Heatherington Claims Top Ten Place on Bushwhacker.
Donaghmore’s Adrian Hetherington overcame early troubles to take a fine 10th Overall and second in Class 7 for Clubman two-wheel-drive Cars over 2100cc on the Omagh Motor Club Bushwhacker Forest Rally.
After starting with a 7th fastest time on Special Stage 1 in his MkII Escort, Stage 2 saw him languishing in 24th fastest, and dropped to 17th Overall. Stage 3 wasn’t much better and at 25th fastest, Adrian slumped to the bottom of the top 20 in 19th place. The second half of the rally saw a tremendous recovery drive, and with a couple of top ten times, moved back to finish a creditable 10th Overall.
Omagh Motor Club were celebrating 40 Years of the Bushwhacker Rally, reflecting on the early years when Ronnie McCartney was the winner on the first four years the rally took place. 1975 was a tarmac event, and in 1976 it turned to the forests, where it has resided ever since. Interestingly, in 1976, 77, and 78, Dungannon Navigator Derek Smyth was in the winning co-driver seat with McCartney.
In 2015, the names going on the winner’s trophy are Mark Donnelly and Barry McNulty. Mark is a local competitor from Omagh, while Barry lives in Enniskillen. Mark drove his Subaru Impreza S10 to fastest time on all but the last Special Stage where he surely was taking it steady to ensure the win. The Monaghan team of Clontibret’s Josh Moffett and Emyvale’s Jason McKenna were second in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, while Portglenone’s Desi Henri came in third, navigated by Cork man Liam Moynahan.
The experienced Kenny McKinstry was in fourth place overall in his Subaru Impreza S14, and so unable to add to his tally of three former victories on this event, gained in 1990, 1997 and 2009. Shane McGirr from Fivemiletown was the first two-wheel-drive car in sixth place overall, while
Adrian Heatherington was just pipped by Seamus O’Connell and Sean Magee from Dungiven and had to settle for tenth place overall and third two-wheel-drive.
Moy’s Frank Kelly was unlucky to suffer a gear linkage failure on the fifth stage, and he had to head home early as a result. Up until that point Frank had been setting times well inside the top 10, and was lying 7th overall going into that fateful fifth stage, Killeter. The longest stage of the rally took it’s toll on Frank’s “Baby-Blue” machine and retirement due to mechanical failure was the result.
Omagh Motor Club have a highly successful format for this rally, and clearly an attractive one with 110 entries, and a reserve list of people hoping to get a place.
A list of entries is available in the Downloads panel, as well as a map of the Special Stage locations, and a timetable for the event. The full results are available using the Rallyscore Link.