1972 DunOmEn Rally

Adrian Boyd and Beatty Crawford snatched the win on the very last stage of the DunOmEn Rally.

Adrian Boyd Wins Dun-Om-En.

This article is reproduced from Wheels Magazine

The Dun-om-en – it’s the name of the rally – took place on Saturday 21st, October, 1972 and started in the middle of the night.  At least it seemed like that, with a start at the Dungannon end of the M1 Motorway at eight o’clock in the (misty) morning. Scrutiny went smoothly for most, though Cahal Curley was heard to enquire if the entry fees were going towards the Harry Johnston Beetle restoration fund!

‘C.B.’ was seeded at number one and had Ian McFarland in the hot seat for the event, while Adrian Boyd and Beatty Crawford had No2 on the side of a new Hamilton/Bowmaker Escort RS1800, a car which was originally Timo Makinen‘s Monte car.  Behind these two was the newly painted, Lindsay Cars sponsored RS1700 of Sean Campbell who was expected to give the top two a hard time.  Dessie McCartney and the highly experienced Terry Harryman were in the “Motortune of Bangor” RS1700.  They were at four ahead of the BMW’s of Agnew/Harkness and Ronnie McCartney/Peter Scott.  The leading Mini was of course ‘Wee Mervyn‘ Johnston and he was partnered by “a walking filing cabinet”, sometimes called Paul Phelan.

Deep in the forest…Dessie McCartney and Terry Harryman in the “Motortune of Bangor” Escort RS1700.

Robert Taylor had a second entry for this event in the form of the racing Escort Mexico that Adrian Boyd drove so well in Wexford, for Rosemary Smith and Pauline Gullick, who were to take their customary ladies award, despite many troubles.  The man who was to surprise many people was seeded at No17.  This was David Lindsay in his quick and immaculate Escort RS1600.  He was to put up some tremendous times and only a timing error stopped him winning the event.

The convoy of competitors headed for Davagh forest at 8.00 a.m., daylight now having arrived (well. sort of).  First big shock of the event was seeing ‘The Belfast Telegraph’ BMW stopped on the stage, and ‘CB.’ changing a wheel after driving seven miles on a puncture.  This cost him about six minutes, and a probable win, as Cahal set fastest time on nearly every stage from there to the finish.  His times were generally a lot faster than the next man’s.  

Trevor Fleming’s performance with his ageing Mini Cooper S was quite an eye-opener, finishing ninth overall in the end.

The second stage was Glenshane Forest, and Des McCartney was quickest here.  A few cars went off on this section, among them Ronnie McCartney, who spent about a minute getting back out of the river when he forgot to slow for a comer, and Ronnie White/Harold Hagan suffered a similar delay in their Cooper S.  Donegal man Derek McMahon, who had taken his Imp instead of the BMW, broke a doughnut and retired.  

Sean Campbell had taken the lead at this stage and was to hold it until the very last stage.  The tortuous Moydamlaght was stage three, and McCartney/Scott retired here with a broken suspension wishbone and driveshaft, the Shields brothers broke the diff on their Mini, and Leslie White broke a shock absorber turret and had to change back to an ordinary mounting point on one side.   

Banagher had to be cancelled after arrows were switched, and on a new stage, Glenedra, Curley was as usual fastest ahead of a tie between Boyd and Campbell who were just ahead of Lindsay.  After this first group of stages Campbell was in the lead.

  1. Sean Campbell/Brendan McConville 27m.06s; 
  2. Des McCartney/Terry Harryman 27m.15s; 
  3. David Agnew/Robert Harkness 27m.2s;
  4. Adrian Boyd/Beatty Crawford 27m.30s;
  5. David Lindsay/Duffy Cunningham 27m.32s.

An hour’s driving led to the Baronscourt group of four stages on which Boyd was to have problems with misfiring, eventually traced to plug trouble.  Des McCartney lost both his gearbox and diff oil at different times, but lost no time and got them refilled before any serious damage was done.  

Local crews were to go well on these stages, notably Ashley Armstrong/Trevor Cathers (Cooper S), Hugh O’Brien/Hugo McDaid (Escort TC) and Will Farren/Mike Hart (Cooper S), but the real hero was David Lindsay who was starting to go very quickly indeed and was consistently second only to Curley, taking 13m.08s to the latter‘s 12m.57s.  

With all those 7s in the registration, there could be only one outcome!Ashley Armstrong and Trevor Cathers would finish seventh overall in their Cooper S.
Photo Bryce Sands.

Ronnie White/Harold Hagan had another “off road excursion”, but he also had two very fast times, equalling Curley on Mullaghcroy, and coming second on The Sawmills.  Unfortunately the Armagh Mini driver’s retirement came soon afterwards when he had to put his car off the road on a road section to avoid a non-competing car.  John Kerr/Drexel Gillespie (Escort TC) had been going very quickly early in the day, but picked up a maximum after he too had an excursion in this area.

A rather uninteresting lunch was available in Knocknamoe Hotel in Omagh, and during this Jimmy Stewart and Tony O’Kane, who won the Gp 1 Cooper S class in Killarney and Donegal, decided to stick to the pints as the stages were a bit too rough for the Gp 1 car.  A damaged exhaust had caused the floor to get rather hot, so they had spent much of the rally pouring water on the carpets in case they went on fire.  They swam home.

Positions at Omagh were: 1. S.Campbell, 2. D.McCartney, 3. D.Lindsay, 4. D.Agnew, 5. A.Boyd and 6. Mervyn Johnston, with Paul Martin and Ashley Armstrong next on the leaderboard.

Six more stages remained before the finish at the Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen.  Curley was having some gearbox trouble, and on Lough Bradan Dessie McCartney had coil trouble.  Boyd got his first of two fastest times on the short Belmore, but Lindsay had very hard luck here when a minute error in either his start or finish time was to eventually cost him victory on the event.  He would have beaten the R.E. Hamilton crew by just one second.

Ballintempo was another stage which meant a lot as Sean Campbell had a most uncharacteristic excursion on a notorious bend and lost a vital thirty seconds.  Hugh O’Brien, now driving a new Escort TC originally built for the East African Safari (complete with ‘roo bars etc.), had a fire on this stage to complete a troubled day.  David Lindsay, Trevor Fleming, who was going particularly well, and Noel Smith, all lent fire-extinguishers.   David Agnew had to do the stage without brakes, but still had a very respectable time.

Things got too hot for Hugh O’Brien in the Safari Escort when a fire broke out on the Ballintempo stage, requiring several fire extinguishers to save the car.

Dessie McCartney’s anti-tramp bars broke on this one.  Ex-Trillick man Tom McAloon who had come over from the lsle Of Man for the event, was partnered by Derek Smyth, but did not have a trouble free day and retired here with a broken differential in the Escort.

On Lough Navar, Mervyn Johnston‘s Mini fell over on its side for a while and all the oil ran out, unknown to the crew.  This subsequently resulted in the bearings failing.  Paul Martin was third fastest here in front of Lindsay, McCartney and Campbell; not bad for a pushrod Escort!  Conagher and Ely Lodge were the last two stages, and Curley was fastest on each from Boyd, with Harry Cathcart in the ex-Johnston 1340 Cooper S to be next on each.

Dessie Nutt and John White were another rapid Mini pairing. Photo Bryce Sands

When the leading cars reached the finish in Enniskillen, the results team efficiently produced figures and for a while it seemed that, assuming their timing error would be put right, the relatively inexperienced Lindsay had managed to beat the giants.  Unfortunately the organisers were unable to change the time, given that it is the responsibility of the navigator to check the start and finish times with his own watch, thus losing the rally.

Campbell’s time spent off the road did not actually cost him the lead, but he was sure it had and, as a result, set quite a slow time on the last stage, some 14 seconds slower than Boyd in fact, thus giving the rally to the latter by 5 seconds.

Des McCartney took a steady third, never far from the leaders and Lindsay eventually took fourth despite the extra minute of time.  David Agnew is going very well and while fifth was only 61 seconds behind the winner.  The leading Minis of Harry Cathcart and Ashley Armstrong had the same penalty, and the decision went to Cathcart on count-back.  Paul Martin drove excellently in his underpowered car to take eighth ahead of Trevor Fleming (Cooper S) and the Twin Cam of Leslie White who didn’t seem to show his usual form.

Imps took the first two places in the small class, with Norman Thompson getting really wound up to beat Peter Jones in the old ex-Eyre-Maunsell car by nearly two minutes.

Norman Thompson and Herbert Marshal showed a clean pair of heels to the opposition in the small capacity class.

The prize giving was back in Knocknamoe and was the usual excellent Omagh Motor Club function highlighted near the end by Strabane driver “Hairy Willie” McGarrigle’s tremendous performance on the drums and his song about “C.B.”.

Peter Scott


  1. Adrian Boyd/Beatty Crawford (Escort RS1800) 70m.27 secs.;
  2. Sean Campbell/Brendan McConville (Escort RS1700) 70m. 32 secs.; 
  3. Dessie McCartney/Terry Harryman (Escort RS1700) 70m.46 secs.;
  4. David Lindsay/Duffy Cunningham (Escort RS1700) 71m.26 secs.;
  5. David Agnew/Robert Harkness (BMW 2002 Ti) 71m.28 secs.; 
  6. Harry Cathcart/Geoff Morrison (1340 Cooper S) 73m. 04 secs;
  7. Ashley Armstrong/Trevor Cathers (1293 Cooper S) 73m. 04 sees.; 
  8. Paul Martin/Lawrence Reavy (1622 Escort) 73m. 11secs.; 
  9. Trevor Fleming/Brian Dorman (1293 Cooper S) 73m. 33 secs.; 
  10. Leslie White/Drew Todd (Escort TC) 73m. 44 secs.