1966 July TAH Rally Gossip

Terry Harryman pulls no punches!

Article reproduced from Ulster Motorist Magazine – July 1966


MAY saw the virtual end of rallies for a couple of months, there being only two events in the calendar between now and mid-September.  As the Knock “All Night” in June and the “Circuit of Ulster” on the 8th/9th July (which wasn’t run last year and about which nothing has been heard at the time of writing) it looks as if driving tests and the odd Autocross are about the only things going until the “Scallon Cup.“  Two rallies were run last month although one of these was more of a test-trial.

The Omagh boys under the leadership of Robin English, ran their May Rally over a 60-mile course in Co. Tyrone. This was quite a reasonable “gallop” but not really up to the usual standard expected from this go-ahead club. The route wasn’t as good as it might have been as it included several quite long sections over what were fairly main roads, but undoubtedly the most annoying thing about the event was the highly inaccurate marshal’s watches which were in use. One really tremendous thing about this event was the size of the entry which totalled an astonishing 60, 8 of whom were Experts, 17 were Semi-Experts and the rest were Novices. Of these only 3 failed to start, one from each class.

Only Dessie McCartney/Norman Henderson (1275’S’) returned a clean sheet in the Experts class, this being good enough to give them a repeat of the win they had here on their last outing. On top of this, they were also fastest on the “Selectif”.  Ronnie McCartney/Mike Hart (R5-Gordini) and Peter Johnston Harry Johnston (1275’S’) both dropped two minutes but the latter crew were slightly faster on the “Selectif” and took second place.  Robert McBurney/Esler Crawford in the Porsche-wagen were second fastest on the “Selectif“ but as a result of an early bit of electrical trouble they were only 4th best on the road.

In the Semi-Experts‘ Class, only Jim Abernethy/Alec Cheevers (998 Cooper) were clean, they too being fastest on the “Selectif“ winning the class from Harry Cathcart/Geoff Morrison (998 Cooper) (2 mins) and Oliver Hadden/Dave Elliott (1275 “S”) (3 mins). The Novice section went to Bill Ferguson/Albert Clark in a VX4/90 with a loss of 1 min from Ken Sayers/Ken McClements (998 Cooper) (3 mins) and Eric Campbell Tom Lunney (Cortina) (16 mins).

In the Mid-Antrim MC event, Adrian Boyd in the Sprite had a very comfortable win from Harold Hagan (Midget) while third place was taken by Robert Woodside in a 1300 “Beetle.” Class winners were Boyd, Woodside and Billy Morrison (1275’S’).

THE Larne club’s test-trial got an entry of just under 30, perhaps not quite as large as the club might have hoped for but included most of the top “names.” Right from the first test a close battle developed for the overall lead between Ian Woodside (Sprite), Robert Woodside (VW 1300) and Robert McBurney (VW-Porsche).  In the very last test, the latter had the misfortune to suffer a transmission failure which knocked him out of the running although he was still able to win his class.

Ian Woodside got the final verdict by a mere 0.4 secs over his “kid” brother while Derek Boyd, who seems to be making a comeback, took a very good third place overall.  Class winners were the Woodsides, McBurney and Jack Harris (1275’S’).

IN the second round of the Test Championship with the Enniskillen club as organisers, there were 43 runners. Another close battle took place between Adrian Boyd and Ian Woodside (Sprites), Harold Hagan (Midget) and Ronnie McCartney (1275’S’), all putting up tremendous performances with the latter just edging in front as a result of his efforts in the “box” test in which he was over 5 secs quicker than his nearest opposition on one occasion.  However, this was discounted and Ronnie slipped back while Adrian collected a pylon which penalised 10 secs that he just couldn’t pull back.

Albert Lucas agonises the suspension of his VX4/90 in the Enniskillen tests. Photo D.B.Crawford.

This left Ian and Harold to battle it out and it was the latter who eventually managed to win by 1.4 secs. “R. J. Mac” took the third spot a further 2 secs in arrears with Adrian in fourth another 1.4 secs down. Close Stuff! Class winners were Ted Hobson (Mini), H. Hagan, R McCartney, Denny McManus (VW 1500) and Lee Lucas (Grasshopper).

Two performances which I think are really worthy of mention were those of Mervyn Johnston whose Cooper has the ex-Heaney 1132 racing engine installed and who took 5th place with some very good times, and newcomer Eddie Scott (Midget) who had some really quick times and who was beating the “stars” on several occasions on only his second event! Definitely a man to watch.

As a result of his win at Enniskillen, Hagan now takes the lead in the Championship with 21 points and Boyd second with 19.  Unfortunately, the results of the first event have been changed slightly as it had 18 tests and Championship events must feature between 8 and 12. All that has been done is that the last 6 tests have been discounted and it has altered the overall position only slightly.  However, it would look as if Ian Woodside is third, Robert Woodside fourth and Ronnie McCartney, Lee Lucas and Billy Morrison are all close behind.

The day after the Enniskillen event, the UAC ran their “Spring Rally.”  Of course “rally” was the wrong word as this was no more than an elongated test-trial, very much on the lines of the Motor Enthusiasts Club’s “An Tostal” trial.  The weather was gorgeous and most of the 15 tests around the 60-mile route in Co. Antrim were quite good. This event must go down as one of the most enjoyable for quite a long time. It was, of course, marked on the class-fastest-losing-zero basis (a system which I still do not favour) and resulted in Billy Morrison scoring his first-ever overall win driving his 1275

Second was Lee Lucas in the Grasshopper with Robert Woodside (VW 1300) taking third overall as a result of (or should it be despite?) being in the most hotly contested class. Class winners were Ted Hobson (Mini), Morrison, Woodside, Albert Lucas (Victor) and Lee Lucas.

Coming events include the Larne club’s Ladies Rally on June 21st, the UAC’s Novices’ and Officials Rally on the 29th (the same night as the Enniskillen Autocross), the Mid-Antrim Autocross on the 5th July and the UAC’s contribution to the Test Championship on the 6th. The “Circuit of‘ Ulster” is scheduled for the 8th/9th July and I have just heard that this is going to be run in the form of a Special Stage event. After this, there is a short break until the 20th when the Omagh club will be running their Restricted test-meeting, and this is followed on the 23rd by the Larne Autocross and on the 30th by a Mid-Antrim test-meeting.  Incidentally, I hear that the Dungannon Club are progressing well with their Restricted Rally which comes up in early October.  This apparently will for the first time include several Forestry Special Stages along with quite a number of “Selectifs“ and the navigation will be of secondary importance. I suspect that quite a number of clubs will be working along similar lines.