JONES AND TODD CLIMBING IN THE ORCHARD
This article is reproduced from Carsport 1982
John Jones and Drew Todd in their Escort RS2000 had a commanding win on the Orchard Rally recently, finishing over four minutes ahead of Kevin O’Kane and Godfrey Crawford in a Sunbeam.
With the road rally championship getting underway again after the summer recess, North Armagh Motor Cycle & Car Club were able to find 120 miles of tight and twisty lanes on “Sheet 8” to really tax the navigators after the holidays. Out of the 43 entered, notable non-starters were Ken Colbert (seeded number one), John Allen (Escort) and Tom Spence (Sunbeam).
Toyota Agents Shelbourne Motors of Portadown supplied the facilities for the scrutineering, where some competitors had difficulty over the new tyre regulations.
Ken McKinstry and John McGaffin (Escort) headed the ﬁeld away, but were soon in trouble with the anti-roll bar pulling out of its place. They soldiered on and were able to effect repairs at the first petrol halt. Jones was soon showing his intentions, taking fastest times over the opening four sections with Eric Hamilton and Derek Irvine close behind.
In class two the battle was on between the Richhill duo David Aiken/Trevor Agnew and Lawson Burnett/Robert Harold. Aiken effectively was 5th overall at the first petrol halt but Burnett was only 50 seconds behind.
Terry Haggerty/Bob Foster were coming to grips with their new Sunbeam over the very slippy conditions.
After the first halt, McKinstry was able to pull back some time on Jones. Eric Hamilton was slowed somewhat when his navigator fell foul of the dreaded car sickness, but soon recovered to almost clean the final 18 mile section where they only dropped two seconds.
The Class 2 battle ended when Burnett/Harold wrong slotted and gained a 30, and disaster struck Aiken’s Escort when the head gasket failed only ten miles from home. Haggerty won the class, with R. Mason/S. Carphin (Opel) second and Alyn Spiers/Colin Gallery third. Spiers using for the first time his RX2 engined Mazda hatch-back was finding things a lot different from his old Mini Cooper, but nevertheless finished a creditable 7th overall.
The Mini of Martin Holmes and Bert Young took yet another win in Class 3 and must surely give them the North Armagh M.C. & C.C. Novice Championship.
With 120 miles over, a very warm John Jones arrived at the finish ahead of O’Kane to take a well-deserved win on this very enjoyable event.
1st overall – J.Jones/D.Todd, 14.45.
Class 1 – 1st K.O’Kane/G.Crawford, 19.16; 2nd E.Hamilton/D.Irvine, 21.55; 3rd K.McKinstry/J.McGaffm, 28.32.
Class 2 – 1st T.Haggerty/B.Foster, 33.30; 2nd R.Mason/S.Carphin, 39.11; 3rd A.Spiers/C.Gallery, 43.52.
Class 3 – 1st M.Holmes/B.Young, 76.23; 2nd D.Corvan/I.Porter, 78.38; 3rd S.McKeown/K.Emerson, 102.38.