BURMAH RALLY – LYON’S PARK
Report by Ian Lynas.
TAKE one of the biggest and most beautiful Public Parks in Northern Ireland, an interesting revised 1.65 mile long stage with a variety of surfaces, add to this an invited entry of 45 of the leading rally drivers, both North and South of the border, with one driver from the mainland thrown in for good measure, and you haw the recipe for the 1982 Burmah Rally, which was run by the North Armagh Car Club in Lurgan Park on Saturday May 8.
The event was also in association with the Craigavon Borough Council, who had put in a tremendous amount of work to bring motor rallying in the general public.
This event consisted of the one stage being tackled four times, twice in each direction, thus giving the thousands of spectators who turned up, a generous helping of very competitive motorsport.
Heading the impressive entry list for this the third year that the event has taken this form, former double winner and out for the triple, Bertie Fisher and Austin Frazer in John Burns‘ lightweight RS1800, which was on loan for the day. Next up, Donegal Rally winner John Lyons in the Downtown / Primark RS1800, Bertie Law, Dessie McCartney, and so the list went on, like a who’s who of Irish rallying. But the rally boys were in for a shock, because heading the table after the first stage was sprint specialist Sean Haveron in the Ex-Warren Craig RS1800, who really set the park alive with a beautiful piece of controlled driving. Next up, another sprint man. Fred Crawford in his Escort, two seconds behind neighbour Sean, and sharing a time with Bertie Fisher and Ken McKinstry (Escort), while on 2m O8s. were John Lyons and Hugh O’Brien (Escort).
Stage two, and Bertie Fisher turned on the tap and set the pace at 2m 04s; Lyons responded in splendid fashion, setting a 2m O3s, which was soon to be equalled by a very on-form Kenny McKinstry. Sean Haveron was very consistent on another 2m 05s and Fred Crawford did a 2m O6. It was during the second stage that the major drama of the weekend occurred. Sean Campbell had come out of retirement for this event in his Opel Ascona 400 and sitting in the hot seat was popular Downtown Radio presenter Linda Jane Caithness. The throttle jammed soon after the start, and the big Opel rolled into the shallows of Lurgan Lake, and Sean and Linda were lucky to escape unhurt.
Stage three and the times were all down, Lyons setting 2m 06s, with the Fisher, O’Brien, Crawford trio all two seconds behind. The unfortunate McKinstry had clutch problems and was out of contention.
The final stage was a real cliff-hanger, Fisher setting 2m 03s. Lyons was sensational, improving by two seconds, Haveron equalling Fisher’s time and Lyons added the Burmah ’82 to his list of wins. Second was Bertie Fisher, third a truly delighted Sean Haveron, who was also awarded the Spirit of the Meeting Award, which had been decided by the press. Fourth spot went to Fred Crawford, fifth was Hugh O’Brien, and sixth, first of the non-Fords, Robin Allingham in the ex-Roger Clark TR7 V8, fresh from his success on the “Circuit”. Seventh was Bertie Law in a borrowed Gp1 Escort, eighth was Damien Campbell (Sunbeam). Mainland visitor, Ivor Clark, with Kevin Doyle in the passenger seat, might have been higher in his Lotus Sunbeam were it not for for a brush with the scenery. Completing the top ten, the Knox Brothers, Raymond and Trevor in their Escort.
Not all the excitement was conﬁned to the battle at the head of the ﬁeld – there were some good class battles, including Donegal visitor James Cullen taking the honours in class 1 in his Sunbeam, Robin Allingham took class 3 and Lyons took class 2.
Of the remaining awards, Robin Allingham also collected the award for the highest placed BL car, the Class 2 special award went to Bertie Law, and the Eire Award to James Cullen. The ladies award went to the Hadley Opel Kadette of Liz Montgomery and Sandy Caldwell.
Burmah Rally 1982 – Lurgan Park.
- J. Lyons/W. Singleton (RS1800) 8:18;
- B. Fisher/A. Frazer (RS1800) 8:22;
- S. Haveron/G Campbell (RS1800) 8:23;
- F. Crawford/D. Todd (RS1800) 8:30;
- H. O’Brien/F. McCullough (RS1800) 8:30;
- R. Allingham /D. Johnston (TR7V8) 8:44;
- B. Law/L. Weir (Escort) 8:49;
- D. Campbell/D. Gray (Sunbeam) 8:52;
- I. Clark/K. Doyle (Sunbeam) 8:52;
- R. Knox/T. Knox (Escort) 8:54.