Logan in bogey position.
By Sammy Hamill
Whiteabbey garage owner Jimmy Logan and his co-driver Derek Ervine moved up to take their turn at the head of the Northern Ireland Road Rally Championship field for tomorrow night’s second round of the 1980 series, the Maiden City Motor Club Valentine Rally.
Under a system introduced this year, the top five seeds rotate the disliked No1 position and the Logan Escort RS2000 moves up to lead the way for the first championship rally run by the Maiden City Club. Starting at No2 will be John Jones and Lenny Weir with Robert Copeland and Peter Scott at three, completing an all-Escort RS2000 top trio.
Trevor Haydock and Brian Rowan break the sequence with their Talbot Sunbeam at No4, and then come the current champions and 1980 series leaders Fred Crawford and Drew Todd in another Escort RS2000.
The Allen brothers John and Jackson, who led the first round until their Escort RS2000 broke its differential near the finish, take the No6 position ahead of Tommy Speers and Joe Law (Escort RS2000) who won the Maiden City Club’s “Shakedown” rally last year.
Dan Doherty/Brian Russell (Sunbeam), Kevin O’Kane/Godfrey Crawford (Avenger) and Dessie Boyd/Kevin Nixon (Avenger) complete the top 10 in a rally which has attracted nineteen Expert crews.
The event starts from Hazlett’s Garage, Claudy, at 9pm tomorrow night, and after a petrol halt at Donemana (11pm) finishes the 120-mile route at the Beaufort Hotel back in Claudy at around 1am.
Two-in-a-row by Crawford and Todd
By Sammy Hamill
After two rounds of the Northern Ireland Road Rally Championship Fred Crawford’s superb driving and car preparation combined with Drew Todd’s efficient navigation have produced two wins, the second coming on last night’s Maiden City Motor Club’s Valentine Rally.
The Ford Escort RS2000 crew finished over five minutes in front of the Talbot Sunbeam of Trevor Haydock and Brian Rowan – who were also second on the first round at Coleraine – and Sunbeams took the next three places in the hands of Dan Doherty/Brian Russell, Davy McIlroy/Ronnie McKee and Joe Joe O’Kane/Brian Quinn.
The well-thought-out 120-mile route started and finished at Claudy, with one petrol halt half-way at Donemana, and there were 20 entries in the Experts Class out of a total of 58 competitors.
The first competitive section lasted 30 miles and brothers John and Jackson Allen (Escort RS2000) took an immediate lead from Crawford/Todd with Jimmy Logan/Derek Ervine next best.
Only two minutes separated the first ten crews though Robert Copeland/Peter Scott (RS2000) were down in ninth place and Scott had been feeling ill and overshot a number of junctions. They were to retire shortly after this with engine problems, and Kevin O’Kane/Godfrey Crawford (Avenger) also dropped out with a broken gearbox.
Positions at this point were:
- Crawford /Todd 2m 12s;
- Allen/Allen 2m 19s;
- Logan/Ervine 4m 38s;
- Jones Weir 4m 49s;
- Haydock/Rowan 4m 53s;
- McIlroy/McKee 5m 08s.
Shortly after the restart the route went to the Douglas Bridge area, but the Allens unfortunately had their third retirement in three events with their new car when the engine expired. This took the pressure off Crawford but despite that he still extended his lead.
Jimmy Logan was excluded by a marshal for continuing with a broken exhaust, as were the Avenger crew of Martin McGrory and David Hopper. Tommy Speers and Joe Law lost nine minutes when their car got stuck in a drain after dropping a wheel off the road, and John Jones/Lenny Weir lost three places when they suffered a four minute time loss.
The final section used the Butterlope Glen and the steep pass over the Sperrins below Dart Mountain. Crawford, uncharacteristically, damaged a wing but lost little time and swept on to his second successive win in the S.H.Busby backed Escort.
- F.Crawford/D.Todd (RS2000) 10m 57s;
- T.Haydock/B.Rowan (Sunbeam) 16m 38s;
- D.Doherty/B.Russell (Sunbeam) 18m 15s;
- D.McIlroy/R.McKee (Sunbeam) 18m 43s;
- J.J.O’Kane/B.Quinn (Sunbeam) 19m 08s;
- J.Jones/L.Weir (RS2000) 19m 38s;
- D.Boyd/K.Nixon (Avenger) 20m 48s;
- M.Barr/T.Campbell (Avenger) 24m 53s;
- T.Speers/J.Law (RS2000) 25m 57s;
- R.Beggs/B.Foster (Avenger) 26m43s.