2023 Autotest Series – R9 Coleraine

Ferguson Continues Clean Sweep with Win on North Coast

Report by Grace King and Photos by kind permission of Adrian Hanna.

The penultimate round of the McMillan Specialist Cars Northern Ireland Autotest Championship seen the competitors return to the North Coast, with the Coleraine & District Motor Club hosting their second autotest event of the season at the Northwest 200 paddock. Again, it was Steven Ferguson who was the pacemaker at this event, taking the win by 32.1 seconds from Andrew Blair, with Peter Grimes completing the top three.

In the Clubman category, Dungannon’s Jordan Burns in his Ford Fiesta Special, took the category win by 12.3 seconds. In the Advanced category, Gordon Clendinning who had made the trip from Scotland to compete in his VW Beach Buggy took the overall category win by 19.4 seconds. 

Stewartstown’s Ferguson proved hard to catch, setting the fastest time on eleven of the twelve tests on Saturday. With Ferguson taking the overall win, Peter Grimes would be elevated to first in Class A, with James Wilson in second and Chris Grimes Jnr in third, all in their Mini Specials.  

Andy Blair in his Westfield took the honours in Class B, finishing ahead of Scotland’s Willie Kenning, who had made the trip over for the Coleraine event. Trevor Ferguson in his Silvia Stryker would finish the day third in class and eleventh overall. 

In the Small Saloon class, Robin Lyons continued his dominance, taking the class win and his final score of 789.8 seconds left him finishing fourth overall. Andrew Earney would finish second in class in his Mini Saloon, behind Lyons.

The Large Saloon Class would be a three horse race, with Manorhamilton’s David Thompson taking the class win from Newmill’s Mark King, with Damien Mooney finishing in third, all in their Vauxhall Nova’s. 

In the Clubman category, Jordan Burns in his Ford Fiesta Special would take the Class A win, alongside the Clubman category win. Ian McCann and Jimmy Dougan had a tight battle for the runner up spot in class, but it would be Ian who came out on top, finishing 5.7 seconds ahead after the final test. Gordon Buckley in his Westfield would take the Class B win, as well as finishing in the runner up spot in the Overall Clubman category. Clubman Class D was again made up of all Mazda MX5’s and it was Roger Gordon who took the class win from Lawrence Baird, with Derek Harrison rounding out the top three in class. 

There was again a small but highly experienced and competitive turnout in the Advanced Category.  Adam McMullan would take the Class A win in his Toyota Starlet Special and finish third overall, with James Morrison also having travelled from Scotland for the event finishing second in class. The Overall Advanced category winner Gordon Clendinning would also take the Class B honours. Robert Robinson in his Toyota Yaris was the Class C winner and Gareth Dillon in his Mazda MX-5 took the Class D win as well as finishing second overall in the Advanced Category.

With only one rounds to go Stewartstown’s Steven Ferguson is aiming to make it a clean sweep of wins in the 2023 championship, but could a determined Andrew Blair in his rear wheel drive sports car be the man to stop Steven in his tracks? 

The final round of the 2023 championship will see the competitors return to the Transport Training Centre at Nutts Corner, with the event hosted by the Autotest Drivers Club taking place on Saturday 2nd September.  

Full results can be found here ===> R9 Coleraine

McMillan Specialist Cars Northern Ireland Autotest Championship Round 9

Overall Winner – Steven Ferguson

Championship Category:

  • Class A – Peter Grimes
  • Class B – Andrew Blair
  • Class C – Robin Lyons
  • Class D – David Thompson

Clubman Category:

  • Class A – Jordan Burns
  • Class B – Gordon Buckley
  • Class C – No Competitors
  • Class D – Roger Gordon

Advanced Category:

  • Class A – Adam McMullan
  • Class B – Gordon Clendinning
  • Class C – Robert Robinson
  • Class D – Gareth Dillon