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Manx International Rally
RALLY NEWS No.6 - After SS8 - Monday @ 16:46:47

RALLY NEWS NO.6 Grandstand/Friday/1.30

1ST (4) Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Impreza N) 50.14.6
2nd (1) Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Impreza WRC) 51.09.7
3rd (5) David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Impreza N) 52.04.7
4th (6) Phillip Morrow/Daniel Barritt (Lancer N) 52.59.9
5th (10) James Wozencroft/Chris Ridge (Impreza N) 53.32.2
6th (3) Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Lancer N) 54.12.2
7th (9) Darren Gass/Neil Shanks (Lancer N) 54.14.9
8th (18) Brian O'Mahony/John Higgins (Clio S1600) 54.36.2

News coming in from that 8th stage is that Mark Higgins was a fraction of a second quicker than Eamonn Boland but that Guy Wilks dropped 3 minutes when he damaged a front wheel and suspension on his Lancer. That St. Runius test is quite long, over 11 miles, and it goes up past the Plantation over towards St Marks and then down through Eairy, pass the duck point and on down to the back of St. Johns. We don’t know exactly what caught British Rally Champion Guy out, but the big question must be, how will be fare through stage 9? Will the suspensions damage slow the Mitsubishi?

Looking back to the times after stage 7: Andreas Sjolander still held the lead in class R2 with his Fiesta from Luke Pinder in his Puma. Jason Pritchard was 3rd in that class and led the Citroen C2R2 Cup. Andrew Hockridge was 2nd in the Citroens and Matt Cotton 3rd. We said earlier that Marty McCormack had retired, we thought through a mechanical problem, but it was in fact a fairly big accident on the Little London stage. Martin Roberts has had a small problem with a broken gearbox mounting on his C2R2 and this damaged the exhaust. He was hoping to get the damage fixed at service. Martin Laverty’s C2R2 is also now going well following the problem with the damaged radiator. Ross Forde managed to hold on to his lead in the Suzuki Swift Sport division despite smashing the sump guard and under frame of his Swift on the big jump over the railway lines in the Ballajora stage.

Joe McGonagle leads class R1 in his Civic. Ian Hynes/Des Sherlock retired their Civic 100 yards from the end of stage 6 when a drive shaft broke. Ian and Des only needed a few points here to tie up their class in the Tarmac c/ship so now they will have to go to the Ulster Rally. Stuart Jones was running in the Super Rally but retired again when his MG S2000 shed the power steering/alternator belt. Stuart’s father Mick said. “There’s a jinx on us when we come to this Manx Rally. Next time I’m going to say hello to the fairies at the Fairy Bridge!” The reason for Rob Swann’s retirement was that he down shifted his Impreza from 5th straight through to 2nd and broke the gearbox.

In the Historic Rally Jimmy McRae had regained the lead at last service. Jimmy said that he was bedding in new tyres this morning, also he wasn’t quite sure how new suspension on his Porsche would react over the bumps down the valley after Brandywell Cottage and he also met a sheep on the road which didn’t help. (The sheep didn’t have his Snap-On tool box with him!!) Richard Hill in the yellow Mk2 Escort was 2nd and said. “We need more coal in the burner”. David Stokes in 3rd said he was going Ok but didn’t like the fog one bit. Steve Smith was sensationally quick over the opening stage this morning, not for nothing do they call him “Bat Eyes” Smith the way he drives in the fog. Steve’s Porsche is set very high and that makes it good over the bumps but no so quick on the smooth fast stuff. He was on a bit of a recovery job this morning after his 911 collided with a large seagull last night and it broke the windscreen. (Makes a change from sheep!).

Ian Corkhill of the “4 Hire Group” had his blue Mk2 Escort into the lead early on. He told us here at service “Although we started really well, we’ve gone backwards ever since, too quick into junctions, overshoots and spins”. Derek Boyd said he lost his momentum as well, he didn’t like the fog and then he was slowed by a dead sheep in the road. This is turning into a bit of a sheep saga! Patrick Watts in the Tiger set up quick times through the rain, he said you don’t need so much braking in the wet roads, which suits his car better. The front of his Tiger was fairly crumpled and we think that might have something to do with that poor sheep as well.

More news later. BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON


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