Orchard Rally Report

8 October 2010

Orchard Rally


Leslie and Gareth Hawe won North Armagh's Orchard Navigation Rally, the penultimate round of the McGrady Insurance sponsored Northern Ireland Championship.


The rally started in Loughgall and went north towards some really bumpy narrow roads around the southern shore of Lough Neagh with the return journey going via Moy and close to Armagh.


The Hawe's had an excellent run all night but it was the very local crew of John and Jonathan Henderson (the rally started within metres of their front door) who led initially as they cleaned the first 2 sections.  They dropped a bit of time in the map trace section and that let the Hawe's take over the lead, which was a lead they never relinquished.  Gary Sheridan and Lloyd Cochrane (who also went past his own front door during the rally) were only a fraction slower than the Hawes in places, but it was enough to leave them nine marks shy of the pace by the half way halt.  Third at this stage were the Hendersons.  Patrick McCollum was again without his regular driver, Willie McKeown, and so teamed up with Leslie Young for this rally.  Things didn't go too well right from the start, as 2 miles into the rally they had picked up 15 marks for a wrong departure.  They were in 4th place at relaxed.


The strongest crew in the second half were Gary Sheridan and Lloyd Cochrane, but they weren't clawing back enough ground on the Hawes and it finished with the Dungannon cousins on 33 with Sheridan/Cochrane on 38.  Young/McCollum had more problems in the second half as they missed a control completely, but they salvaged 3rd place in the final reckoning.  Another to miss a control in the second half were the Hendersons and so they finished in 4th.  Fifth were David and Kyle Preston who were on the pace for much of the rally, but two missed controls contributed to a total of 118.  Gordon Simpson and Derek Graham were out for the first time since the summer break.  They made the same mistake as Young/McCollum in the first section, but unfortunately missed a few more controls later on and finished 6th in class.


The Semi-Expert class struggled with the instructions a bit, but Rachel Muldoon came out best and she claimed her first class win of the year.  It was also the first time she had Ciaran Carey driving for her in this championship.  The usual class leaders, Andrew Hughes and Neil Anderson had a tough night and even went OTL during the final section.


The lowest score of the night was claimed by Clive Latimer and David McElroy.  They stormed through the rally, dropping only 12 marks and won the Novice class convincingly.  Richard Swanston and Karen Fisher were out for the first time this year and had a mighty impressive run to second in the Novice Class.  Third were Malcolm Johnston and Michael Gilmore in their Škoda with Richard and Mark Hughes next up.  The Hughes had one bad section which counted for 25 marks of their total of 41.  As is so often in these events, it is not how many good sections you have; it's how many bad sections you avoid.


On their first rally, Robert Beckett and Robert Allingham won the Beginner Class from Brian Carson and Charlie Deering.


With only one round left in this year all eyes are on the championship tables.  The Novice class has been won by Clive Latimer and David McElroy after winning their class 4 times so far this year.  Similarly, four top scores has meant that Andrew Hughes and Neil Anderson are the champions in the Semi-Expert class.  Things are less clear cut in the fight for the overall championship.  The three top navigators are separated by only one point.  Any one of Gareth Hawe, Lloyd Cochrane or Patrick McCollum can win the title.  With dropped scores it is a little difficult to add up, but basically if Patrick finishes in the top 4, he is champion.  His driver, Willie McKeown, is out of the running as he has missed too many rounds this year.  But should Patrick finish lower than 4th, then a win from either Gareth or Lloyd will see them crowned as champion.  For the driver's championship, it is between Gary Sheridan and Leslie Hawe and whoever beats the other in the final round will win the title.  This will be the third time in 7 years that the championship will be decided on the last round.  Patrick has been involved on both the previous tense battles and has not performed particularly well on either.  In 2004 the title went to Phil and Alan Dorman after a ball joint split in Willie McKeown and Patrick McCollum's Corsa.  Last year McKeown and McCollum did their best to lose the title by going wrong on nearly every section of the final round, but their title challengers Leslie Young and Lewis Boyd were only marginally less bad and the title went to the former crew on that occasion.  The tense final round will be the UAC's Firecracker Rally on 5th November.


Patrick McCollum




1 Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Expert, Renault Clio) 33 marks

2 Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Expert, Proton Compact) 38 marks

3 Leslie Young/Patrick McCollum (Expert, Vauxhall Vectra) 78 marks

4 John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Expert, Nissan Micra) 89 marks

5 David Preston/Kyle Preston (Expert, Citroën Saxo) 118 marks

6 Ciaran Carey/Rachel Muldoon (Semi-Expert, Vauxhall Nova) 166 marks

7 Gordon Simpson/Derek Graham (Expert, Citroën C4) 246 marks

8 Andrew Hughes/Neil Anderson (Semi-Expert, Peugeot 306) 268 marks



1 Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Renault Clio) 33 marks

2 Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Proton Compact) 38 marks

3 Leslie Young/Patrick McCollum (Vauxhall Vectra) 78 marks

4 John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Nissan Micra) 89 marks

5 David Preston/Kyle Preston (Citroën Saxo) 118 marks

6 Gordon Simpson/Derek Graham (Citroën C4) 246 marks



1 Ciaran Carey/Rachel Muldoon (Vauxhall Nova) 166 marks

2 Andrew Hughes/Neil Anderson (Peugeot 306) 268 marks



1 Clive Latimer/David McElroy (Seat Ibiza) 12 marks

2 Richard Swanston/Karen Fisher (Citroën Saxo) 26 marks

3 Malcolm Johnston/Michael Gilmore (Škoda Felicia) 33 marks

4 Richard Hughes/Mark Hughes (Vauxhall Corsa) 41 marks

5 Ian Johnston/Aaron Johnston (Nissan Micra) 366 marks



1 Robert Beckett/Robert Allingham (Renault Kodeos) 263 marks

2 Brain Carson/Charlie Deering (Ford Focus) 428 marks

3 Andrew Mairs/Michael Harvey (Austin Mini) DNF

Posted by PMcCollum on 9/10/2010; Last updated by PMcCollum on 9/10/2010