2006 Pre-Circuit Rally Report

24 February 2006

Leslie Young and Lewis Boyd were victorious in Omagh Motor Club's Pre-Circuit Rally, the third round of the Energia Navigation Rally championship. This was the first rally for the Omagh pairing in 2 years which made their win all the more impressive. In the intervening period Lewis has only navigated a couple of times for different drivers, and Leslie only bought his Peugeot 306 about a week before the rally.

Omagh Motor Club, with Derek Graham leading the team as usual, put on an 80 mile route for the 30 starters. The rally started in Tattyreagh near Fintona, and headed south towards Augher and Clogher and back to rally HQ.

Young and Boyd were not the only crew returning after a break from the series. Stephen Wishart and Jonathan Charlesson were out for the first time since the end of 2004. Without a suitable rally car at their disposal, they were using Jonny's road car for the night. Chris Ragg had teamed up with Clifford Auld for this rally, as neither Chris's regular driver nor Clifford's regular navigator could make it to this rally. Similarly James Nicol and Elaine Scott made up a crew for this event.

By the half way halt at Clogher, champions Phil and Alan Dorman were leading on 1 mark with Young/Boyd on 2, Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum on 4, Auld/ Ragg on 6 and Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart on 8.

The rally then turned at around the 50 mile mark, when the Dormans, Murphy/Taggart and Auld/Ragg all believed the route went up a "white" lane, only to find it didn't go. They all turned, but had lost considerable time in doing so.

At the finish, the results showed a tie between Young/Boyd and McKeown/McCollum on 12 marks. The Dormans were on 21, Murphy/Taggart on 32 and Auld/Ragg on 55. The route instructions that sent the crews up the lane were disputed, but after due consideration from the rally organisers and stewards, they were deemed to be correct and the results stood.

This left the winner of the rally to be decided on who went further without penalty, and this gave Young/Boyd the victory over McKeown/McCollum.

John and Jonathan Henderson finished on 77 marks and won the semi-experts class from the Omagh crew of William Todd/Maurice Cresswell, who lost 91 marks during the evening.

Rodney and Helen Ferguson had a very impressive run in the Novice Class. They dropped only 6 marks, the lowest of any crew in the rally, which gave them their first ever Novice Class victory. Gary and Robert Milligan seem to be perennial runners-up after 3 straight second places, but at least their consistency has moved them into the lead in the Novice Class championship. Linda Kenneway and Rachel Muldoon were third in this class on 28 marks.

Ivor Barker/David O'Neill were the best of the beginners, and first place out of the graduates of the recent Omagh Motor Club rally school were Nigel Simpson/Robert Fyffe.

Non-finishers included James Nicol/Elaine Scott and Stephen Wishart/Jonathan Charlesson. Nicol and Scott's Peugeot 106 initially dropped on to 3 cylinders, then there was a worrying smell of petrol, and finally the clutch started to slip badly. They considered limping to the finish, but seeing as they had only covered 6 miles at this stage, they thought it unlikely to make it that far. Wishart and Charlesson at least got considerably further than this, but it came as a surprise to just about nobody that the notoriously low sump on the Alfa Romeo 156 was holed on the bumpy roads. Jonny was last seen checking the bus timetable for Monday morning as he tried to plan his journey to work.

Patrick McCollum

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