– Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity claims emphatic victory at Magic Bullet Stages Rally.
– 14-year-old Portadown driver Ben Crealey secures round one victory in inaugural McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland.
Derek McGarrity and navigator James McKee claimed victory at the opening round of the 2012 Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship on Saturday.
The Glengormley rally car and helicopter dealer was in dominating form at the Magic Bullet Stages Rally, held at County Down’s Kirkistown Race Circuit.
Driving his Subaru Impreza WRC S14, McGarrity led the event from start to finish, eventually claiming the win by 38.3 seconds from Kevin Barrett and Declan Tumilty.
The event winner was on the top of his game from the start. While others struggled in the early morning slippery conditions, McGarrity emerged from stage one with an impressive 15.4 second lead.
Those in trouble included reigning N.I. champion, Kenny McKinstry. The Banbridge pilot spun and stalled his Subaru during the opening test, losing a mammoth 50 seconds.
Former champion Connor McCloskey was another in trouble after a wrong tyre choice left him slipping and sliding around the track. Both McKinstry and McCloskey found themselves outside the top 30, and their hopes of challenging for victory were ruined.
Event leader McGarrity already had a healthy cushion between himself and his rivals, but he continued to set the pace throughout the day. He went on to set fastest times on all but one stage, leaving him with another Kirkistown victory under his belt.
Kevin Barrett and Declan Tumilty were the image of consistency throughout the event. They held second overall from start to finish, gradually increased the gap between themselves and the remainder of the pack as the day progressed.
In the tussle for third, Ray Brammer and Derek McGeehan locked horns. McGeehan took first blood, moving his Mini WRC into the top three after stage one. But Brammer fought back, and two stages later, it was the Impreza WRC pilot that occupied third overall.
McGeehan and navigator Laurie Smyth were to have the last word though. They picked up their pace through the final two tests to retake the position and claim third overall. Brammer and navigator Jody Wilson finished less than five seconds adrift in fourth.
Reigning champion Kenny McKinstry, who had Martin Cairns calling the notes, enjoyed a superb recovery drive after his stage one problems to take fifth overall. But unfortunately for former champion Connor McCloskey, car troubles forced him out of the rally after stage four.
In the battle among the production category crews, Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy secured the award from Neil and Tanya McCance, while top two-wheel-drive honours were sealed by Drew Stewart and David White. They finished 25 seconds ahead of Simon Woodside and Steven Dowds.
The event also hosted the opening round of the inaugural McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. The series is open to 14-16 year old drivers in 1000cc cars, and there were seven young hopefuls at Kirkistown.
They each contested four stages during the day, and it was one of the youngest drivers entered that went on to win the event. 14-year-old Portadown teenager Ben Crealey, with Liam Regan navigating, secured the win by more than half a minute from Kyle White and Alan Purdy, with Rhys Bunting and Andrew Bushe third.
Round 2 – McGrady Insurance Stages
Round two of both the Carryduff Forklift N.I. and McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 series will bring competitors to Bishopscourt on 17 March. The event, which is also sponsored by McGrady Insurance, welcomes all spectators and features a hugely popular jump. More details can be found online at www.nirally.com.
Carryduff Forklift N.I. R1 Results
1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 25m13.4
2 Kevin Barrett/Declan Tumilty (Impreza WRC) +38.3s
3 Derek McGeehan/Laurie Smyth (MINI WRC) +1m02.6s
4 Ray Brammer/Jody Wilson (Impreza WRC) +1m07.2s
5 Kenny McKinstry/Martin Cairns (Impreza WRC) +1m11.7s
6 James Gillen/Ken Sproule (Impreza WRC) +1m18.9s
7 John McGaffin/Lesley McGaffin (Impreza WRC) +1m20.3s
8 Drew Stewart/David White (Escort) +1m48.0s
9 Kieron Graffin/Mark Massey (Lancer Evo) +1m50.0s
10 Trevor Ferguson/David McElroy (Impreza) +2m00.3s
McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 R1 Results
1 Ben Crealey/Liam Regan (Nissan Micra) 22m15.6s
2 Kyle White/Alan Purdy (Peugeot 107) +33.2s
3 Rhys Bunting/Andrew Bushe (Citroen C1) +54.1s
4 Adam Bustard/Jason Hanon (Chevrolet Spark) +56.2s
5 Eoghan Bogue/Andrew Ritchie (Nissan Micra) +1m01.6s
6 Connor Woods/Niall McGrath (Nissan Micra) +1m29.6s
7 James Partridge/Phil Cherry (Nissan Micra) +3m21.8s