1971 DMC Officials Rally

Rodney Burrows and Brian Quinn in front.

Dungannon Motor Club’s annual “Officials Rally” was run last Friday night (19th September 1971) in the worst conditions possible for rallying.

Below zero temperatures left many roads icy, and some hills in the Cappagh area were unclimbable, forcing Clerks of the Course, Peter Scott and Kenny Thompson, to make changes in the route as the rally progressed.

Alan Jardine and Stanley Steenson tackle the difficult conditions in their Anglia. Fourth place in the Novice class would be their reward.

Overall winners were Rodney Burrows and Brian Quinn from Castlecaulfield in an Escort, just ahead of Harry Farr and Stanley Meeke in a Cortina GT.  Best performance of the night came from crews in class three in which only one crew member had officiated for the club and were thus not eligible for the overall award. This class was led by Harry Johnston from Omagh navigated by Enniskillen man Austin Frazer in a Volkswagen 1302 S, and Eric Rainey/John White from Armagh in a Clubman GT.

The novice class went to Des Lavery and Peter Morrow in an Escort GT ahead of Ernie Oliver and Gail Haydock in an Escort RS1600.

Harry Farr and Stanley Meeke in their Cortina GT.

The rally started at the filling station run by Trevor Laughlin on the Moy Road and of the 26 entries 23 cars started out on the testing 70 mile route.

The Johnson/Frazer Volkswagen led the field off at 8 pm, and an easy section through the Bush brought the crews to the first control near Edendork.  Things got tougher from here, and a few crews were behind at the next time control North of Sandholes. The third section finished at Kilnaslee and the leading crew in contention for the overall award were, surprisingly, Ernie Oliver and Gail Haydock – Gail competing on her first rally.  They were followed by Burrows/Quinn and Farr/Meeke.

Ernie Oliver and Gail Haydock surprised everybody with a front-running performance on Gail’s first outing as navigator.

The route then brought the cars past Gortavoy Bridge, Crannogue and Cranlome to the penultimate control north of Ballyreagh, and the Oliver/Haydock Escort was still in the lead from Burrows and Farr. The last section of the route included to some difficult navigation and was timed to the second. Due to parts of the route been impassable, the Clerks of the Course had to make some instant changes to the route. Unfortunately this rather confused novice Gail Haydock and the Escort mounted crew lost quite a bit of time, and the lead. They still finished well up overall.

The route finished with a demanding twisty descent of Cappagh Mountain, over which the Volkswagen of Johnson and Frazer put up a remarkable performance losing only 4 minutes to Farr’s 7.7 minutes.

Eric Rainey handled the conditions well in his Clubman and took second place in the Class for crews with just one “DMC Official” on-board.

The results below were declared in Altmore House Hotel, and showed that Rodney, Burrows and Brian Quinn won the officials award while Johnston and Frazer had put up a remarkable performance in a standard car, and Gail Haydock must be considered as an up-and-coming navigator.

Class 1 – Two DMC Officials

  1. Rodney Burrows and Brian Quinn (Escort Mexico) 10.5 marks;
  2. Harry Farr and Stanley Meeke (Cortina GT) 10.7 marks;

Class 2 – Novices

  1. Des Lavery and Peter Morrow (Escort GT) 24.3 marks
  2. Ernie Oliver and Gail Haydock (Escort RS1600) 25.6 marks;
  3. Jackie Emerson and Thomas Rafferty ((Escort) 30.0 marks;
  4. Alan Jardine and Stanley Steenson (Ford Anglia) 122 marks.

Class 3 – One DMC Official

  1. Harry Johnston and Austin Frazer (VW 1302S)
  2. Eric Rainey (Clubman)
  3. Harry Riddle and David Riddle