1968 Scallon Cup Rally

Scallon Cup winners Cahal Curley and Austin Frazer receive moral support at the start from Mrs Doreen Frazer and Mrs Margaret Curley.

1968 Scallon Cup Rally

PREVIEW – 13 September 1968 Tyrone Constitution:

Scallon Cup may have entry of 60

Friday and Saturday herald the start of the rally season in the Omagh area with the Scallon Cup Restricted event.

This is the big rally of the year in West Ulster and is one of the events counting towards the Northern Ireland Rally Championship.  100 miles of navigation with seven special stages in Ministry of Agriculture forests should make it a tough one.

The forests being used this year include Gortin Glen, Baronscourt and Killeter, and the Killeter stage is reckoned to have one of the fastest stretches in Northern Ireland for rally cars.

Harry Johnston and Robin English, joint Clerks of the Course, have been hard at organisation work, and an entry of over 60 cars is anticipated.

The start is on Friday night at 9pm from Charlton’s Garage, Derry Road, and the rally will finish at 5am on Saturday.

REPORT – 27 September 1968 – Tyrone Constitution:

Derry Driver wins Scallon Cup

The Derry-Enniskillen combination of Cahal Curley and Austin Frazer, in a lotus Cortina, has won the Omagh Motor Club’s Scallon Cup Rally.  Over the arduous course they lost a total of 52.7 points, well ahead of Harry Cathcart (Enniskillen) and Geoffrey Morrison (Omagh) in a Cooper S.  They lost 60.3 marks.

Harry Cathcart and Geoff Morrison tackle a deep ford on the 1968 Scallon Cup Rally. Photo from Motorweek.

Third place went to Oliver Hadden and Dave Elliot from Aughnacloy, also in a Cooper S, with a total of 70 marks lost.

Other details were:


  1. Ronnie Nesbitt and D. Trimble (Lisburn) Cooper S, 87.5 marks lost; 
  2. R. Reid and A. McConnell (Cookstown) Hillman Imp, 97.1 marks lost; 
  3. Jimmy Lennox and Gordon Parker (Ballymena) Cooper S 104.1 marks lost.


  1. R. Reid and P. Long (Cookstown) Hillman Imp 117.7 marks; 
  2. L.R.H. Kirk and A. Cairns (Crossgar) Cortina GT 146.5 marks; 
  3. R. White and A. White (Downpatrick) Mini 178.2 marks.

Officials of the Omagh Motor Club express regret to people living in the Baronscourt area for any inconvenience caused by the noise of the cars during the four special stages in the district.

Secretary Harry Johnston said “we will endeavour to see that this does not happen again if we are in that area next year”.

Full Overall Positions:

  1. Cahal Curley/Austin Frazer (Lotus Cortina)
  2. Harry Cathcart/Geoffrey Morrison (Cooper S)
  3. Oliver Hadden/Dave Elliott (Cooper S)
  4. Ronnie Nesbitt/David Trimble (Cooper S)
  5. R. Reid/A. McConnell (Imp)
  6. Jimmy Lennox/Gordon Parker (Cooper S)
  7. Ernie Oliver/Derek Turkington (Imp)
  8. Brian Wilson/Gordon Taggart (Cooper S)
  9. Sydney Meeke/Bryce Sands (Anglia GT)
  10. Billy Ferguson/Arthur J.Clark (Escort GT) 

This report appeared in Motorweek for the week ending 24 September 1968.

Curley and Frazer win Scallon Cup Rally.

Derry garage owner, Cahal Curley, navigated by Enniskillen pharmacist Austen Frazer, had his most important rally success in recent years when he won the Scallon Cup Rally, organised by Omagh Motor Club.

Curley completed the 250 mile course, which included 200 miles of intricate navigation in Co. Tyrone as well as 20 miles of high speed forestry special stages, with a loss of 52.7 marks.’

Second were Harry Cathcart and Geoff Morrison and third Oliver Hadden and Dave Elliot —both these crews were in 1275 BMC Cooper S models.

Said Curley at the finish: “A large part of our success is due to our mechanic Donald McEnaney who prepares our Cortina-Lotus immaculately.”

Gruelling this rally certainly was and the story of it is that of one favourite retiring after another despite nearly ideal weather conditions.

The doubtful honour of being first to retire probably went to Derek Boyd who completely wrecked his Cortina Lotus after rolling at high speed on the Killeter special stage near the Donegal border.

Boyd, and his intrepid navigator Norman Smith, stepped out of the wreck completely unhurt and were joined almost immediately by Aubrey O’Hara and Brian O’Kane who put their Cooper S into the bog at the same spot. However, the Cooper was not too badly damaged and was able to tow the stricken Cortina home.


Next to go was Peter McConnell, who was second in the Dungannon Moonraker, with a broken driveshaft on his Hillman Imp. Transmission failure also eliminated the Cooper S of Robin Lyons which was probably leading the field at the first petrol halt at Strabane and a similar fate also befell the Moonraker-winning Cooper of Ronnie While and Harold Hagan, which succumbed in Baronscourt Forest.

Ronnie McCartney also struck trouble in the same forest and he retired with collapsed suspension on his Cooper which had been duelling for the lead with Robert McBurney’s VW-Porsche.

McCartney’s disappearance left McBurney comfortably in front but this triumph was short lived for at Plumbridge the current Ulster Rally Champion’s car ground to a halt with a broken differential.

This left Cahal Curley out on his own and despite a failing dynamo which reduced him to driving with only the absolute minimum of lights, the Cortina Lotus took the popular Derry man to a clear win.

The second place of Harry Cathcart was well deserved by a crew which always tries hard without a corresponding degree of success while Oliver Hadden was very happy to take third place after losing about four minutes when his car shot off the track on the extremely slippery Mullaghcroy special stage.

Dublin driver Noel Smith, who flew back from the Alpine Rally to compete, looked like being well placed but lost a lot of time in the later stages of the event.

In the Semi-Experts class, Roy McBurney and Will Farren had a terrific battle for nearly the whole rally but first McBurney came to a sudden halt when a wheel came off his VW-Porsche and then Farren’s Cooper had trouble with collapsed suspension.

This left the class in the hands of Ronnie Nesbitt and David Trimble who had a good run and were actually fourth in the general classification. Fifth place overall was also taken by Semi-Experts, Jimmy Lennox and Gordon Parker, while another “Semi,” Robert Reid, caught the eye with very good times on the special stages with his Hillman Imp.


  1. Cahal Curley/Austin Frazer (Cortina Lotus) 52.7 marks;
  2. Harry Cathcart/Geoff Morrison (1275 Cooper S) 67.8;
  3. Oliver Hadden/Dave Elliot (1275 Cooper S) 76.0;
  4. Ronnie Nesbitt/David Trimble (1275 Cooper S) 78.4;
  5. Jimmy Lennox/Gordon Parker (1275 Cooper S) 110.1;
  6. Robert Reid / Alastair McConnell (Hillman Imp) 118.1;
  7. Ernie Oliver/Derek Turkington (Hillman Imp) 135.7;
  8. Sidney Meeke/Bryce Sands (Anglia G.T.) 136.2;
  9. Tom Daly/Dr. John McCollum (Ford Corsair) 140.9;
  10. Billy Ferguson/Arthur Clarke (Escort G.T.) 149.6.