2002 Orchard Rally Report

4 October 2002

Robbie McClean and Richard Hicks were popular winners of the Orchard Rally. This was the Enniskillen crew's first win in a championship event and the fifth different crew to win this year.

North Armagh Motor Cycle and Car Club's round of the Northern Ireland Navigation Rally Championship was held south of Armagh City. The weather was perfect and the roads were enjoyed by all, although many proved very difficult to find. It was a colourful occasion, as residents displayed countless flags in celebration of Armagh's recent All-Ireland Final win in Gaelic Football.

McClean/Hicks' final score of 37 penalties was enough to beat the Talbot Sunbeam of John Henderson and Lloyd Cochrane into second place on 40 penalties, even though the latter were the only competitors to find all 30 controls.

Eddie Murphy and Barry Taggart remain in the championship lead after taking their Vauxhall Nova to 3rd place.

Fourth to seventh were only separated by 2 penalties, with Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd from Omagh getting fourth place ahead of Class 2 winners David Erwin/Alan Dorman. Alan Cromie returned to the series in Class 2 after a 6 year absence and put many of the regulars to shame by claiming 6th place overall while navigating for Paul Biggerstaff in a Vauxhall Astra. David Vance and Derek Graham looked to be continuing their impressive recent form as they led the rally overall at the half way stage. Late in the second half they picked up some expensive time penalties, and a missed control 7 miles from the end dropped them to 7th overall and 3rd in Class 2.

Willie McKeown and Patrick McCollum struggled all night with a badly slipping clutch and petrol fumes leaking into their Mini. Their navigation wasn't too hot either and they finished on a distant 95 penalties. Trevor and Ricky Reid did not quite rediscover their winning form of a fortnight ago, ending on 145 penalties.

In Class 3, Stephen Wishart and Jonathon Charlesson used a borrowed Peugeot 205, their fourth different car this year. There was no change in the results, however, as they made it 5 wins out of 5 starts, although this was the closest finish yet, finishing just 2 minutes ahead of Paul Gray/Jim Smith's Escort. David Gibson and William Hamilton put in another good performance to finish in 3rd and Laurence Christie/Andrew Whale took 4th on 81 penalties. Clifford Auld/John Lindsay threaded their big Triumph 2.5Pi through the tight lanes and got 5th place for their efforts.

Class 4 performed very well as a whole, getting comparable results with Class 3 while running on the same instructions. Declan and Peter Conlon took a narrow victory, finishing only 3 minutes ahead of Colin and Richard Earney's Honda Civic. Indeed, the two crews were on level scores at half way, and still level with only two sections remaining. Joe Weir and Karl Shields were 3rd in their Ford Escort.

Patrick McCollum



  1. Robbie McClean/Richard Hicks Toyota Corolla 37
  2. John Henderson/Lloyd Cochrane Talbot Sunbeam 40
  3. Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart Vauxhall Nova 57
  4. Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd Ford Sierra 64
  5. David Erwin/Alan Dorman Renault Clio 64
  6. Paul Biggerstaff/Alan Cromie Vauxhall Nova 65
  7. David Vance/Derek Graham Peugeot 306 66
  8. Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum Mini 95

Class 3

  1. Stephen Wishart/Jonathon Charlesson Peugeot 205 30
  2. Paul Gray/Jim Smith Ford Escort 32
  3. David Gibson/William Hamilton Ford Escort 55
  4. Laurence Christie/Andrew Whale Peugeot 205 81
  5. Clifford Auld/John Lindsay Triumph 2.5Pi 104

Class 4

  1. Derek Conlon/Peter Conlon 35
  2. Colin Earney/Richard Earney Honda Civic 38
  3. Joe Weir/Karl Shields Ford Escort 94
Posted by PMcCollum on 14/2/2010; Last updated by PMcCollum on 14/2/2010