Crawford Wins First Coleraine Snowplough
This report and photos by Esler Crawford first appeared in MotorWeek 31 January 1970.
Last Friday night the recently formed Coleraine and District Motor Club ran their first rally termed the “Snowplough.” Intended as a navigational exercise mainly for Novices and students of the club’s rally school, a very encouraging entry of 47 cars was received with the promise of an all-tarmac route probably helping to reassure those who had doubts about the wisdom of competing.
Luckily the Weather did not live up to the rally’s title and it was a mild dry night as the field left the start in Coleraine. The route, planned by Frank Main, was 100 miles in the form of a long loop to Draperstown and back to the finish in the Brown Trout at Aghadowey.
Although the time schedule was not too demanding and the roads smooth as promised the route nevertheless looked quite interesting and few clean sheets were anticipated. The first section was a gentle Eight Clubs ramble of an hour’s duration. This is a type of navigation which has not been used in the more professional style rallies of recent years. The idea is to visit eight points where numbers are collected and when these are strung together they give the reference of the control at the end of the section.
Quite a large proportion of the field got through this alright and found the control just south of Garvagh with no trouble. However a fair number of crews looked to be in trouble quite early on and strings of three or four cars following each other in the hope of mutual aid were not uncommon.
And then a few people omitted to read the final instructions properly and opened the “emergency” envelope before they had even started. This envelope contained the location of the control if a crew got hopelessly lost and the penalty for opening it was 150 marks – quite a stiff penalty to start off with.
Section two looked as if it might be tougher with eleven short sections taking in some of the juiciest whites in the Slieve Gallion region. And so it turned out to be with only the relatively experienced crew of Harry Crawford/Alan Cunningham (Cooper S) getting through clean. Next best were Adrian Park/Peter Scott who dropped two minutes, followed by Bert Reid/Austin Burnett, Tommy Speers/David Duffin with 5 mins each, David Penpraze/William Morris with 7 mins. and, a very good effort this, Agnes Parker guided by husband Gordon with 8 minutes.
The Misses Gwen Bridgham/Joy Baird went slightly off the beaten track on this section and were pulled back, none the worse for wear, by one of the two Army Land Rovers competing. Robin Reid/Alastair McConnell were also in trouble and retired their Hillman Hunter.
The third and last section was easier even though there were again eleven quite closely spaced controls but the roads were of a much less demanding nature that those of Slieve Gallion and eight cars got through without loss of marks. This brought the cars to the finish where the results, computed by Hugo and Henry Ritchie, showed Crawford/Cunningham as the expected winners with a loss of no marks. Second were Park/Scott (4 mins) followed by Reid/Burnett (5 min), Penpraze/Morris (7 mins) and Agnes and Gordon Parker With 8 minutes.
Despite the lack of experience of the club this was a smoothly run event and no doubt the hands of Frank Main and Ross Bailie Were in a large measure responsible for this. The only disquieting note, and one which could not really be blamed on the Club, was the amount of noise made by some of the cars.
Two of the early runners were atrociously noisy and the sooner the Association gets their proposed noise meter in operation the better. Noisy cars are one sure way of bringing big trouble for rally enthusiasts.
- Harry Crawford/Alan Cunningham (Cooper S) 0 marks
- Adrian Park/Peter Scott (Cooper S) 40;
- Bert Reid/Austin Burnett (Imp) 50;
- David Penpraze/William Morris (Cooper S) 70;
- Agnes Parker/Gordon Parker (Cooper) 80;
- Malcolm Pedlow/Robert Harkness (Cooper S) 140;
- Brian Rowan/Willie Simpson (VW 1500) 160;
- Tommy Speers/Brian Dorman (Cortina GT) 350;
- Irvine Tannahill/Brian Lyle (Cooper S) 420;
- Peter Teuton/Des Blaney (BMW 2002) 470;
- Willie Duncan/John Palmer (VW 1500) 480.