2003 Erne Safari Rally Report

4 April 2003

Willie McKeown and Patrick McCollum won the Erne Safari Rally in their Vauxhall Corsa. It was their second win on this event in 3 years, and moved them into the lead of the championship. The race to the title is now evenly matched between McKeown/McCollum and the Dormans, as they have 2 wins a piece, although both Barry Taggart and Lewis Boyd are proven winners and are still easily within striking distance.

Forty-four cars started the Erne Safari, which is simply a huge entry, and one that has not been seen for at least 10 years in a championship navigation rally. The rally was run on a beautiful spring night, with navigators even seen preparing their maps before the rally on the tables outside the starting venue overlooking the lough.

The route started, as ever, from the Carrybridge Hotel, and looped around Maguiresbridge, Fintona, Irvinestown and Ballinamallard before returning to Carrybridge, using the fast, bumpy roads common to these parts.

By the half way mark, it was clear that it was going to be a low scoring rally, as only one section containing two circular herringbones seemed to provide the crews with any difficulty. McKeown/McCollum were leading at this stage, on 1 minute's penalty, with the Dormans on 3, Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd on 5, Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart on 7 and Stephen Wishart/Jonathan Charlesson on 10. The local crew of Robbie McClean and Richard Hicks were on 15, but had had to contend with a puncture during an early section.

Wishart/Charlesson suffered from car trouble in the second half, as while they were exploring some of the wilder roads in the area, they holed their sump.

The Dormans were still in contention until TCK, whereupon Alan attempted to plot a route passing through a list of map references instead of avoiding them. They subsequently missed two controls, and ended on 69 penalties and 7th place.

Lloyd Cochrane made his first appearance of the year, this time navigating in his own Ford Anglia, with Gary Sheridan driving. They had problems early on with fuel pick-up, but got the problem sorted and ended up 6th, on 58 penalties. Gerard Green and Michael McElwee had a good run, finishing 5th and winning the semi-expert class.

Leslie Young and Lewis Boyd ended in 4th, to consolidate Lewis' 3rd place in the navigators' championship standings. While most crews reported not to be pushing too hard for most the night, Leslie's Sierra did show evidence of a light brush with a bank.

McClean/Hicks had a great run in the more difficult second half, only picking up 2 penalties to end on 17 and take 3rd place. Barry Taggart continues to get ever closer to his form of last year with every event that passes, and on this occasion he finished runner-up.

McKeown/McCollum didn't put a wheel wrong in the 2nd half, and managed to avoid picking up any penalties at all, ending with the single minute picked up after TCE. A score of 1 is rare, but by no means unheard of, as Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart finished on 1 penalty on the 2002 Jumping Jack, Phil and Brian Dorman scored 1 on the 2000 Firecracker Rally, and Eric and Glenn Patterson actually cleaned the Dungannon Moonraker in 1999.

The novice class continues to be the hardest to win, and the winning margin continues to be the smallest. On this occasion, 4 crews finished on less than 10 penalties, and all 10 finishers were on 42 or less. Laurence Christie and Andrew Whale earned a valuable 2nd win of the year, which strengthened their lead in the championship. Mark Cromie/Gareth Jackson were the runners up, one minute behind the winners, and the Omagh crew of William Todd/Maurice Cresswell had their best run this year to finish 3rd in class, on 7 penalties. Patsy Branney/Andy Gilmore were 1 minute behind them in their Skoda, and Clifford Auld/John Lindsay held onto 2nd place in the championship with a 5th place finish.

The beginners' class was swelled in numbers by the large local entry, but it was still the Omagh pair of Alistair and Jonathan McKane who won, picking up their 3rd beginners' class win in 4 events. This time they only picked up 3 minutes penalties. Tied for 2nd place were Nigel Campbell/Colin Harkness and Ivan/Gareth Hawe, with the former pair getting the place by virtue of the further cleaner rule.

The club championship continues to be dominated by QUB Motor Club, with the "A" team outscoring the "B" team for the first time this year, while Omagh "A" had their best haul of points for the year in Enniskillen. The QUBMC B still leads the championship, though.

The championship now takes its summer break, returning in September at Dungannon.

Patrick McCollum



  1. Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum Vauxhall Corsa 1 min
  2. Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart Vauxhall Nova 11 mins
  3. Robbie McClean/Richard Hicks Toyota Corolla 17 mins
  4. Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd Ford Sierra 19 mins
  5. Gerard Green/Michael McElwee Vauxhall Nova 36 mins
  6. Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane Ford Anglia 58 mins
  7. Phil Dorman/Alan Dorman Vauxhall Nova 69 mins
  8. Stephen Wishart/Jonathan Charlesson Peugeot 106 194 mins


  1. Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum Vauxhall Corsa 1 mins
  2. Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart Vauxhall Nova 11 mins
  3. Robbie McClean/Richard Hicks Toyota Corolla 17 mins
  4. Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd Ford Sierra 19 mins
  5. Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane Ford Anglia 58 mins
  6. Phil Dorman/Alan Dorman Vauxhall Nova 69 mins


  1. Gerard Green/Michael McElwee Vauxhall Nova 36 mins
  2. Stephen Wishart/Jonathan Charlesson Peugeot 106 194 mins


  1. Laurence Christie/Andrew Whale Peugeot 205 4 mins
  2. Mark Cromie/Gareth Jackson Vauxhall Nova 5 mins
  3. William Todd/Maurice Cresswell Vauxhall Corsa 7 mins
  4. Patsy Branney/Andy Gilmore Skoda Favorit 8 mins
  5. Clifford Auld/John Lindsay Triumph 2.5Pi 13 mins
  6. Ivor Barker/Arnold Telford Ford Escort Mk I 14 mins
  7. Gary Milligan/Robert Milligan Citroën Saxo 21 mins
  8. Paul Gray/Jim Smith Ford Escort Mk I 30 mins
  9. Declan Conlon/Peter Conlon 34 mins
  10. Chris Ragg/James Woods Mini 42 mins
  11. DNF David Gibson/William Hamilton Ford Escort Mk I


  1. Alistair McKane/Jonathan McKane Volkswagen Golf 3 mins
  2. Nigel Campbell/Colin Harkness Vauxhall Astra 10 mins
  3. Ivan Hawe/Gareth Hawe 10 mins
  4. Stuart Hyland/Richard Hyland Ford Cortina 17 mins
  5. Alun Godall/Justine Goodall 18 mins
  6. Richard Keys/Nicola Milligan Ford Cortina 26 mins
  7. Derek Bailey/Roy Lindsay 30 mins
  8. Mark McGirr/Blaise McCarney Vauxhall Vectra 33 mins
  9. Roy McCracken/Graeme Campbell Proton 42 mins
  10. Mervyn Flemming/Marcus Newman 61 mins
  11. Ian Thompson/Niall Higgins 62 mins
  12. Jim Magwood/Alan Magwood 63 mins
  13. Richard Mawhinney/Rodney McDowell 120 mins
  14. Drew West/Ivan Wilkinson 129 mins
  15. Bill Barker/Colleen Barker 137 mins
  16. Mark McCaffrey/Richard Barr 155 mins
  17. Nigel Kyle/Alma Kyle 172 min
Posted by PMcCollum on 26/9/2008; Last updated by PMcCollum on 26/9/2008