2023 Autotest Series – R3

Stephen Ferguson has his eye on another Championship.

Ferguson Scores a Hat-trick of Wins in NI Autotest Championship

The Third round of the 2023 McMillan Specialist Cars Northern Ireland Autotest Championship was hosted by the Larne Motor Club at the Junction Retail and Leisure Complex on Saturday 15th April. The returning venue from 2022 proved popular with all competitors and the autotest was mostly definitely a crowd pleaser for all those who stopped by to check out the action throughout the day. The great venue, great tests and great weather, played into the hands of reigning NI champion Steven Ferguson who made it a hat-trick of 2023 wins at the Larne event.

Guy Foster wrestles his Mini Special round a pylon on his way to second place overall.

Guy Foster in his Mini Special would give chase to Stewartstown’s Ferguson, but despite a penalty free scorecard he couldn’t catch “Flying Ferguson,” who finished the day with a 28.3 advantage. David Thompson put on another spirited performance in his Vauxhall Nova to take third place overall. 

David Thompson also goes fast in reverse. He was the winner of the Large Saloons Class with a 15 seconds margin, despite a pylon fault along the way.

In the Clubman category, Ian McCann in his Vauxhall Nova, was again the man to beat showing his ever growing skills, with Ben McKee in his Nissan Micra coming home in second. In the Advanced category, Robert Dickson in his Mini Saloon would be the clear winner, with 17.4 seconds of a gap to second placed Ashley Lamont in his MG Midget. 

Ian McCann was overall winner of the Clubman Category, heading Ben McKee by just under 10 seconds after the twelve tests.

With Ferguson taking the overall win this would elevate Foster to first in Class A. James Wilson took the runner up spot in the class with Peter Grimes having to settle for third having picked up a couple of costly penalties throughout the day.

Andrew Blair would be the Class B winner in his Westfield ahead of Scotland’s Willie Keaning. Third place in the class would go to Darren Quille, who made his first trip north of the border this season to compete at this event.

Young Andrew Blair has established himself as the one to beat in the sports car class.

In the Small Saloon Class C, Robin Lyons from Drumbo would take the class win, with Andrew and Richard Earney taking second and third spots respectively in their shared Mini Saloon. 

Robin Lyons put in an error free performance to win the class by almost 90 seconds, and finished up in eighth place overall into the bargain.

The Large Saloon Class was a five horse race, with all the Nova men battling it out for the class honours. It would be David Thompson who would come out on top, with a charging Mark King hot on his heels. Former NI Autotest Champion Paul Mooney would take the final podium position in the class.

Mark King chased Davy Thompson all day and finished just 15 seconds behind him in the large saloon car class.

In the Clubman classes, Ian McCann in his Vauxhall Nova would take the Class A win, ahead of Dungannon’s Jordan Burns in his newly developed Ford Fiesta Special.

Jordan Burns made his debut in his Fiesta-based special, and was on a steep learning curve with the recently completed car. Second place in the Clubman Class A was a great first outing.

Gordon Buckley would be the solo entry in Clubman Class B in his Westfield, taking the class win and finishing fourth overall in the category. Ben McKee would take the win in Clubman Class C in his Nissan Micra, with the Citroen C2 of Jonathan Millar taking the runner-up spot. Clubman Class D was again an all Mazda MX5 affair, with Roger Gordon putting in some great times, to take the class win. Second place in would go to Ian Lowry, with Derek Harrison in third. 

He might have been the only entry in Clubman Class B but Gordon Buckley still concentrates hard and finished in fourth place in the Category.

The Advanced Challenge category may only have seen eight cars competing, but the competition was stiff, and any minor error would cost each competitor dearly. Adam McMullan in his Toyota Starlet Special would take the Advanced Class A honours, ahead of Jack Gillis in his Vauxhall Nova. Michael Workman would be the solo entry in Advanced Class B taking the class win.

Robert Dickson in his Mini Saloon would take the Class C honours as well as the overall Advanced category win.

Robert Dickson in his Mini Saloon would take the Class C honours as well as the overall Advanced category win, with Robert Robinson finishing second in the class. Ashley Lamont took the Advanced Class D win in his beautiful MG Midget ahead of Gareth Dillon in his Mazda MX5.

Ashley Lamont’s control of the tiny MG Midget was great to watch.

In the Production car category, with the father and son duo Andrew Molyneaux Senior and Junior would take the top two spots on the podium, with Coagh’s Adam Ferguson having to settle for third, after a number of penalties gathered up throughout the day cost him dearly. 

With three rounds now completed championship and class points all very tight as we head into the next event. Round four will be hosted by Thoroughbred Sports Car Club at the Dundrod Pits on Saturday 6th May, which will see the battles continue throughout the different categories and classes.

RESULTS – McMillan Specialist Cars Autotest Championship 2023 – Round 3

Overall Winner – Steven Ferguson

Championship Category:

  • Class A – Guy Foster
  • Class B – Andy Blair
  • Class C – Robin Lyons
  • Class D – David Thompson

Clubman Category:

  • Class A – Ian McCann
  • Class B – Gordon Buckley
  • Class C – Ben McKee
  • Class D – Roger Gordon

Advanced Category:

  • Class A – Adam McMullan
  • Class B – Michael Workman
  • Class C – Robert Dickson
  • Class D – Ashley Lamont
  • Class P – Andrew Molyneaux Snr 

Full Overall and Class Results may be analysed by checking them out here ====> 2023 Autotest – Larne R3