2011 Jumping Jack Rally Report

11 February 2011

David and Kyle Preston had never won a Northern Ireland Championship Navigation rally before, but you would never have guessed that from their performance on the opening round of the 2011 season.  They led the rally from start to finish and took a convincing victory ahead of many more experienced crews.  


Seventeen crews gathered just outside Aghagallon to start the Jumping Jack Rally, which after the cancellation of the Tour of the Mournes, became the first round of the McGrady Insurance championship.  The Hawe cousins led away the crews but their championship defence did not get off to a perfect start as they picked up a few penalties in the second and third sections and were lying in fourth place by the time they reached the half way halt around Nutt's Corner.  There was quite a close battle at this stage as Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane were on 10, Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd were on 12, the Hawes on 13 and John and Jonathan Hendersons on 15.  But the story at this point was the Prestons who had yet to drop a single mark.   They had just completed the first half of the route with a perfect score.


Then the second half started and a few penalties started to appear on the Preston's score sheet, but they had built up such a lead that they had the luxury of doing so.  The Hawes really got into their groove in the second half and dropped only one mark between the halt and the finish.  Their score of 14 moved them ahead of Sheridan/Cochrane, who's final tally was 20, Young/Boyd on 22, the Hendersons on 24 and Clifford Auld and John Lindsay on 85.  The Prestons finished on a fine score of 9 marks and won the rally against a field that included four event winners and the current Northern Ireland champions.  It is always good to see new crews achieving a rally win and their triumph was warmly received.


One of the new rules for 2011 is that the Semi-Expert crews no longer have the same instructions as the Experts.  There had been a feeling for a while that the jump between the Novice and Expert clues was too great and so for this year, the Semi-Experts will be having a mix of clues.  On this rally, for instance, the Semi-Experts had Novice clues for all sections bar one in the first half, and had Expert instructions for the second half.  This also means that they no longer count in the overall standings at the end of the rally, but rather just compete in their own class, in the same way as the Novice class does.  In this rally, Clive Latimer and David McElroy won the class after the two other crews were excluded having not come to a complete stop at the end of one of the roads on the route.


There were some fine performances in the Novice class with Ian and Aaron Johnston taking a confident win and Brian Hanna and Paul Forsythe who took second on their first ever event.  Malcolm Johnston and Michael Gilmore were just 2 marks behind Hanna and Forsythe with Richard and Mark Hughes fourth in class and Ray and Garry McClurg 5th.  Dennis and Tory McMullan were the only competitors in the Beginner Class and they had a good run as this was another crew making their debut in the sport.


 Patrick McCollum





1 David Preston/Kyle Preston (Citroën Saxo) 9 marks;

2 Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Renault Clio) 14;

3 Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Proton Compact) 20;

4 Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd (Vauxhall Vectra) 22;

5 John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Nissan Micra) 24;

6 Clifford Auld/John Lindsay (Peugeot 205 Rallye) 85


1 Clive Latimer/David McElroy (Seat Ibiza) 57


1 Ian Johnston/Aaron Johnston (Nissan Micra) 21;

2 Brian Hanna/Paul Forsythe (Peugeot 106) 35;

3 Malcolm Johnston/Michael Gilmore (Škoda Felica) 37;

4 Richard Hughes/Mark Hughes (Vauxhall Corsa) 46;

5 Ray McClurg/Garry McClurg (VW Polo) 80


1 Dennis McMullan/Tory McMullan (Ford Fiesta) 112


Posted by PMcCollum on 17/2/2011; Last updated by PMcCollum on 17/2/2011