Patterson Splits Wicklow Pair at Cookstown Targa Rally.
Wicklow driver Chris Evans, with Kevin Fagan navigating, led from start to finish on the Cookstown Motor Club A29 Targa Rally in their Mazda MX5.
Hot on their heels all day were Dungannon’s Eric Patterson and Raymond Donaldson, also in a Mazda MX5, and behind that in third place was another Wicklow driver, Eamon Byrne driving a Toyota Starlet.
Seventy two teams lined up at the A29 Service Station just outside Cookstown to tackle five tests performed three times each. It had been planned to have six tests, but there simply weren’t enough volunteer marshals to cover all of them, and one had to be abandoned before the event got under way.
The first test was at Watson’s Lane just outside Rock, and Evans made it clear that he was in charge. He equalled the target time for the test, with Liam and Kieran Shaw from the novice class one second behind, and Coagh team of Paul Mooney and Jason Bell another second behind that. Fancied number one seed, Robert Woodside Jr. would take the same time as Mooney, while Eamon Byrne had to make a reverse in the farmyard and was six seconds slower than Evans.
A run through Potter’s Lane at Annaghquin, where Paul Mooney was fastest, took competitors across the Cookstown – Dungannon Road and into McIvor’s Lane off the Killygarvan Road. At 0.83 mile this was one of the longest tests of the day, and again Evans was quickest, with Patterson second and Byrne third; a pattern that would repeat itself many times during the day. Robert Woodside Jr would make an error here and attract a maximum penalty, ruining his day.
Laverty’s Lane near Annaghone was 0.75 miles and unfortunately 13 crews beat the target time, so no chance for anybody to make up places. Paul Mooney was listening to a serious noise coming from the engine of his Vauxhall Nova, and had to take it easy through the final test of the loop. Despite being in 4th position overall, this was as far as he would go with suspected bearings failure.
The loop of five tests would be repeated before a short stop for lunch back at the A29 Service Station. Stewartstown’s Trevor Ferguson, navigated by David McElroy, was now up to 4th place overall, just ahead of Coagh’s Damien Mooney who had Tony Anderson in the “hot seat”. On this loop, top competitors all beat the target on two of the five tests so position changes were hard to achieve.
The final loop saw no change in the top three positions. Semi Expert driver Stuart Annesley, with Stephen Jess navigating, was having a great run and moved up to fourth place overall, earning him a promotion to Experts Class for the future. Also in the promotion game were Novice RWD Class winners Michael Duke and Claudette Hollywood who brought their Mazda MX5 into a terrific eighth place overall, and they can look forward to competing in Semi-Experts in future.
Another Novice, this time FWD, was Craig McCullough in his Peugeot 205, and with William Kirkpatrick navigating, they took the Novice FWD title, and a terrific ninth place overall.
The weather was fine all day and made the job of the volunteer marshals and timekeepers that little bit more pleasant. Results, as always seem to be the case at these events, are a bit tedious to produce and with many competitor queries, there was a bit of standing around waiting for the numbers to get finalised.
Despite the loss of three tests, and six where top crews beat the targets, everybody had a great day of Club motorsport and everybody went home safe. That’s the way it should be.
Full results can be found here –> Rallyscore
Overall Winner – C Evans / K Fagan
Class 1 – Expert FWD
- E Byrne / D Smyth
- D Mooney / T Anderson
- N Ferguson / K Hall
Class 2 – Expert RWD
- E Patterson / R Donaldson
- D Carnegie / M Fitzsimon
- P MacFheorais / T Faulkner
Class 3 – Semi-Expert FWD
- M Kennedy / R Wills
- T Gaffney / K Gaffney
- A Harkness / R Gourley
Class 4 – Semi-Experts RWD
- S Annesley / S Jess
- W Thompson / B McKee
- J O’Kane / G O’Kane
Class 5 – Novices FWD
- C McCullough / W Kirkpatrick
- R Whelan / J Whelan
- J Convery / A McCann
Class 6 – Novices RWD
- M Duke / C Holywood
- R McCready / S McCready
- P McCrea / M Stewart