Mourne Rally - (Sat) 9 Jun 18

Posted: November 13, 2018 5:39 AM - 5468 Hits

Round 3 - 2018 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

Photo: N.I. Rally Championship

In Car

Posted: November 13, 2018 5:39 AM

John Devlin & John McCarthy (Ford Escort Mk2) SS6

Norman Armstrong & Philip Armstrong (Ford Escort Mk2) SS4

Kyle White & Sean Topping (Peugeot 208 R2) SS3

Fintan McGrady & Ray Fitzpatrick (Ford Escort Mk2) SS4

McGarrity/Robinson Dominate Mourne Rally!

Posted: November 13, 2018 5:32 AM

Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson secured a dominating win at the Modern Tyres Mourne Rally, round three of the McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship!

The Subaru Impreza WRC mounted crew led the Newry & District Motor Club event from start to finish, eventually winning by more than one minute. As the only World Rally Car powered crew entered in the rally, McGarrity had little comparable opposition but the tricky Gullion stages still proved to be a demanding test of man and machine.

“Our plan today was to get points, stay out of trouble, not mark the car, and that’s exactly what we did,” McGarrity said at the Mourne Country Hotel finish. “It would have been nice to have had a bit more competition. The guys in the Escorts drive very fast but it’s not ideal to race them with a World Rally Car. But we had a job to do and that’s what we did.”

Coming home in second position, Damian Toner and Denver Rafferty sealed the top two-wheel-drive award in the process. In the end, they enjoyed a fairly comfortable advantage over the rest of the pack after a trouble-free day rallying through some scenic stages.

“They were tricky stages,” Toner admitted, “but we had great weather and we really enjoyed it. It was a very good day and we’re happy to be top two-wheel-drive.”

The battle for third overall between David Armstrong and Camillus Bradley went right down to the wire. Bradley lost time early in the event when a pipe came adrift on the second stage, leaving him with a worryingly noisy engine but, more importantly, he was down on power too. Initially, he believed his manifold had broken but it transpired to be a problem that he was able to fix in service.

"It happened at the first corner of stage two," he explained. "I thought the engine had blown. She just lost power and I slowed down. When we got to service, we discovered we had lost a spring and a pipe had completely come adrift so it was an easy enough fix."

Bradley spent the remainder of the event reeling in his rival. Going into the final stage, 1.7 seconds separated the two contenders. Bradley pulled out all the stops and at the final time control, he had done enough to secure third overall by a mere one-tenth of a second!

“We were pushing as hard as we could over the last four stages,” Bradley admitted. “It was a great day’s racing. He knew I was coming after him and I knew I had to try to catch him!”

Despite losing out on the final stage, fourth placed David Armstrong and Paul Mulholland were still happy with the result.

“That was some driving by Camillus!” Armstrong conceded. “Unfortunately our anti-roll bar come off during the afternoon stages and she was a bit wobbly but I’m happy enough.”

John Devlin and John McCarthy completed the top five and won class six after a superb drive in their Escort, while Paul Britton and John McElhinney secured sixth overall and won the Group N category in the process.

“It was nip and tuck between us and James Laverty all day,” Britton said. “There were five seconds between us after the first loop of stages and there are about five seconds between us at the finish. It was a good race with him!”

Laverty and navigator Emmett Sherry had to be content with second in Group N as well as seventh overall. It’s a great result, especially given it was Laverty's first time at the Mourne Rally.

James and Heather Kennedy enjoyed a steady run to bring their Escort home in eighth while recently turned 18-year-old, Peter Bennett, overcame some early anti-lag problems to net ninth overall. Fintan McGrady and Ray Fitzpatrick completed the top 10 in their Escort MkII.

Competitor Drama

Plenty of crews had their fair share of drama during the day including Gary Rodgers and Brian Crawford, who were lucky to escape a big scare on stage two.

"Brian says he's getting too old for this!" Rodgers laughed at the stage finish. "We had a big, big moment but we got away with it. There's a bit in the middle of the stage with bad jumps. I went off at the same place before so we had 'listen' included in the pace notes but I didn't listen!"

Others lucky to get away unscathed included Ian and Amanda Green in their little Peugeot 205 GTi who survived two massive moments on the same stage.

"We lost it over a jump both times," Green said. "When you're going backwards in fourth gear - twice - and you get away with it, you know you're lucky!"

Steven Armstrong had a gear display problem throughout the rally but he still managed to finish 13th overall. Brian McFall clipped some rocks early in the event and although he got away with some minor superficial damage, he later lost time with a puncture which he had to change at the end of stage seven. In the end, he finished 16th.

Sadly William Morgan didn't get away with an off-road excursion. He was stuck in a ditch and although he was later able to drive out of the stage, he was out of the rally.

Daniel Hamill survived a big moment on stage one when the back of his Peugeot 106 was in a hedge but he wasn't as lucky later in the day. His car was subsequently spotted on a trailer with some frontal damage.

Ryan O'Kane ended his rally stuck in a stage four ditch while Stephen Caldwell got away with a stage one incident when he hit a large rock, causing some superficial damage to his Corsa.

Stephen Smith was forced out with gearbox trouble, with Smith commenting that he "went from fourth gear to third and found nothing but a bag of bolts". Jamie Grant was forced to retire his Starlet when a wire that was connected to its battery melted while Alan Nesbitt, who was as high as fifth overall, retired with mechanical problems at final service.

Kyle White was determined to get a finish after his round two accident and desperately needed to pick up some championship points aboard his Peugeot 208 R2. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. An errant sensor put him out of the rally near the start of stage four and although he was able to fix the problem, he was out of time.

Next Event

The Carryduff Forklift Down Rally hosts round four of the McGrady Insurance backed N.I. Championship on 21 July. The event also hosts a round of the MSA Asphalt Championship and more than 130 entries have been received to date, including around 40 from overseas entrants. It's going to be a highly competitive event! More details will be revealed in due course on and


Posted: November 13, 2018 5:32 AM


Posted: November 13, 2018 5:23 AM

1 Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson (Subaru Impreza WRC S14) 31:33.9
2 Damian Toner/Denver Rafferty (Ford Escort MkII) 32:38.4
3 Camillus Bradley/Crawford Henderson (Ford Escort MkII) 33:12.0
4 David Armstrong/Paul Mulholland (Ford Escort MkII) 33:12.1
5 John Devlin/John McCarthy (Ford Escort MkII) 33:45.2
6 Paul Britton/John McElinney (Subaru Impreza N12B) 33:56.1
7 James Laverty/Emmet Sherry (Subaru Impreza N12B) 34:01.7
8 James Kennedy/Heather Kennedy (Ford Escort MkII) 34:13.2
9 Peter Bennett/Arthur Kierans (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 34:39.5
10 Fintan McGrady/Ray Fitzpatrick (Ford Escort MkII) 34:40.1

Class Winners
Class 1:  Mark Robinson/James Holland (Honda Civic)
Class 2:  Paul Britton/John McElinney (Subaru Impreza N12B)
Class 3:  Colin Price/Connor Dunlop (Vauxhall Corsa)
Class 4:  Daryl McCanny/Cathain Colton (Vauxhall Corsa)
Class 5:  Chris Simms/John McCammon (Ford Escort)
Class 6:  John Devlin/John McCarthy (Ford Escort MkII)
Class 7:  Damian Toner/Denver Rafferty (Ford Escort MkII)
Class 8:  Peter Bennett/Arthur Kierans (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
Class 9:  Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson (Subaru Impreza WRC S14)
Class 10:  Alastair Cochrane/Hannah Johnston (Ford Escort MkII)

Leaders After
SS1-8 Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson (Subaru Impreza WRC S14)

Stage Winners
SS1-8 Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson (Subaru Impreza WRC S14)

Seeded Entry List

Posted: June 8, 2018 5:15 PM

1 Derek McGarrity /Paddy Robinson (Subaru Impreza WRC S14) [9]
2 Damian Toner /Denver Rafferty (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
3 David Armstrong /Paul Mulholland (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
4 Camillus Bradley /Crawford Henderson (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
5 Norman Armstrong /Philip Armstrong (Ford Escort MK2) [6]
6 John Devlin /John McCarthy (Ford Escort MK2) [6]
7 Alan Nesbitt /Quentin Park (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
8 Fintan McGrady /Ray Fitzpatrick (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
9 James Kennedy /Heather Kennedy (Ford Escort MK2) [6]
10 Paul Britton /John McElinney (Subaru Impreza N12B) [2]
11 Gary Rodgers /Brian Crawford (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [2]
12 Brian McFall /Matthew McKenna (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [2]
14 James Laverty /Emmet Sherry (Subaru Impreza N12B) [2]
15 Chris Simms /John McCammon (Ford Escort MK2) [5]
16 Steven Armstrong /Connor Boylan (Ford Escort MK2) [5]
17 Peter Bennett /Arthur Kierans (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [8]
18 Kyle White /Sean Topping (Peugeot 208 R2) [4]
19 Gareth Feenan /Ryan Brennan (Ford Escort MK2) [6]
44 Alastair Cockrane /Hannah Johnston (Ford Escort MK2) [10]
20 William Morgan /John Henderson (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
21 Ian Green /Amanda Green (Peugeot 205 GTI) [5]
22 Raymond Doyle /Jarlath Kelly (Toyota Corolla) [4]
23 Brian Black /Gareth Black (Toyota Starlet) [3]
24 Geoffrey Nevin /Paul Nevin (Ford Escort) [5]
25 Jamie Grant /Chris Johnston (Toyota Starlet) [5]
26 Stephen Smith /Eathán McColgan (Honda Civic) [4]
27 Colin Price /Connor Dunlop (Vauxhall Corsa) [3]
28 Michael McGarrity /Damien Garvey (Citroen DS3 R3) [6]
29 Philip Hamilton /Marty Toner (Ford Escort MK2) [5]
30 Gerard Hughes /Paul Hughes (Peugeot 205 GTI) [3]
31 Marshall Kennedy /Wendy Blackledge (Peugeot 306 GTI) [6]
32 Mervyn Tate /Andrew Stranney (Talbot Sunbeam) [3]
33 Gerard Feehan /Donna Feehan (Ford Escort) [5]
34 Paddy Quinn /Joe Comerford (Ford Escort MK1) [3]
35 Mark Stewart /Chris Hobson (Mazda MX5) [4]
36 Ryan O'Kane /James Duffin (Honda Civic) [1]
37 Darren McGrath /Tony McGovern (Honda Civic) [1]
38 Conor Gillespie /Martin Harte (Ford Escort MK2) [5]
39 Daryl McCanny /Cathain Colton (Vauxhall Corsa) [4]
40 Gerard Neeson /Michael Murray (Peugeot 106) [4]
41 Daniel Hamill /Nathan Quin (Peugeot 106) [4]
42 Mark Robinson /James Holland (Honda Civic) [1]
43 Stephen Caldwell /Steven McCrossan (Vauxhall Corsa) [3]
45 Rory Byrne /John Henderson (Suzuki Swift) [3]

Competitors Gear Up for Modern Tyres Mourne Rally!

Posted: June 7, 2018 4:45 AM

Round three of the McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship gets into gear this Saturday (09 June) in the beautiful Ring of Gullion and surrounding areas.

This designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty provides a stunning backdrop to the Modern Tyres Mourne Rally and Northern Ireland's leading rally talent will lock horns over eight challenging mountain stages. With headquarters based at the Mourne Country Hotel in Newry, more than 40 crews in a variety of machinery will tackle the tarmac lanes in high-powered rally cars.

Championship leader, Derek McGarrity, starts the event with an eight-point series lead. He is set to drive his S14 specification Subaru Impreza World Rally Car and is the odds-on favourite for securing another maximum points haul in his bid for an eighth N.I. crown.

Some of his main title opposition are missing from this weekend's entry list including Mini WRC pilot Alan Carmichael. Despite retiring from round two, the Ballymena man holds third in the series and although he has opted to miss the Mourne Rally, he intends to contest the remaining Championship rounds.

The rally could throw up a few surprises in the top 10 with a strong Group N and two-wheel-drive entry. The Group N contingent includes James Laverty, who holds second in the N.I. series standings. He will face stiff opposition from Gary Rodgers, Brian McFall and Paul Britton while the two-wheel-drive section features an array of machinery from potent Escorts to Sunbeams, Starlets and Civics.

David Armstrong, who secured victory on the event back in the late '90s with a Sierra Cosworth, has entered in his Escort MkII. He has sealed a number of top three finishes in recent years including second overall in 2014 when he finished just nine seconds behind McGarrity. Could 2018 be his year?

Norman Armstrong is another former Mourne Rally winner and others worth watching include Camillus Bradley, James Kennedy and Damian Toner, all in Escorts. Stephen Smith has his potent Honda Civic back in action and Kyle White is making a return with his Peugeot 208 R2 after his accident at round two.

Young gun Michael McGarrity is wheeling out a Citroen DS3 R3 and if Peter Bennett can get the hang of his class eight Evo 9 through the Mourne lanes, the recently turned 18-year-old has the potential to spring a surprise.

The rally features a total of eight stages in Slieve Gullion and Camlough while competitors will get a chance to fettle their cars after every two stages in the Killeavy GAA Club service park. The first car will leave the start ramp at 9am before tackling the first stage at 9.15am. Event updates will be available online at and

    Event Schedule
    09:00 - Start ramp
    09:15 - SS1 Camlough
    09:35 - SS2 Slieve Gullion
    09:58 - Service
    11:00 - SS3 Camlough
    11:20 - SS4 Slieve Gullion
    11:43 - Service
    13:36 - SS5 Camlough B (reverse direction)
    13:59 - SS6 Slieve Gullion B (reverse direction)
    14:19 - Service
    15:22 - SS7 Camlough B (reverse direction)
    15:45 - SS8 Slieve Gullion B (reverse direction)
    16:12 - Finish

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