2021 UAC Not the Boxing Day Rally

Photo: Derek Smyth
Winners of the 2021 UAC "Not the Boxing Day Rally" were Damien Mooney and Clare Donnelly in their Citroen Saxo.

Tyrone Teams have Positive Tests at Kirkistown

Despite the difficult situation with the Covid pandemic, The Ulster Automobile Club managed to attract 78 teams to contest 18 slippy tests at Kirkistown Race Circuit, behind “closed doors”.  Perhaps the slippy conditions played into the hands of those driving front-wheel-drive cars because two Tyrone teams took the top two places in just such cars. Damien Mooney/Clare Donnelly were clear winners in their Citroen Saxo, and Stephen Ferguson/Raymond Donaldson were in the runners-up spot, despite having no power-steering for much of the day.

Stephen Ferguson and Raymond Donaldson show signs of being in the grass somewhere, but it didn’t prevent them taking a fine second place overall.
Photo Derek Smyth.

In keeping with the intention of making it a fun day out after Christmas, the UAC call this event “Its Not the Boxing Day Rally”, a reference to the fact that in former years they did run it on Boxing Day, but more recently on the day after that.  A class was available for Classic Cars (pre-1985), and just one class for all front-wheel-drives, and another for rear-wheel-drives.  There was also a class for “Junior” drivers, but only young Christopher Newell appeared on the day in his Nissan Micra.

Robert Dickson and Catherine Higgins were expected to be hard to beat, and so it turned out. Photo Derek Smyth

In the Classic Car Class, it was always going to be hard to beat veteran autotester Robert Dickson in his beautiful Mini Cooper.  James Wilson tried his best in a similar car, but two errors cost him dearly and Robert finished almost 30 seconds ahead after the 18 tests. 

Andy Johnston in his ex-Works Chevette HS was partnered by Tom Purdon.
Photo Derek Smyth

A fabulous run from Andy Johnston/Tom Purdon in a not-so-suitable Chevette HS Rally Car brought a fine third place in the class while the most entertaining crew of the day was Bryan Mutch/Ken McEntee in an unwieldy Morris Oxford, but he really made it move and took a respectable 7th place in the class.

Who would have thought that a Morris Oxford could be so much fun. Bryan Mutch and Ken McEntee muscle the big saloon round one of the tests.
Photo Derek Smyth

The front-wheel-drive class was an absolute romp for Tyrone teams.  Five of the top six positions were filled by local crews, with Cookstown’s Damien Mooney/Clare Donnelly not only winning the class but winning the event outright. 

Damien Mooney and Clare Donnelly kept the Tyrone flag flying with a polished performance to finish nearly 30 seconds ahead of their nearest challenger.
Photo Derek Smyth.

Behind them came Stephen Ferguson/Raymond Donaldson in their Peugeot 106GTi, and Darrell Burns/Jordan Burns in a Ford Fiesta.  In fourth place was Jordan Burns/Darrell Burns, with driver and co-driver swapping positions and repeating each test in a “dual-entry”.  Their Ford Fiesta, still carrying damaged bodywork after the recent Mid-Antrim event, effectively doing this event twice! 

The Burns Brothers from Dungannon both drove the hastily repaired Fiesta, although it still carried a few battle scars from the recent Mid-Antrim Targa Rally.
Photo Derek Smyth

A top 5 lock-out by Tyrone drivers was spoiled by Robert Haslett’s Toyota Yaris, who relegated Norman Ferguson/John Nicholl to sixth place.

Norman Ferguson and John Nicholl in the big-wheeled Mini, getting a rear wheel off the ground on this tight manoeuvre. Photo Derek Smyth.

The biggest class of the day at 43 crews was the rear-wheel-drive category, with Mazda MX-5 and Toyota MR-2 filling most of the places.  A close battle all day saw the top 4 crews separated by just 5 seconds after 18 tests.  Hillsborough’s Robert Robinson and Zara Robinson came out on top in their MX-5, despite a slip on one test costing them a 5 second penalty. 

Trevor and Adam Ferguson took third place in the rear-wheel-drive class.
Photo Derek Smyth.

Behind was the perhaps more-fancied MX-5 of Robert Woodside, then Coagh’s Trevor and Adam Ferguson, and in fourth place the tiny MG Midget of David and Ruth Cochrane from Newtownards.

Robert Woodside and the other MX-5 teams just couldn’t match the front-wheel-drives in the slippy conditions. Photo Derek Smyth.

Full results can be found here ===> Results Overall

Class Results here ===> Class Results