19 FELL BY THE WAYSIDE!
Only 20 competitors out of 39 starters finished the Omagh Motor Club’s Scallon Cup Rally on Friday night, the final event in the Club’s motorsport season. The fact that 19 worthy competitors succumbed to the conditions, and the final make-up of the results, made it perhaps the most unusual of the Club’s rallies for some time.
The route chosen by joint Clerks of the Course, “P.J.” and Edward Winters, was obviously a good one and posed problems for both cars and crews. It was fair, however, as can be seen from the results, as the winners, Trevor Fleming from Moira and navigator Brian Dorman from Belfast, were “clean on the road” with zero marks. Only their selective time brought them a 0.5 marks penalty.
This was an excellent performance by Trevor who is not one of the better known of the “Rally Circus”. Perhaps his win here will be a spur to bigger and better things. Brian Dorman, his navigator was the Omagh Motor Club Navigator Champion in 1969, and obviously had a good night on the maps.
WRONG FROM THE START
Things started to go wrong for several of the fancied crews right from the start. Pat McCourt and Peter Scott, who were late entries and listed in the number 2 spot in place of Mervyn Johnston (who had sold his car earlier in the week to Harry Cathcart from Enniskillen) were on panic stations at the start, having lost track of the ignition key. It was eventually found and they started in the number 15 spot which was vacant. Their rally was short-lived however, as they broke the gear box in their ex Cahal Curley Escort T.C. within 5 miles of the start.
Ronnie McCartney was the next to go, breaking a stud axle in the big Triumph at Baronscourt and losing the off-side front wheel. This made it a sad night for Ian McFarland, McCartney’s navigator, as a little later in the Rally Will Farren/Mike Hart, leaders in tie Club Championship, also retired, and a chance to snatch the 1971 title was lost.
TALES OF WOE
The tales of woe for all the fancied crews continued. Top seeded driver running at No.1, Hugh O’Brien/Hugh McDaid, got a puncture at Baronscourt, changed the wheel, and two miles further on while attempting to make up time “rolled” the car. Not being content to call it a day, the car was got back on the road and they proceeded directly to the “selective section.” It is understood that expensive sounding noises were heard from the engine compartment before they finally gave up the struggle.
Then the Will Farren/Mike Hart Cooper S ground to a stop on the “selective” with a broken differential and their race was run. Perhaps the worst luck of all befell Robert Brady and John Beatty (Dungannon) who were fastest on the selective and, according to reports filtering back to the finish, were in a substantial lead. However it was not to be and the car “drowned” in a flooded road approaching T.C. 6 at about 2/3 distance. Belfast’s Jimmy Ogg/Derek Smyth discovered that one fuel tank on a Mini just wasn’t enough to see them through the whole rally and they also ground to a halt.
There were many other tales of woe, too numerous to mention all of them, but on the brighter side of things congratulations to Ivan Caldwell and Trevor Cathers who brought their Cooper S into a well-earned 2nd overall. Another fine performance was that of Seamus Kearney/Pat McCullagh, who were really going well and romped home very easy winners on the slightly easier Touring Class route.
Incidentally, for the first time in years, the Minis scored very heavily over the Ford Escorts etc, filling the first seven places overall.
- Trevor Fleming/Brian Dorman (Moira) Cooper S, 0.5 Marks;
- Ivan Caldwell/Trevor Cathers (Beragh) Cooper S, 4.5 Marks;
- Harry Cathcart/Geoff Morrison (Enniskillen) Cooper S, 5.0 Marks;
- Jim Cathcart/T. Elliot (Monea) Cooper S, 10.5 Marks;
- Malcolm Pedlow/Robert Harkness (Portadown) Cooper S, 12.0 Marks;
- Ken Thompson/R. Thompson (Irvinestown) Cooper S, 15.0 Marks.
- Seamus Kearney/Pat McCullagh (Omagh) Clubman GT, 4.5 Marks;
- J. Thompson/B. Young (Lack) Cooper S, 25.5 Marks;
- D. Ayre/Roy Sloan (Ballymena) Mini, 34.3 Marks