1979 University Rally

Fred Crawford and Drew Todd snatched the Universities Championship in their RS2000.

Fred Wins after last event drama.

This report appeared in Belfast Telegraph on 22 February 1979.

In a dramatic last-event turnaround, Fred Crawford, navigated by Drew Todd, came from behind to win the Universities Road Rally Championship.  Crawford had been in third place after the first three rounds but victory in last night’s Ulster Polytechnic “Hare & Hounds Rally”, which saw the series leaders fail to finish, gave the title to the Larne driver in his Ford Escort RS2000.

Jimmy Logan and Derek Ervine headed the Championship going in to the event, but with their regular RS2000 severely damaged in the Galway International, they switched to a very second-hand 1974 version.  Unfortunately it stopped early in the event with alternator failure.

Warren Craig and Jackson Allen had been in second place, and after a hectic rush to have their Escort RS1800 rebuilt in time, they collected two punctures on the opening section, then damaged the gearbox on a heavy landing.

David McIlroy and Ronnie McKee were out in their faithful Sunbeam and took a good 6th place overall.

So Crawford was left with the challenge of scoring the needed 10 points to overhaul Logan’s series lead.  He did it with a bit to spare, winning the event by one minute from the Avenger of Dan Doherty and Brian Russell, with international ploughing star Willie Hood, partnered by Derek Smyth, taking third in their Chrysler Sunbeam.

The big disappointment of the night was the non-appearance of Ronnie McCartney in his Mercedes 300.  McCartney became ill yesterday afternoon and was forced to call off the car’s debut.

Overall Results:

  1. F.Crawford/D.Todd (Escort RS2000) 26.35;
  2. D.Doherty/B.Russell (Avenger) 27.35;
  3. W.Hood/D.Smyth (Sunbeam) 29.40;
  4. J.Kennedy/S.Carphin (Avenger) 32.34;
  5. R.Foreman/A.Morrow (Avenger) 32.38;
  6. D.McIlroy/R.McKee (Sunbeam) 33.43;
  7. K.McKinstry/J.McGaffin (RS2000) 37.44;
  8. B.McCullough/D.Montgomery (Escort TC) 37.44;
  9. T.Harbison/R.Walker (BMW) 40.47;
  10. A.Torrens/A.Calvin (Avenger) 44.58.