1981 UAC Boxing Day Rally

This article reproduced from Belfast Telegraph 28 December 1981

Boxing Day win for Ken

KEN IRWIN kept up his year-long success story with yet another outright victory on Saturday’s Ulster Automobile Club Boxing Day Rally. Irwin, driving his specially adapted for autotests Austin Metro. was never seriously challenged during the 10 tests, which were interspersed along a 50-mile route around the Ards Peninsula. The tests were in such diverse locations as Newtownards airport, Kirkistown racetrack, and a farmyard in Lord Dunleath’s estate.

Robert Dickson finished second overall, 12 seconds behind Irwin, and he clinched the class one award, but had to battle all the way to keep his open-topped Mini Special ahead of the spectacularly driven Volkswagen Buggy of Ballynure’s Robert Woodside, just one second separating the two of them after the three and a half hour event.

Ken Shields made a welcome return to the sport to win Class three. and also finish fourth overall in a 1275 GT Mini, while a comparative newcomer, Wallace McKee, won class five and picked up the “novice” award.

Past Circuit of Ireland winner, Ronnie McCartney, remarked when he was picking up his award for winning class eight, that it was exactly 25 years ago that he picked up the Ulster Auto Club’s novice award!

The vintage car section was won by Brian Patterson’s MG TD, co-driven by Holywood’s Fred Gallagher, home for a Christmas break before flying out to Portugal to make pace notes with this Finnish team-mate, Rothmans Rally team driver Henri Toivonen.

First five overall:

  1. Ken Irwin (Austin Metro) 312.8 seconds.
  2. Robert Dickson (Mini Special) 324.0;
  3. Robert Woodside (VW Beach Buggy) 325.6;
  4. Ken Shields (Mini 1275GT) 348.6.
  5. Gary Milligan (Mini) 363.4.

Ladies‘ Award: Caroline Wibberly (Mini).

Class winners: Robert Dickson, Gary Milligan, Ken Shields, Ken Irwin, Wallace McKee, Brian Patterson and Ronnie McCartney.