The A.G.M. to elect Club officers for the 2019 season took place on 23 January 2019.
Honorary Secretary Report 2018
We got the year off to a good start on the 15th February with the navigation classes in the Rugby Club. We had a total of 12 students, which was a slight decrease on the previous year, but still set us up well for the upcoming Snowdrop Rally. At this point it is only right that I thank David, Colin and John for running these classes so successfully each year. All been well we will have another good turn out this year when the new seasons classes start on Wednesday 6th February.
Snowdrop Rally – Sponsored by Hobson Electronics
The first event of our club year was to be the Snowdrop Navigation Rally on Friday 9th March. COC for the event was Keith Hall, but due to poor weather conditions and only 10 entries the club were forced to cancel the event.
The club thanks all who made the effort to enter the event, and we hope that this cancellation will not have discouraged them from entering our events in the future. Also, thanks go to the club members who braved the freezing conditions to complete the PR work in preparation and thanks also to Derek Hobson who had agreed to sponsor the event.
This was not an easy decision to make and we as a club were gutted by the lack of interest in an event which was designed to be fun for all. Hopefully we can reignite the interest in this type event in 2019 and have better luck in getting a larger field of competitors.
Championship Autotest – Sponsored by JRS Jewellery Repair Services
The second event on the club calendar was our ANICC Championship Autotest on Saturday 17th March. COC was Malcolm McQueen and once again we were glad to have the use of Loughry College for this event. The event attracted 32 entries with competitors travelling from all parts of the country to tackle the 12 tests. The NI Autotest Legends and Clubman Challenge were running alongside the main Championship, which again had boosted the entries at all rounds throughout the season.
It was Steven Ferguson in his Mini Special who took the overall win from Ashley Lamont in his Westfield, with David Thompson in his Vauxhall Nova rounding out the top three.
Class winners were Paul Mooney, Paul Blair, Robin Lyons and David Thompson in the Championship event.
In the Legends Challenge, David Jenkins was the winner with Alistair Barker in second.
In the Clubman Challenge, the overall winner was Richard Earney in his Mini Saloon, from Gary Campbell in second and Jack Gillis in third, both in their Vauxhall Nova’s’.
The Clubman class winners were Gary Campbell, Andrew Earney and Liam Shaw.
Congratulations to Malcolm and the team of marshals who made this event a popular success.
Springfling Targa Rally – Sponsored by Donnelly Group
Our third event of the season was our highly anticipated targa rally, and one that is looked forward to by competitors and marshals alike. The targa has become a flagship event for the club, going from strength to strength each year, with entries filling in a matter of minutes. Held on Saturday 14th April, Malcolm McQueen was again COC for the event with a very experienced team of organisers to work with, and the Cohannon Inn as the Rally HQ.
We once again had a full entry of 70 crews, as well as a reserve list of a further 10, waiting in the wings for a phone call to say a space had became available. With some pleasant weather, the crews set off to tackle 18 tests on mainly sealed surfaces, which again proved favourable with the competitors.
Overall winners of the event this year were Robert Woodside and Bruce Drummond in their Toyota MR2, finishing just ahead of last years winners Christopher Evans and Kevin Fagan also in an MR2.
Eamon Byrne and Joanna Lenehan won the Expert FWD class in their Toyota Starlet, from David Burns and Connor Murphy in a Ford Fiesta.
Evans and Fagan brought their MR2 home in first place in the Expert RWD class, ahead of John O’Reilly and Nick Sparks in their Mazda MX-5.
In the Semi-Expert competition Damien and James Doran won the FWD class in their Toyota Starlet ahead of Kevin Daly and Alan Williamson in a Hyundai Accent.
While the Semi-Expert RWD class was dominated by Mazda MX-5s, Peter Caldwell and Rory McPolin came out on top, ahead of Simon Brien and Drew Wylie.
In the Novice FWD brothers Darrell and Jordan Burns were the class winners in their Ford Fiesta, from Mark O’Donnell and Anthony Dobbin in a Ford Puma.
The Novice RWD class was won by Leslie McLean and Stephen McCombe in their Mazda MX-5, ahead of Brendan Mooney and John Nevin in another MX-5.
Our thanks go to all the competitors for their entries, to the Cohannon Inn for their hospitality, to the landowners for the use of their premises and to all the marshals and time keepers without whom we would be unable to run this event.
Moonraker Rally – Sponsored by Hobson Electronics
Our final competitive event of the season was the Moonraker Navigation Rally on Friday 21st September. COC for this event was Glenn Millar and there was a fantastic entry of 28 considering the generally low number of entries these events had received throughout the year. The club had arranged six challenging sections of navigation regularity and three special tests on private lanes in the dark, which intrigued a lot of the competitors. All competitors again seemed to enjoy this format and eagerly awaited the results at the finish in Davison’s Bar.
The overall win was taken by Leslie Hawe in his Vauxhall Astra, navigated by his cousin Gareth Hawe, with a minimal 8 penalties accumulated over the evening.
The Class 2 winners were Andrew Mairs and Ciaran Carey in their Austin Mini, with John Henderson and Michael McIlwee second in a Nissan Micra and third in class went to Mark King and Malcolm McQueen in a Mazda MX-5, having been fastest on 2 of the 3 special tests.
Class 3 seen the tables turn with last years winners Mark and Kyle Thompson having to settle for second, and elevating David Burns and Connor Murphy to take this class win in 2018 event.
Class 4 for the beginners would see the largest entry for this event with 15 crews battling it out for the honours. Event sponsor Derek Hobson and son Chris would be the eventual winners on the night, with Jason Stirrup and Niall McKenna finishing second, and another father and son pairing of Arthur and Adam McMullan would bring their Ford Anglia home third in class.
Once again, our thanks go to Hobson Electronics for their continued support, to the landowners, marshals and those who carried out the PR for this event.
On Friday 7th September the club held a Nostalgia Night in the Donnelly Group Fiat garage, at their M1 Motorstore, which attracted 100+ motoring enthusiasts.
It was a night to remember the Golden Years of rallying when the average person could afford to build and rally a competitive car, when rallies properly challenged both man and machine. A time when road rallies went for over 300 miles through the night.
On the night we heard stories from competitors of that era, as they relived some of the nights spent out on the roads all over the province, battling it out to be the winners.
Through donations and a raffle, the club raised £2000 for Air Ambulance NI, which Malcolm McQueen and George Campbell visited a few weeks after the event to present the cheque.
Our thanks go to Donnelly Group for the use of their premises, to Sandy for catering the event, to all those agreed to be grilled on the night by our compere Eric Patterson and to those who sponsored prizes for the raffle. Also, many thanks to all those who provided memorabilia and brought their cars along to display on the night. All this would not have been possibly though without the determination of Hayes Robinson and his team who pulled the event together, and who I hope will consider doing another such event in 2019.
Moving on to our club members who are competing regularly at other events. Again, the most popular events at the present time with our club members are the targa or lanes rallies. The club has a number of crews to say the least regularly competing on these events throughout the country, I am not going to start and list everyone as we will be here to sometime around midnight, as the list seems to get longer each year.
There is a wide range of experience and abilities shown by targa competitors, but probably the one thing that they all share in these events is that they all enjoy the format and that is why these events are so popular and their entry lists are filling up in a matter of minutes.
Although care must be taken to ensure that they are run properly, and it is clear to see from competing on a number of these events that we at DMC work really hard to make our event safe but still enjoyable for the competitors and we as a club set the bar very high for other clubs to try and reach.
The navigation events continued to struggle this year too get entries, although our Moonraker event was well supported. The ANICC Navigation Championship was again not contested in 2018, and there are no plans to do so in 2019 either. It is still the hope of the ANICC that a new format can be developed to try and aid this ailing type of event. Hopefully there will be a revival in interest and the entries will be flooding in for these events to all clubs in 2019.
Again, we didn’t have any club members contesting this year’s ANICC Championship but we did have a couple of members taking part in the Clubman Challenge throughout the season. Gary Campbell was dominant throughout the season taking maximum points at each round he attended to be crowned the Class A champion in his Vauxhall Nova, as well as finishing second overall in the Clubman Challenge. Colin Hazelton finished a close second in Class D in his Mazda MX-5. 2019 will see the Clubman Challenge continue to be run alongside the championship and with this in mind could I encourage all members to consider giving it a go or helping out in anyway they can with these events.
Alan Jardine was the winner of Class 16b in the ANICC Miller Oils Hill Climb Championship.
Locals on a World Stage
Kris Meeke’s second year in the Citroen C3 WRC started in much more positive fashion, with a solid finish on the opening round in Monte Carlo, including fastest time on the event-closing Power Stage. There was more frustration in Sweden, where engine problems after time in a snowbank brought a premature end to the action, but Kris was back on the podium on the following round in Mexico, with third place.
He looked set to follow that up with a similar result in Corsica, and was embroiled in a scrap for second place with Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak as the rally entered its second afternoon. But a misread pacenote from Paul – his first such mistake in 11 years beside Kris – meant that the crew tried to take a corner too quickly and they ended up off the road. They re-entered on the Sunday and claimed eighth overall, plus a couple of points from the Power Stage.
There was another missed opportunity to stand on the podium in Argentina, after a puncture cost Kris the chance to build on the second place that he held at the end of the opening day’s action. He went on to finish seventh.
Hopes were high for a stronger result in Portugal – a rally Kris won as recently as 2016 – but while he and the C3 WRC were on the pace from the start, tyre problems would ultimately ruin his chances by the end of the opening day. He ended the leg by completing the super special stages in Porto with just a bare wheel rim at one corner of his car, losing a minute in the process.
Kris was trying to make up the resulting deficit on the Saturday when he ran a little wide in a long left-hand corner and slid into the trees. The C3 was extensively damaged and there was no hope of re-entering the rally on the third morning.
Immediately after the finish of the event, the Citroen Racing Team Principal Pierre Budar paid tribute to Kris’s speed and said, “Kris was very comfortable in his C3 WRC and that’s an important point for the rest of the season.” However, three days later the team elected to withdraw Kris’s entry from the following event in Sardinia, and to terminate his participation in the rest of the season.
Kris declined to make any public comment on the team’s decision. and he spent the second half of 2018 maintaining fitness and enjoying time with his family. He made his return to a rally car by driving a Fiesta WRC at the Rally Legends event in San Marino on 12th October.
Kris has completed a deal to make a sensational return to the World Rally Championship with Toyota for the 2019 season, with new Co-Driver Seb Marshall. The ex-Citroen driver will partner Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala for the season and we wish him better luck with his new team in the up and coming season and in his continued quest to become WRC Champion.
2018 was yet another busy year for the club with navigation classes getting us off to an early start and paving the way for the Snowdrop Navigation Rally, which we unfortunately were forced to cancel due to poor weather conditions and a lack of entries.
Once again, the Springfling Targa Rally was the big success of the year with a full entry, a well-run event and the decent weather adding to the experience for the competitors. It is also good to see a few of the navigation crews out sampling this format as well. These grass root clubman events are what I believe the club is all about and if we can introduce new crews every year and give them a range of events to compete in then we are doing our job as ambassadors to the sport.
The Championship Autotest was again a great success and is always popular with championship contenders and this season will hopefully see the autotests continue to grow in popularity thanks to the Challenge classes, as they have during the previous few seasons.
Our Nostalgia Night proved popular with old and young alike, and with all proceeds going to such a worthwhile cause, hopefully we can replicate this in 2019. Our Moonraker Navigation Rally rounded out the season, and left the competitors wanting more, so hopefully we see all these crews back out in 2019.
Another great asset to the Club is the reports on Club events and local motorsport news which appears in the local press all put together by the club’s Press Officer, assisted by Derek Smyth. A lot of time and effort goes into these, and our thanks go to the Tyrone Courier for their continued support and to the photographers who kindly provide us with pictures to go alongside the reports. The Club Website and Facebook are also beneficial media outlets that help to raise the awareness and profile of the Club, local competitors and events.
Once again, we are grateful to our sponsors, Hobson Electronics, JRS Jewellery Repair Services and Donnelly Group for their generous support during 2018 and we look forward to working with them again in the future.
Also, our thanks go to those landowners who provide us with test sites for our events, without which we could not make the events happen.
The club is owes a massive debt of gratitude to all the marshals and time keepers who travel from all over the country in all sorts of weather conditions to help us out at our events. Without their dedication and professionalism, the events would not run like clockwork, as they currently do.
But my biggest vote of thanks goes to all our club members who organise the events, help in the background, and recruit the marshals. Also, thanks go to those people that do the PR work, especially for the navigation events, it certainly is a task that hasn’t got any easier over the years with the amount of building work that has gone on around our little country roads, but is a job that is crucial to the success of our events.
So, a massive congratulations to all involved in making our events a success. We always take pride in our events and try to make them as enjoyable as possible for the competitors, and judging by the feedback we get and how keen competitors are to take part in our events, it is safe to say we are achieving this.
Again, many thanks to everyone for all they do for the club and let’s make 2019 another brilliant year for Dungannon Motor Club.