Change of luck for Hadden.
This report is reproduced from Autosport Feb 3rd, 1972.
Cookstown and DMC Flying Wheels Rally saw Oliver Hadden’s luck change when, with Peter Scott on the maps, he took his Broadspeed Escort TC to his first win for quite a while. Escorts took equal second place in the hands of Ernie Oliver/Stanley Meeke and Leslie White/Drew Todd, while autotest exponent Harold Hagan, who usually navigates in rallies, returned to the driving seat after six years and with an old combination of Hagan/Derek Turkington, and the well used Midget, took fourth place.
The start was at MOC Garages and at 8pm Hadden/Scott led away the entry of 50 cars. Ronnie Nesbitt, at No2 did not appear so navigator Geoff Morrison was left standing on the line. Thus, the next two cars were Trevor Fleming/Brian Dorman (1275 S) and Hagan/Turkington (Midget).
Many private, unsurfaced roads (at least they were called roads) were used and Time Control ‘A’ was at the end of the first of these. Most cars were free of penalty, except for the eventual winners who lost at minute checking that their time card was still in the car. A tricky crossroads shortly afterwards saw most cars explore a quarry and the only crews clean on the 16 minute run to Time Control ‘B’, just North of Churchtown, were Hadden/Scott and Hagan/Turkington, with the Escorts of Oliver/Meeke and White/Todd one minute down.
A very relaxed 22 minute, 3 mile section included a three-quarter mile selective on the narrow rough track through 5/807842, but this had to be scrubbed as the start marshal was not in position for the first few cars. A considerable wait at the next Time Control gave time for discussion and showed that the little blue Midget was in the lead, 1 minute ahead of the Escorts of Hadden, Oliver and White.
The Fleming/Dorman Mini had retired with a broken throttle pedal, but then Trevor was always known to have a heavy right foot! Time Controls ‘D’ and “E” were fairly slackly timed and few lost time, even through the boulder-lined white at Cahore, the route now having moved on to Map 2.
A quite brisk 12 minuter finishing outside Tobermore saw Hadden/Scott drop 1 minute when the engine would not start at the previous Time Control, but Hagan, Oliver, and very commendably the semi-expert crew of Wesley Abraham/Derek Smyth (1293 S) were all clean.
Another relaxed section by-passed Tobermore, and then the fun started. Twenty-two minutes (with some real rough) on the tricky whites between maps 2 and 3 at Johnston‘s Hill included a new road not on the map and just where one had to cross from one map to another things were not too clear. Clean were Hadden/Scott, White/Todd, Abraham/Smyth and the flying 1302S VW Beetle of Omagh Motor Club secretary, Harry Johnston. Harry was conducting this not-terribly-quick car with remarkable verve helped by the expertise of Mike Hart in the navigator’s seat. Ernie Oliver/Stanley Meeke dropped 3 minutes and Hagan’s excellent run was spoiled – 5 minutes down.
After this the route moved back onto map 5, all the top men having an easy run to Time Control “I”. An enjoyable eight minutes ending near Moneymore brought the last penalties, though Hagan, Oliver and Johnston were all on time. Abraham, Hadden and a few others were a minute down and White/Todd lost 2 minutes.
An easy run to the finish brought the rally to an end outside Cookstown and the quick results in the Glenavon Hotel were appreciated by all.
- O.Hadden/P.Scott (Escort TC) 3m;
- E.Oliver/S.Meeke (Escort RS) 4m;
- L.White/D.Todd (Escort 1600) 4m;
- H.Hagan/D.Turkington (Midget) 5m;
- H.Johnston/M.Hart (VW Beetle) 5m;
- W.Abraham/D.Smyth (Cooper S) 5m.
Semi-Expert – W.Abraham/D.Smyth
Novices – F.Patterson/B.Rowan (Escort TC)