This report is compiled from a report in the Northern Standard (1st November 1974) and The Irish Times account (21st October 1974).
Campbell wins Drumlin Rally, consolidating his 1974 Series Lead.
SEAN CAMPBELL from Newry took the win in the Drumlin Rally which finished in Monaghan Town on Sunday morning 20th October 1974. Navigated by Derek Smyth in his Escort RS he lost only 17 minutes on the navigation sections through 180 miles of gruelling rally terrain in Counties Cavan and Monaghan to win by 25 minutes. This was his second win in the 1974 series and leaves him comfortably in the lead in the National Rally Championship.
The event, organised by the Co. Monaghan Motor Club, attracted 35 starters from Ballybay on the Saturday night and of these, only 15 were classified as finishers in the end at the Monaghan finish on Sunday morning.
In second place, despite being off the road for almost three minutes in the Dartry special stage, was Gerry Forde from Dublin in a Porsche Carrera. With navigator Paul Phelan they lost 27 minutes vs the schedule on the navigation sections. Third place went to another Dublin crew, Brendan Fagan and Kenny Johnston, whose Ford Escort RS was fastest through the two special stages in Cootehill Forest.
Frank Fennell and Ray Inglis took fourth place in a Group One Mini Cooper – the best of the Group One crews.
Fifth place overall was snatched by Cyril Jackson from Cavan in his Chrysler Imp with navigator C. McCollum. In doing so, they they left behind a number of Porsches and RS Escorts. This meant a Class win for him, and highest placed local entrant.
Ray Murphy and Brendan Doyle were sixth in their Vauxhall Magnum, Reigning Rally Champion Noel Smith in his Porsche Carrera, navigated by Ricky Foott, finished seventh despite a bout of car sickness by the latter. Smith retains his second place in the 1974 Championship while Forde moves up into third.
Another well-known competitor in Monaghan events was Dublin’s John Tansey, but his Porsche Carrera went off the road in the very slippy conditions in Cootehill Forest and this, coupled with car sickness by his navigator, Derek Johnston, dropped him back to the end of the field.
NAVIGATION AT A PREMIUM
The rally, which was the fourth round of the 1974 Championship Series, started from Ballybay at 10:30pm and during the night the crews had to clock in at 39 Time Points before finishing back in Monaghan Town at 05:30am. Drivers quickly got a taste of what the pace was going to be like on their way to the first Time Point at Dunmaurice, which saw only three crews without penalty.
Then the rally headed for Monaghan and at Time Point 4, at Braddox, most cars had dropped time and only Campbell/Smyth were without any penalties. Time Point 8 was at Alkill near Castleshane,. and this proved to be the stumbling point of the night, and everybody failed to clock-in on time. This caused most of the Novices, and a few of the others not in the running, to drop out, and from this point, only about a dozen cars continued to complete the route.
Those that did continue went through to Cootehill and the first attempt at Dartry Forest. Here the conditions were extremely slippy and and many drivers lost valuable time. After that the cars headed to Cavan where at Time Pont 21 at Shantemon only the local crew of Jackson/McCollum were without penalty.
The route then turned back towards Cootehill through four more Time Points and a second attempt at the forest. In the run from there to Shercock and Castleblaney, road conditions improved but the time allocations continued to be very tight. The final forest stage at Coothill was cancelled because of a malfunction of the timing system.
Then it was back towards home and three more time points at Annyalla, Clontibret and Castleshane before finishing in Monaghan Town. Only 15 crews from the 35 starters were classified as finishers.
- Sean Campbell/Derek Smyth (Escort RS) 43.4 marks
- Gerry Forde/Paul Phelan (Porsche Carrera) 68.4
- Brendan Fagan/Kenny Johnston (Escort RS) 87.3
- Frank Fennell/Ray Inglis (Mini Cooper G1) 104.3
- Cyril Jackson/C. McCollum (Hillman Imp) 226.0
- Ray Murphy/Brendan Doyle (Vauxhall Magnum) 235.6
- Noel Smith/Ricky Foott (Porsche Carrera) 265.2
- M. Breslin/H. Inglis (Vauxhall Viva GT) 349.5
- John Farrell/Christy Farrell (Mexico) 421.4
- Terrence Donnelly/Peter Scott (Cooper S) 502.9