1969 Texaco Rally

Cahal Curley and Austin Frazer ran out winners of the 1969 Texaco Rally

Texaco National – Short and Curley’s.

This report is reproduced from Autosport, May 23, 1969.

Report by Dr Beatty Crawford.

Cahal Curley and Austin Frazer, in an Escort TC, winners of the 1968 Ulster rally Championship, made an excellent start to their 1969 season by winning the first Texaco National British rally last weekend.

Texaco is a new name to the Ulster Rally Championship, but it is a worthy successor to its predecessors the Starlight and Northern Lights rallies.  The reason for the change in name was the difficulty in obtaining road closing orders, and the Larne Motor Club and Mid-Antrim Motor Club decided to combine forces; from this amalgamation the Texaco was evolved.  The Texaco Oil Company, known before as Regent, have supported the Starlight for many years.

The rally took a similar pattern to the Starlight and consisted of 18 special stages totalling 135 miles, 100 of these being over closed tarmac roads à la Circuit.  Navigation around the 350-mile route was simple.

The biggest entry ever for an Irish event bar the Circuit was received, and there were four reserves over the maximum 120 entry list.  All the top names in Irish rallying had entered, and it was good to see Ronnie McCartney and Mike Hart, winners of the Starlight last year, making an appearance after a short retirement seeded at number 1.  Adrian Boyd and Beatty Crawford were seeded number 2 in their “Circuit” Cooper S.  After his performance on the Circuit, Billy Coleman was seeded at number 3 in his Escort, but he failed to make an appearance, possibly due to the effects of the recent Welsh Rally.

Another non-starter was Robert McBurney, who burnt a piston in his Porsche-engined VW on the afternoon of the event.  He had imported Barry Hughes from Wales to sit in the hot seat.

Three Club members volunteered to open the roads, but Derek Boyd and Norman Henderson failed to appear and so it was the Midgets of Ken Carson/Victor McBurney and Ian Woodside/Charles Crawford who led the field to the first stage – the ultra-fast six miles over Star Bog.

SS1 – Starbog 1 (6 miles)

  1. K.Carson/V.McBurney (Midget) 6m 5s;
  2. A.Boyd/B.Crawford (Cooper S) 6m 10s;
  3. R.White/H.Hagan (Cooper S) 6m 10s;
  4. I.Woodside/C.Crawford (Midget) 6m 15s;
  5. D.McKeag/H.Brown (Escort TC) 6m 15s;
  6. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper s) 6m 20s.

The very rough Camearney Forest had to be included at the last minute as the organisers were refused permission to use Water Commission land following the recent spate of blowing up water mains.

SS2 – Carnearney Forest (2 miles)

  1. G.McBurney/W.Carson (Escort TC) 3m 00s;
  2. A.Boyd/B.Crawford (Cooper S) 3m 20s;
  3. R.White/H.Hagan (Cooper S) 3m 20s;
  4. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 3m 23s;
  5. I.Woodside/C.Crawford (Midget) 3m 25s;
  6. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 3m 25s.

In contrast to Carnearney Forest, the next forest at Ballyboley was very smooth but slightly more treacherous, and both Roy McBurney/Brian Rowan (VW) and Brian Boyd/Bertie Campbell (Cooper S) slid off at the same spot, although they were able to get back on without any trouble.

SS3 – Ballyboley Forest (3 miles)

Carson, A.Boyd, Curley, White, and D.McCartney all clean.

The cars now returned to the Starbog and despite it now being dark, most drivers made a considerable improvement over their firs time.

SS4 – Starbog 2 (6 miles)

  1. R.White/H.Hagan (Cooper S) 5m 40s;
  2. G.McBurney/W.Carson (Escort TC) 5m 45s;
  3. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 5m 57s;
  4. A.Boyd/B.Crawford (Cooper S) 5m 48s;
  5. I.Woodside/C.Crawford (Midget) 6m 00s;
  6. K.Carson/V.McBurney (Midget) 6m 00s.

The next two stages, Orra Lodge and Torr Head, were the same as used on the Circuit of Ireland, but run in the opposite direction.  Both were extremely treacherous and claimed many victims.  One bend in particular on Orra Lodge claimed at least six cars, the most notable being Adrian Boyd in the Cooper S which slid wide, nudged a bank, and turned slowly over on to its side.  Ken Shields implanted his Viva well and truly in the scenery on Torr Head, while Ronnie White clipped a rock and broke a tie-rod.

SS5 – Orra Lodge 1 (10 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 8m 59s;
  2. M.Johnston/H.Johnston (Cooper S) 9m 10s;
  3. G.McBurney/W.Carson (Escort TC) 9m 17s;
  4. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 9m 37s;
  5. J.Lamie/J.Grant (Escort TC) 9m 39s;
  6. K.Carson/V.McBurney (Midget) 9m 40s.

SS6 – Torr Head 1 (9 Miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 10m 55s;
  2. J.McClean/H.Patton (Cooper S) 10m 55s;
  3. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 11m 25s
  4. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 11m 27s;
  5. K.Carson/V.McBurney (Midget) 11m 40s;
  6. J.P.O’Kane/A.N.Other (Cortina Lotus) 11m 55s.

A forest stage now followed at Ballypatrick, and on this, George Windrum and Jimmy Fitzsimmons (Sunbeam Rapier) came to a halt with a broken differential.

SS7 – Ballypatrick Forest (6 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 8m 50s;
  2. B.Boyd/B.Campbell (Cooper S) 8m 52s;
  3. R.Reid/A.McConnell (Imp) 9m 07s;
  4. J.Campbell/D.Gillespie (Imp) 9m 14s;
  5. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 9m 20s;
  6. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 9m 22s.

The cars then returned to Orra Lodge, which by this time was covered in fog.  Ernest McMillen rolled Stanley Eakins’ Cooper S on the road section, the latter sustaining a broken arm.  Brian Robinson and Miss Helen Potter came unstuck at the same bend as Adrian Boyd and unfortunately rolled.

SS8 – Orra Lodge 2 (10 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 9m 30s;
  2. B.Boyd/B.Campbell (Cooper S) 9m 59s;
  3. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 10m 10s;
  4. A.O’Hara/B.O’Kane (Cooper S) 10m 10s;
  5. J.Kerr/M.Kernaghan (Cooper) 10m12s;
  6. B.Reid/A.Burnett (Imp) 10m 12s.

Torr Head was also repeated, and Ken Carson hit a bank but was able to continue after a short delay.

SS9 – Torr Head 2 (9 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 11m 00s
  2. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 11m 20s;
  3. I.Woodside/C.Crawford (Midget) 11m 30s
  4. R.Nesbitt/D.Trimble (Cooper S) 11m 36s;
  5. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 11m 40s;
  6. B.Boyd/B.Campbell (Cooper S) 11m 45s.

Three forest stages now followed, after which there was a short supper halt at Garvagh.

SS10 – Ballycastle Forest (5 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 7m 59s
  2. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 8m 18s;
  3. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 8m 19s;
  4. R.Nesbitt/D.Trimble (Cooper S) 8m 22s;
  5. H.Cathcart/G.Morrison (Cooper S) 8m 36s;
  6. R.McCartney/M.Hart (Cooper S) 8m 39s.
Harry Cathcart and Geoff Morrison splash into the top times in their ex-Dessie McCartney Cooper S.

SS11 – Springwell Forest (6 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 8m 27s
  2. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 8m 40s;
  3. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 8m 55s; 
  4. M.Johnston/H.Johnston (Cooper S) 9m 02s
  5. K.Carson/V.McBurney (Midget) 9m 03s;
  6. R.McSpadden/D.Grieve (VW) 9m 04s.

SS12 – Cam Forest (6 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 7m 17s
  2. R.Nesbitt/D.Trimble (Cooper S) 7m 39s;
  3. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 7m 43s;
  4. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 7m 57s;
  5. O.Hadden/D.Elliot (Escort TC) 7m 58s.

After the supper halt, the cars headed South into the Sperrin Mountains, where there were two more closed road stages, Glenlark and Slieve Gallion, each of which had to be traversed twice and Davagh Forest, which was very rough.  John L’Amie retired here with no gears in his Escort.

SS13 – Glenlark 1 (14 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 16m 44s
  2. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 17m 12s;
  3. O.Hadden/D.Elliot (Escort TC) 17m 14s;
  4. M.Johnston/H.Johnston (Cooper S) 17m 17s;
  5. C.Gunn/P.Phelan (Escort TC) 17m 31s;
  6. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 17m 32s.

SS14 – Davagh Forest (7 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 10m 58s
  2. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 11m 26s;
  3. C.Gunn/P.Phelan (Escort TC) 11m 30s;
  4. I.Woodside/C.Crawford (Midget) 11m 42s;
  5. R.McSpadden/D.Grieve (VW) 11m 48s;
  6. T.Harryman/N.Taylor (NSU TT) 11m 53s;

SS15 – Slieve Gallion 1 (10 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 11m 26s
  2. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 11m 59s;
  3. C.Gunn/P.Phelan (Escort TC) 12m 15s;
  4. I.Woodside/C.Crawford (Midget) 12m 25s;
  5. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 12m 27s;
  6. M.Johnston/H.Johnston (Cooper S) 12m 29s;
  7. J.McClean/H.Patton (Cooper S) 12m 29s.

Norman Thompson rolled his Cooper on Slieve Gallion, and Neville Johnston also ended his run here when he slid off, hit a rock and damaged the driveshaft in his Toyota Corona,

SS16 – Glenlark 2 (14 miles)

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 17m 30s
  2. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 17m 45s;
  3. C.Gunn/P.Phelan (Escort TC) 18m 09s;
  4. M.Johnston/H.Johnston (Cooper S) 18m 25s;
  5. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 18m 26s;
  6. O.Hadden/D.Elliot (Escort TC) 18m 34s.

SS17 – Slieve Gallion 2 (10 miles)

  1. O.Hadden/D.Elliot (Escort TC) 11m 18s;
  2. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 11m 26s
  3. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 11m 40s;
  4. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 12m 01s;
  5. J.McClean/H.Patton (Cooper S) 12m 20s;
  6. H.Cathcart/G.Morrison (Cooper S) 12m 20s.

All that remained now was for the decimated field to make the long run to Ballymena, where there was a short stage around Clinty Quarry.

SS18 – Clinty Quarry (1 mile)

  1. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 00m 55s;
  2. J.McClean/H.Patton (Cooper S) 00m 56s
  3. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 00m 56s
  4. C.Gunn/P.Phelan (Escort TC) 00m 56s
  5. R.McSpadden/D.Grieve (VW) 00m 57s;
  6. T.Harryman/N.Taylor (NSU TT) 00m 57s.

RESULTS – EXPERTS

  1. C.Curley/A.Frazer (Escort TC) 160m 39s;
  2. D.McCartney/N.Henderson (Cooper S) 166m 10s;
  3. N.Smith/R.Foott (Cooper S) 172m 10s;
  4. C.Gunn/P.Phelan (Escort TC) 174m 54s;
  5. I.Woodside/C.Crawford (Midget) 177m 29s;
  6. J.McClean/H.Patton (Cooper S) 183m 54s;
  7. T.Harryman/N.Taylor (NSU Prinz 1000) 184m 40s;
  8. R.Smith/D.Smith (Hillman Imp) 185m 59s.

RESULTS SEMI-EXPERTS

  1. H.Cathcart/G.Morrison (Cooper S) 177m 34s;
  2. M.Johnston/H.Johnston (Cooper S) 177m 43s
  3. G.McBurney/W.Carson (Escort TC) 180m 33s

RESULTS NOVICES

  1. F.A.Wadsworth/D.Blaney (Cortina 1600E) 141m 47s;
  2. E.Clark/M.McGrath (Escort GT) 151m 39s;
  3. M.Pedlow/N.Reid (Mini-Cooper) 152m 30s.