the loose. Michael Carbin, now second in the championship in his Evo 4 is another strong contender, as are Niall Henry- Evo 10, Andrew Fanning-Evo 9 and Cathean McCourt from Dromore, Co.Tyrone who took a splendid fifth on the Moonraker.

The two-wheel drive race is expected to be waged between the Escort's and the Starlet of Shane McGirr, which is now rally ready, and tested at St.Angelo with its new Toyota engine. Mickey Conlon the reigning Valvoline two wheel drive champion in his MK2 goes into this round on the same points as the impressive John Gordon in his class 12 MK2 Escort. Damien McGuaran also has been on the pace of late in his unique rear wheel drive Corolla, whilst Carlow's David Condell who was unlucky not to finish third in the two-wheel drive race on the Moonraker is another making the trip North. Comber's David Crossen is hoping to pick up points in his MK2 after missing round one.

In the rallytrader.ie/ Kumho tyres Junior category, collecting two tyres from Ears Motorsport Ireland last time was Alan Moran but he's not on the starters list this time. That leaves round one winner Derek Mackeral in his Nova starting as favourite, with challenged expected from championship class leader Shane Kenneally, in his MK2 Escort Stephen Dickson in his Ford Fiesta and James Driver in his Ford Ka.

With the cars leaving from Walsh's Hotel at 10am on Saturday for nine stages totalling twenty-nine stage miles it's going to be a fast paced event. Kenny McKinstry, Derek McGarrity, Marty McCormack, Derek McGeehan and Mark Donnelly are just a selection of the other drivers who will be challenging the Valvoline regulars.

Rally Programmes

Posted: May 6, 2016 6:10 AM

Rally Programs for the 2016 Tour of the Sperrins Are NOW available at:

    Walshs Hotel Maghera (Rally HQ)
    Centra Glenshane Road Maghera
    O'Kane Cars Castledawson
    Lavertys Service Station Maghera
    Gort Service Station Maghera

Final Instrutions / Time and Distance

Posted: May 6, 2016 5:56 AM

Available at:

Seeded Entry List (Including Late Entries)

Posted: April 29, 2016 9:02 AM

Entries Received / Regulations / Details

Posted: April 7, 2016 6:27 AM

Available at:

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