1968 Larne Rally-sprint

George Windrum gives his new Sunbeam Rapier a vigorous time on the wet quarry.

Larne Motor Club


This report by Beatty Crawford was first published in Autosport magazine 29 March 1968.

LARNE MC, always ready to try something new, staged the first-ever special stage type sprint on March 16. This was in fact a rallycross but only one car was allowed on the course at a time. The venue was a quarry at Bruslee, and a very tricky 0.75-mile course had been laid out.

Although the course was inevitably rough in patches none of the drivers were heard to complain and many said it was much smoother than most special stages. There were more complaints about the weather, which consisted of rain, rain and more rain. Each driver was allowed two runs of two laps, the faster counting.

Ronnie White in his extremely potent 1.3 Mini-Cooper S emerged the victor after a battle with Robert McBurney, who was as usual driving his Porsche-wagen. John McClean in another Cooper S was third. Trevor Noble (Mini-Cooper) set the pace on the first run and it was some time before his time of 2m 23.8s was beaten, by Brian Boyd in a similar car, who was 1sec faster.

Peter McConnell (Rallye Imp) and George Windrum (Sunbeam Rapier) both recorded poor times because of water in the electrics. It wasn’t until White came along that Boyd’s time was beaten. Despite getting into trouble at one stage, White recorded 2m 13.6s, and the only person who could approach this was McBurney, who took exactly the same time. McBurney’s younger brother, also in a Porsche-wagen, had a good time of 2m 22.4s, but split his sump despite having an alloy sump guard.

Other good times on the first run were recorded by John Jones (Cooper S) with 2m 17.0s and John McClean, who was third fastest with 2m 16.2s. Roger Cree broke his gear-box on the 1275 Sprite while Ron Mullen ruined a very fast time by losing it on the last bend.

Times on the second run were generally slower and this can be blamed on the weather, which really became bad. Peter Thompson (997cc Mini) stopped when his fuel pipe broke, but the car was repaired in time for Brian Boyd to drive it to a class win. Peter McConnell, in making a do or die effort to win his class, overdid it and spun at the last bend, and George Windrum had to retire when the fan belt broke.

Robert Woodside, driving his brother Ian’s Downton-tuned Sprite, also retired when his fan belt came off, while John Jones declined to do another run since the sump guard of his Mini was very weak. Malcolm Neill was another to get water into his ignition system and he had to retire his Sprite.

Everyone was now waiting to see who would win the White-McBurney battle. It was White’s turn first and he recorded 2m 14.2s, which was 0.6 sec slower than his first time. McBurney set off to try to better this but when he reappeared past the pits he was on three cylinders-yet another victim of the water.



R. White (1.3 Mini-Cooper S), 2m 13.6s;
R. McBurney (VW-Porsche), 2m 13.6s;
J. McClean (1.3 Mini-Cooper S), 2m 15.4.

Class winners:

B. Boyd (997 Mini), 2m 21.0s.
J. McClean (1.3 Mini-Cooper S), 2m 15.4.
R. McBurney (VW-Porsche), 2m 13.6s.

Novice winner:

D. Agnew (VW 1500), 2m 24.0s.