1970 UAC February “Rally”?

Proving that the Volkswagen is by no means finished in driving tests, Ken Shields won again with his potent 1500.

This report is reproduced from Motorweek dated 14 February 1970.  Story by Ester Crawford, pictures by Len Tiernan.


Despite the RAC’s sudden decision not to permit any longer the traditional Irish pastime of public road, driving tests, the UAC’s February Rally, which was to be an event of this type, nevertheless took place.  

“Let it all hang out”. R.L. Parsons getting his MGB a little out of line.

Admittedly, an event which consists of driving the 4 miles from Corr’s Corner to do eight tests in Bruslee Quarry, and then back to the start for one more test, was not much of a rally and those people who paid 25 Bob for third party insurance we’re not really amused by that.

B. McCartan’s 998 Cooper displays a natty set of wheels.

Nevertheless, a rally it officially was and several drivers, and their navigators, had their record cards endorsed to the effect that they had completed the event, and were thus one step nearer an International Rally licence.

Ronnie Baird motors his 1000cc Mini in fine style.

And, if the governing body can make silly decisions and create farcical situations, why shouldn’t those people who suffer from them make the best of a bad job!


Test number one was a simple sprint around a couple of heaps of screenings and a pylon, and fastest time went to Ian Woodside (MG Midget), with 30.8 seconds, followed by Harold Hagan (MG midget) and Esler Crawford (Beach Buggy) both with 31.0 seconds.

“Now where did that come from?” Ron Mullan doesn’t seem too happy about the pylon he has just clobbered on the final test.

The second test was again fast, but contained some reversing as well as a rather bad bump on which must sumps grounded.  Here, Crawford surprised himself, if not everyone else, with a time of 41.2 seconds compared to Albert Lucas’s 43.8 in his 848 Mini, and Ian Woodside’s 44.2.

W. Thompson’s alloy-wheeled Cooper S rounds one of the Bruslee’s pylons.

Ron Mullen did 39.6 in his Beach Buggy but incurred a five second penalty for hitting a pylon. Ian Woodside was back on top again after test three with 44.6, compared to Hagan’s 44.8 and Derek Boyd (VW 1500) on 45.2.

K. Morrison’s Cooper S kicks up the spray in the quarry.

Test four involved a couple of garages and a suspension jarring bump which cracked the sump of Richard Dugan’s Mini.  Here Albert Lucas achieved an astonishing feat by being fastest in his 848 Mini with a time of 40.6.  Ken Shields had 42.0 and Derek Boyd, 42.4.

P. Davies, Cortina 1600E, executes a neat manoeuvre on one of the tests.

Both Woodside and Crawford drowned their ignition system during a reverse throw through a puddle, and the Crawford Buggy was rather off-form from then on.


Up until this point the weather has been fine and sunny, but just as the cars came to attempt test one again, the weather changed abruptly and for the next hour conditions were miserable. A  snowstorm, reducing the visibility considerably, rendered marshalling a job for only the very hardiest of souls.

Proving that nothing, not even a driving test, is impossible for the modern army, W.R Kemp’s Land Rover presses on.

Especially miserable was Ronnie White, who’s Cooper broke the gearbox after setting some good times on the earlier tests.  On the second go at test one it was Harold Hagan who took the honours with 20.0 seconds, followed by Ken Shields and Ian Woodside a second slower.

Looking very transatlantic, with large cigar, and determined expression, our gallant, scribe “buggys on” to fifth place overall.

This time, Ron Mullen got test 2 right and was fastest in 39.6 seconds – well ahead of Shields and Rowan Bell (Cooper S).  Shields took test three the second time on 43.0, to Hagan’s 44.0, but then the Tyrone man reversed the order in the penultimate test.


This left only the final test in the car park at Corr’s Corner and on a now bitterly cold afternoon a very tight “wiggle-woggle” test was a very exacting finish.  Although the competitors probably did not know it, the situation was quite close with Shields leading Hagan by 324.8 to 325.4, with Lucas third on 330.0 and Crawford fourth with 332.0.

J. P. Pollock’s Cooper S motors on.

With this tight test, the situation appeared to favour Hagan, but Shields put up an immaculate performance and with 42.0 to Hagan’s 48.4 he was well and truly the winner.  

P. Ervine even brought his navigator with him in has 850 Mini!

Even more astonishing was Lee Lucas’s feat in equalling Shields’ time in the Vauxhall Viva.  His brother Albert’s 42.2 was enough to bring them up to an excellent second place overall.  Hagan was third and a good performance by Ian Woodside, who would’ve had a shattering time of 37.4 had he not hit a pylon, brought him up to 4th ahead of a cautious Crawford, who had memories of destroying such a test at Whitehead recently. 

This time it was Ronnie Mullan who got himself into trouble and knocked down nearly every pylon in sight.  Thus, Ken Shields had his second good win in as many weeks, with Albert Lucas having possibly his best ever performance by taking second place.


General Classification:

  1. W. K Shields (VW1500) 364.8;
  2. A. J. H. Lucas (850 Mini) 372.2;
  3. W. H. Hagan (MG Midget) 373.8;
  4. E. Crawford (Beach Buggy) 378.2;
  5. D. D. Boyd (VW 1500) 382.4.

Class Winners:

  • A. J. H. Lucas (850 Mini) 372.2;
  • R. Bell (Cooper S) 387.2;
  • W. K Shields (VW1500) 364.8;
  • E. A. Lucas (Vauxhall Viva) 413.8;
  • W. H. Hagan (MG Midget) 373.8;