Ferguson Continues to Dominate on North Coast
Report by Grace King.
The penultimate round of the McMillan Specialist Cars Northern Ireland Autotest Championship seen the competitors return to the North Coast, with the Coleraine & District Motor Club hosting their second autotest event of the season at the Northwest 200 paddock. Again, it was Steven Ferguson who was the pacemaker at this event, taking the win by 26.9 seconds from David Thompson, with Andy Blair completing the top three.
In the Clubman category, Gordon Clendinning who had travelled from Dumfries, Scotland for the event in his VW Beach Buggy, took the category win by 8.7 seconds. In the Advanced category, Jack Gillis in his Vauxhall Nova took the overall category win by 22.5 seconds.
Stewartstown’s Ferguson proved hard to catch, setting the fastest time on eleven of the twelve tests on Saturday. With Ferguson taking the overall win, James Wilson would be elevated to first in Class A, with father and son Christopher Grimes Senior and Junior taking second and third place, respectively.
Andy Blair in his Westfield took the honours in Class B, finishing ahead of Trevor Ferguson in his Silvia Stryker. A number of penalties throughout the day would prove costly for Darren Quille on his debut in this years championship, who finished the day third in class and eighth overall.
In the Small Saloon class, Robin Lyons continued his fine return to competition, taking the class win and his final score of 812.6 seconds left him finishing fourth overall. Andrew Earney would finish second in class in his Mini Saloon, behind Lyons.
The Large Saloon Class would be a two horse race, with Manorhamilton’s David Thompson taking the class win from Newmill’s Mark King, both in their Vauxhall Nova’s.
In the Clubman category, Adam McMullan in his Toyota Starlet Special would take the Class A win and the runner up spot in the Clubman category.
The Overall Clubman category winner, Gordon Clendinning would also take the Class B win ahead of Gordon Buckley whose Westfield required running repairs throughout the event.
In Clubman Class C the Nissan Micra of Ben McKee took the class win and finished third overall in the category. Taylor Gribbon in a similar Nissan Micra would take the runner up spot in the class.
Clubman Class D was again made up of all Mazda MX5’s and it was Lawrence Baird who took the class win from Derek Harrison.
There was again a small but highly experienced and competitive turnout in the Advanced Category. Jack Gillis would take the Class A win alongside the Overall Category win. Autotest veteran Ken Irwin in his Westfield would take the Class B win and finish third overall, and Gareth Dillon in his Mazda MX-5 took the Class D win as well as finishing second overall in the Advanced Category.
With only one rounds to go Stewartstown’s Steven Ferguson currently holds the Overall Championship lead by five points from David Thompson. Mark King holds a four point advantage over James Wilson for the third spot overall.
The final round of the 2021 championship will see the competitors return to the Transport Training Centre at Nutts Corner, with the event hosted by the Autotest Drivers Club taking place on 3rd September.
McMillan Specialist Cars Northern Ireland Autotest Championship Round 9
Overall Winner – Steven Ferguson
- Class A – James Wilson
- Class B – Andy Blair
- Class C – Robin Lyons
- Class D – David Thompson
- Class A – Adam McMullan
- Class B – Gordon Clendinning
- Class C – Ben McKee
- Class D – Lawrence Baird
- Class A – Jack Gillis
- Class B – Ken Irwin
- Class C – No Competitors
- Class D – Gareth Dillon