McGarrity Claims 2012 Title!

(Image: Eymard Brennan) Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity has claimed* his third N.I. title with victory at Saturday’s McKelvey Bushwhacker Rally, the final round of the 2012 Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship!

Navigated by James McKee, the Glengormley car dealer just needed to pick up a handful of points from Saturday’s event but he decided to secure his third success in style, battling hard with Martin Cairns through the closing stages to secure the rally spoils.

Cairns had led the event from the start but came under increasing pressure from McGarrity’s S14 specification Impreza WRC during the final miles. Going into the last stage, the two rivals were neck and neck but McGarrity pulled out all of the stops to go 13 seconds faster and secure the rally win.

Martin Cairns and Kevin Flanagan had to settle for second position while Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy, who were just five seconds adrift going into the last stage, were forced to retire when a water pipe blew off on the start line.

Water from the pipe dropped on to their exhaust, and the resultant steam which billowed from their car suggested potential engine failure to onlookers. But thankfully for Jennings, an altogether less expensive repair was required.

“I guess that’s what happens to a 20-year-old water pipe!” a despondent Jennings said afterwards. “That’s three retirements in a row – hopefully that’s my bad run of luck over for this season.”

Jennings is in the midst of battling for the Irish Forestry crown, of which the Bushwhacker event was also a counting round. The battle for that series will now go down to the final round and is a four-way fight between Stephen Wright, Colin Britton, Vincent McAree and Garry Jennings.

Jennings’ final stage retirement promoted Kenny McKinstry and Noel Orr into third overall with their S10 specification Impreza WRC. They finished just nine seconds ahead of leading Group N crew, Colin Britton and Arthur Kierans.

Britton had dominated the Group N lead from the outset. He moved to the fore after stage one and was never headed throughout the 10-stage event. In the end, he sealed the category victory by 45 seconds from Vincent and J.P. McAree, while Ian Cochrane and Ray Fitzpatrick were third.

Finally, in the two-wheel-drive category, Frank Kelly and Liam Brennan wowed spectators with an equally impressive drive in their Mark 2 Escort. Sideways at every opportunity, even a horse that was roaming on one of the stages failed to slow them down.

In the end, Kelly sealed an impressive sixth overall, just behind the Evo 9 Lancer belonging to Mark Donnelly, and ahead of the MINI WRC piloted by Derek McGeehan. Vivian and Paul Hamill were second among the two-wheel-drive crews, 16 seconds behind Kelly, while Adrian Hetherington and Gary Nolan were third.

With the 2012 Carryduff Forklift series now brought to a close, competitors are looking forward to attending the annual ANICC awards dinner. Held at the Armagh City Hotel, all of the various champions will receive their trophies on Saturday 26 January.

McKelvey Bushwhacker Rally – Top 10
(Full Results: www.rallyscore.net)

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 34m33s
2 Martin Cairns/Kevin Flanagan (Impreza WRC) 34m46s
3 Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr (Impreza WRC) 35m00s
4 Colin Britton/Arthur Kierans (Evo 9) 35m09s
5 Mark Donnelly/Sean Ferris (Evo 9) 35m14s
6 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Escort Mk2) 35m36s
7 Derek McGeehan/Damien Connolly (MINI WRC) 35m38s
8 Stephen Wright/Suzanne Wright (Evo 6) 35m50s
9 Vivian Hamill/Paul Hamill (Escort Mk2) 35m52s
10 Vincent McAree/J.P. McAree (Evo 9) 35m54s

Provisional Championship Points after Final Round

1 Derek McGarrity 78 points
2 Derek McGeehan 65 points
3 Drew Stewart 51 points
4 Trevor Ferguson 36 points
5 Ray Brammer 34 points
6 Kenny McKinstry 28 points

*Championship points remain provisional for 10 days.

Go Motorsport

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