M&F Snowdrop Rally 2019

Photo: Derek Smyth
Philip and Kyle Somerville ran out winners of the 2019 Snowdrop Rally in their Classic Mini Cooper.

Rally report by Grace Campbell

Armagh brothers Philip and Kyle Somerville in their Rover Mini claimed victory on the Moore and Faloon Snowdrop Rally ran by Dungannon Motor Club last Friday night. 

Father-Daughter team Trevor and Melanie Barlow on their way to third place in Class 4.

A bumper entry of 37 crews proved that navigation events still have the potential to draw crews from all over the province, on a dark and damp night in March.   A route including twisty and bumpy roads, with route instructions designed to make a fun experience for all, set up for an interesting event.  A selection of period rally cars had been brought out of their winter storage for the occasion.  Apart from the Sommerville’s Rover Mini, Neil Fletcher appeared in his Mk1 Ford Escort Mexico, whilst the Barlow sisters were navigating in two immaculately turned out Mini Coopers.

It wasn’t until the second half of the rally that the Sommerville duo established their dominance dropping only 7 minutes into Secret Check 6, whilst nearest rivals, father and son John and Jonathan Henderson in their Nissan Micra, lost 8 minutes and effectively the rally, eventually finishing 11 minutes down in second overall.  

Father-Son duo, John and Jonathan Henderson were first in the Experts class and 2nd place overall.

The Class 1 win would go to the Henderson pairing, with Michael Reid and John Lindsay in their MG Midget a minimal 6 minutes behind, finishing second in class and third overall.

In Class 2, Harry Johnston and Ashley Boulton would take the class win in their Mazda MX-5, with the Mini Cooper of John Henderson and Keith Somerville 4 minutes behind in second and Paul Hughes and Declan Campbell in another MX-5 in third.  

With the Somerville brothers taking the overall win, the father and son crew of Mark and Kyle Thompson in their Mazda MX-5 would take the Class 3 win, with Gareth Miller and Ryan McIvor in second and another family duo would come home in third: Brothers Darrell and Jordon Burns swapped their usual Ford Fiesta for a Volkswagen Bora for the Dungannon event.

Gareth Miller and Ryan McIvor competed in the Novice Class and took third place.

Class 4, which was made up of the DMC rally school trainees, turned out to be a battle of the girls on International Women’s Day, with the top 3 crews boasting to having female navigators.  The father-daughter pairing of Philip and Kim Hunter in their Toyota MR-2 took the top spot in the class, followed by the Austin Mini of Sean Cunningham and Joanne Barlow.  Joanne was the winner of the battle of the Barlow sisters, with father Trevor and Sister Melanie bringing their Mini Cooper S home in third in class.  Congratulations to all of the rally school competitors on completing their first event, and we hope to see them all out on events in the future.

In Class 5, made up of beginners from other clubs throughout NI, the Mazda MX-5 of Quinton and Tim Crean would finish in the top position, just ahead of Ronan Cox and Joe O’Neill in their Ford Ka.  Third in class would go to Alastair Hayes and Alistair Barker in their MX-5.

Quinton and Tim Crean steer their Mazda MX5 through the narrow Tyrone lanes on their way to a win in Beginners Class 5

At the finish in Rugby Club, Dungannon the crews enjoyed a hot supper before Keith Hall, Clerk of the Course, was joined by Event Sponsor, Michael Faloon, to declare the results and hand out the prizes.

Cookstown Father-Daughter Team Philip and Kim Hunter were top beginners in Class 4 for rally school graduates.