2009 Jumping Jack Report

13 February 2009

Eddie Murphy and Barry Taggart won Queen’s University Motor Club’s Jumping Jack Rally, their first championship success since 2004.  Their last win came on the Firecracker Rally that year.  No-one would have expected it to have been such a gap until their next victory, but it was well received when it came, and the former champions certainly seemed very relieved to finally return to winning form.

The second round of this year’s championship was based in Dundrod and used part of the TT course during the evening.  The long, 95 mile, route was made up of 18 sections which kept the crews busy during the evening.  There was a new team in charge of this year’s rally, with joint clerks of the course being Rachel Muldoon and Robert Erwin.  Current champions, Willie McKeown and Patrick McCollum were also helping the organising team, so were not taking part.

After the heavy frost of round 1, it was feared that a dense fog was descending to make it difficult for everyone taking part.  In the event, some rain came down which seemed to clear the worst of the fog, but it lingered around the higher ground of the route.

The crews started the rally close to Nutt’s Corner and headed north-east towards Glengormley, then came back via the Dundrod course towards Stoneyford for the first of two relaxed sections.  The route skirted around Lisburn before bearing west for a lap of Lough Beg along the shores of Lough Neagh and coming home via Upper Ballinderry and Glenavy.

Twenty three cars started out on the Harper Rally Preparation sponsored event.  The start list included an MG Midget followed by a Range Rover.  This looked like a real mis-match, and the Midget crew, driven by sponsor Stan Harper, looked very precarious as they were dwarfed by the monster car behind them.

A real upset happened on the second section when last year’s championship runners-up, Gary Sheridan and Lloyd Cochrane missed a secret check in their Proton, and even though they had an excellent run from then on, the best they could do was finish 5th overall, and 4th in class.

After five sections, the leaders were John and Jonathan Henderson in the ubiquitous Sunbeam, without which it just wouldn’t be a navigation rally.  They dropped a few minutes on the Dundrod TT section, but still reached the first relaxed within striking distance.

The second third had joint winners, namely Murphy/Taggart and the young Dungannon brothers, Leslie and Gareth Hawe.  With the Hendersons losing ground on this part of the rally, it moved Murphy/Taggart into the lead with a gap of 2 minutes to second placed Leslie Young and Lewis Boyd and the Hawe’s were 3 minutes behind that in 3rd place.

The last third of the rally was cleaned by two crews.  The Hawes were one of these crews, who were able to keep up a great standard throughout the rally.  With Young/Boyd struggling with a failing tripmeter, the Hawe’s swapped position with them, giving them their best championship finish to date.

Murphy/Taggart were the other crew to clean the last third and so came home 5 marks ahead of the Hawe’s to claim that well earned victory.

The Hendersons hung on to finish in a fine fourth place, which equalled their previous best finish.  They won the Semi-Expert class by a large margin.  Sheridan/Cochrane were catching the Hendersons with every section that passed, but the early missed secret cost them dear and fifth was their finishing position.

Raymond and Gareth Deazley were very impressive as they claimed their first championship class win by emphatically triumphing in the Novice class.  They finished on only 4 marks, the lowest of any crew in the rally, and 2 of those marks were for being early at the very first secret check of the night.  Andrew Hughes and Neil Anderson survived running car number 13 on Friday 13th to finish second of the Novices.  All other Novice crews, bar Stan Harper and Michael Reid, who later retired their Midget, missed the Dundrod hairpin.  This may have been down in part to the latest edition of the map making this junction less clear than it had been previously.

Graeme Smyth and Stephen Wishart were clear winners in the Beginners class.  They would have liked to regale those gathered at the end of the rally with tales of exciting rallying, near misses and dramatic incidents, but as often happens to prize winners on these events, they stayed on route all night, never dropping much time and had a uninteresting run to class victory.  Second in this class were the father and son crew of Andy and Michael Gilmore in their MG ZR.

This rally brought Eddie Murphy and Barry Taggart back to winning ways and the Hawes into real contention.  Add to this the winners of the first round, Leslie Young and Lewis Boyd and last year’s champions, Willie McKeown and Patrick McCollum, and all the ingredients for a close championship are there.  Roll on Enniskillen.

Patrick McCollum




  1. Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart (Expert, Vauxhall Corsa) 6 marks;
  2. Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Expert, Renault Clio) 11;
  3. Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd (Expert, Vauxhall Vectra) 14;
  4. John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Semi-Expert, Talbot Sunbeam) 34;
  5. Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Expert, Proton Compact) 38;
  6. Gary Milligan/John Lindsay (Expert, Renault Clio) 53;
  7. Neil Fletcher/Rebecca Fletcher (Semi-Expert, Ford Escort MkI) 70;
  8. Ronnie Mitchell/Aaron Mitchell (Expert, Ford XR 4X4) 97;
  9. DNF David Preston/Kyle Preston (Semi-Expert, Citroën Saxo) DNF


  1. Raymond Deazley/Gareth Deazley (Vauxhall Corsa) 4;
  2. Andrew Hughes/Neil Anderson (Peugeot 306) 20;
  3. Richard Beattie/Ian Hawthorne (Citroën Saxo) 44;
  4. Clive Latimer/David McElroy (Seat Ibiza) 47;
  5. Ian Johnston/Aaron Johnston (Nissan Micra) 58;
  6. Nigel Campbell/Colin Harkness (VW Golf) 73;
  7. Steve Chambers/Paul Chambers (Land Rover 90) 104;
  8. Shakeel Huq/Alison McAleese (Austin Mini) 145;
  9. DNF Stan Harper/Michael Reid (MG Midget) DNF


  1. Graeme Smyth/Stephen Wishart (Renault Clio) 12;
  2. Andy Gilmore/Michael Gilmore (MG ZR) 32;
  3. Stephen Dunne/Victoria Greer (Ford Focus) 82;
  4. Ray McClurg/David McClurg (VW Polo) 261;
  5. Philip Somerville/Russell Allen (VW Polo Coupe) 379
Posted by PMcCollum on 15/2/2009; Last updated by PMcCollum on 18/2/2009