Eric McIvor Wins Snowdrop Rally
This report is reproduced from CarSport Magazine – April 1983
Photos from the Bryce Sands Collection.
The forty-four crews who entered the 1983 Snowdrop Rally had to face a tough eighty-mile route. The organisers had opted for a later starting time than usual and as the competitors left the starting area at Magowan’s M1 Service Station on Dungannon’s by-pass they had no doubts as to the organisers‘ intentions as to how the rally would be governed.
Top seeds for the event were the reigning Dungannon Motor Club champions, Kenny Colbert and Alistair Donaldson, in the Colbert-prepared immaculate Lotus Sunbeam. Running at No.2 were fellow Dungannon crew Trevor Haydock and Brian “B.J.” Quinn, also in a Sunbeam, but their challenge was short-lived and the familiar black and white Sunbeam was retired at the Cabragh petrol halt.
The Northern Ireland Rally Champions of 1982, Kevin O’Kane and Godfrey Crawford, were seeded at No.3, but they also were quickly sidelined when their Sunbeam‘s clutch decided that it had had enough. That left the way open for the popular Eric McIvor, partnered this time by Colm Quinn in his newly-engined Avenger, to take on the powerful Colbert Sunbeam.
During the event Kenny Colbert had problems on the tighter sections when his rear discs kept overheating. Eric was able to use this slight advantage to help him win his first event after coming so close to a win on other occasions.
Class Two also had their problems with several crews having to retire, some with mechanical problems, some with navigational errors and others decided to retire rather than risk exclusion when their exhausts became damaged.
In the end the more experienced crew of David Aiken and Trevor Agnew in an Escort came home three and a half minutes ahead of Malcolm McLean and David Smyth from Donaghmore, also in an Escort, to take the class honours as well as an excellent third place overall. Alwyn Speers and Keith Cunningham, driving a 323 Mazda Hatchback, finished third in Class 2.
As always, Class Three received a large entry, but it was all local crews who were to dominate the class and take home all the silverware. Alan Jardine and Alan Lamont in a Ken Colbert prepared Sunbeam 1600 won the class by 8 ½ minutes. As this was only their second outing with the car – the first ended with a broken gearbox – they were well pleased with their result and have to be considered now as a force to be reckoned with in Class Three.
Raymond Hughes and Adrian Haydock in a 1600cc Escort finished second with Tom Bowden and Raymond Donaldson having to settle for third. Cookstown crew Sam Bell and David Black in a standard Vauxhall Chevette won the 1300cc award, despite picking up a 30 mark penalty for a stop sign infringement.
The Inn on The Park, Dungannon, was the pleasant venue for the rally finish, where competitors relaxed and chatted with friends and marshals, who, as usual, had done a tremendous job. A very efficient Dungannon Motor Club team produced the results in very quick time and afterwards the class awards were presented by the Clerk of the Course to the winners to bring to an end another very successful Dungannon event.
1st overall: Eric McIvor and Colm Quinn, 22.42;
- Ken Colbert and Alistair Donaldson, 18.42;
- James Erwin and Sam Campbell, 43.50.
- David Aiken and Trevor Agnew, 30.14;
- Malcolm McLean and David Smyth, 33.34;
- Alwyn Spiers and Keith Cunningham, 35.54.
- Alan Jardine and Alan Lamont, 37.01;
- Raymond Hughes and Adrian Haydock, 42.45;
- Tom Boden and Raymond Donaldson, 46.22.
1300cc Award: Sam Bell and David Black, 129.14.