This article is reproduced from CarSport June 1984
Coleraine & District Motor Club were the hosts for the 3rd round of the N.I. Autotest Championship, held in the grounds of the New University at Coleraine on Saturday 28th April.
This was their first time in the Championship, and the organisers, headed by John Wilson, put on a very good event, both in terms of test layout and in general organization. It was certainly appreciated by the competitors who voiced their feeling many times over at the prize-giving. The overall placings were as usual dominated by three men — Robert Dickson, William Rutherford and Stephen Reaney.
Dickson was the fastest on the first four tests to lead Rutherford by 3.0 secs with Reaney a further 2.6 secs adrift. Then on the fifth test Dickson missed a reverse gear change and dropped 2.4 secs to Rutherford. This gave the Larne man the break he needed as up to that point it looked as if Dickson was going to run away with the event. Over the next three tests Rutherford gained a further 1.0 secs. to take a slender lead of 0.4 secs.
Reaney in the meantime was holding a safe third spot but some 6 secs adrift of the leader. Everyone stopped to watch the leading pair on the last test. Dickson set the fastest time but it wasn’t fast enough. Rutherford had won by the shortest of margins. 0.2 secs. It was a terrific dice which set the seal on a fine day’s Autotesting.
Prior to this final showdown, the classes had already been settled. The Sports car class went to the tyre-smoking, (he was running on racing slicks) Ford engined, Midget of Noel Cochrane. Ken Irwin held the lead until the sixth test when he retired with gearbox trouble. The small saloon class was won in very convincing style (17 secs) by Colin Earney in his M.G. Metro, who also finished a superb sixth overall. The large saloon class was won easily by Derek Coates in his Maxi, as his only opposition, Lee Lucas, broke a CV-joint in his Astra on the first Test.
OVERALL RESULTS (TOP 10)
- William Rutherford (Mini 1300) 288.2
- Robert Dickson (Metro-Special) 288.4
- Stephen Reaney Mini (Cooper S) 296.6
- Sam Bowden (Mini-Special) 309.6
- Joshua Semple (Mini-Special) 314.4
- Colin Earney (Metro 1.3) 318.4
- Norman Ferguson (Mini-Special) 318.6
- Noel Cochrane (Midget) 325.2
- Ken Shields (Metro 1.3) 335.2
- James Gillen (Mini-Special) 337.0
Class Winners: R.Dickson, N.Cochrane, W.Rutherford, C.Earney and D.Coates.