This report has been reproduced from RallySport Magazine – October 1974. Report by David Thomas.
Castrol Manx Trophy Rally 1974
Closed roads, the full co-operation of the local populace, pace notes, the general attitude of everyone around and a holiday abroad are all things which one associates with the Manx International Trophy Rally, sponsored by Castrol. An extremely highly-competitive entry comprising Porsches to Midgets, full works Escorts to standard cars, entrants from all over Britain and Ireland and the whole island co-operating-what more could you want?
A lot of hard work had been done to put on 43 fabulous stages on closed public roads in the Isle of Man early in September – this year a week later so as to avoid the clash with the Manx Grand Prix motor-cycle races. The organisation of the Manx is so slick that it is unbelievable the way that the roads are closed before and after the cars have been driven flat-out down the lanes of the island.
Heading the entry list away on the Friday evening for the first round of eight stages were Adrian Boyd/Frank Main in an Escort RS. Boyd was last year’s winner after a fantastic battle for half the event with Roger Clark, who this year was running number 2 with Jim Porter in the familiar Esso Uniflo Escort RS. Number 3 should have been Tony Fall/Mike Broad in a turbocharged Opel Kadett but they non-started so next up were Cahal Curley/Austin Frazer in a Porsche Carrera RS – the favourites to win the event and the crew with the biggest fan club on the event!
Per-Inge WaIfriddson/ John Jensen (Volvo) non-started at 5 which was a disappointment as many wanted to see how he’d go on tarmac – his driving on the forestry stages being incredible. Billy Coleman/Peter Scott were to have a brilliant run from number 6 in an Escort whilst at 7 Lee/ Gittins were another crew not to start in their Escort RS. The Datsun Violet of Chris Sclater/Henry Liddon was a 8 followed by Dessie McCartney/Terry Harryman in another privately-entered Carrara RS from Ireland. Making up the top ten were Derek Boyd/Victor Armstrong in an Escort R.S.
The Isle of Man naturally had many entries and amongst them were Dennis Easthope/ Bernard Magee in, of all things, a group 1 Rover 3500S V8 – Easthope only competes on one rally a year and this is it – last year he finished third overall. John Dodsworth/ Stuart Cornish were at 25 in an Escort TC, whilst Corkhill’s Garage had Ian Corkhill/ Martin Wesley entered at 37 in an RS1600. Chris Kenneaugh/lan Miller were at 47 in another RS1600, whilst the Paul Hardinge Garage had, in addition to the McCartney/Harryman Porsche, entered a Datsun Sunny for Tony Fowkes/Bryan Harris and also the local entries of Ken Leece/Geoff Leece (BIuebird) and K. Clarke/D. Jones (Sunny).
From Ireland came Cahal Curley/Austin Frazer and Dessie McCartney/Terry Harryman who were to prove to be the spectacle of the event along with Billy Coleman/Peter Scott whilst Robin Eyre-Maunsell was once again teamed with Welsh man Neil Wilson in the Chrysler Dealer Team-entered Group 1 Avenger GT. Racing driver Brian Nelson was at 17 in his BMW 2002Tii with Fred Gallagher and finished high up despite troubles. At 39 was the Motortune Mini of Mervyn Johnstone/ Bill Quine followed by the Escort of Tommy McAloon/Derek Smyth.
Scotland was represented by Jimmy Rae at 14 in the Kleber Tyres Escort, this time with Mike Wood reading the notes. Wales had a number of crews out – the two Northern ones being Len Evans/Ernie Holmes (Skoda) at 79 and Cohn Mack/David Thomas (Red Garages’ Avenger) at 111. These two had a good run which is more than can be said for the South-Walian crews, including Dai Roderick/Derek Tucker (Escort RS), Rob James/Brian Tilley (Escort RS), Chris Clark! Mike Rayner (Ascona) all of whom failed to finish. Chris Beynon/Lyn Andrews however upheld the honours by finishing tenth in their Porsche whilst Rally Sport entered Marino Ferrari/John Cozens completed the course in their Escort despite a roll.
Entries were received from all over England, including Northerners Chris Lord Chris Gray (Wallace Arnold Viva), Dave Cowan/Howard Parker (Escort RS) and Lakeland Motors Dave McGarry/Stephen Bye (Escort RS). From the Midlands came the two Sky Petroleum cars of Laurie Richards/Roger Jones and Linda Jackson/Tony Beddoes along with the Birmingham Post Dolomite Sprint of John Bloxham/Norman Salt, whilst the north-west included entries from Martin Watson/Jeff Hignett (Escort TC), Alvin Dave Griffiths (Firenza).
Friday evening comprised 8 stages, the first two passing off without incident as crews settled in. Boyd took fastest on SS1 Baldromm along with Curley, Coleman, McCartney and Brian Evans in the Express TV services Porsche who was to get into the top three at some time during the event.
Stage three gave crews their first taste of Druidale and saw the end of the Walker/ Griffiths Firenza who rolled up the bank. The car was still driveable but continuing was out of the question. This stage also saw the end of the Escort of J. Doherty/T. Gorman when the half shaft broke, after so much work due to an electrical fire the previous day, during recceing.
Heading southwards, stage 5 was cancelled due to a faulty clock, and most were thankful of this having gone straight on at T on one particular junction. This was of little consolation to David Stokes/J. Andrews who retired their Escort on the stage or for Cowan/ Parker who were also out.
The evening section finished with a couple of short, straight stages and the lead was with McCartney followed by Curley, Coleman and Evans. Three Porsches in the first four and it was obvious that Ford’s were going to have to work very hard to make an impression. Roger Clark was down in eighth place but was to pull well up the field during the night.
The night section comprised 19 stages – in all, two laps of the island, firstly heading southwards. Derek Boyd was excluded for being OTL at the end of the evening section. The first night section to catch anyone out was the 50 second Back-of-the-Moon stage (SS13) where Linda Jackson retired the Sky Petroleum Escort and Rosemary Smith blew a head gasket on the Opel. The main road stages 14 and 15 passed without incident, then Bob Jeffs retired when the gearbox exploded on his Escort. Stage 16 took crews Northwards whilst 17 was part of the infamous (switchback and then through the rough Brack-e-broom ford. Stage 18 took in the switchback northwards without incident then 19 on the western coast led to SS 20 up Druidale and down Thoht-y-Will. On this 11- miler Curley passed Boyd whilst Martin Watson retired when a wheel flew off and they coasted on three wheels for three quarters of a mile trying to stop the car. Mack/Thomas were chuffed to pass a car and complete the 11 miles in 11 minutes – until they found that the fastest times were some three minutes better!
Stage 21 was the rough Curraghs road where Clark picked up some time and some crews slid off on the muddy track, Banning/ Hughes in the Avenger had retired when the throttle kept sticking open with hair-rasing effect.
The day section started down Tholt-y-Will where Jimmy Rae was experiencing overheating problems and Evans eventually retired the Porsche. The next stage brought competitors back up Druidale where once again Cohn Mack overtook the car in front (the same car in fact!). Chris Clark was off the road in his Ascona whilst also out were the St. Bruno Toyota and Keith Billows’ Escort. Heading Southwards once more SS 30 was the same as the cancelled stage 5 and some crews still went SO at T – the junction now being muddier.
Back round anti-clockwise to the lunch halt near Snaefell where Curley was opening out a lead on McCartney and Clark was trying desperately hard without much success. George Hill/Keith Wood (Firenza) had dropped down the list due to a misinterpretation of the delay allowances whilst the Mobil Oil entered Firenza of Ray Holland, suffered a broken half-shaft after a fine run.
SS 35 took crews down Druidale whilst SS 37 on the switchback was cancelled when a cow wandered onto the road after the first few cars. Stage 3 was tackled in thick mist by many later crews and the main roads of the round table were not suited to these conditions.
SS39 up Glen Rushen saw Eyre-Maunsell in a spot of bother with a puncture, and Sclater had by now retired with cam-drive failure on his Violet.
A couple more incident free stages took crews to Ramsey and the start of the blast along the TT track. Unfortunately the thick mist on the mountain caused this to be cancelled and so crews were led in convoy back to Douglas and the finish of another fine but tough event.
Results were available at all times and very efficiently done, whilst the presentation and aftermath was held on the Sunday morning where a very jubilant Irish contingent were to be heard!
An excellent Manx and everyone hooking forward to next year’s event.
- Curley/Austin Fraser (Porsche RS)..17m 11s
- Dessie McCartney/Terry Harryman (Porsche RS)..19m 16s
- Roger Clark/Jim Porter (Escort RS1600)..21m 24s
- Billy Coleman/Peter Scott (Escort RS1600)..23m 57s
- Nigel Rockey/Paul White (Escort RS1600)..27m 08s
- Tony Pond/Frances Cobb (Opel Ascona)..27m 24s
- Adrain Boyd/Frank Main (Escort RS1600)..29m 03s
- Brian Nelson/Fred Gallagher (BMW 2002Tii)..29m 22s
- Russell Brookes/John Brown (Escort RS2000)..30m 34s
- Chris Benyon/Lyn Andrews (Porsche RS)..30m 43s
- Mervyn Johnstone/Bill Quine (Mini)..2257 s
- Chris Beddow/Dennis Osborne (Mini)..3605 s
- Len Evans/Ernie Holmes (Skoda)..4032 s
- Tony Fowkes/Bryan Harris (Dat. Sunny)..3318 s
- Jon Vicker/Keith Tocknell (Escort Sp.)..3406 s
- John Wood/Deryck Pickup (Escort Sp.)..3565 s
- Robin Eyre-Maunsell/Neil Wilson (Aven.)..2440 s
- John Clegg/A. Grimsley (Avenger)..3206 s
- Cohn Mack/David Thomas (Avenger)..3296 s
- Russell Brookes/John Brown (Escort)..1834 s
- Will Sparrow/Rodney Spokes (Firenza)..1934 s
- Gerry Marshall/John Davenport (Mag.) ..2205 s
- John Dodsworth/Stuart Cornish (Escort.) ..1951 s
- Peter Trimnelh/Rupert Kelly (Escort)..2223 s
- T. Higgins/N. Dalrymple (Escort)..2405 s
- Nigel Rockey/Paul White (Escort)..1628 s
- Tony Pond/Frances Cobb (Ascona)..1644 s
- Adrian Boyd/Frank Main (Escort) ..1743 s
- Cahal Curley/Austen Fraser (Porsche) ..1031 s
- Dessie McCartney/Terry Harryman (Porsche)..1156 s
- Chris Beynon/Lyn Andrews (Porsche)..1843 s
- Roger Clark/Jim Porter (Escort)..1284 s
- Billy Coleman/Peter Scott (Escort)..1284 s
- George Hill/Keith Wood (Firenza) ..1500 s
Club Team – Manx Auto Sport B
Ecurie Team – Paddy Deutcshe
Manufacfurers – DTV