2013 Spring Rally Report

23 February 2013

The Coalisland crew of Edna McNulty and Paul Sheridan emerged victorious and clinched a well deserved triumph on the Spring Rally organised by Omagh Motor Club. The event retained the same format from last year with the start and finish venue at the Bridge Tavern, Eskra whilst using a familiar and popular format of stages within the Doon, Jenkin Hill, Crocknagrally and Brown Hill forests outside Fivemiletown.


McNulty had limited success on this event previously and after a careful start, led from the second stage at Jenkin Hill recording consistent top three stage times in his Subaru Impreza to win by a slender margin of seven seconds from the hard charging local crew of Gareth Sayers and Gareth Gilchrist. The Castlederg man tried everything to reduce the seven second deficit he lost on Stage two but eventually come up short at the end.


The main turning point of the rally occurred on Stage two during the first run over the daunting six mile Jenkin Hill stage, when last year's winner and pre-event favourite, Martin Ciarns went off on an early section of this stage in his Subaru Impreza which also included Frank Kelly experiencing difficulties having a puncture losing him around 30 seconds in the process.


The Moy driver was not in his usual immaculate Escort this time but nonetheless was still entertaining spectators in a Mitsubishi Evo and reeled off a series of fastest stage times to climb up within touching distance of the leaders before succumbing to the same fate as Ciarns when he slid off on the second run through Jenkin Hill.


Another impressive showing from a local crew was Fivemiletown driver Shane McGirr who was consistently setting top three stage times during the day to secure a well deserved podium placing with Draperstown man Martin McCormack delighting spectators in his "historic" Ford Escort to finish fourth overall.


In the modern machinery section, spectators were also treated to local junior driver Mark Donnelly in the Pirelli sponsored Citroën DS3 R3 who was using his role of a 00 safety vehicle as an opportunity of a shakedown before the forthcoming opening round of the British championship.


Other vehicles within that category that impressed with top six overall placings were Portglenone's Desi Henry and Kesh based Jon Armstrong in a Citroën DS and Ford Fiesta R2 respectively resulting in only a four second difference between them at the end of the event.


At the prize giving held in the Bridge Tavern, Eskra, Clerk of the Course Ryan Darcy thanked all the marshalls, officials, event sponsors Aiden Caldwell / Bridge Tavern and all the competitors for supporting the event.



Derek Graham


Posted by PMcCollum on 5/3/2013; Last updated by PMcCollum on 5/3/2013