1972 Boreen Rally

Tansey’s First Big Win in Boreen Rally!

This report is reproduced from Auto Ireland Magazine No2 1972. Report is by Paul Phelan. Photos from various sources, (not with the original article).

The first round of the 1972 R.I.A.C. National Rally Championship, the co-promoted Dublin University/Trials Drivers Clubs’ Boreen Rally on the night of Saturday, January 8th, provided John Tansey and Ray Inglis, in their 1.7 Escort RS, with a long-overdue first championship win. At the finish of the short, 150-mile event, they emerged with a narrow lead over the Cooper S of Jimmy Reid/Kenny Johnston, while the similar car of Autumn champions John Bridges/Brendan Doyle was third, having led until the last special stage.

The start, at Wicklow, was at the later than usual hour of midnight, in order to avoid any “pub closing” traffic, and competitors were thrown right into the thick of things with the first special stage, a 9.5 miler in Glenealy forest. Bridges set best time here, 9 seconds ahead of Tansey, while Yeates, with 13.25, was a further 3 in arrears. Unfortunately, two of the Queens University crews, Dessie Nutt/John White and Bruce Kelso/Dennis Todd, both in Minis, went off within yards of each other, doing surprisingly little damage but ending their rally there and then.

SS2 was a very slippery one-miler at Ballymoyle, where Maurice Forde took the honours in his Escort t/c, with 1.37, followed by Bridges (1.40), and the incredible Group 5 1293 Morris Minor of Corkman Mick Duggan, with 1.41. A couple of miles after this stage, the Reilly/Cotter Escort, which had had differential trouble on SS1, had a coming together with a non-competitor while rejoining the main Wicklow-Arklow road, and damaged a front strut beyond repair. They had been unable to replace the “whining” diff, as the service car which had the spare component failed to rendezvous as arranged after the first stage.

Mick Duggan’s 1293 G5 Morris Minor (seen here on the 1979 Permapost) was a sensation on the second stage, but ended up being excluded for going over maximum lateness later in the event. Photo Derek Smyth.

The third stage was held at Shelton Abbey, just outside Arklow, and here Yeates was best through the fog which descended, just one second ahead of Bridges, while there was a tie for third quickest between (again) Duggan’s Minor and Tansey’s RS, 8 seconds behind Bridges. bA 40 minute petrol halt followed, near Tinahely, where Bridges was seen to have a 1.6 mark lead (0.1 per second) over Yeates, while Tansey and Reid were next in line, at intervals of 7 seconds.

The start of the 100 mile navigation section in North Wexford, was just a few miles away, and as expected, the heavy rain of the previous two days and the fog which prevailed in spots combined to make things quite tight.

On total road marks, Bridges escaped lightest with 10, followed by Tansey (17) and Reid (20). Maharry was 34 down, while O’Brien had a total of 64.

The final special stage, in a little-used forest outside Camolin, was shortened from 2.5 to 1.5 miles, but despite this, Bridges managed to put the Cooper off, throwing away his handsome lead, and dropping over 3 minutes before restarting. This mishap put him back to third place overall, letting John Tansey (who set best time) through to his first championship win, while the consistent Reid/Johnston combination were second, both on the stage and overall.

Despite their battery problems earlier, Yeates and Phelan took fourth place, while Charlie Gunn, scoring his first finish for a long time, was a happy fifth. Quite a number of crews were over maximum lateness during the last section, earning themselves exclusion, among these being the Duggan Minor.

Results were announced in the Middletown House Hotel, Courtown Harbour, which had opened specially for the occasion, and brought with them something of a sensation — Robert Maharry had been excluded for short cutting in the first special stage, Glenealy. This removed him from a probable fourth place.



  1. J. N. Tansey/R. Inglis (Escort RS1600) 49.3 (17 on road);
  2. J. J. Reid/K. Johnston (Cooper S) 53.3 (20);
  3. J. H. Bridges/B. Doyle (Cooper S) 59.3 (10);
  4. D. Yeates/P. Phelan (Cooper S) 94.7 (62);
  5. C. A. Gunn/H. McEvoy (Escort t/c) 104.2 (67);
  6. D. O’Brien/D. Johnston (Cooper S) 112.8 (64);
  7. L. Swan/D. Havers (Imp) 235.6 (184);
  8. W. Schnittger/L. Murphy (Escort GT) 259.4 (211);
  9. J. Ogg/D. Smyth (Cooper) 260.4 (208);
  10. M. Forde/D. McSorley (Escort t/c) 290.8 (251).