AER LINGUS CASTROL-WEXFORD RALLY 1973
(Article by Paul Phelan reprinted from Auto Ireland Magazine, October 1973)
The Aer Lingus/Castrol Wexford Stages Rally, has fast become one of the major rallies of the year. The entry, at 109, was good, and the 96 of these who started were whittled down to 49 at the finish. For the first time, this was a two-day event, with scrutiny on Saturday morning, and the actual start at 3 p.m. from Wexford town.
Five stages were to be tackled on the first afternoon, but one of these was cancelled due to a marshalling problem. Ronnie McCartney, out for blood again in the Porsche, established a small but useful lead over a phalanx of Escorts which included both of the Lindsays, David and Nicky, Sean Campbell, with BMW intervention from Robert Ward. At the end of the day, the order was Ronnie McCartney, Sean Campbell, David Lindsay, Nicky Lindsay, Robert Ward, Noel Smith, with John Bridges getting the hang of front wheel drive again, heading the Mini brigade in seventh place.
Twelve stages were held on the second day, and these provided plenty of carnage, both mechanical and otherwise. The three best placed Escorts all fell by the wayside, David Lindsay being first to bite the dust when he had an off on the day’s second stage. He damaged the front suspension and bodywork, losing almost 4 minutes in all. On the following section, Campbell vanished into the undergrowth, without damage, while shortly afterwards, Nicky rolled his Escort when the steering column became detached from the rack.
This little lot promoted Ward to second place, with Smith third, having pulled away from Bridges despite braking trouble. Gerry Forde had now climbed up the leader-board and was pressing Smith hard, but the latter just held off the challenge, finishing all of 2 seconds ahead at the end. Meanwhile, David Lindsay was flying low, trying to make up for his earlier indiscretion, and by setting most of the day’s best times, managed to get 5 seconds ahead of Smith. However, he had road penalties which dropped him back to fifth.
Best of the Group One brigade was Jimmy Stewart’s ex-Hill, ex-Boyd Capri 3 litre, which continued on to finish ninth overall despite an argument with a bank on the first stage, and minus its exhaust for most of Sunday.
AER LINGUS-CASTROL STAGES RALLY 1973 RESULTS
1, R. McCartney/P. Scott (Porsche Carrera) 12m 21s;
2, R. Ward/B. Harkin (BMW 2002 Ti), 13m 32s;
3 N. T Smith/I Turkington (Escort BDA), 15m 19s;
4, G. Forde/P. Kavanagh (Escort RS) 15m 21s;
5, D. Lindsay/D. Cunningham (Escort RS), 15m 44s;
6, J. Bridges/B. Doyle (BMC Clubman GT) 16m 33s;
7, W. Farren/B. Crossle (BMC Cooper S), 17m 18s;
8, W. Ryan/D. Callaghan (Escort TC), 19m 46s;
9, J. Stewart/J. Conway (Capri) 21m 05s;
10, D. McMahon/S. Graham (BMW 2002 Ti) 21m 38s.
Group One up to 1000cc:
1. S. Broadhead/Mrs M. Broadhead (Fiat 127) 39m 50s; 2. P. O’Keeffe/V. O’Keeffe (Imp) 41m 45s.
Group One 1001-1350cc:
1, D, Cullen/P. Ryan ‘(BMC Cooper S) 29m 22s; 2. S. Kearney/H. McDaid (BMC Cooper S) 30m 37s; 3, T. Noble/J. Robinson (Fiat 128) 33m 00s.
Group One Over 1350cc:
1, J, Stewart/J. Conway; 21m 05s; 2, P. J. Wilhare/S. McGettigan (Mexico) 27m 38s; 3, N. Collen/Miss J. Newman (Mexico) 30m 22s.
Groups Two and Four Up to 1050cc:
1. P. Driver/N. Driver (BMC Cooper) 35m 47s; 2. J Coyne/R. Lawrence (Imp), 40m 245; 3, R. McGrath/Miss S. McGrath (BMC Clubman) 4-2m 21s.
Groups Two and Four 1051-1400cc:
1, L. Sheridan/T. Kellett (BMC Cooper S) 30m 45s; 2, F, O’Meara/A. Farrelly (BMC Mini) 39m 51s.
Groups Two and Four Over 1400cc:
1, D. McMahon/S. Graham 21m 38s; 2, J. Leonard/T. Gorman (Escort TC) 29m 165; 3, V. Bonner/M. Bonner (Cortina) 36m 50s.
Group Five: Up to 1150cc:
1. N. Thompson/P. McCandless (BMC Cooper S) 29m 41s; 2, I, Doherty/E. Greene (BMC Mini) 30m 15s; 3, F. Caliendo/Miss A, Kennedy (BMC Mini) 32m 17s.
Group Five 1150-1500cc:
1, J. Bridges/B. Doyle (BMC Clubman GT) 16m 33s; 2, W. Farren/B. Crossle (BMC Cooper S), 17m 18s; 3, J, Doherty/T. Hughes (Escort GT) 24m 27s.
Group Five Over 1500cc:
1, R. Ward/B. Harkin (BMW 2002 Ti), 13m 32s; 2, N. T. Smith/I. Turkington (Escort BDA), 15m 19s; 3, G. Forde/P. Kavanagh (Escort RS) 15m 21s.
SPECIAL AWARDS :
Best Ford: N. T. Smith.
Best Group One Ford: J. Stewart.
Best BMW: R. Ward.
Best Chrysler: J, O’Connell/T. Clery (Imp) 32m 41s.
Best Morris: J. Bridges.
Best Austin: W. Farren,
Best Fiat: T, Noble.
Ladies Award: Miss S. Sinclair.
Team Award: F. Newport/T. Bourke; N. McMenamin/C. McNally; P. J. Wilhare/S. McGettigan.