Evans Snatches UAC Targa Victory By Just 3 Seconds.
The Ulster Automobile Club ran their Equinox Targa Rally at the weekend and it was Wicklow drivers at the top of the timesheet yet again. Christopher Evans and Kevin Fagan came out tops by just 3 seconds from Eamonn Byrne, this time partnered by experienced Tyrone navigator Derek Smyth.
As the 21 test event got under way, it was the Semi-Expert crew of Michael Duke and Claudette Hollywood who caused a sensation by setting a terrific fastest time on test 1, and take a lead in their MX5 that would last all the way to test 12.
Thats how long it took Eamonn Byrne in his Toyota Starlet to claw back that early deficit, only to lose the lead to Chris Evans’ MX5 on the very next test. By the end of test 17 the two Wicklow men were still on equal times for the lead, but Evans chipped 1 second off Byrne’s times on each of the three following tests and ended up winner.
A great set of tests with a variety of surfaces greeted the 40 competitors on the Ards peninsula, a relatively low entry for this type of event. Organised into two long loops, centred at Harrison’s Garden Centre near Greyabbey, the event had to contend with rain in the early part of the day, making some of the farm tests very slippery indeed.
At the half-way lunch stop, Michael Duke was in the lead, followed by Eamonn Byrne and then David Crossen in his Nissan Micra. Chris Evans was in fourth place, just ahead of David Crothers and Barbara Kane, also in an MX5.
In the classes, Stewartstown’s Norman Ferguson partnered by Peter McConnell were winning Semi-Expert Class 3, while Darrell and Jordan Burns were holding second place in Novice Class 5. Another Stewartstown driver, Sean Devlin, partnered by Wayne Turkington, were giving their Toyota MR2 a run out in Novice Class 6, and sixth place would be their reward.
In the afternoon loop, the weather improved and some of the tests provided a little bit better traction as the mud dried out. Both Wicklow drivers overhauled Michael Duke, and David Crothers consolidated his fourth place overall. Coagh driver Damien Mooney, with Tony Anderson in the navigator’s seat, had a steady run to finish in eighth place overall.
Only one competitor, John Kelly, didn’t make it all the way to the finish, on this very enjoyable event. Good tests that were easy to find your way around, quick results, and a lot of tales to be told at the end, made this an event too be included in next year’s calendar for sure. Full results can be found here ==> RESULTS