Tyrone Crews are Class Act at UAC Targa Rally.
After the Christmas Break, an incredible 140 crews showed up at the Tannery near Moira for the Ulster Automobile Club’s aptly named “Its Not The Boxing Day Rally”. The large number of competing cars really stressed the organizers capability as this was like running two rallies on the same day. Split into two groups, the competitors headed off to tackle 28 tests in two loops, 4 of the original 32 having been cancelled before the event got under way.
Eventual winners were Eamonn Byrne and Anthony Preston in a Toyota Starlet, but they took the top place in a most dramatic way. They slid off the road on one test, damaging the front of the car very badly, and as a result the test was stopped and cancelled. Once extracted from the hedge, and repairs made, Eamonn was able to continue lower down the running order and he still managed to complete all the remaining tests.
Fellow Dubliner Christopher Evans was second, partnered by Mark Fitzsimon, and in his Mazda MX5 ended up 17 seconds behind Eamon. In third place overall, and first in Non-Expert Class 3, was Coagh driver Paul Mooney with navigator Lorraine McMorrow in a Vauxhall Nova.
This result should see this popular pair move up in the classes in future events. In sixth place overall was Stewartstown’s Steven Ferguson with Milton McWilliams reading the instructions in their Peugeot 106 GTi. A fourth place in Expert Class 1 was their reward.
Regular Dungannon competitors Eric Patterson and Raymond Donaldson were plagued by fuel problems during the day, but still managed a top ten finish, and fourth in Expert Class 2 in their Mazda MX5. Damien Mooney and Tony Anderson were twelfth overall in their Citroen Saxo, while Norman Ferguson and Brendan Mooney secured seventeenth overall in another Peugeot 106 GTi.
Class 4 on the event was for Non-Experts, rear wheel drive, and Dungannon’s Alan Jardine, partnered by Isaac Busby, showed a clean pair of heels to a hoard of charging Mazda MX5s in his Ford Escort Sport, and eighteenth overall. Mark Stewart took a fine fifth place in the class, partnered as usual by Alan Gilkeson.
To take a place in the top 20 when there are 140 competitors is no small achievement and that is just what Cookstown’s Johnathan Dingley and Nathan Colvin managed in their Ford Puma. Securing third place in the Non-Expert Class 3 and nineteenth overall was a great reward for a fine day’s driving.
During the course of the day, four further tests were cancelled, and four tests had crews go faster than the bogey time, so in reality the competition was decided over 20 tests. 140 competitors put double the normal workload on the results team and it was almost 8pm before results were available. Still, everybody had a safe day’s motorsport, and now we all look forward to 2016 and get to do it all over again.