2010 Erne Safari Report

5 March 2010

Gary Sheridan and Lloyd Cochrane in their Proton Compact won the Erne Safari rally after four different crews took their turn at leading. 


The biggest entry of the year so far met in Irvinestown for the championship's most western round on a cold but dry night.  The route, set out by Drew Wilson and his team, headed further south than that of previous years and had one section over Brougher Mountain before visiting Tempo and Lisbellaw.


The early pace setters were Leslie and Gareth Hawe.  The Renault Clio crew stayed penalty free until that section run over Brougher Moutain.  There wasn't a great deal of navigation to do in this part as most of it was only marked as paths on the map, so the organisers put up arrows to help the crews through.  All the drivers thoroughly enjoyed it, but not a single crew managed to maintain the 30mph average.  The next section also contained a lane not on the map, and this really threw a lot of crews.  The Hawes dropped 9 minutes at the first secret on this section which gave the semi-expert crew of William and David Howard the chance to lead for the second rally in succession.  Their lead was short lived, however, as it took them 3 minutes to find the first secret and with this time loss carried through the next 2 controls it was Sheridan and Cochrane who assumed the lead.  In turn, they couldn't hold onto the lead either as they sat plotting the next section for 5 minutes which meant that the fourth leaders within 10 miles were Willie McKeown  and Patrick McCollum, who had been recovering steadily after time lost on the first section.


When the crews arrived at the petrol halt, McKeown and McCollum were on 24 marks, followed by the Howards (28), Sheridan/Cochrane (32), the Hawes (48) and tied on 64 were David and Kyle Preston and Leslie Young and Lewis Boyd, who were competing for the first time this year.


The second half was considerably shorter than the first, but there were still plenty of changes at the top. Three sections from the end, McKeown and McCollum went 2 miles off route and by the time they had retraced their steps they had lost the lead to the Howards.  From here to the end, the Howards had a good run and gave themselves every chance of getting that first ever win, but the experienced pairing of Sheridan/Cochrane only dropped 4 marks in the second half and were just that bit faster to plot than the Howards.  When the scores were counted it showed that Sheridan and Cochrane had picked up their first victory since October 2008 and they become the third winner of the year after three rallies.


After dicing with the overall leaders throughout the rally, William and David Howard earned a very fine second place and clearly won the Semi-Expert class on the night ahead of Andrew Hughes and Neil Anderson.  Behind them were some visitors from Donegal, with Gary McElhinney/John McCafferty and Dermot McCafferty/Caolan Gaffney both having a run out in Subaru Imprezas.


The Novice class was an extremely tight battle.  One mark was the winning margin for the returning Raymond and Gareth Deazley from Clive Latimer and David McElroy.  Both these crews were clear of the competition as Richard/Mark Hughes and Ian and Aaron Johnston took third and fourth respectively.  Malcolm Johnston and Michael Gilmore may have finished 5th in class, but they were the only crew in either this class or the Beginner class to find the first secret check on the Brougher Mountain section.


Conor and Tony Kelly won the Beginner's Class.  This appeared to be a difficult rally for this class, as even the winners missed 4 controls.  Raymond Elliott and Gerald McHugh were second in their Suzuki Ignis ahead of Mark McCaffrey and David Maxwell.


Patrick McCollum




  1. Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Expert, Proton Compact) 36 marks

  2. William Howard/David Howard (Semi-Expert, Vauxhall Astra) 38 marks

  3. Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum (Expert, Vauxhall Corsa) 42 marks

  4. Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Expert, Renault Clio) 57 marks

  5. John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Expert, Nissan Micra) 72 marks

  6. David Preston/Kyle Preston (Expert, Citroën Saxo) 80 marks

  7. Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd (Expert, Vauxhall Vectra) 115 marks

  8. Gordon Simpson/Derek Graham (Expert, Citroën C4) 156 marks

  9. Andrew Hughes/Neil Anderson (Semi-Expert, Peugeot 306) 158 marks

  10. Gary McElhinney/John McCafferty (Semi-Expert, Subaru Impreza) 361 marks

  11. Dermot McCafferty/Caolan Gaffney (Semi-Expert, Subaru Impreza) 441 marks

  12. DNF Ronnie Mitchell/Aaron Mitchell (Expert, Gilbern Invader) DNF marks


  1. Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Proton Compact) 36 marks
  2. Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum (Vauxhall Corsa) 42 marks
  3. Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Renault Clio) 57 marks
  4. John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Nissan Micra) 72 marks
  5. David Preston/Kyle Preston (Citroën Saxo) 80 marks
  6. Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd (Vauxhall Vectra) 115 marks
  7. Gordon Simpson/Derek Graham (Citroën C4) 156 marks
  8. DNF Ronnie Mitchell/Aaron Mitchell (Gilbern Invader) DNF marks


  1. William Howard/David Howard (Vauxhall Astra) 38 marks
  2. Andrew Hughes/Neil Anderson (Peugeot 306) 158 marks
  3. Gary McElhinney/John McCafferty (Subaru Impreza) 361 marks
  4. Dermot McCafferty/Caolan Gaffney (Subaru Impreza) 441 marks


  1. Raymond Deazley/Gareth Deazley (Vauxhall Corsa) 37 marks
  2. Clive Latimer/David McElroy (Seat Ibiza) 38 marks
  3. Richard Hughes/Mark Hughes (Vauxhall Corsa) 59 marks
  4. Ian Johnston/Aaron Johnston (Nissan Micra) 68 marks
  5. Malcolm Johnston/Michael Gilmore (Škoda Felicia) 168 marks


  1. Conor Kelly/Tony Kelly (Nissan Sunny) 177 marks
  2. Raymond Elliott/Gerald McHugh (Suzuki Ignis) 255 marks
  3. Mark McCaffrey/David Maxwell (Peugeot 405) 347 marks
  4. Mervyn Wilson/Richard Gamble (Ford Escort Mk II) 383 marks
  5. John Crawford/Andrew Alexander (Nissan Sunny) 392 marks
  6. Kevin Farrell/Kris Farrell (Proton Persona) 731 marks
Posted by PMcCollum on 7/3/2010; Last updated by PMcCollum on 15/3/2010