Kenny McKinstry & Alan Stewart win McGrady Insurance Stages!

The 2011 Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship continued on Saturday 19th March with the McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages Rally.

The Ballynahinch & District Motor Club organised event attracted an excellent entry of 83 cars, and crews enjoyed a sunny day’s action around the former US Air Force Radar Station.

Kenny McKinstry, winner of round 1 at Kirkistown, again opened proceedings with fastest time on stage 1. Navigated by Alan Stewart, who was enjoying his first outing in a World Rally Car, the crew went 1.7 seconds faster than reigning NI Champion Stuart Biggerstaff, with George Robinson a further 1.1 seconds adrift in third.

Stage two saw Biggerstaff lose out to the leading bunch, only posting a fifth fastest time and allowing both George Robinson and Connor McCloskey to leapfrog him in the overall top three positions.

Stage three saw the top contenders maintain their places with McKinstry holding a solid 11 second advantage over George Robinson, while McCloskey narrowed the gap to Robinson to just 0.8 seconds at the halfway point. Stuart Biggerstaff was a further 10 seconds in arrears in fourth with Group N leader Derek McGarrity in fifth.

In the 2wd section, James and Heather held the advantage in 13th overall, one place ahead of their chief rival Drew Stewart.

The second half of the event continued as before with McKinstry resuming his position at the head of the timesheets. On stage four he pushed out his lead by another 2.6 seconds on his pursuers while McCloskey fired in a time 2.4 seconds faster than George Robinson through the test to claim the second place spot. Biggerstaff equalled McCloskey’s time on stage four to keep just over 10 seconds ahead of the production class leader McGarrity with Ray Brammer and top lady driver Emma McKinstry well on the pace in the top ten.

On stage five McCloskey retaliated, reclaiming 6.7 seconds back from McKinstry’s lead to leave just 7.3 seconds between the two with one stage to go while the rest of the top ten remaining fairly static.

In the 2wd race, James and Heather Kennedy had built up a useful 14 second advantage over Drew Stewart and in the process were just on the edges of the top ten overall and in the Historic category Harry Brown’s Hillman Avenger dominated after the early demise of the Chevette HSR of Andy Johnson.

Stage six, and McCloskey took another fastest time, but it was not enough to deprive McKinstry of the win. George Robinson held off Stuart Biggerstaff to secure third with John McGaffin in fifth ahead of a Ray Brammer and Derek McGarrity won Group N with seventh overall.

In the 2wd category, the Kennedys held off their pursuers and broke into the top ten in the process and Drew Stewart lost out on the 2wd runners up spot to Gary and Colin Price.

Top 10 finishers:
1. Kenny McKinstry/Alan Stewart – Subaru Impreza WRC – 34.10.8
2. Connor McCloskey/Francis Regan – Subaru Impreza WRC – 34.16.2
3. George Robinson/Tommy Speers – Subaru Impreza WRC – 34.27.1
4. Stuart Biggerstaff Damien McCann – Subaru Impreza WRC – 34.40.3
5. John McGaffin/Leslie McGaffin – Subaru Impreza WRC – 34.47.5
6. Ray Brammer/Matt Whattam – Subaru Impreza WRC – 34.57.2
7. Derek McGarrity/James McKee – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X – 34.58.5
8. Emma McKinstry/Kenny Hull – Subaru Impreza WRC – 35.20.3
9. Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 – 35.37.2
10. James Kennedy/Heather Kennedy – Ford Escort MkII – 35.45.2

CLICK HERE for full results!

Provisional Championship Points after Round 2:
Kenny McKinstry 24 points
Connor McCloskey 20 points
John McGaffin 16 points
George Robinson 15 points
Emma McKinstry 12 points
Derek McGarrity (GpN) 12 points

Go Motorsport

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