Plains Rally 2019 – Pre-Event Sample Video & Stage Data

Plains Rally 2019.

Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples for the Plains Rally 2019. We have completed our pre event recce and the notes and video are ready for posting week commencing 29th April.

Plains Sample 2019

Plains Sample 2019



Plains Rally 2019 – Stage Data.














Notes & DVD are now available to order for despatch W/C 29th April. Telephone 028 90844111 or order online at – Click Here

Order Plains Notes Online



Irish Notes 24th April 2019

Irish Notes 24th April 2019

Craig Breen cuts a great line on way to his Easter Stages win.

It wasn’t quite edge of the seat stuff, but last weekend’s Easter Stages was interesting enough. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle in their Fiesta R5 put on a master class display on their way to a reasonably unruffled victory. With brilliant weather in Counties Down and Antrim through Good Friday and Easter Saturday, it must have seemed like a re-run of his San Remo victory for Waterford man Craig. The biggest concern for Breen was a timing issue on the 11th stage but this was resolved without any drama. Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarity did lead initially, but faded when their Fiesta succumbed to an electrical glitch and eventually finished 8th. Leaderboard excitement did mainly centre on the battle for 2nd & 3rd places between Desi Henry, Jonny Greer and Callum Devine.


Desi Henry/Laim Moynihan eventually came out on top for the battle for 2nd on the Easter Stages

It was Portglenone’s Desi Henry and his co-driver from Cork, Liam Moynihan, who surged through on the second day to take 2nd place, their Skoda never missing a beat throughout. Jonny Greer/Kirsty Riddick looked very impressive through day one, but a slight blip on day two saw Carryduff man Greer having to settle for 3rd place, albeit his Fiesta less than 4s behind the flying Henry Skoda after the fifteen short but pleasant special stages. Callum Devine/Brian Hoy in their Fiesta also produced some dazzling bursts of speed, but a slight mechanical worry perhaps slowed them and they finished a close 4th, 6s behind Greer. Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble seemed to lose a percentage of the sharpness they demonstrated on the last Irish Tarmac round down in West Cork, and 5th was the best they could do this time, with Sam Moffett/James Fulton rounding out the top six. Merion Evans, Josh Moffett, Manus Kelly and Alan Carmichael made up the top ten finishers.


This result extends Craig Breen’s lead at the top of the Irish Tarmac points. He is on a total of 51, Alastair Fisher stays 2nd on 36, Josh Moffett and Jonny Greer are tied on 24, Desi Henry has received a boost with this result and is now 5th on 22, and Callum Devine certainly isn’t out of it, having 18 points.


Former Tarmac Champion Declan Boyle had a fairly disastrous rally. The first stage was shortened several miles from the start in, so that the drivers were starting in a different place from their reconnaissance. Declan crashed his Fiesta on the first sharp corner. He said later, “It did play with my head, as I had even the early braking in my head, where I was going to brake heavy to heat the tyres. I committed too early but that is the way it goes. It was the same for everyone else but they got around it. Also, far too much work on at the moment and not a clear head.”


Damien Toner showing a clean pair of heals while winning the 2wd section of the Easter Stages.

As well as the ‘top ten’ finishers, there were lots of other very meritorious drives, and several hard luck stories as well. Damien Toner/Michael Coady in their Mk2 Escort had a brilliant drive once again to win their category and finish 12th o/a. Camillus Bradley/Crawford Henderson in their Escort weren’t so far in arrears to finish 2nd 2wd and Rodney White/Gavin Campbell also produced an excellent drive to record 3rd best 2WD, again, not a mile away. William Mavitty/Andrew Browne won GpN in their Lancer. William Creighton/Liam Regan in their Peugeot R2 had another very good result in winning class A2. Craig MacWilliam/Trevor Hamilton in their Escort RS1600 won the Historics from Adrian Kermode/Paula Swinscoe in a Porsche. Andy Johnson and Ernie Graham were having a good old battle early in the rally until Ernie’s Escort suspension went on strike, and subsequent to that Andy’s Chevette HSR suffered a puncture, the tyre rolled off the rim and led to a fairly dramatic recovery and some time loss, which meant him finishing 3rd in the Historics. Andrew Bushe struggled in his HSR with a persistent misfire leading to his retirement.


Looking forward to this weekend, there should be plenty of top line rallying.  The British Rally Championship swings back into action with the Pirelli Rally. The Triton Showers National series has it’s 3rd round of the season in Monaghan on Sunday, and in something a little different the MG Car Club (Ulster Centre) is running the Derek Walker Trial with farmyard tests down the scenic Strangford Peninsula.


On the Pirelli last year’s winner Matt Edwards heads a slender but talented list of drivers. Matt is co-driven by Patrick Walsh in his Fiesta R5 and last year he went on from the Pirelli to win the British series. Over the dauntingly fast Kielder stages Welshman Edwards is likely to face some very tough opposition.


Chief amongst those will be surely be Tom Cave (Hyundai i20), as well as David Bogie, with North Antrim’s John Rowan co-driving in his Skoda, Scandinavian driver Jari Huttunen (Fabia R5), and WRC RC2 contender Rhys Yates/James Morgan (Skoda R5). This is round 3 of this season’s British series. Matt Edwards won the first round, and Tom Cave scored maximum BRC points on the last round in West Cork, although he didn’t win the rally. Stephen Petch, Alex Laffey & Matt Smith, all in R5s make up the Pirelli top ten. Desi Henry has an entry in, but he is thought to be changing course to concentrate on the Irish Tarmac series. Due to pressure of business Marty McCormack has withdrawn. Josh Moffett was on the original list, but his name is now absent. Indeed so disappointing has been the entry the organisers have at the last moment been forced to cut their cloth to suit their pockets and reduce the stage mileage.


Making the Pirelli trip from here are James Wilson, William Creighton, Josh McErlean, Marty Gallagher and Jordan Hone, all running in the R2 category. Jordan Hone has had a last minute change of car – from his Opel Adam to an EDSL Sport Prepared Fiesta R2. Enda McCormack/Colin Fitzgerald also have an entry, to drive a Fiesta 1600.  Stanley Orr/ Graham Henderson and Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O’Neill (both crews in Escorts) are competing in the Historic section of the event which continues have a strong entry.


Local ace Sam Moffat should be a pace setter in Monaghan this weekend.

The Monaghan Rally, this time based in the town’s Four Season Hotel, has a star studded top entry which as ever generates an enormous local interest, no doubt boosted by the presence of Irish rallying’s most successful pair of brothers and Monaghan heroes Josh and Sam Moffett. Although it was a Donegal man, Donagh Kelly, who won this Monaghan event last year, it has been mostly one or other of the Moffett brothers who have dominated their local special stages in recent years. Donagh Kelly is back in his ultra successful Focus WRC for this one, but realistically Donagh hasn’t had a great rally run this season and he may struggle to hit top speed on these tricky but enjoyable Monaghan stages. Another threat to the Moffett supremacy could come from Declan Boyle, but following a big accident last weekend on the Buckna test of the Easter Stages, current champion Declan could be forgiven for not breaking a lot of delph this time. There are other very talented drivers in the line-up – think Roy White, local man Niall Maguire, barely recovered from his injured back, Joe McGonigle, Peadar Hurson, Darren Gass, Stephen Wright – virtually any of those could spring a surprise this weekend. Still, if picking a favourite is your game, the name Moffett has to be in there somewhere. In the ‘modified’ division, competition should also be white hot, with just some of the top names to include Kevin Eves in his Corolla. Donegal man Kevin is likely to be besieged by a horde of drivers in ‘state of the art’ Mk2 Escorts – Jonny Pringle, Damian Toner, Stuart D’Arcy, John Bonner, Damien Gallagher and ‘local ace’ Johnno Doogan all spring to mind. As ever, in overall terms, the Monaghan Rally is bulging with entries, and it should be quite a weekend. The first stage, Hollywood, just outside the town, starts at 10.00 and there are 9 stages, three repeated three times.


In the MG Club’s Derek Walker Trial many of the top autotest drivers have entered – just some of the top names include Andrew Earney/Rachel O’Boyle (Yaris), Robert & Catherine Dickson (Morris Cooper S), Will Corry/Pete Moreland-Moore (MG Midget), and also George McMillen (Mazda MX-5), Gareth Dillon (Mazda MX-5) and Mark Brien (MG Midget).


Regards, Brian & Liz Patterson, Michael Patterson & Paul McAuley.

Irish Notes 17th April 2019

MAIDEN WIN: Tyrone’s Cathan McCourt (Ford Fiesta R5) and his Fermanagh co-driver Barry McNulty won the Ballyvourney based Abbey Hotel Munster Moonraker Rally. Picture: Martin Walsh.

Cathan McCourt in his Fiesta R5, co-driven by Barry McNulty, took a clear win on last Saturday’s Moonraker Rally. McCourt finished over a minute ahead of Niall Henry/Damien Duffin (Citroen DS3R5), while Donal Sweeney/Dean O’Sullivan had a very decent run to take 3rd in their Lancer. Joe Hegarty was 4th. Michael Carbin finished 5th and David Crossen 6th. Carbin was jointly leading the Valvoline points with Keith Power starting the rally, but moved clear of the pack with this result, and now has 44 points, Niall Henry has 40 and Cathan McCourt 37. Power finished down in 16th on the rally following a puncture and is now equal 6th in the Valvoline points with David Crossen. Some consolation for Power is that he currently leads the Suirway Group South East Stages points on 48, Casey Jay Coleman has 46 and Mike Garahy 41. David Crossen, with Aileen Kelly co-driving, had a brilliant run in his Mk2 Escort to finish 6th o/a on the rally, with Shane McGirr coming through strongly towards the end to finish 7th, just over 20 seconds behind Crossen. Mickey Conlon was the highest placed 2wd contender in the points before the start, but his Escort slid into a ditch on a tightening right hander and got stuck. Another brilliant drive came from young William Creighton/Liam Regan in their Peugeot 208 R2 who finished just 0.1 second behind McGirr. This earned Finaghy man William a class win. Another young driver, Derek Mackrel, also went well, winning his class in his Nova and 11th o/a. Notable retirements included Garry Jennings, who was pushing for the lead but rain made the stage surface very slippy and he slid his Subaru into a ditch and got stuck. The same fate befell early rally leader Barry McKenna, while Omagh’s Patrick O’Brien also retired, having been right in the hunt early on.

Also last Saturday was the Dungannon Club’s Springfling Rally. Reportedly the competing crews had a ball down the lanes on this well organised event. David Crothers/Barbara Kane in their Mazda MX5 took the victory, by 27 seconds from Robert & John Whelan (Starlet), with Steven Cromie/Taylor Gribben (Mazda MX5) 3rd.

Slighty further afield, across the Irish Sea, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton extended their winning form by taking victory on the BTRDA Championship Rallynuts Severn Valley event. Thorburn was driving a Focus WRC. Omagh’s Mark Donnelly, with Dai Roberts co-driving were 2nd in a Fiesta R5, Stephen Petch was 3rd, Connor McCloskey/Noel O’Sullivan (Fiesta R5+) were 4th and Charlie Payne was 5th. Phillip Morrow was running in the top 5 all day but then indulged his Lancer in a ‘soft roll’ (not the bread variety) on the last corner of the last stage! Hillsborough man Phillip finished the stage ok, but, although his Mitsubishi was undamaged, he didn’t clock in to the final control. Fraser Mulholland/Geoff Patterson in their Lancer finished 12th o/a and 3rd in class.

Even further afield, Craig Breen/Paul Nagle in their Skoda staged a

Craig Breen and Paul Nagle pulled off a sensational final stage win in San Remo last weekend.

magnificent last stage charge to take outright victory on Rally San Remo. Simone Campedelli (Fiesta R5) was 2nd on this Italian Championship event, with Giandomenico Basso in his Skoda 3rd.


Now, looking forward to this weekend coming, the Easter stages, with six stages on Good Friday and nine on Saturday, is shaping up to be a highly competitive event. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle will return from their successful Italian foray to head a strong list of contenders bidding for Irish Tarmac Championship points on this 3rd round. Out of the top six, virtually any one of them is capable of taking the win – Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarity, Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble, Sam Moffett/James Fulton, Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle, Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson. The latter is in a World Rally Car, which makes him ineligible to score Tarmac Championship points. Derek, a multiple Circuit of Ireland winner, just wants a good blast over his home stages – and to win this rally of course! Otherwise, apart from Derek’s WRC machine, the story is all about R5 machinery.

Indeed, the remainder of the top ten and beyond is dominated by R5 cars – Manus Kelly is at 7, Callum Devine at 8, Jonny Greer at 9 and Desi Henry at 10 – all in R5’s. Indeed, the organisers, the Ulster Automobile Club, must have had quite a job seeding the 80 strong entries – it is not possible to put a quart into a pint pot – just outside the top ten we have Meirion Evans, Alan Carmichael and multiple Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly debuting a Proton R5. In the R2 department there is more than a couple of talented young drivers, with William Creighton and Kyle White springing to mind. In the modified division Damien Toner, Camillus Bradley and Keith White are just three of the front runners. The Historic division is also well supported – think Andy Johnston and Andrew Bushe, both in Chevettes, Ernie Graham in his Escort, Adrian Kermode in his fabulous Porsche 911 – all good stuff.

Frank and Lauren Kelly pushing on in New Zealand on Rally Otago.

Family Affair – further, much further afield, Frank Kelly, co-driven by his daughter Lauren on the New Zealand Rally Otago had a great run over the gravel stages to bring his Escort into 3rd in the Open two wheel drive class.


Coming up fast then after Easter is the Monaghan Stages, which is looking really good – terrific stages and a top line entry for this Triton Showers counter. That same weekend (27th/28th April) we have Rally Argentina, the Pirelli Rally, the Tendring and Clacton stages and the MG Club (Ulster Centre) Derek Walker Trial. Enough to be going on with!

Moonraker Forestry Preview.

Moonraker Forest Rally 2019 Preview by Kevin O’Driscoll

The forestry action moves to Cork this coming weekend with the Abbey Hotel Moonraker Forest Rally promoted and organised by Munster Car Club. This is the third round of the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship. The sudden onset of snow which brought the previous round, the Limerick Forest Rally to a premature end has thrown up some surprising championship positions as the results were declared final after only two stages. Keith Power & Michael Carbin share the championship lead on 28 points after two rounds, both drivers in Mitsubishi Lancers. Power was declared the victor on Limerick when the results were made final. Peter McCullagh makes it a trio of Mitsubishis in the top three places and he is just two points behind the leading pair. 

Erstwhile championship leader Marty McCormack who won the opening round in Carrick on Suir but slipped off the road in Limerick still manages to hold fourth place and is six points off the championship lead. Niall Henry lies in fifth place in the DS3 R5 Citroen while Mickey Conlon completes the top six championship placings and is the top placed 2WD contender.

The Junior Class which is split into Class 16 and 16A for 2019 sees Marty Gallagher lead the 16A class in his Peugeot 208 R2, just two points ahead of Derek Mackarels rapid Vauxhall Nova. Jason Dickson in third place is just a solitary point behind Mackarel. In Class 16 Shane Kenneally has taken impressive maximum points from two rounds so far to hold a six point lead. Jason Murphy the J1000 champion of 2017 & 2018 is adjusting well to life in the more powerful class and hold second ahead of Gareth Deazley. 

The M.O’Brien sponsored J1000 championship for 16-19 year olds is shaping up to be a great battle with Kyle McBride leading on 21 points after two rounds. Reece Pollock and Peter Beaton are tied for second place on 18 points. Casey Jay Coleman on fourteen points lies fourth ahead of Marcus McElwee and Ella Conway who are tied on eleven points. Aaron Whelan and Joseph Kelly are on nine and eight points respectively having been caught out by the conditions in Limerick and forced to retire from the event.

Top 6 Overall Championship Points

1 – Michael Carbin & Keith Power28
3 – Peter McCullagh26
4 – Marty McCormack22
5 – Niall Henry21
6 – Michael Conlon20

Kevin O’Driscoll, 
Press Officer, 

Tendring & Clacton Stages 2019 – Pre-Event Sample Video & Stage Data

Tendring & Clacton Stages 2019.

Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples for the Tendring & Clacton Stages 2019. We have completed our pre event recce and the notes and video are ready for posting week commencing 15th April.

Clacton Sequence Sample 2160

Clacton Sequence Sample 2160



Tendring & Clacton Stages 2019 – Stage Data.


Notes & DVD are now available to order for despatch W/C 18th April. Telephone 028 90844111 or order online at – Click Here



Irish Notes 10th April 2019

Irish Notes 10th April 2019


Desi Henry/Laim Moynihan – Skoda R5 led from the start to win last Saturday’s Maiden City Stages Rally. Photo by Kevin Glendenning

Portglenone’s Desi Henry was the man to beat on last weekend’s Eakin Bros Brian James Trailers Stages Rally. Co-driven by Cork’s Liam Moynihan, Henry took victory in his Skoda Fabia R5 by 14s from Callum Devine/Brian Hoy in their Fiesta R5. Henry didn’t have it easy at times, the handling of his Skoda not to his liking and he re-arranged the bodywork of the Fabia on one stage with a trip into the roadside banking. Callum Devine also struggled a bit with the handling of his car and then following some adjustments he got well on the pace towards the latter end of the six stages. Kevin Eves/Chris Melly produced a stunning performance in their rear wheel drive Corolla to finish 3rd o/a.

Current NI Champion Derek McGarrity, with Paddy Robinson co-driving, got off on the wrong foot with an overshoot on the opening stage, and then fitting too hard a compound tyres to his Fiesta WRC just when he was making a charge up the leaderboard towards the end. McGarrity finished 4th. Ryan Loughran/Frances Doherty were 5th in their Mk2 Escort and Derek McGeehan was 6th in his Mini WRC. Derek had his son Mark co-driving and the Draperstown crew were hampered slightly by problems with their Mini WRC paddle gear change.

Photo by McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship.

The big bonus for Derek was maintaining his lead in the McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship, of which this Maiden City MC event was round three. The remaining top ten places on the rally were taken by Sean Devine (7th), Alan Carmichael (8th), Group N Winner Niall Devine (9th) and Camillus Bradley (10th). Major retirements included Manus Kelly (accident) and Phillip Allen (fuel pressure)


Daragh O’Riordan/Mikey Walsh (Ford Fiesta WRC) won the Rose Hotel Circuit of Kerry Rally in Tralee. Photo: Martin Walsh.

Also last weekend was the Rose Hotel Tralee backed Circuit of Kerry Stages. Ed Synan/Tom Collins in their Subaru S12B took an early lead on this classic 9 stage event from Daragh O’Riordan/Mikey Walsh in their Fiesta WRC. However, Synan retired because of a mechanical problem with his Impreza, leaving O’Riordan to take victory. Pat O’Connell/Adam Coffey made a conservative start to the day as Pat hasn’t rallied much lately, but he certainly got his Lancer up to speed as the day progressed and finished a solid 2nd o/a.

Pat O’Connell had a superb drive to 2nd O/A and the GpN win. Photo by Martin Walsh.

Pat said afterwards, “The conditions were good, dry all day although there was a bit of gravel pulled out in places. We weren’t expecting much from the day, but when we got going it was grand and I could hardly believe it when we got 2nd.” Welshman Tomas Davies, who switched for this event from his R5 to his Mk2 Escort, also had a great run finish 3rd o/a and best two wheel drive. Keith Lyons/Niall Burns were 4th in their Fiesta R5, Stuart Darcy/JJ Cremin (Escort) were 5th and Ian Roche/Anthony Nestor (Impreza S10) 6th.Maurice & Stephen Meskell won the Historics from Todd Falvey/Iarla McCarthy, both in Escorts. Donagh Crowley/Denis Nagle (Starlet) won the Junior category.

This coming weekend the rally spotlight switches to the Abbey Hotel based Moonraker Forestry Rally at Ballyvourney, the third round of this season’s Valvoline series. Michael Carbin and Keith Power are currently joint points leaders and they are in the 80 plus strong line up.

Shane McGirr – A benchmark 2wd driver.

Just some of the top driver names include Barry McKenna (Fiesta R5) and Marty McKenna (Fiesta WRC). Cathan McCourt should be right in the mix, as should Niall Henry and Niall McCullough. The irrepressible Garry Jennings is a late entry in a Subaru. Some of the top two wheel protagonists include Adrian Hetherington, Mickey Conlon, David Crossen, Gary Kiernan and Shane McGirr. The R2 category should also be pretty interesting, with William Creighton (Peugeot 208) and Derek Mackerel (Corsa) sure to be in the thick of that battle. Clerk of the Course Sean Daly has laid on a cracker series of stages for this event, and if the dry weather continues into the weekend the competing crews should have a very good event.

Slightly further afield this weekend is the Rallynuts (Severn Valley) stages, 3rd round of the BTRDA series. Euan Thorburn in his Focus WRC has been the man to beat so far this year and is seeded at 1, with Northern Ireland’s Connor McCloskey (Fiesta R5) at 2. Other drivers from here making the trip include Phillip Morrow in his GpN Lancer, while Frazer Mulholland moves to a modified Lancer after a couple of years in a R2 Fiesta. The rally utilises mostly mileage in the Hafren/Sweet Lamb complex plus some unused stages near Rhayader, and as well as being very good, will be quite a challenge as well.

Looking further ahead, attention is beginning to focus on the UAC’s Easter Stages, round three of the Irish Tarmac Championship. The organisers have done a brilliant job in picking the stages – some of the most enjoyable roads imaginable. The icing on the cake is the quality of the entry for this Wastewater Solutions backed two day event (Friday 19th/Saturday 20th April). Craig Breen/Paul Nagle in their Fiesta R5 currently lead ‘The Tarmac’ and are seeded at number 1. Behind them they have just about every top name in Irish rallying, and it has the makings of a fabulous event. We will have more news next week.

Brian & Liz Patterson

Easter Stages 2019 – Pre-Event Stage Plots & Sample Video

Easter Stages 2019.

Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples for the Easter Stages 2019. We have completed our pre event recce and the notes and video are ready for posting. An excellent variation of stages with a 3×2 format on the first day and a 3×3 format on the second day.


Easter Stages 2019 – Stage Data.


Notes & DVD are now available to order for despatch W/C 18th March. Telephone 028 90844111 or order online at – Click Here



Eakin Bros Stage Rally – Chicane Update.

The Organisers of the Eakin Bros Stage Rally have updated the chicane setup on SS 1-3-5 Curryfree as follows: Loc 2 is now Right Entry 6 Bales. Loc 9 is now Right Entry 7 Bales. Please ensure you check both the Official Notice board and attend the Drivers Briefing where printed details will be distributed to competitors.

Below is the road book change:

Have a safe and enjoyable rally.

Irish Notes 3rd April 2019

Disappointment was the name of the game for Welshman Elfyn Evans on last weekend’s Tour de Corse in Corsica, his Fiesta WRC suffering a flat tyre almost within sight of the chequered flag when it appeared that he had victory in the bag. As it was Thierry Neuville in his Hyundai i20 WRC took the win and moved into the lead of the World Rally Championship. Current Champion Sebastien Ogier finished 2nd having battled all through the rally to persuade his Citroen C3 WRC to handle to his liking. The deflated Elfyn Evans finished 3rd. Actually Elfyn wasn’t totally deflated – he has the knowledge not only that he has gone well on the previous two rallies this season, he was the match for any of the top drivers in Corsica, a brilliant performance.

Deflated but not defeated – Elfyn in action on Tour de Corse

A puncture was also partially the reason for Kris Meeke’s poor result, although in another incident he damaged his Toyota’s rear suspension. There were only two stages on the Sunday leg and, knowing that he couldn’t get a decent overall result, the Dungannon man crawled through the first one to preserve his tyres and then was fastest on the second, the power stage, to pick up some bonus WRC points. Kris is still in the WRC points contention, but has dropped out of the top three in the points table which now reads Neuville 82, Ogier 80 and Ott Tanak 77. Estonian Ott did lead the rally early on but then dropped back when his Yaris suffered a puncture. He eventually finished 6th. Dani Sordo (Hyundai) finished 4th in the event after setting some cracking stage times. Suninen in the second M-Sport Ford was 5th.

For many onlookers one of the disappointments of the rally was Sebastien Loeb drifting his Hyundai sideways on the opening stage and slightly damaging the suspension. Although he eventually recovered and did set some decent times from the mid-point onwards, this was hardly the magic Loeb who won so many world rally titles. Apart from Elfyn Evans’ showing, Welsh fans were also heartened by the performance of Rhys Yates/James Morgan in ‘RC2’. This was Yates’ first Corsican outing and he did very well to bring his Fabia R5 home in 15th place o/a, just 4 minutes back from RC2 winner Fabio Andolfi, also in a Skoda.

Closer to home, on the North Wales Rally, Stanley Orr/Graham Henderson in their MK1 Escort had a very good run to take 4th o/a, 3rd in the British Historic Championship and tops in their category. Stanley, who is from Co. Down, commented afterwards: “I was well pleased to be on the pace after a couple of years away. We started well, but then on the 2nd loop, after the lunch break I was like a tired old man, didn’t switch on, but I knew that we were safe enough for the class win. I was wary as well about destroying the rear tyres as the stage was then quite abrasive and we only carry one spare.” Marty McCormack, who had Phil Clarke co-driving in his Mk2, finished behind Stanley, in 5th place. Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O’Neill in his RS1800 finished a couple of places further back. Marty reportedly had the mother and father of all overshoots on the opening stage, forgetting he hadn’t the brakes of his R5 on his Mk2 on gravel!

BDA Poetry in motion from McCormack

The next round for the British Historics is the Pirelli Rally, based in the historic little town of Brampton, with the stages through the classic Kielder Complex. Brampton, made famous when attacked by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745, will suffer a different kind of invasion when the Pirelli Rally hits town on April 27th. The main street and cobble stoned square will be closed for the occasion. The town ‘elders’ promise they will give the rally a great welcome, as will the local traders who will have street stands. Some of the locals participating in the welcome include the local butchers Cranstons, the historic Howard Arms Hotel, the Co-Op and the local garage, Barnetts, who will have a display of old Land Rovers!

The welcome won’t just be for Historic rally competitors of course, the Pirelli is also a round of the British Rally Championship. Referring back to the North Wales Rally, in the ‘National B’ section Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear in their Mitsubishi took a fine win, with Marty McKenna/Martin Brady making their trip over worthwhile by clinching 4th o/a in their Fiesta WRC.

On the Cookstown MC Navigation Rally, Michael Reid/John Lindsay in their MG Midget had another win, finishing 42 points ahead of John and Jonathan Henderson in their Nissan Micra. Quinton and Tim Crean (Mazda MX5) were 3rd.

Looking forward to this weekend coming, there are two rallies on the home agenda – the Maiden City MC Donemana based Eakin Brothers Brian James Trailers based stage event this Saturday and the Tralee based Rose Hotel Circuit of Kerry on Sunday.

The Donemana event is a counter in the McGrady Insurance NI Championship. Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson heads the list, Derek opting to drive a Fiesta WRC. Derek McGeehan/Mark McGeehan in a Mini WRC are at 2 and Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Hyundai i20 R5) at 3. The top half dozen is then made up by Callum Devine (Fiesta R5), Manus Kelly (Hyundai R5) and Martin Cairns (Fiesta WRC). Such is the quality of the entry that any of the top ten could claim victory on this rally. In addition late entries include Desi Henry, who could certainly have an influence on the results. Top two wheel drive exponents include Kevin Eves (Corolla), Camillus Bradley (Escort) and Vivian Hamill (Escort). There are a host of other two wheel drive exponents who could take a share of the limelight. The drivers will tackle two fast but technical closed road stages in the Sperrins, each stage repeated three times.

In Kerry, East Cork’s Daragh O’Riordan, co-driven by Mikey Walsh in his Fiesta WRC heads the list, with Daniel Cronin at 2, Ed Synan at 3, while Mike Quinn, Padraig Egan and Ian Roche make up the top six. CoC Eoin Duffin has laid out a cracking series of classic stages for the event, which is based in Tralee’s Rose Hotel. Kerry is Round 2 of the West Coast series and the opening round of the new Mike Moriarty backed Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship.

Further news this week is the former multiple Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly is to test the new Proton R5 with a view to contesting the 19th/20th Easter Stages, 3rd round of the Irish Tarmac Championship. The event’s administrative HQ is the Chimney Corner Hotel at Glengormley, but the physical centre will mostly be at the Dundrod Circuit pits. Reportedly all arrangements for the Wastewater Solutions backed rally are well advanced and there will be three stages repeated on each of the two days.

Brian & Liz Patterson