2008 Jumping Jack Rally Report

8 February 2008

Willie McKeown and Patrick McCollum racked up another full score in the second round of the Energia Navigation Rally championship with victory in QUB Motor Club's Jumping Jack Rally. Twenty-three cars started from outside Dundrod on a 100 mile route marked out by 47 manned controls that formed a sideways figure of eight centred on the famous road racing circuit.

The rally was unusually broke up into 3 Acts with 2 competitive relaxed sections. Act I included no fewer than 4 private lanes, one of which measured more than a mile long. Between TCB and TCC there were 3 of these lanes in close proximity. These lanes had been used in previous rallies and it showed in the results. The Expert and Semi-Expert crews, who would have had experience of these lanes before, didn't have too much difficulty, but the Novice class and in particular the Beginner class really struggled. In fact, it was a complete wipe out for the Beginner class with the best crew on this section collecting four 30s.

The final section before the break included a real talking point, when the route used a private lane that started with a run through a farm yard, and then a mile along what was only a path on the map. Not one crew in the whole rally made it through this section penalty free. There were two controls on this lane, one at either end. Only three crews made it to the control at the start of this lane without dropping time, namely Richard Beattie/Ian Hawthorne and Paul/Chris McCulla in the Novice Class and Ashley/Wayne Boulton of the Beginners. And only four crews made it through the lane without dropping any time. These were Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane and the Semi-Experts Leslie/Gareth Hawe, Leslie Young/Maurice Cresswell and David/Kyle Preston.

At the first relaxed section McKeown and McCollum were leading on 7 marks, with Ronnie and Aaron Mitchell on 10, Sheridan/Cochrane on 11 and Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart on 13. Gary and Robert Milligan were leading the Semi-Expert Class, William and David Howard were at the top of the Novice Class and Ian and Aaron survived the mêlée to lead the Beginners.

Act II didn't cause anywhere near the same problems as the start of the rally, with McKeown/McCollum only picking up 1 mark, while Sheridan/Cochrane closed the gap to 3 marks with a clean run which moved them up into second. The Semi-Expert class was still led by the Milligans. The Howards were also still leading the Novices, despite Barry Gilpin and Denis Morton moving to within 1 point of them courtesy of a clean run along this part of the rally. The Johnston's were still at the top of the Beginner class.

The final Act of the rally ran along the lough shore to the west of Aghalee and Aghagallon. The only change to the leader board came when the Milligans run went off the boil and they dropped to second in class behind the Hawes. The Howards held onto the lead of the Novice class, after the threat from Gilpin/Morton ended with a missed control between TCK and TCL. Richard Beattie and Ian Hawthorne earned second in this class. Having led from the start, the Johnstons ran out comfortable winners in the Beginner class.

McKeown/McCollum extended their lead over the closing miles of the rally, dropping only single marks and finished 14 clear of Sheridan/Cochrane. It is now 6 years in a row that this rally has been won by an ex-Clerk of the Course of the same rally, with McCollum sharing these wins with Alan Dorman and Chris Ragg.

Unfortunately two crews were excluded from the rally after failing to stop at the end of a road. With our rallies held on open public roads, we are there at the mercy of the local residents and the organising club were keen to impress on the competitors the importance of abiding by the few rules that are laid down to us by our governing body. Two crews were deemed to break the rule about coming to a complete stop at the end of a road, and therefore the club was left with no choice but to remove them from the results.

At the end of the rally crews were full of praise for the interesting route that had been set by Richard Hyland and Alan Dorman, with its use of paths and farm lanes as well as the usual roads. The route instructions also came in for comment as Dorman had written refreshingly different clues from the norm, which included his usual dash of deviousness.

Patrick McCollum

Posted by PMcCollum on 2/4/2008; Last updated by PMcCollum on 28/8/2008