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April 2013

9 771363 249221


No. 335



ISSN 1363-2493





• ANICC Awards • Sunbeam Lotus Build • Eurocables Stages Rally • Easter Stages • Autosport Show • F1 Season Preview • Alpina D5 Road Test • Rods & Stocks


“In McCormack’s case he has gone back to where it all began, driving a Ford Escort in historic rallies, after trying to navigate his way up the Citroën ladder. He won the CRT titles in Ireland and the UK and nearly beat the French on their home ground as well as taking a couple of British junior titles and the British F2 crown as well. He seemed to have his toe firmly in the Citroën door only to have it slammed in his face. Maybe, like Meeke, he just wasn’t French enough.” WHAT NEXT FOR IRELAND’S TOP TALENT? by Sammy Hamill


pages 22-23


APRIL 2013 No.335



Keith Cronin makes his WRC debut and wins!

12: MAN AT THE TOP: We meet the new TROA manager, Gerard Seaman from Cork.

20: EUROCABLES RALLY: Derek McGarrity continues his clean sweep of NI Rally Championship victories.


26: GET IN GEAR: The latest developments from Quaife and Samsonas gearboxes.

31: IN THE CLUB: More top awards for Magherafelt Motor Club and its members.

40: DÉJÀ VU: Cathal Curley tests a Carrera 2.7 RS replica.

47: ALPINA ARRIVES: The first Alpina BMWs have arrived at Bavarian Belfast.

47 12 31 20


t looked for a while that it wasn’t going to happen, but it’s great to see there will be rallying here at Easter. It may not be a round of the European Rally Championship, nor a Circuit of Ireland, but the Easter Stages is a round of both the Irish Tarmac Championship and the Northern Ireland Rally Championship and is going to get a top class entry. The first round of the Tarmac Championship in Galway saw a thrilling battle between Keith Cronin who made a very impressive debut in a WRC car and the Mini WRC of former champion Eugene Donnelly. Interestingly, two of the championships main protagonists, Garry Jennings and Darren Gass both had, by their standards, disappointing results in Galway and will be out with a point to prove at Easter. Add in Derek McGarrity who has a great record on NI rounds in his S14 Impreza and also Declan Boyle who has already won rallies in his S12 Impreza and we are in for a thrilling Easter Saturday. Don’t forget, Ian Beasant will be keeping rally fans right up to date with the CarSport rally reports on Cool FM and Downtown Radio.


Pat Burns

Top prizes for Craig Breen and Daniel McKenna.


Former works Ford and Škoda driver Armin Schwarz.

42-43… nothing ‘kac’ handed about this sunbeam lotus!


Patrick Burns


Gladys Greer

Art editor

Stuart Gray


Breen lands works Peugeot ERC drive

Sammy Hamill, Maurice Hamilton, Jim McCauley, Richard Young

correspondents John Belshaw, Billy McCullins, Graham Curry

photographers Billy McCullins, Esler Crawford, Ian Lynas, Anthony Hunter, Gus Geddes, Roy Dempster, Michael Christie, Trevor Foster, Robert Chambers, Ger Leahy, Graham Curry

Publishers James & Gladys Greer DesigN Greer Publications Design Tel: 028 9078 3200 Advertising & Editorial Greer Publications 5b Edgewater Business Park, Belfast Harbour Estate, Belfast BT3 9JQ T: 028 9078 3200 F: 028 9078 3210 From Republic of Ireland prefix 048 E:


This magazine is Copyright Š GREER PUBLICATIONS 2013. No part of it may be reproduced in any form without prior permission of the publisher.


Craig adjusted to the wintry climate in Latvia with the help of his heated boots.

Breen will tackle eight events in a 207 Super 2000, Jérémi Ancian will take part on six rounds in another 207 S2000 with Stéphane Laferbvre making four appearances in a 208 R2. The French team will run three cars under the ‘Peugeot Rally Academy’ banner in the FIA European Rally Championship which was described as “very exciting news” by ERC General Co-ordinator and former international-level rally driver Jean-Pierre Nicolas. Nicolas, who won the ERC-counting Tour de Corse 40 years ago this season, is a big admirer of Breen, in particular, having watched his progress throughout last season. “This is very exciting news for the ERC,” said Nicolas. “Craig Breen is a real up and coming driver and it’s important to have a driver like him in the ERC. I think he will do very well and it’s a good package for him. His team-mates also have a great deal of potential.” Breen’s season got off to a great start when he and David Moynihan finished second overall in Latvia on Rally LiepajaVentspils, round two of the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship. After leading on the opening day their 207 suffered on the ultra-fast snow covered





aterford’s Craig Breen has signed for Peugeot Sport and will contest eight rounds of the European Rally Championship this year. He will be co-driven by Paul Nagle, though David Moynihan co-drove on the second round of the series where they finished second overall in a 207 S2000. Later in the season Breen will switch to a new 208 R5 which will be called the 208 T16 once testing and homologation has been completed. The cars will be run and maintained by French team Sainteloc. Craig Breen is a former FIA Academy World Champion and was the 2012 SWRC World Rally Champion. Breen has also been instrumental in developing the new 208 rally car and he and Paul Nagle tested a 208R2 on last years Ulster Rally where they drove as a ‘00’ car. Speaking at the announcement, Craig said: “This is incredible and beyond my dreams. I am really excited to work with a manufacturer like Peugeot Sport. To arrive here at the start of the season is a good position to be in. My objective is to show good speed and challenge for some victories on a regular basis. For the testing program, I will give the best I can to support the development of the 208 Type R5”.


Craig and co-driver David Moynihan finished second overall in Latvia.



stages in the Baltic and was passed by Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa who drove a Regional Rally Car (RRC) spec Fiesta which has a much higher top speed. Craig made a great start recording fastest time on all of the opening leg’s three stages. As he reached the overnight halt he had a 6.4 second advantage over Jari Ketomaa. Day two entailed a double loop of three stages as Craig picked up where he left off the previous night setting fastest times on the mornings opening two tests. His lead at this point was up to 10 seconds. Then on the final stage in the morning loop Ketomaa hit back taking 11.7 seconds off the Peugeot Sport Academy driver to hold a single second lead as the crews reached service. The fight continued over the afternoon stages but it was here that the 207 began to suffer compared to the Craig has been instrumental in developing the new Peugeot 208 rally car.

Regional Rally Car Fiesta of Ketomaa. By the end of day two Craig’s deficit was 12.1 seconds. On the final evening Peugeot Rally Academy-Saintéloc Team Manager Vincent Ducher explained why Craig was losing out, “We knew that the Ford is faster on the straight sections, 30kph faster than the 207 in fact, at top end speed the 207 reaches 170kph but the Fiesta can get up to 200kph.” The team’s fears were confirmed as the final leg got underway. Conceding 7.4 seconds over the loop wasn’t too severe, however there was a more serious problem as Craig reached the end of SS12. In service it was discovered that a cable had become disconnected from the alternator; the mechanics were able to rectify the problem and the car was back to full power and able to continue.

Speaking at the finish, Craig commented: “I’m absolutely chuffed, this is exactly what we came here to do, and under difficult conditions. To come and at one stage challenge for the victory, I’m overwhelmed, a perfect start. I want to thank Peugeot Sport again for this opportunity, I also want to thank Sainteloc Racing, the car has been incredible here all weekend.” In the Championship Craig’s result puts him in fourth place overall after scoring eighteen points for his second place finish and twelve bonus points for being the second quickest driver over the Saturday and Sunday stages. Twenty-three year old Breen has also signed a long-term management deal with Kim Vatanen and Atte Varsta, the men behind the rise of Sebastien Ogier amongst others. He now joins the Finnish V&V Sport Management stable

that also includes Hayden Paddon, Jussi Kumpumaki and Max Vatanen. “I am really honoured to be working now with Kim and Atte,” said Breen. “In these difficult times, it is important to have that extra something to stand out from the rest, and I am sure that this collaboration will make me an even more attractive package going forward. I am looking forward to working with them both, and I am sure a lot of hard work and dedication will be needed over the next few years, but the benefits of having this wealth of experience behind me, will make me an all-round better sportsman. I am really motivated to make the best out of our relationship over the coming years; we have some exciting times ahead.” A joint statement from Vatanen and Varsta said: “Craig has shown remarkable talent and, despite his young age, capability to win championships. Not only is he talented but he is also very ambitious and wants to develop himself both as a person and as a professional rally driver. We are impressed with his results and are very excited to work with him.”

Breen’s Provisional calendar • Rally Liepaja-Ventspils (Latvia) (G&S): 1-3 February. • Rallye Açores (G): 25-28 April. • Tour de Corse (T): 16-18 May. • Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally (T): 27-29 June. • Rally San Marino (G): 11-14 July. • Rally Poland (G): 26-29 September. • Rallye Sanremo (T): 10-12 October. • International Rallye du Valais (T): 7-9 November.



Corporal Phillip Gillespie and Major Matt O’Hare.


Race2Recovery celebrate as their car approaches the finish of the Dakar Rally.

Disabled soldier from Ballymena finishes world’s toughest race C

orporal Phillip ‘Barney’ Gillespie from Ballymena made history when he and Major Matt O’Hare became the first ever disability team to complete the world’s toughest race – the Dakar Rally in South America. Competing in Land Rover Wildcats for the Race2Recovery team, the group consisted predominantly of injured soldiers who formed a rally team to raise funds for Forces charities. The team’s Land Rover Defenderbased Wildcat race vehicle crossed the finish line of the final stage in Santiago, Chile, to signal the end of an extraordinary two weeks of racing that saw the team’s other three Wildcat vehicles fall out of the race at various stages along the way. Major O’Hare and Corporal Gillespie were quick to praise their teammates, including the mechanics and support team, as they spoke shortly after completing the final stage.  Corporal Phillip Gillespie, 24, who is a leg amputee as a result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan, said: “We have found out first-hand why they call the Dakar Rally the hardest race in the world. It has pushed every single one us to our limits and beyond. To be able to stand here at the finish line and say we

achieved what we set out to achieve, to become the first ever disability team to complete the Dakar Rally, feels magical. Our team motto is ‘beyond injury – achieving the extraordinary’ and we’ve done just that. I hope that we’ve been able to inspire people who may be facing difficulties through injury or illness. The support we’ve received from everyone – our sponsors, supporters, families, friends, the military and complete strangers – has been amazing and is testament to the ability and dedication of this team.” Corporal Gillespie, or ‘Barney’ as he is known to friends, is a relative newcomer to co-driving and was coached by Chris and Michael Patterson of Patterson Pacenotes in Glengormley. The Race2Recovery team’s four Wildcat race vehicles took to the start line in Lima, Peru on the morning of Saturday 5th January, signalling the start of 15 days of racing 9000km over extreme mountain and desert terrain.  The first car eliminated from the race was that of Captain Tony Harris and his co-driver Cathy Derousseaux, who were disqualified after they did not pass sufficient way points on Stage 2 after having experienced mechanic issues

during that stage. A few days later, the race car of driver Justin Birchall and co-driver Corporal Tom Neathway was forced to retire after mechanical issues caused by a particularly punishing Stage 4 that saw a host of other vehicles also retire. On Stage 6, the third car of driver Ben Gott and co-driver US Marine SSgt Mark Zambon hit a ditch at speed and rolled. Whilst they avoided any serious injury the damage to the car meant they were unable to continue the race. However, the team’s Wildcat vehicle ‘Joy’, donated to the team by the Peter Harrison Foundation and named after Peter’s wife, Joy, who passed away in September last year, remained firmly in the race. Suffering from some overheating problems during the first half of the rally, the team were regularly forced to do more of their driving at night.  However, the team’s mechanics were able to do major work to the vehicle on the event rest day, fixing a number of issues and enabling Major O’Hare and Corporal Gillespie to make great progress through the second week. The Race2Recovery team has rapidly risen to become a fully functioning rally raid team in only 18 months. Originally beginning their campaign with one Land Rover Freelander and a handful

of members, the team now totals 28 people with four Wildcat race vehicles and fleet of support vehicles including a 4x4 truck that will race the course in order to support the race cars, plus 8x8 support trucks and a number of Land Rover Discovery vehicles to help move the support team and mechanical equipment.    Race2Recovery is backed by a number of high-profile sponsors including Land Rover, Google, Bosch, Orange Plant and MIS Motorsport The Race2Recovery team aims to continue its charitable fundraising way past the end of this year’s Dakar Rally.  The official book, ‘Race2Recovery: Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary’, will be published by Haynes and FireStep Publishing in March 2013. £2 from every copy will be donated to Help For Heroes (www. Donations to the Race2Recovery fundraising campaign for Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre can be made at www.race2recovery. com or to donate £5 via mobile text RACE20 £5 to 70070. The team are also encouraging people to follow them on Google+ (Race2Recovery), Twitter (@ race2recovery) and Facebook.





shows his class BY SAMMY HAMILL


Keith Cronin and Marshall Clarke came from behind to win the Galway Rally. It was Cronin’s first drive in a WRC.


or all his British championship success Keith Cronin had never won a round of his home Tarmac series outright. He had been successful in Group N, of course, and he had won the British championship division of the Ulster Rally. But he had never stood on top of the finish ramp as an overall winner of any of the major Irish rounds. But Cronin changed all that with a masterly display on the Safety Direct Galway International which kicked off this season’s Tarmac series, he and co-driver Marshall Clarke coming from behind to win by 14 seconds from Eugene Donnelly and Mark Kane. In hindsight, with three British titles under his belt and an S11 Subaru at his disposal, the victory might have been predictable but, in fact, Cronin’s Declan Boyle had a great run to third


late appearance in the Galway line-up – and that of Donnelly, too - added a degree of intrigue to a rally which had until then looked like being a rerun of the latter rounds of last year’s championship. It was, remember, Cronin’s first time in a WRC Subaru and he went to the start line having had little more than 20 miles of testing to familiarise himself with the Impreza in which Thomas Fitzmaurice finished runner-up in last season’s Dunlop Irish national series. It was also, as he pointed out, a far cry from the front-wheel-drive DS3 Citroen he used to become 2012 British champion. “It was a last minute deal [to drive the Subaru] and we only had time for around 30kms of testing before the event so it was a huge learning curve.

There was a big difference in the car compared to anything I’ve driven before,” he explained. The lack of seat time in the Subaru could well explain a first stage overshoot which saw Cronin fall 20 seconds behind early leader Donnelly who, even though he was also a late addition to the entry list in the righthand-drive McGeehan Motorsport WRC Mini, was quickly into his stride in the typical wet, slippery, treacherous Galway conditions. That first 17kms stage, Belleville, effectively put paid to the chances of two of last season’s star performers, Tarmac champion Darren Gass and Forest champion Garry Jennings. Gass put his S10 Subaru off the road within sight of the flying finish and although the car was largely

undamaged it remained stuck, ending his rally. Jennings made the finish line but he was experiencing problems with his ex-Kevin Lynch S12 Subaru which would dog him throughout the event. Disquietingly the Impreza was randomly selecting its own gears and Jennings was already 40 seconds off the pace. Closest to Donnelly, 12 seconds down, was Declan Boyle in his ex-Derek McGarrity S12 Subaru with the car’s previous owner a fraction of a second behind in his S14 at the start of a duel which would rage throughout the day. At this point Cronin was fourth, just ahead of Donagh Kelly and Fitzmaurice who had switched to Daragh O’Riordan’s Lakes and Cork-winning S12 Impreza. But Cronin learns quickly and by Group N winner Alan Ring pipped the Moffett’s to the class victory


Tom Flaherty finished second in the National Class

the end of stage two he was up to third with his first fastest time and was beginning to close on Donnelly even though he felt he wasn’t driving well and was braking far too early. Clearly there was more to come. Donnelly, in turn, said the Mini was struggling to heat its tyres and he had backed off slightly, finishing third on the stage behind McGarrity who was being hampered by an intermittent intercom and lack of launch control. After service in Ballinasloe, Cronin was fastest on stage three, the 18kms Ballyfa, again five seconds quicker than Donnelly, and moved to second, less than 10 seconds off the lead. McGarrity was again third quickest ahead of Boyle, the top four beginning to break away from the chasing pack led by Kelly.

It seemed that Donnelly might have turned the tide when he took back three seconds on stage four, a re-run of Bellevile, where Boyle showed he is getting to grips with his Subaru by setting fastest time, just a fraction quicker than Donnelly. But it emerged than Cronin had clipped a wheel rim which knocked him out of his rhythm for a few miles. Confidence restored, however, he blazed through stage five a full 12 seconds faster than Donnelly to close the gap to just a 10th of a second. By the end of stage six Cronin was 12 seconds in front, again leaving everyone trailing in his wake with another fastest time as he surged into the lead. And when Cronin gets in front he is a hard man to shift, his successes in the British championship having taught

him how to “manage” situations. He posted another quickest time on stage seven to extend his advantage to 18 seconds and was then content to settle for fourth fastest on the final stage to bring the Subaru home with a 14 second gap back to Donnelly. Cronin had fitted four part-worn Pirellis for the final four stages and felt they made a big difference. “We probably didn’t have the right tyres

on until the last few stages,” he said. “Once they were changed, it transformed the car although to be honest I don’t think I ever got the best out of it. There was still a lot more to come.” When that would happen, however, he couldn’t say, insisting there were no plans to drive the Subaru beyond Galway although Cronin has registered for championship points.


Paddy Kiernan won a thrilling National Rally

“When that would happen, however, he couldn’t say, insisting there were no plans to drive the Subaru beyond Galway although Cronin has registered for championship points.” Eugene Donnelly led the rally initially until he lost time with a wrong tyre choice




Junior Class winner Richard Moore

Seamus Connolly has the Twin Cam on its door handles

Donnelly, meanwhile, was left wondering when he was going to get the Mini home in first place. It was his third second place in three outings including Galway last year when he was beaten by Darren Gass by little more than a second. “I was very happy with the way it was going at the start but I made a mistake with tyre choice towards the end,” said Eugene. “After that, I struggled with a lot of understeer for

the final four stages of the rally. That’s where Keith got me. “But overall I was happy enough with the performance, bearing in mind we only did 30km of testing, I’d never used Michelin tyres with the Mini, I had a new navigator and I hadn’t competed since last year. ”But I take my hat off to Keith, he adapted very quickly and did a great job.” Another driver doing a great job

“I was very happy with the way it was going at the start but I made a mistake with tyre choice towards the end,” said Eugene.

James O’Mahony won the Historic Class in his Volvo


was Declan Boyle who grabbed his first Tarmac championship podium after a nip-and-tuck duel with Derek McGarrity – ironically in an S12 Subaru the former champion used last season. Third place had see-sawed between the two of them for most of the day, McGarrity struggling initially with an intermittent intercom and a mis-firing launch control on his S14 while Boyle again impressed – he was fastest overall on stage four - as he continues to adapt from Escorts to Subaru power. But McGarrity still had a 12 second gap before he gambled on a tyre switch that didn’t pay off and Boyle reeled him in through the second loop. Behind the top four there was a minute gap back to Donagh Kelly in fifth, the Donegal driver never really getting into his stride while Jennings

in sixth had a rally to forget and with his gearbox problems wisely decided to nurse the car to the finish. He moved from seventh to sixth following the late exit of Thomas Fitzmaurice who had elected to drive Daragh O’Riordan’s Lakes and Corkwinning S12 – it suffered differential failure on the last stage - instead of his regular S11 which was hired to Cronin. In Group N Alan Ring put a series of troubles behind him to take the honours in eighth place overall behind the Ford Focus of JJ Fleming. Ring had the Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh, breathing down his neck all the way, production champion Sam closing to less than two seconds going into the final stage. But just when he seemed poised to snatch the lead away from Ring, Moffett’s freshly-built Lancer


SAFETY DIRECT GALWAY RALLY Garry Jennings and Neil Doherty launched their new Subaru team in Galway, even managing to get a hen night in on the act!

engine developed a misfire and he fell away, allowing Ring to pull away and younger brother Josh to squeeze past into second in an all Mitsubishi onetwo-three. But perhaps the best battle of the entire event centred on the National Rally and a typical four-way Ford Escort showdown. Tom Flaherty led from start but he was steadily pegged back  by Paddy Kiernan who had been nearly 14 seconds off the pace on stage one. By stage five he was up to second and then in the lead by the end of stage six. But into the mix came Chris Armstrong, who had hauled himself up to third after the worst possible start with a flying overshoot on the first stage which cost him 40 seconds, and Fergus O’Meara who had been in and around the top three all day. But the final stage brought an abrupt end to Armstrong’s charge when he spun and then clipped a concrete post which damaged a wheel forcing him into retirement. Flaherty also put everything into a last gasp effort to overhaul Kiernan but a small mistake proved costly, allowing O’Meara to slip into second position by little more than a second. The historic category was won by James O’Mahony in his Volvo 144S ahead of the little Mini of Ray Cunningham. Richard Moore won the junior rally in his Honda Civic, taking over the lead when the impressive Darren O’Brien retired his Honda with gearbox problems.

Galway International: 1 Keith Cronin/Marshall Clarke (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 05m 51s, 2 Eugene Donnelly/Mark Kane (Mini WRC) 1h 06m 04s, 3 Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 06m 50s, 4 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 06m 57s, 5 Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 08m 01s, 6 Garry Jennings/ Neil Doherty (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 10m 24s, 7 John Joe Fleming/Robbie Ward (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 10m 46s, 8 Alan Ring/Adrian Deasy (Mitsubishi Evo) 1h 10m 59s, 9 Josh Moffett/John Rowan (Mitsubishi Evo, 1h 11m 20s, 10 Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (Mitsubishi Evo) 1h 11m 21s. Group N: 1 Alan Ring/Adrian Deasy, 2 Josh Moffett/John Rowan, 3 Sam Moffett/ James O’Reilly. Class winners: Stephen Carey/Breda O’Driscoll (Honda Civic), David Quigley/ Des Sherlock (Honda Civic). National Rally: 1 Paddy Kiernan/James McCarville (Ford Escort) 1h 12m 33s, 2 Tom Flaherty/Patrick Curley (Ford Escort) 1h 12m 53s, 3 Stephen Hernon/Jeff Case (Subaru Impreza Gp N) 1h 13m 12s. Historic Rally: 1 James O’Mahony/Kerrie Barry (Volvo 144S) 1h 18m 41s, 2 Ray Cunningham/Adrian Cusack (Mini Cooper S) 1h 19m 13s, 3 John Spiers/Susanne Niedrum (Porsche 911) 1h 21m 12s. Junior Rally: 1 Richard Moore/Paul Twomey (Honda Civic) 59m 43s, 2 Kenneth Quirke/Seamus Skinner (Honda Civic) 1h 02m 44s, 3 Justin Ryan/Gary Collins (Honda Civic) 1h 03m 13s.

Stephen McCann in his Evo9

David Fleming gets caught out on one of the slippy Galway junctions




New Manager for Tarmac series The new Irish Tarmac Championship Manager is Gerard Seaman from West Cork. CarSport caught up with the man in charge of Ireland’s premier rally series...

Q: You have much competition experience... could you tell us about your rally career? I started my rally career in 2000 as codriver to James O’Sullivan (023-Tiles) in his 1600cc Mark II Escort. I have competed in International, National and one off events and have sat with a number of different drivers in all aspects of rallying from Historic, Modified and Homologated cars. More recently I have been sitting alongside former Tarmac and National Group N winner Kevin Kelleher. I have also driven cars from Mark II Escorts, Vauxhall Novas and Mitsubishi Evo5 and 9s and lastly winning my class for the third consecutive year in the Cork ‘20’ at the wheel of a EvoX. I was introduced to tarmac rallying by my father at a very early age and as soon as I could afford to compete went out and did so. Q: Do you still plan to compete? I have not sat in a car competitively for over a year as I was heavily involved in my Club, Skibbereen & District Car Club in roles which included PRO and assistant CoC. Indeed I am very thankful to Ger Hayes CoC for our Tarmac Rally for giving me the opportunity to get involved in the inner workings of an event, and I would encourage every competitor at some stage in their career to help out and see what it takes to get a rally up and going. But I will never hang up my helmet fully. Q: What are your main objectives for the 2013 ITC? My, and indeed the TROA objectives this year, is to grow the Irish Tarmac Championship and with the entry we received in Galway we have got off to a great start but we still feel that we can grow this even further, and look forward with great excitement to the Easter Stages and the registered crews picking up where they left off and hopefully encouraging some more crews to sign up. We are also hopeful that we can

put a sponsor in place to market the championship the way it deserves and I suppose most of all that each and every crew entered will enjoy and complete all rallies entered and return safely.

The new Tarmac Championship Manager Gerard Seaman.

Q: There was much speculation about the budget not being available for RPM to cover Galway. What are your thoughts on television coverage this year? Again we hope that this can be sorted, but it is all about money so time will tell. RPM have done a sterling job over the years and we would hope that we can get something in place for TV coverage again this year. Q: Over the years, there has been much talking about banning WRC cars in Ireland. Has this idea been shelved for now? I do believe personally that WRC cars bring something very special to our championship and would not like to see a championship without them, indeed homologated cars in general. Not forgetting our hotly contested Modified and Historic Sections also. Q: The Manx Rally celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Should it be brought back in to the ITC? Well the Manx Rally is back this year for the Historic section and we at the TROA are very excited about this event as they are running a week long motorsport festival which should attract big crowds. Hopefully we can build on this for the future. Q: Now that some rounds of the ITC only last one day, do you think the three day Donegal Rally too long? No, I believe that Donegal is not too long with the three day format it adds to the championship as a whole. The Irish Tarmac Championship is the premier championship in this country and indeed the envy of many an organising team worldwide. Indeed Donegal is something that every rally crew aspires to take part in one day. And we wish the Donegal Motor club every success again with this year’s event. Q: Do you think the ITC will be able to attract a corporate headline sponsor again? Well at this stage we are talking with a number of people and we would hope that any potential sponsor would see the advantages of sponsoring a cross-border

Championship like ours and if anybody would like to find out more I am always available to speak to anyone that may have an interest. Q: Any plans yet for 2014 and beyond? Yes there are many plans on the go as we speak, to further enhance the Irish Tarmac Championship, such as the Killarney Rally of The Lakes hosting a round of the European Historic Rally championship this year. Our goal as TROA and my own personal goal is to grow this Championship to a greater height than ever before and in my tenure I will endeavour to do so to the best of my ability.

“My, and indeed the TROA objectives this year is to grow the Irish Tarmac Championship and with the entry we received in Galway we have got off to a great start but we still feel that we can grow this even further, and look forward with great excitement to the Easter Stages.” CarSport

ITC Counting Rounds this Year are: • Safety Direct Galway International • Easter Stages Rally • Cartell Rally of the Lakes • Topaz Donegal International Rally • Ulster Rally • Manx Rally (Historic’s) • Orchard Motorsport Cork ‘20’. We feel the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship has a very bright future ahead. On a personal note I would like to take this opportunity to thank Don Wilmont for his work over the last 14 years. He is a hard act to follow and his guidance, help and indeed the directors of TROA for all their help is invaluable to me to do my work. Also my own family who give up a lot when I am away thanks to events. And last but not least the competitors and crews who have been so nice and given their entries, they are the real heroes of Irish sport and sometimes do not get the coverage they deserve and I for one will do my best to rectify this.


Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself? My name is Gerard Seaman, I am married to Sinead. I have two children, a boy Daniel aged seven and a girl Milly aged three. I am Sales Manager with a motor retailer in West Cork. My family are heavily involved in the retail motor trade as well as vehicle rental. I am from Bandon and my hobbies are all forms of motorsport, especially tarmac rallying.

After a big launch in Galway, Garry Jennings spent most of the Galway Rally troubled with gearbox problems. Photo: Fergal Kelly



Kevin Barrett

Triton Showers to Sponsor Easter Stages Rally


riton Showers has been announced as the official sponsor of the Easter Stages

Rally. Investment from the leading UK bathroom specialist has been channeled directly into the competition to enable entry fees to be reduced and, as a result, the Easter Stages now has one of the lowest entry fees for a full day’s rallying, anywhere in Ireland! “We are delighted to come on board as title sponsors,” said Kevin Barratt, Managing Director of Triton Showers Ireland. “Easter is always a fantastic weekend for motorsport and we want to make sure this continues. “We’re especially delighted that our sponsorship money will be used to keep the entry fee as low as possible. As a competitor myself I know how hard it is in the current financial climate to continue rallying.” Kevin continued: “We are hoping that having one of the lowest entry fees per mile, for a full day’s rallying anywhere in Ireland, will attract plenty of competitors, thereby making the Triton Showers Easter Stages Rally a great success. The event starts in Lisburn’s Bow Street, with all the razzmatazz of recent years, and competitors will then blast their way through a loop of four stages before arriving at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch for service. Two more loops of stages including another visit to service will be completed before the drivers head for the finish ramp in Ballynahinch that evening. Competitors can now download supplemented regulations and entry forms at The entry fee is £340.have worked hard to pull this event together at short notice but we think you’ll agree, it will be a fantastic event.”


One Day ‘Circuit’ gets the go-ahead


he Ulster Automobile Club has taken a lot of stick down the years. It is a club which gets up people’s noses. Often wrongly in my opinion. And, no, I am not a member. So credit to them for stepping in and insisting the Circuit of Ireland – in one guise or another – must go ahead this year. Most of them, like virtually everyone else, were caught on the hop when Bobby Willis made his 11th hour decision to withdraw the rally from the new European championship just as the 2013 schedule was about to be announced in Paris. Having taken over the running of the rally almost four years ago and having re-built and re-vitalised it, attracting the Intercontinental Challenge to Ireland, he had been offered the opportunity to take it to the next level, the re-vamped, Eurosport-promoted ERC. But, after months of negotiations, it was only when he was en route to Paris in


December that he got a positive response from the government here. But by then Willis and key members of his team felt it was too late. They reasoned that if they allowed the Circuit to be named in the schedule and then had to withdraw at a later date having failed to secure the extra funding required or, if they went ahead, failed to stage an event of the highest standards, the rally’s reputation would be irreparably damaged, killing all hope of gaining a place in the series in the future. Willis now hopes, with time to work on firming up funding proposals, the championship organisers might look kindly on the Circuit for 2014 although it is interesting to see that there could be a rival UK bid from the seemingly unlikely venue of Sunderland! And with the news that cycling’s Giro d’Italia will start in Belfast next year, persuading the government to also back the Circuit of Ireland in 2014 may prove

difficult. But it was the way the news from Paris was handled which proved a PR disaster at home. The hurriedly released Press statement announced: “The world renowned Circuit of Ireland International Rally, run annually over the Easter weekend, will not take place in 2013.” As with all things involving the Circuit, the only Irish rally the wider media recognises, it was picked up immediately and appeared in newspaper headlines, radio and TV broadcasts and on internet sites. Few noticed that the wording only referred to ‘international’ rally. They could not be expected to understand the subtle nuances of a rally like the Circuit which is more than just one event and I know from personal experience that several media outlets were less than pleased to be caught up in the confusion when UAC chairman Nigel

Lodge Hotel and the finish will take place in the market square in Ballynhinch around 5-45pm. The rally will be round two of the Tarmac championship and the third round of the NI series. The up side of the whole farrago is that it is going to be a lot cheaper for competitors and as a result should be well supported. It certainly deserves to be.



Hughes quickly refuted the statement, insisting the rally would go ahead at Easter. Why the original statement from Willis and his PR people didn’t simply state the Circuit of Ireland would not be taking up the invitation to be part of the European championship is a mystery known only to them. No one can blame Willis for declining to play, as he put it, “Russian Roulette with his own money”. As promoter he would have been responsible for any shortfall and, indeed, has poured a considerable amount into the rally over the past three years. But the stark announcement ignored the fact that the rally is also included in both the Irish Tarmac and Northern Ireland championships, two competitions which help to make the overall event viable. As far as I can tell neither organisation was consulted nor was the UAC which in effect licensed the ‘Circuit of Ireland’ name to Willis. UAC chairman Hughes was made aware of the decision that night but was still taken aback by the “cancellation” statement. “It was not what we had agreed which is why I had to say we would run an Easter rally come hell or high water,” he explained. And so we have the Easter Stages instead of the full-blown Circuit of Ireland; not what we had expected or hoped for but at least the tradition which stretches back to 1931 is being preserved even if it is just a one-day rally. Of course it is not the first time an Easter Stages event has been substituted for the main rally. Back in 2007, amid an acrimonious dispute with John Conway and his Meteor Electrical company, the UAC exerted their right as rally permit holders to run ‘the Easter International’ which was won by Mark Higgins and featured Kris Meeke and a young Andreas Mikkelsen. The 2013 version will be under the control of the highly-capable Gordon Noble, the former Rally Ireland clerk of the course who also oversaw last year’s Intercontinental Challenge-counting Circuit. It will centre on Lisburn, where the start is scheduled for 9-30am, and Ballynahinch on Easter Saturday, March 30, and will be contested over 12 stages in counties Down and Antrim, totalling almost 100 miles. Rally HQ will be the Millbrook

GALWAY The Galway International, also running as a one-day event, had a strong and substantial entry list headed by reigning Tarmac champion Darren Gass, the runaway winner of the national division of last year’s Circuit. His run was shortlived, his S10 Subaru sliding off the road and out of the rally on the first stage. It was, of course, Keith Cronin who won in Galway and he has stressed it was a one-off appearance in Thomas Fitzmaurice’s S11 Subaru. How much significance can be placed in the fact that the triple British champion registered for the Tarmac championship remains to be seen. Similarly, runner-up Eugene Donnelly also indicated his run in the McGeehan Motorsport WRC Mini was only for Galway, adding: “We’re working on trying to get out for the Circuit but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’d be over the moon if it all came together but I don’t want to set my heart on it and put things into place, only for it all to fall apart.” Derek McGarrity, Garry Jennings and Donagh Kelly, who all experienced some degree of disappointment in Galway, have  already indicated they will be in the line-up and entries are expected, too, from the rapidly improving Declan Boyle as well as production front-runners like Alan Ring and the Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh. Hughes commented: “Of course it was a huge disappointment when we realised the European championship would not be visiting our shores this Easter but we determined to run an event on our traditional Easter date and I believe we have put together a rally which will be both challenging and good value for money. “It will be a tight, intense event with costs to the competitors cut to the minimum. “We are indebted to the councils of Lisburn and Ballynahinch who are jointly hosting the rally.”

Darren Gass will be hoping for better luck on the Easter Stages after crashing out of the Galway Rally on the first stage.

“The up side of the whole farrago is that it is going to be a lot cheaper for competitors and as a result should be well supported. It certainly deserves to be.” Bobby Willis has had enough of “playing Russian Roulette with his own money”.




Easter Stages details

Darren Gass in action on last years event


isburn and Ballynahinch will be the anchor towns for the one-day Easter Stages, which will cover twelve stages over 100 competitive miles within the counties of Down and Antrim on Easter Saturday, 30th March 2013. Over 100 national and international competitors are expected to take part in the event, which will delight rally fans throughout Ireland who turn out in their thousands each Easter to enjoy a rally spectacle. The rally will start in Lisburn City Centre at 9.30am with the ‘ceremonial start’ that will see cars leaving Bow Street at regular intervals until around 11.30am. “I am delighted that Lisburn has continued its links with the organisers of the Easter Stages Rally,” said Alderman Jim Dillon, Chairman of Lisburn City Council’s Economic Development Committee. “We would hope that visitors and residents will come and witness over 100 race teams starting the rally in Market Square, Lisburn City Centre, and anticipate a busy morning for the City Centre shops with large crowds expected to line Bow Street.” The rally will conclude in Ballynahinch that evening with cars expected to arrive from 5.45pm onwards. The finish podium and customary spraying of champagne by the winners, will take place in the town centre at

Market Square. Chairperson of Down District Council, Councilor Mickey Coogan said: “We look forward to welcoming the Easter Stages Rally to Ballynahinch and are delighted to be supporting this exciting event. “This provides a unique opportunity for the thousands of spectators to witness the fantastic spectacle on our own doorsteps and enjoy the national and international rally drivers demonstrating their skills and abilities as they navigate through our beautiful countryside and finishing up at Market Square in Ballynahinch. “This too will provide a boost to the local economy which hopefully will continue with our extensive festival and events programme throughout the district,” he said. Ballynahinch will also host the rally service area where competing teams will be based throughout the day, at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel. Chairman of the Ulster Automobile Club (UAC), Nigel Hughes said: “It was a huge disappointment when we realised the European Rally Championship would not be visiting our shores this Easter. However, we are delighted that the Easter Stages national rally will run on the traditional date for the Circuit of Ireland. The Galway Rally last weekend, was a resounding success, with a huge entry. I think rally fans are in for a real treat this Easter Saturday.”

“The rally will start in Lisburn City Centre at 9.30am with the ‘ceremonial start’ that will see cars leaving Bow Street at regular intervals.”


Daniel McKenna (right) with co-driver Arthur Kierans.

Motorsport Ireland Safety Document: ‘Protection of Sport’ – documents but no decision – as yet...



Coleman Award winner plans British Championship assault



he 2012 Motorsport Ireland young rally driver of the year and recipient of the Billy Coleman Award prize fund of €50,000, Daniel McKenna, will compete in this year’s British Rally Championship. Daniel and co-driver Arthur Kierans will commence their assault on the seven round Championship using a Ford Fiesta R2, with the goal of securing a good haul of Championship points and try to lay claim to a nomination for the coveted Pirelli Star Driver Shootout Competition. They will continue with this plan until such time as they secure the nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver and from that point forward they will then upgrade to an R3 Class car in order to make an assault at the Championship overall. Daniel recently completed an extensive gravel test in the Fiesta R2 at Euro M-Sport’s Rally Storm test stage and has adapted to the car quite quickly getting onto a good consistent pace with the new package. He is feeling very confident on the approach to the Championship’s first round in North Wales in April. Daniel plans on competing in an Irish gravel rally before then to improve his pace in preparation for the Championship and is also planning a full day’s testing in the rented Fiesta R2 he will be using in North Wales prior to the event. Daniel has a few different options for the R3 class car he will compete in for the remainder of the Championship. Tickets for his fundraiser on Sunday 3rd March at Connolly’s Bar and Lounge, Scotshouse, Monaghan, to help support the crew in their BRC Championship endeavours are still available and anyone interested in being Daniel’s co-driver on the Midland Stages in his trusty Escort Mk2 can get information on purchasing a ticket on Daniel’s website or on Daniel’s Facebook page. Daniel is also seeking new sponsors for the BRC campaign and anyone that may be interested in promoting their business by getting their name on the car can contact Daniel via his website or Facebook page where all of his contact details are available. Photo: Flashpointpix Motorsport Photography.

Duffy to co-drive for Al-Kuwari in WRC2


ayo’s Killian Duffy will partner Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari in a Ford Fiesta RRC in the FIA World Rally Championship this year as the Qatari driver competes in the new WRC-2 category for the Seashore Qatar Rally Team. Starting his campaign in Mexico – with full support from M-Sport – Al-Kuwari will then tackle the gravel stages of Portugal, Greece and Italy. Well known on the Middle Eastern rally scene, Al-Kuwari has been a regular in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship since 2003 – finishing a close second to fellow countryman Nasser Al-Attiyah in last year’s series. Winning all six rounds of the Qatar Rally Championship, Al-Kuwari was also crowned 2012 Qatar Rally Champion and made his first venture into the international stage with rounds in both the European Rally Championship (ERC) and WRC. Taking to the wheel of the Fiesta RRC for the first time during a visit to M-Sport’s headquarters in the north of England earlier this month, Al-Kuwari completed a short 65km test at the team’s test stage in the confines of Greystoke Forest. Relishing the opportunity to prove his potential behind the wheel of the Fiesta, Al-Kuwari will make his competitive debut Killian Duffy with the model at Rally Mexico in March. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari said: “Competing in WRC2 this year, I think a top-five finish will be a good overall result in our first full season both in the Championship and with the Fiesta [RRC].”

here are times when it’s hard to figure out what is really going on in Irish motorsport and more particularly, within the corridors of power in what is affectionately known as “34 Dawson Street”. The close season, if you could call it that, was dominated by the latest version of a document entitled “Protection of Sport.” Indeed, it led to the removal of a member of the Rallies Committee, who allegedly leaked one version of the document, but therein rests another story for perhaps another day, suffice to say that not everyone got penalised, dare we say, another story. Essentially, the latest version (Version 9) of “Protection of Sport” has, as we begin another season, yet to get the green light from clubs and competitors alike. Ironies in Irish motorsport are quite familiar, the “Protection of Sport” has its fair share – with many of its recommendations already in place as part of the regulations regarding rallying under the umbrella of Motorsport Ireland.  It scarcely needed a group of five people to remind competitors and clubs as to what is in the rule book. Procedures in terms of safety, event planning, stage lengths and reconnaissance dominate the document, issues such as tyre, fuel and power are we understand, a work in progress. It’s interesting to note that the document does not refer to illegal reconnaissance – perhaps it doesn’t exist anymore! Event management is a moot point with MI’s affiliated clubs. The proposals in the document are that the Clerk of the Course, Club Safety Officer, Club Road Safety Officer, Deputy COC, Chief Marshal and Press Officer, must all be a member of the organising club. Of course there is an easy and obvious way around this, however, practically, it should always be the best person for the job, irrespective of anything else, that is not to say some form of mentoring or grooming shouldn’t be the norm. The document proposes that, in summer months – events cannot begin before 10.00am and must finish no later than 5.00pm, corresponding winter times are 9.00am and 4.00pm. There could be repercussions here.  Presentation of prizes, it is suggested (in most cases) have to commence no later than 7.30pm – more repercussions. Currently, there is a 30 second interval at stage starts, from 2014, one minute intervals will be compulsory, that’s long been a safety concern. A recent meeting in Athlone between competitors and MI officials discussed several issues, engine sizes, top speed and tyres (width and compound), standard fuel and minimum weights were are all on the table. It appears that MI certainly got some food for thought – nothing, as yet has been cast in stone. MI are correlating the comments from their affiliated clubs and the views of competitors and rally preparation personnel, who should have been brought on board long before now.  Everyone is awaiting the outcome, in the meantime, as one wise head suggested, perhaps the rules could be fully enforced and it might lessen the furore of the last few months.  Still confused, but at least this is only the first version.




Bustard The Bright Spark in Junior 1000 Opener!

McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge- Rnd 1 Positions

Adam Bustard and Brian Bustard


he opening round of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge took place at the New Year Stages Rally at Kirkistown. Seven junior drivers, aged 14-16 lined up in their 1000cc machines for this series. William Creighton, Philip White and Michael McGarrity were competing for the very first time, whilst the battle for overall honours was expected to be fought out by Adam Bustard, Kyle White, Eoghan Bogue and James Partridge who competed last season. Reigning champion Ben Crealey plans to contest the Scottish Junior

Championship this season. First on the road was 16 year old Kyle White. Winner of the final round last season, he started in confident form, and posted an excellent time, despite a lurid moment when he clipped a tyre and the little 107 got into a big tank slapper! There were no such moments however for Castlederg’s Adam Bustard, who was a winner last season at St.Angelo airfield. Adam’s Chevrolet Spark had been put on a serious diet over the winter months, shedding 40 kilos, and Adam was in determined form moving into an

immediate 2.3 second lead. It was a lead that the 16 year old dramatically extended on stage two, when Kyle White dropped 19 seconds after spinning onto the grass at the bottom of the circuit. The youngest drivers starting the event at just 14 years of age were Philip White and Michael McGarrity, both making their debuts at the wheel of Nissan Micras. Philip is the son of Rodney White, well known in the Northern Ireland Championship for rallying rapid Talbot Sunbeams, and Michael is the son of multiple Northern Ireland Rally Champion Derek McGarrity. Michael McGarrity had been showing promise, but his rally ended on stage 3, when he ran fractionally wide, clipped a large lorry tyre, and the Micra was spun off into the Armco barriers. Thankfully both Michael and co-driver Damien Duffin were ok, and a consolation for Michael was watching his dad Derek, take outright victory on the event in his Subaru WRC. It was Adam Bustard, and his uncle Brian who were the bright sparks of the day taking maximum points.

New Year Stages D

1 Adam Bustard/Brian Bustard (Chevrolet Spark) 28m 45.0s 2 Kyle White/Alan Purdy (Peugeot) 107+23.6s 3 William Creighton/Andrew Bushe (Citroen C1) +35.4s

Kyle White and Alan Purdy William Creighton and Andrew Bushe

erek McGarrity took his ex-Mads Ostberg Subaru Impreza WRC S14 to a relatively easy victory at the New Year Stages at Kirkistown. Co-driven by Neil Doherty, McGarrity took victory by almost a minute ahead of Keiron Graffin and Paul McKenna in a Mitsubishi Evo9. Dominic McNeill and Tommy Speers finished third in a similar car. The Mark One Escort of Keith White and William Carol were top two wheel drive and fourth overall.

Derek McGarrity

Dominic McNeill

Keith White

Matthew McAlister‑


Morrow is a one second wonder!



BY Austin Shinnors PHOTOS: Ger Leahy

Philip Morrow

West Limerick Forest Stages Rally


superb time on the last stage enabled Philip Morrow to win the West Limerick Mini Stages Forest Rally and claim his maiden win in the Valvoline Forest Rally Championship. Second was claimed by long time rally leader Mick O’Brien with 2011 Valvoline champion Owen Murphy third. The rally was the opening round of the 2013 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Forest Rally Championship, and it was based in Kantoher Business Park, near New Castle West. The stage distance was 40km based on two stages (repeated) on the foothills of the Mullaghareirk mountains. Morrow (Evo9) made a cautious start with 5th fastest on the first stage. The former Mitsubishi UK works driver improved to third through the second and third stages. At the end of stage three Morrow was 8.4 seconds behind leader O’Brien, and on the last test Morrow took fastest time and beat O’Brien by 9.8 seconds which catapulted the Lisburn man on to the top of the podium. O’Brien (Focus WRC) was fastest on the first three stages and the Corkman looked set for his first victory of the year, but perhaps a conservative approach on the final test cost him overall victory. Owen Murphy (Evo9) was in great form all day, second fastest on the first brace of tests, fifth on the third stage and another second fastest on the last stage. Murphy had been second to O’Brien until Morrow’s last stage heroics. Vincent Mc Aree (Evo9) and Martin Cairns (Subaru WRC) claimed fourth and fifth spots while 2010 champion Pat O’Connell (Evo9) was sixth overall. Shane McGirr (Starlet RWD)was best in the two wheel drive category and the juniors class was won once again by Dean

Philip Morrow and Jonny Hart

Raftery (Civic). Raftery is the current Valvoline junior champion.

RESULTS West Limerick Forestry Rally

Michael O’Brien and Greg Shinnors

Owen Murphy and James O’Brien

1 Philip Morrow/Jonny Hart (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 22m 07s 2 Michael O’Brien/Greg Shinnors (Focus WRC) 22m 08s 3 Owen Murphy/James O’Brien (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 22m 12s 4 Vincent McAree/J P McAree (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 22m 20s 5 Martin Cairns/Barry McNulty (Impreza WRC) 22m 25s 6 Pat O’Connell/Mark Wiley (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 22m 37s 7 Josh Moffett/Jason McKenna (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 22m 38s 8 Enda McNulty/Paul Sheridan (Impreza) 22m 58s 9 John Reid/Enda Shiels (Corolla WRC) 23m 09s 10 Liam Regan/Damien Duffin (Peugeot 206) 23m 10s Class winners: Joe Shinnors/Derry Healy (Nova) Mike Garahy/Niall Keane (Escort) Paul Fitzgerald/Pierce Doheny Jnr (Escort) Hugh McQuaid/Enda Gerety (Escort) Shane McGirr/Jackie Elliott (Starlet) Stephen McCann/Breen McNamee (Lancer Evo 7) Martin Cairns/Barry McNulty, Vincent McAree/J P McAree, Enda McNulty/Paul Sheridan. By Richard Lyons Photos: Simon Rutter (EVO Magazine)





Derek McGarrity took control of the rally from the first stage and continued to build his lead to win the opening round of the Northern Ireland Championship.

McGarrity’s NI victory run continues...


The top three celebrate with a champagne finish.

Despite being a late entry Derek McGeehan finished third overall in the Mini WRC.

Kyle White and Alan Purdy celebrate winning the Junior 1000 Challenge.



2WD winner Keith White in his Mk1 Escort.


Peader Hurson finished finished fifth overall in his Escort.


erek McGarrity claimed victory at the Eurocables Stages Rally, round one of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship, continuing his winning run of Northern Ireland rallies. Navigated by Neil Doherty, McGarrity propelled his Subaru Impreza WRC to the top of the timesheets after stage one and never looked back. A faultless performance saw him extend his advantage on every stage, eventually arriving home more than half a minute ahead of the rest of the pack. Maynooth’s Kevin Barrett and Sean Mullally were the best of the rest, having held a consistent second position throughout the event. Driving a slightly older specification Impreza WRC, Barrett had hoped to secure another victory at Kirkistown after his November Time Trial success but it wasn’t to be on this occasion. Instead, he picked up the runner-up position as well as a healthy helping of championship points. Derek McGeehan and Cormac McGrady secured a late entry aboard their Mini WRC and the trip to the County Down venue proved to be worthwhile. A spin on stage one dented their challenge, leaving them ninth overall after the test. But they recovered to claim third overall by the end of the day.

Emma McKinstry and Kenny Hull had held third overall for a time but they had to settle for fourth in the end after the charging Mini crew overhauled them. Emma, who celebrated her 30th birthday just before the rally, finished 9.9 seconds ahead of Peadar Hurson’s Formula Karting backed Escort WRC. Hurson had decided to make a return to the sport after a four-year layoff and although he admitted that he was a little bit rusty at the start, he soon got into the groove. By the midpoint of the event, he was setting top five times and finished with a solid result to start his championship campaign. In the Group N category, former kart champion James Laverty and Francis Regan secured a start to finish victory aboard their Subaru Impreza. They were lying as high as fourth overall during the early stages but eventually arrived home in sixth, almost 20 seconds ahead of nearest Group N rivals Kieron Graffin and Paddy Robinson. Graffin just managed to nip in front of Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy at the last gasp, finishing one-tenth of a second in front of the Impreza crew. The McGrady Insurance 2WD category saw Keith White and Martin Carey earn another well deserved victory in their Mark 1 Escort. Simon Woodside and Steven Dowds had held an early

“McGarrity propelled his Subaru Impreza WRC to the top of the timesheets after stage one and never looked back. A faultless performance saw him extend his advantage on every stage.”

James Laverty won the Gp N category in his Evo.

Derek McGarrity swaps horsepower for pedal power to do his recce.

William Creighton finished second in the Junior 1000 Challenge.

advantage in their BMW M3 but White overhauled the crew after stage four when Woodside hit trouble. White stayed in front until the finish, sealing the category win from David Armstrong and Paul Mulholland, with Simon Woodside and Steven Dowds third. Drew Wylie and Fintan McGrady were the leading crew home in the Montgomery Motorsport Historic category, with Stanley Orr and Brian Cairns second ahead of Stephen and Lucy Whitford. Finally, in the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Challenge, Kyle White and Alan Purdy claimed the win by 20.7 seconds from William Creighton and Andrew Bushe, with Adam and Brian Bustard third. Round two of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship takes crews to Bishopscourt on 9 March for the McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages.

RESULT: Eurocables Stages 1. Derek McGarrity/Neil Doherty (Subaru Impreza WRC) 26m 14.8s. 2. Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Subaru Impreza WRC) 26m 47.2s. 3. Derek McGeehan/ Cormac McGrady (Mini WRC) 27m 03.8s. 4. Emma McKinstry/Kenny Hull (Subaru Impreza WRC) 27m 17.5s. 5. Peadar Hurson/ Damian Connolly (Ford Escort WRC) 27m 27.4s. 6. James Laverty/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza) 27m 39.0s. 7. George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) 27m 47.8s. 8. Kieron Graffin/Paddy Robinson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) 27m 56.6s. 9. Trevor Ferguson/David McElroy (Subaru Impreza) 27m 56.7s. 10. Keith White/Martin Carey (Ford Escort Mk1) 28m 13.2s.


Mark Donnelly

Alastair Fisher



Jonny Greer

What next for Irel a T

hese days Kris Meeke does everything but the one thing he should be doing – driving rally cars in the World championship. From conquering the backside numbing horrors of the Baja 1000 to racing ‘Nifty Fifties’ at Mondello, from mountain-biking in snow-covered forests to driving Bentleys on a frozen lake in Finland, he’s been busy. But the bottom line it is more than 15 months since Meeke last started a WRC round; indeed his only competitive outing in a rally car in all that time was his consonant win at Lurgan Park. The reasons he was sidelined – I nearly used a different word beginning with s –  by Mini are well documented and don’t need to be repeated but the outcome has been that the talents of the best Irish driver since Paddy Hopkirk continue to be wasted. How he must look at the current crop of ‘works drivers’ in sheer frustration. Now that Loeb is fading into retirement, and apart from Sébastien Ogier, is there anyone significantly better than Meeke? Jari-Matti Latvala, with all his experience and an limitless supply of cars to replace all those he has binned, probably.


Mikko Hirvonen maybe but he appears to have lost his mojo completely at Citroën. And Meeke and Dani Sordo were always very closely matched despite the Spaniard’s endless opportunities to win his first WRC round. As for Thierry Neuville, Mads Østberg and Ott Tanak, I don’t think so. The difference is they have had – and still have – the luxury of massive financial backing from a variety of sources and in the current rallying climate that’s all that counts. However, the really depressing aspect of the Meeke situation is that if he can’t get a drive what hope is there for the likes of Keith Cronin, Alastair Fisher or Marty McCormack? They have to be among the top six of Ireland’s best up-and-coming young drivers but, like Meeke, their pathway has been blocked by the all-important factor – money. Sure, they can usually find the backing to come out and do some rallies at home but all three of them have – or had – sight their sights higher. They pretty much exhausted all their resources to climb as far as they could but the next step takes an altogether different level of funding.

Take Fisher for example. After two tough, character-building seasons in the World championship Academy series, the 24-year-old Trillick driver says he has, as yet, no plans for the year ahead. “I don’t know what I will be doing this year, if anything. I’ve looked at a lot of options, from the WRC2 category in the World Championship to the new European Championship, but all of them cost a huge amount of money and you have to ask yourself – to what end? “If there was a clear path upwards towards the full World Championship it might be easier to answer that question. But there isn’t and when you look around and see the number of good drivers  here at home, whose careers have all stalled, you have to ask is it worth it? “You hear of some of the drivers currently competing at the top level

who have invested vast sums – €10 to €15 million in some cases – to get into front-line cars and you know that is never going to happen for Irish drivers like myself. Those kind of budgets don’t exist here.” Craig Breen, he points out, is the one exception with his selection to drive for Peugeot in the ERC but his family and sponsors have been able to back him with a substantial amount of money over the past three years to get him to that point. It was, of course, Breen’s victory in the WRC Academy in 2011, landing a €500,000 prize, which kick-started a climb which also saw him win the World Super 2000 title last year and graduate to a full Peugeot Sport contract. It was a path Fisher also attempted to follow but, although he won a number of rounds and even led the series, he

“They (Cronin, Fisher and McCormack) have to be among the top six of Ireland’s best up-and-coming young drivers but, like Meeke, their pathway has been blocked by the all-important factor – money.”

Keith Cronin



“Ideally Cronin would like the chance to show what he can do in selected rounds of either the WRC2 or WRC3 series but admits finding the money is a massive problem.”

Kris Meeke

Marty McCormack

el and’s top talent? BY SAMMY HAMILL

Craig Breen

came up short in the chase for a prize which could have seen him contesting rounds of this year’s WRC2 series in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta. “At least 90 per cent of the problems I had last season were not down to me. They were mainly reliability issues which were outside our control but at the end of the day I didn’t get the results which could have changed everything,” he concluded. Even promising appearances in M-Sport and Proton S2000 cars have done little to enhance Fisher’s hopes of progressing in the WRC or ERC, leaving him facing the question: “do I want to carry on because I love the sport or because I want to see how far I can get?” It is a question which can be asked of Cronin and McCormack as well. In McCormack’s case he has gone back to where it all began, driving a Ford Escort in historic rallies, after trying to navigate his way up the Citroën ladder. He won the CRT titles in Ireland and the UK and nearly beat the French on their home ground as well as taking a couple of British junior titles and the British F2 crown as well. He seemed to have his toe firmly in the Citroën door only to have it slammed


in his face. Maybe, like Meeke, he just wasn’t French enough. But Cronin, in particular, has done everything he can to prove he has the talent to deserve a shot at the European or a WRC series. He has totally dominated the British Championship over the past four years, showing his versatility by winning the title in both four- and two-wheel-drive cars. He has not disgraced himself on his few Intercontinental Challenge opportunities and he put in an accomplished performance in difficult conditions to win the Galway International on his debut in a WRC Subaru. But where next? Ideally Cronin would like the chance to show what he can do in selected rounds of either the WRC2 or WRC3 series but admits finding the money is a massive problem. On the brighter side, the Pirelli and Billy Coleman Award prizes have helped Mark Donnelly and Daniel McKenna take a stride forward in their careers but then they too, no matter how successful at British Championship level, will hit this seemingly impenetrable wall. One ray of light for these aspiring Irish drivers could be offered by the everenthusiastic Raymond Moore, of the

Charles Hurst dealership, the driving force behind the Citroën Racing Trophy series here and across the water. He has been working on a plan to put together a team of three or four drivers to contest rounds of the WRC3 series in DS3 Citroëns, the idea being that they could significantly reduce costs by sharing all the expenses involved. And he is hopeful of securing support from Citroën for this ‘Irish team’. Names in the frame, as you expect, are thought to be Cronin, McCormack, Fisher and Donnelly plus perhaps Desi Henry and Jonny Greer whose father’s DGM company at Carryduff have the contract to supply and run Donnelly’s Pirelli prize DS3 in this year’s British Championship. “It is early days but I believe this is the only viable way of moving forward for our drivers who want to progress to a WRC level,” said Moore. “There can be significant savings for them by putting together a collective package and there has been, initially at least, a positive reaction. “Whether we can get it off the ground I’m not sure but we are trying to do something to get our drivers a toe-hold on the world scene.”





Enda McNulty took victory on Omagh MC’s Spring Rally

Gareth Sayers was second overall

Shane McGirr was top two wheel drive in third

Marty McCormack did some testing before the British Historic Championship season kicks off


oalisland’s Enda McNulty and Paul Sheridan won the Fivemiletown Spring Rally in their Impreza. McNulty took the lead on stage 3 after early leader Martin Cairns lost time and then had a great day-long battle with Gareth Gilchrist and Gareth Sayers. The Lancer crew eventually finished a career best 2nd, just 7 seconds down on the rally winner. Shane McGirr was the top 2wd car all day and he and Jackie Elliott claimed the final podium place in 3rd after another skilful drive in their Starlet. Martin Cairns led the rally after SS1 but he beached his Impreza on SS 2. This stage also claimed Seamus O’Connell when a stub axle sheared off his Escort while Daniel McKenna stopped with an electrical fault on his ex Alastair Fisher Fiesta. Frank Kelly, driving an Evo as his Escort wasn’t ready on time had a huge spin on stage two, dropping almost 30 seconds to the rally leaders. Fastest times on the following three stages was of little consolation when he slid off the road into retirement. Notable drives on the day included a great run again by young Jon Armstrong in 6th. Desi Henri really flew over the afternoon stages to claim 5th on his DS3 while Brendan Comiskey debuted his own brand new DS3 and got progressively quicker as the day went on. Marty McCormack had a strong drive to 4th as a warm up for his BHRC campaign.


Ruari Maguire comes to grief in his corsa

RESULTS 1 Enda McNulty/Paul Sheridan (Subaru Impreza) 29m 11s 2 Gareth Sayers/Gareth Gilchrist (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) 29m 18s 3 Shane McGirr/Jackie Elliott (Toyota Starlet) 29m 34s 4 Martin McCormack/Liam Moynihan (Ford Escort MkII) 29m 42s 5 Desi Henry/Phil Clarke (Citroën DS3R3) 29m 52s 6 Jon Armstrong/Martin Brady (Ford Fiesta R2) 29m 56s 7 Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Ford Escort MkII) 30m 09s 8 Oran Donnelly/Paul Hughes (Ford Escort MkII) 30m 23s 9 Anthony Cairns/Nial McGonagle (Subaru Impreza) 30m 39s 10 Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Renault Clio R3 Maxi) 30m 44s

Cousins on


ONEGAL cousins, Declan and Brian Boyle (Subaru WRC) took victory in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel Rally that marked the beginning of the Dunlop National Rally Championship. At the conclusion of the eight stage rally, they finished 34.8 seconds ahead of the similar Subaru of Welshman, Mel Evans and his Limerick co-driver, Sean Mullally. Wexford’s James Stafford/Amy Ryan (Darrian T90) were a further 19.1 seconds behind in third, they won the Dunlop “Drive of the Day” award. The Group N category was won by Monaghan’s Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (Mitsubishi) they finished 11.3 seconds in front of Josh Moffett/John Rowan (Mitsubishi). On the opening 13km stage, The Green Roads, Boyle set the pace and took a 6.5 second lead over Evans, who reckoned the tyre pressure was far too high, in addition, he had to cope with the dust that hung in the air after top seed, Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) progressed through the stage. Wexford’s James Stafford (Darrian), revelled in the dry conditions and slotted into an impressive third followed by Roy White, Kevin Kelleher and former triple Dunlop champion, Niall Maguire. In Group N, Josh Moffett, who was seventh overall, set the top time in the showroom category. On the second stage, rally leader, Boyle spun and stalled his Subaru and lost some ten seconds as Evans cut the deficit to 3.7 seconds. Evans, on his first rally since last summer, set the best time on 16.7 kilometre test near Borris in Ossory. Stafford remained an impressive third with Roy White also continuing his good run in fourth. Fifth placed Kelleher had a better run through the second stage as sixth placed Maguire found the reason for being 37.5 seconds off the lead when it transpired that the boost pipe for the ALS valve had come adrift. Steve Simpson (Subaru WRC), who replaced the starter motor at the service prior to the opening stage held seventh. James Belton (Subaru WRC) despite stalling twice at the start line of the opening stage, held eighth position. In Group N, a tremendous family battle ensued with the Moffett brothers Sam and Josh separated by a mere 1.1 seconds in favour of the former, who reckoned he was a little slow on the opening stage. In overall classification, they were ninth and tenth respectively. Elsewhere in Group N, Daniel Barry (Mitsubishi) was only a fraction of a second behind Josh Moffett with Alan Ring (Mitsubishi) also very much in contention. In the Modified category, with Stafford occupying third, Jonathan Pringle in his Mk. 2 Ford Escort, who was twelfth overall, was second in the category followed by late entry, Declan Gallagher (Toyota Starlet). On the repeat of the pair of stages, Boyle, with a more committed performance punched in a pair of

fastest times, it gave him a lead of 18.6 seconds with Stafford moving in to second although he reckoned his tyres began to lose traction towards the end of the fourth stage. Tyres were also the concern of Mel Evans, who was 3.5 seconds further behind. The Welsh driver stated that he should have stayed on the type of slick that he used for the opening pair of stages. Kevin Kelleher slotted his Subaru into fourth place with an untroubled run through both stages. Roy White (MG S2000) lost time on the third stage with a spin as sixth placed Niall Maguire, having replaced the boost pipe, was content with his performance. The Subaru WRC’s of overseas driver, Steve Simpson and James Belton were next in classification, the latter admitted he lacked confidence. Meanwhile, the Group N contest continued as a family affair with Sam Moffett extending his lead over his brother, Josh to 3.6 seconds. Daniel Barry bent the steering and rear suspension after his Mitsubishi hit a fence post that had been dragged out on to the road by a fellow competitor. Stephen Wright (Mitsubishi) was next but Alan Ring (Mitsubishi) lost considerable time when the boost pipe came adrift some three miles from the finish of the fourth stage. Jonathan Pringle (Ford Escort) clipped a rock on S.S. 4 but remained second in the rear wheel drive category. Meanwhile, having changed the suspension, Mark Jasper (Metro 6R4) was concerned about an engine oil leak and decided to withdraw from the event. Boyle was the quickest driver through S.S. 5 to move 22.8 seconds ahead of Stafford. On the sixth stage, Stafford lost second place when his Darrian clouted a back as he exited a square left close to Camross village. At the final service halt, Boyle who was equal fastest through S.S. 6 with Evans, led the Welshman by 24.8 seconds with Stafford a further 20.3 seconds behind in third. Although Kelleher retained fourth, his position was coming under pressure from Maguire, who had closed to within 1.3 seconds of the Clonakilty driver. Roy White (MG S200) was next followed by overseas drivers, Steve Simpson and James Belton. The final two places in the top ten were occupied by Sam and Josh Moffett. On Stage 5, Josh closed to within 1.8 seconds of his brother but on Stage 6, had to back off when he thought he had a differential issue, it transpired that there was mud in one of the rear wheels. Boyle went on to take victory from Evans and Stafford. Maguire reeled in Kelleher to secure fourth. Roy White (MG S2000) finished sixth followed by

the Boyle in Abbeyleix




Birr stages rally

by Martin Walsh PHOTOS: Seamus Counihan

Declan Boyle got his National Championship assault off to a great start with victory in Birr

John Stafford took his Darrian T90 to a very impressive third

overseas drivers, Steve Simpson and James Belton, both in Subaru WRC’s. Sam Moffett, despite a slight misfire in his Mitsubishi took victory and in the Motorsport Safety Group N category, the Mitsubishi of his brother Josh was a little wayward on the final stage, but still managed to finish runner-up in the category and tenth overall. The Historic category was won by Frank Cunningham/Robbie Ward (Ford Escort) and Robert Duggan/Mikie Galvin (Honda Civic) won the Junior section.

Niall Maguire lost a lot of time with turbo hose problems

1 D.Boyle/B.Boyle (Subaru WRC) 55m 50s 2 M.Evans/S.Mullally (Subaru WRC) 56m 24.8s 3 J.Stafford/A.Ryan (Darrian T90) 56m 43.9s 4 N.Maguire/E.Sherry (Subaru WRC) 57m 24.9s 5 K.Kelleher/M.Kelleher (Subaru WRC) 57m 27s 6 R.White/J.O’Brien (MG S2000) 57m 43.2s 7 S.Simpson/P.Walsh (Subaru WRC) 57m 56s 8 J.Belton/M.Glennerster (Subaru WRC) 58m 18.2s 9 S.Moffett/J.O’Reilly (Mitsubishi) 58m 33.7s 10 J.Moffett/J.Rowan (Mitsubishi) 58m 45s

HISTORICS 1 F.Cunningham/R.Ward (Ford Escort) 48m 42.6s 2 P.J.O’Dowd/J.Young (Talbot Sunbeam) 51m 49.6s 3 B.Richards/F.Curtin (Ford Escort) 53m 52s

juniors 1 R.Duggan/M.Galvin (Honda Civic) 46m 58.1s 2 D.Boyle/J.Boyle (Honda Civic) 47m 58.6s 3 B.Brady/S.Brady (Honda Civic) 49m 32.7s The Kellehers made a return to one National series and finished fifth in their Impreza WRC

Next round:

By Richard Lyons Monaghan (April 21st) Photos: Simon Rutter (EVO Magazine)




Millers Oils announce a technical partnership with Samsonas Motorsport Transmissions


illers Oils have formed a partnership with the well known and long established motorsport transmissions designer and manufacturer ‘Samsonas Motorsport Transmissions’. Following rigorous testing of the advanced Millers Oils Nanotechnologies transmission oils on their transmissions in the 2012 season, Samsonas Motorsport now officially recommends and endorses the use of Millers Oils transmission oils in all their designed and manufactured gearboxes. In 2013 both companies will share a closer technical partnership, assisting each other in developing and testing new products that will fulfil highly demanding motorsport applications. Customers of both companies will also benefit with this combined technical knowledge and support. Samsonas Motorsport activities are not only limited to the design and manufacture of motorsport gearboxes, they also actively participate in various rallies in the Baltic states throughout the year in their BMW M3 or Subaru Impreza rally cars. This provides ‘a live proving ground’ for both Millers Oils and Samsonas Motorsport. In addition to choosing Millers Oils transmission oils for their gearboxes, Samsonas Motorsport will also be switching all their manufacturing processes (CNC Machining/Component Treatment and Protection) to use Millers Oils products designed for metal machining applications. Millers oils products are now used during the manufacture of the components, protection, assembly and finally to lubricate and protect the finished gearbox, ensuring that the finished product meets the highest of standards and durability. The Samsonas Motorsport product range comprises of more than 20 different gear kits, and the main product is a dog engagement gear kit for Group N. The most successful SM products are gear kits for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and Evo 10, Subaru Impreza Sti, Honda and for many BMW’s. These gear kits are extremely reliable, with a precise and accurate gear shift. Euro M-Sport are the all Ireland distributor of Samsonas gearboxes,

Five-speed sequential gearkit for Honda Civic Type R


esponding to requests from numerous customers for a stronger, high performance affordable gearbox solution for the popular Honda Civic Type R, transmission specialist Quaife Engineering has launched an innovative 5-speed sequential gearkit for the EP3 and FN2 versions of the car (which also fits the grey import Integra DC5 and the US only Acura RS-X and TS-X models.) Carrying part number QKE8J, the gearkit is designed as a direct replacement for the standard six-speed H-pattern Honda transmission. Designed by Quaife to overcome the performance and road gearing compromises of the stock six-speed synchromesh gearbox, the QKE8J gearkit converts the factory Honda transmission into a faster shifting five-speed, dog engagement sequential unit featuring wider, stronger, close-ratio gears, ideally suited to the rigours of circuit racing, drag, rally and trackday use. QKE8J features a compact, drum style sequential gearchange mechanism and an open face dog design to ensure an ultra rapid, positive sequential gearshift that transforms the car’s performance, indeed Quaife has designed QKE8J to be fully compatible with electronic engine management systems to allow for near seamless full throttle ‘flatshifting.’

The Quaife QKE8J Honda gearkit features a replacement Quaife outer gearbox case incorporating an additional support bearing between 4th and 5th gear. By comparison, the original Honda design relies on bearing supports located at either end of the gearbox shafts – a potential weak point, particularly for cars running highly tuned K20A engines. QKE8J re-uses the original EP3/FN2/DC5 bellhousing half of the transmission casing, enabling the retention of the Honda clutch, differential, driveshafts and mounting points. The main advantage of this layout is that it allows for an easy installation into the EP3, FN2, DC-5, Acura RS-X and TS-X models without extensive additional modifications. Wide straight cut (spur) close-ratio gears minimise transmission losses and offer a choice of rally, race or drag race gearing. There is also the choice of a helical gearset for road and track day applications and the QKE8J Honda sequential gearkit comes supplied with a floor mounted gear lever and gearshift cable. A Quaife LED digital gear position indicator is also available as an optional cost extra.

New Nissan Skyline R32-34 GTR sequential six-speed


nother new gearbox from Quaife is the all-new heavy-duty six-speed sequential ‘box for the popular Nissan Skyline R32-34 GTR models. Incorporating a Nissan RB26DETT compatible bell housing and the same 90mm shaft centre structure of the proven QBE69G transmission allows the unit to be rated to at least 750bhp. Technical highlights include an integral in-line transfer assembly and an integral oil pump, while a drum type sequential gearchange system is allied to an open face dog design on both gear and drive disc, producing a positive, ultra-fast gearshift. A Quaife ATB helical gear limited slip centre differential is supplied as standard. Offering a choice of power loss reducing straight-cut (spur) or road suitable helical gear ratios (including overdrive options) and the option of either a right or left offset gear lever position, Quaife allows customers a wide scope for optimising the QBE91G unit to suit their individual requirements. Key features of the QBE91G Nissan Skyline R32-34 GTR heavy duty six-speed sequential gearbox include: • Sequential engagement with straight-cut or helical gears, rated to 750bhp. • Ultra fast gearshift with drum type sequential gear change mechanism. • Nissan RB26DETT bell housing available from stock – adapter kits available for many other vehicles, please call. • Digital gear position indication available. QBE91G is on sale now, exclusively from long-standing Quaife agent Special Vehicle Services.


Quaife debuts innovative prototype four-speed in-line sequential gearbox

“One of QBM1M’s groundbreaking features is its drop gear mechanism. Secured by circlips and situated beneath a ‘quick change’ cover, this system will enable users to easily alter the overall gearing to optimise performance.”


eading high performance automotive drivetrain specialist RT Quaife Engineering Ltd launched a state of the art prototype four-speed in-line sequential gearbox at the 2013 ASI show at the NEC. Codenamed QBM1M, it’s designed as a replacement for the Ford Rocket gearbox used for oval / short circuit racing and provides groundbreaking levels of user configurability in an ultra-compact, state-ofthe-art package which is rated to transmit up to 250bhp. An open face four dog design, four straight-cut gears and a barrel style shift mechanism will offer rapid gearshifts with a choice of gear lever locations. Combined with a lightweight, short design, these features will allow the QBM1M unit to facilitate the rearward positioning of the engine within vehicles that previously used a short tailcase Rocket gearbox, optimising overall weight distribution. One of QBM1M’s groundbreaking features is its drop gear mechanism. Secured by circlips and situated beneath a ‘quick change’ cover, this system will enable users to easily alter the overall gearing to optimise performance to suit their individual preferences. Six drop ratio choices, plus a huge range of 1st to 4th gear ratios means QBM1M users can fine tune gearing to suit circuits or even weather conditions in a matter of minutes. Key technical features of the prototype QBM1M four-speed sequential Rocketstyle gearbox with drop gears include:


Camillus Bradley is one of Quaife’s agents in Ireland and uses Quaife products in his cars.


• Ultra-fast sequential shift with barrel style change mechanism. • Wide range of base gear ratio sets and six drop gear options. • Quick change drop gears for easy overall gearing changes. • Ultra-compact short design. • Choice of gear lever locations. Gear Ratios 1st 3.31 – 1.60 Drop Gear Ratios 1.37 1.30

2nd 2.28 – 1.21 1.24

3rd 2.17 – 0.99 1.18

4th 2.05 – 0.79 1.14


Prototype testing of QBM1M is scheduled to begin shortly and the finalised production unit is scheduled to be on-sale later in 2013.





Keith McClelland and John Gordon


he first Irish Open Alltrak event was run over two days, with two rallysprints at Mondello Park. Former Hot Rod world champion Keith McClelland took victory in his Toyota Starlet by 37 seconds. The result was concluded by adding the times over the two events, and with class seven and eight cars excluded from the points, fifth overall on day one and first on day two was enough for McClelland to win. A dry start suited the race cars with Pat McBennett in a Lotus Elise going fastest on three of the stages to win by 36 seconds from Josh Moffett who piloted his home-made Extreme Buggy. Mark Courtney (Toyota Celica) was third. On the second day McClelland had an early challenge from Gerald Doherty, but afternoon rain didn’t play in his favour. Kyle Orr started well, but he came into contact with a bale, and later retired. The rallycross Vauxhall Nova of Vincent Deery was also showing promise with a stage win, but mechanical problems plagued him. Shane Bell’s Subaru Impreza was just

Mark Courtney


eight seconds off the pace on the second day with John Rock driving the same car to third. Class one was won by Patrick O’Brien (Vauxhall Corsa). He went fastest on both days, despite a spin on the final corner of day one, and a moment in the wet on day two. The class two trophy went to Michael O’Brien with wins on both days. David Stevenson won class three. On day one he was second behind the racing Fiat Punto of Gary Cunningham. The next day Stevenson claimed the class win despite a lack of gear options. Garth Neill, the former junior champion, had his debut in the 1400 category with second. Mark Woods’ Renault Clio proved the best of class four over the two days, while John Gordon’s new Ford Escort Mk2 finished on top of class five. Keith McClelland has become a regular winner of class six, and at Mondello Park it was no different. Class Seven catered for the buggies, and Gerald Docherty was the fastest while Shane Bell drove his Subaru Impreza to a class eight win.

l-r: Colin McAleese, John Gordon and Jonny Cargo Josh Moffett



Young guns get set for BRC action... WORDS & PHOTOS: WILLIAM NEILL/NEILL PICS

Desi Henry in action in Fivemiletown getting some practice for the BRC


f you want rally success, testing is part of the schedule. For some it lasts for days, even weeks, but look at Volkswagen - they did it for a year – and it paid off in just their second rally with victory for the Polo R in Sweden. A number of Ireland’s young stars competed on the non-championship Fivemiletown Rally in preparation for the British Rally Championship in 2013. Among the competitors were Pirelli prize winner Mark Donnelly, new-boy Jon Armstrong, young, but experienced Desi Henry and Daniel McKenna getting some front wheel drive practice. Fermanagh’s 18-year-old Jon Armstrong says this year “should be a real challenge” as he steps-up into the British Rally Championship using a Ford Fiesta R2. He competed on three of the British Rally Challenge events last year running on stages he is likely to see again this year. Second at the Ulster Rally was his best finish in the challenge events. As a result he was selected for the Castrol Young Charger award. Talking about the year ahead he said, “I know some of the stages, but I don’t know what my pace will be like. I still have a lot to learn.” And he may do. But he has the guidance of well-travelled Martin Brady, who has navigated in more cars than Armstrong has years. Brady has been paired with Ireland’s Daniel Barry, Darren Gass, Ray and Craig Breen, Roy White, Richard Cathcart and many more outside the island of Ireland. Brady said, “I am as excited to start into a season as I have ever been. I have been in many rally cars and competed in over 250 rallies. But Jon has something special. He has that last few percent that will mark him out as a very special talent. He drives with such speed, precision and maturity.”

Another BRC contingent, Mark Donnelly used a David Greer Motorsport Citroen DS3 as a course car for the Omagh Motor Club event with Dai Roberts’ guidance – the navigator of choice for the year ahead. Donnelly is well aware of the challenge. He said, “It certainly won’t be easy with some of the drivers that are entered, but we will give it everything.” He hopes to compete at a few rounds of the World Rally Championship in the Citroen Top Driver category installed this year. He said, “It would be a case of learning the rallies. World stages are more of an endurance event compared to a BRC rally, so we aim to get as many miles as possible.” He is unsure of what rounds he will tackle due to the common budget problem, but three trips are expected. Desi Henry used the day in Fivemiletown to get seat time with his new navigator Phil Clarke. Henry will return to the BRC this year. He said, “I hope to compete for the overall win this year. We have done it (BRC) for the past two years, so I hope I have gained enough experience to go for it.” Talking about the future he added, “From there it is hard to know what is next as it takes money to progress.” The test itself in his own words “went well” despite a differential issue that caused the car to feel unstable on fast bends. Henry finished fifth, four seconds ahead of Jon Armstrong. Billy Coleman award-winner Daniel McKenna is known for driving a Ford Escort Mk2. But he has moved to a front-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta R2 with the BRC and a career in mind. The pre-season rally did not go to plan as he only finished one stage due to throttle woes. Looking to the championship ahead he said, “I am

Martin Brady and Jon Armstrong pictured after last years Ulster.

18-year-old Jon Armstrong from Kesh and the very experienced Martin Brady will contest the BRC. They set a second fastest time in Fivemiletown.

coming from one Ford to a completely different Ford.” As a result he admits his driving style needs adapted, and he must “get used to” left-hand-drive. It would have been easy to mistake McKenna as a non-career driven racer in recent years when he concentrated on work commitments unlike the other Irish youngsters on the long path to rally stardom. But his switch of attitude could bring him into the mix with our other young talent. He has his eyes on the prize. A free year in the BRC is up for grabs for the Pirelli prize-winner. McKenna added, “To be taken seriously I had to move to front-wheel-drive.” Arthur Kierans, an experienced

and championship winning driver and navigator will be co-driving for McKenna. The confidence is high as both members of the crew have experience on some of the stages they will contest.

The MSA British Rally Championship dates: 6/7 April, Rally of North Wales 4/5 May, Pirelli Rally 31 May/1, June Jim Clark Rally 28/29, June Scottish Rally 23/24, August Rally NI 27/28, September Rally Yorkshire 18/19, October Rallye Sunseeker International


Patricia Laverty presenting Marshal of the year award to Paul Doherty and John Goddard

Stephen O’Neill receives the JLT/MSA Marshall of the Year award from Ronnie Trouton at the ANICC Awards


id Ulster based Magherafelt Motor Club has more awards to celebrate. One of its members, Stephen O’Neill was recently awarded the JLT Marshall of the Year award while the club itself was runner up in the Club of the Year category having previously won this award in 2011. The club also organises the Tour of the Sperrins rally which is a round of the Carryduff Forklift NI Rally Championship. This years event is back on closed roads and takes place on Saturday 11 May. It will be based in Maghera with closed road stages in the Sperrins. From its first tentative steps to the best club in the UK was far from a simple journey. Magherafelt & District Motor Club was first registered as a club in 1979. Like-minded enthusiasts got together to form a motor club with the aims of promoting club motorsport within the Magherafelt District Council area. Nine persons attended the first meeting and the club is very proud of the fact that three of the original founder members are still active within the Club today. The present calendar of events that the club undertake, are a far cry from the first tentative steps taken in 1979. A navigation school was set-up and a positive response resulted in both males and females of all ages attending school again. Lessons learnt were then put into practice with the members organising a local lanes rally in the early 80′s. This event ceased to run in it’s popular format in 1999 due to difficulties in obtaining and maintaining farm lanes and the Club felt this event had outgrown itself due to the vast number of spectators that attended on a Friday evening. In the late 80’s the Club inquired

about running a stage rally in the local forests. Permission was forthcoming and members were delighted to be given the opportunity to compete on their home ground. This event proved to be a great success, and was observed for upgrading and as a result has been a round of the Northern Ireland Championship for the last 12 years. Currently it is the only round of the championship that utilises both tarmac and gravel roads. This Club has many strings to its bow! Fund-raising has always been an important aspect of the Club’s work, since its establishment approximately £25,000 has been raised for various local charities. The social events run by the Club are well supported with the highlight being the Annual Awards Night and Dinner Dance. Numerous club members have won the local heat of the Safe Driver of the Year competition over the years, and the Club are pleased to help the local Road Safety Committee in running their events. The majority of club members are competitors themselves and this is reflected in the way the Club conducts its affairs, everyone associated with the Club is proud of the fact that the Club is known as a competitor friendly club! Members compete at all levels of rallying and indeed have won numerous titles over the course of the years. Most of the top 2-wheel drive competitors in Ireland are Magherafelt & District Motor Club members. Magherafelt And District Motorclub were also the runners up MSA Club Of The Year in 2012, this is the first time any club has both won MSA Club Of The Year and the runner up MSA Club Of The Year, something which Magherafelt and District Motorclub are very proud of.


More Top Awards for Magherafelt Motor Club


James Laverty received the novice Driver of the Year award

Lanes Rally CoC Bill Arbuthnot receives his CoC Award from Paddy Donnelly

Sunset Rally CoC Brigid Donelly receives her award from Arnold Arbuthnot

Mark O’Kane presents the Ciaran McMullan award to Aaron Mawhinney

Patricia Laverty presents the Tommy Hughes award to Brian Wilson

Patricia Laverty presents the Ladies award to Brigid Donnelly who was CoC for the Sunset Rally

Patricia Laverty presents the Ladies award to Brigid Donnelly who was CoC for the Sunset Rally

Davy McIlroy presents Patricia Laverty with Magherafelt Club Person of the Year award

Seamus McCusker and Ursula McMullan




Patricia Laverty and John Goddard receiving the runners-up Club of the Year award from Ronnie Trouton at the ANICC awards

Patricia Laverty (Club President) presents a Special Achievement award to Marty McCormack

Derek McGeehan received the Driver of the Year award

Ryan and Diane O’Hara received a special award for all their work on events

Patricia Laverty presents special awards to Mary O’Kane, Maurice Wilkinson and Bernie McKinnely who all sustained injuries during the Strictly Come Dancing Charity event that raised £14,000 for charity

McGeehan Motorsport would like to wish Magherafelt Motorclub continued success

Rally Car Preparation, Contact Derek, 07803 124379/02879 628479



208 R2 Specifications: Lightweight: The 208’s bodyshell is approximately 40kg lighter than that of the 207. Engine: Peugeot Sport has developed a brand new, naturally-aspirated, 1600cc engine based on the 1.6 VTi. This extremely modern powerplant comes with variable valve timing (VVT) for the intake and exhaust. The 208 R2 comes with the engine built, run-in and checked on the dyno.

The first two Peugeot 208 R2 rally cars arrived in Ireland recently. The first two cars were ordered by Richard Tannahill of Curtis Cars in Coleraine and Andrew Slattery of Slattery Peugeot in Galway PHOTO: Graham Curry

he new 208 R2 is powered by a 1.6 normally aspirated VTi engine developing 180bhp and has a five speed sequential transmission. Richard Tannahill has already competed in his car in Donegal though he says this year is primarily for testing and learning the car.

FIRST 208 R2

First 208 R2 arrives


Innovative gearbox: The gearbox is also new. The 208 R2 is equipped with a five-speed, manual, sequential gearbox with the lever mounted on the steering column. The gearshift system is identical to that of the 207 S2000 and represents a significant evolution for a car of this class in which the original gearshift is more conventionally mounted on the floor. The lever is much shorter and also positioned higher, while the shift is more direct and precise because it is in line with the gearbox. The system is much more rigid since it is shorter and lighter. The gearbox itself features new cooling with an air duct at the front of the car which channels air to fins built into the front part of the casing which help dissipate heat and cool the oil. Hydraulic steering: The 208 R2’s steering is specific, too. Peugeot Sport has switched from the standard car’s electric power steering to a hydraulic system, combined with a higher-ratio hydraulic rack. Single caliper brakes: The diameter of the brake discs is dictated by the regulations. To simplify the ordering and management of parts and to facilitate the conversion from gravel-to-asphalt spec Peugeot has opted for a single Alcon caliper plus standard, re-machined discs. Thanks to the floating caliper arrangement, the conversion from gravel-to-asphalt spec only requires the caliper mount to be changed. Clutch: Peugeot Sport specifies an 184mm Alcon plate for the R2.




New Escort parts at Camillus Bradley Motorsport


raperstown rally engineer Camillus Bradley has secured production of some new parts for Mark Two Escorts which will be very useful for anyone restoring or rebuilding one of the most popular rally cars in Ireland. The parts are the heater bubble section that sits below the windscreen and also inner wheel arches. Both parts are currently in stock at C Bradley Motorsport.

Forge Motorsport RS2000 Coolant Hose Kit


he two latest kits from the silicone boffins at Forge Motorsport are a response to a huge demand from the retro and classic markets to release a pair of racequality coolant hose kits for the popular and perennial Escort RS2000. Two separate kits have been designed, to cater for both the Mk1 and Mk2 models and each kit has been designed to replace all OEM hoses as a direct fit. Not only are all Forge hoses designed to withstand much higher pressures and temperatures than any original equipment hose, they are also available in three different colours, including the discreet looking black finish for those looking to create a real ‘OEM+’ engine bay, or red and blue for those that aren’t… The hose kits are just £90.00+ VAT for each complete kit. www.forgemotorsport.

Bilstein Early Porsche 911 B6 Sport Damper Upgrades (’72-90)


s you might imagine from one of Porsche’s most prolific OEM suppliers, Bilstein’s range of damper upgrades for ‘classic’ 911 models is rather extensive. Not only are all of the air-cooled models comprehensively covered, but three different damping rates are available on many models to allow owners to truly tailor (or tame!) the handling of their own car. Bilstein’s B6 Sport damper package helps to significantly enhance the dynamic abilities of the 911, working in harmony with either the OEM torsion bars or springs – as well as any quality aftermarket offerings. With the factory units now doubtless very tired and performing below par, the B6 Bilstein Sport units will help to create a ‘better than new’ feel in ride and handling terms. As the name suggests, the ‘Club Sport’ offers the most focused of upgrades, with damping rates aimed squarely at those who like to regularly venture out onto track. ‘Sportlich Strasse’ offers the perfect compromise for fast road driving and ‘Rallye 1000’ does exactly what it says on the box. Ideal as service replacements, or the perfect way to improve a cherished car, prices start at £162.00 + VAT per damper. For more details etc please click to www.bilstein. de or call Bilstein UK on 0116 247 8930.

Hollywood steals the show in Sweden


ore than 15 years after he last contested a rally in a rear-wheel drive car, Petter Solberg won the historic section of Rally Sweden, co-driven by his wife Pernilla in a Ford Escort MkII built by the company owned by his former co-driver Phil Mills. “It was a fantastic experience!” said the 2003 World Rally Champion. “Completely different to anything I have done before but incredible! To see all the fans on the stages and feel their support was an amazing experience. It wasn’t an easy rally for us – we were using organisers’ pace notes like everyone else and we also had a jammed gearbox – but in the end we were able to win, which means a lot to me and a lot to the team.” Petter will now concentrate on preparing for his first rallycross campaign this year, again running a car with his own team. As the popular Norwegian puts it himself: “This is my life”.



ebastien Ogier blitzed the opposition in Sweden with a start to finish victory to give the new VW Polo R WRC car its first victory. Monte Carlo Rally winner Sebastien Loeb was second in his Citroen DS3. Sébastien Ogier and Volkswagen’s win at the Rally Sweden will take a special place in the history books of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC): Ogier’s eighth success is only

RESULTS: Rally Sweden

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3hr 11m 41.9s 2 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC) 3hr 12m 23.7s 3 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 3hr 13m 06.4s 4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3hr 13m 12.5s 5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 3hr 16m 48.3s 6 Juho Hänninen/Tomi Tuominen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 3hr 17m 25s 7 Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 3hr 23m 07.3s 8 Henning Solberg/Emil Axelsson (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 3hr 23m 24.6s 9 Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 3hr 24m 46.6s 10 Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC (WRC2) 3hr 28m 08.9s

the second by a central European at the Rally Sweden since 1950. Up until now, the event had been won almost exclusively by Nordic drivers – Sébastien Ogier joins multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb as only the second winner of the “Swedish” to come from outside of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Loeb was the first to break the Nordic countries’ stranglehold in 2004. Speaking at the rally finish Ogier

said, “That is an indescribable feeling! We were screaming with joy in the car. It is simply incredible to claim the first victory for Volkswagen and the team at only our second rally. This is probably the greatest moment of my career. The Polo R WRC was perfect the entire time. The guys did a fantastic job of preparing the car. “So much can happen in Sweden. The conditions in the snow are so

difficult – winning here, as only the second central European and ahead of the best rally driver of all time, makes me enormously proud. We had to give 100 per cent, right down to the final day, because Sébastien Loeb was really going for it right through to the finish. Now I am just overjoyed!” Bangor’s Michael Orr partnered Yazeed Al Rajhi to victory in the WRC2 category.


rally sweden

Ogier takes first win for VW in Sweden


WRC points after Round 2 1 Sébastien Ogier 46 pts 2 Sébastien Loeb 43 pts 3 Mads Østberg 24 pts 4 Dani Sordo 15 pts 5 Jari-Matti Latvala 14 pts 6 Mikko Hirvonen 12 pts

Andreas keeps race pace with Skoda Andreas Mikkelsen marked a brief return to Skoda with a crowd-pleasing second place finish on the Lapland Arctic Rally in Finland.


riving the same Fabia S2000 that took him to victory on the 2011 Cyprus Rally, Andreas entered the event as part of preparations for his 2013 WRC programme with Volkswagen Motorsport. With the thermometer little more than -24c for most of the two-day Rovaniemi-based event, Andreas and co-driver Mikko Markkula faced a tough battle against a host of local drivers who started the winter classic with considerably more experience of the stages. With the event regulations favouring Group N cars, many of which enjoyed a 100bhp advantage over Andreas’s PrintSport-run S2000-specification Fabia, the double-IRC champion had to drive at his very best to stay ahead of the pack. Fastest times on four of the opening day’s five stages gave Andreas a slim lead at the end of the first leg. However, his advantage was short-lived when his Fabia S2000 picked up a puncture on the opening stage of the second leg. The loss of four minutes to change the tyre dropped Andreas and Mikko down to eighth. With nothing to lose, Andreas threw everything into the four remaining stages, clawing back time and giving the crowds plenty to cheer. At final service, leader Juha Salo was forced to change a gearbox, picking up time penalties that set up a thrilling final two stages. Despite pushing to the maximum on the fast, snow-covered stages, it proved a challenge too far for the young Norwegian, who was unable to overturn the time deficit. After 10 action-packed stages, Salo took victory by just 1m 37s. Despite missing out on top honours, Andreas thoroughly enjoyed being reunited with his Fabia S2000: “This has been a great rally and being back in the Skoda feels like coming home. We had to fight hard the last two days – some of the stages are crazy fast – but we have had great fun.”


Mick O’Brien and Greg Shinnors won the Moonraker Rally by eight seconds.




Mick takes the Moonraker




ick O’Brien driving his Ford Focus WRC judged the pace of the Moonraker Rally perfectly to win his first rally of the year. Winner of the first round of the championship Philip Morrow (Evo9) was second just eight seconds adrift with Josh Moffett (Evo9) third, 37 seconds behind Morrow. Michael Conlon (Escort) was tenth overall and best 2WD car while Dean Raftery (Civic) was best junior once more. Once again the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Forest Rally Championship served a nail biter on the Moonraker. The Moonraker was the second round of the Valvoline series and based in Lismore. On the previous round in West Limerick Morrow pipped O’Brien on the last stage to win by a second and a half. In Lismore, O’Brien was fastest out of the blocks with a time nine seconds better than Morrow. For the remaining four stages (stage six was cancelled) it was nip and tuck on every test but Morrow was not able to pull back the time loss on stage one. Josh Moffett had a great result in third with Martin Cairns fourth and Sam Moffett fifth. O’Brien and Morrow now share leadership of the Valvoline Championship. Pat O’Connell and Vincent McAree did not start and Owen Murphy (Evo9) retired on stage one with transmission trouble. Other retirees included Andy Fanning (Puma) with a broken shaft and Sean Benskin (Escort).

After winning round one, Philip Morrow had to settle for second.

Connor McCluskey wins in Wyedean


onnor McCloskey’s Pirelli-equipped Subaru Impreza WRC helped the former Northern Ireland rally champion clinch the victory on the recent Team GMF Wyedean Forest Rally, the first round of the BTRDA series. Based in the Forest of Dean, the Wyedean Forest Rally marked the opening round of the 2013 British Trial and Rally Drivers Association Rally Series (BTRDA). Using the Forest of Dean and Lower Wye Valley in Gloucestershire, this year’s event covered 44 miles and attracted a bumper number of entries. Co-driven by Francis Regan, Wyedean debutant McCloskey arrived at the event finish seven seconds clear of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 of David Wright.   “It feels fantastic to have won the Wyedean, especially since this was my first time competing on a forest rally for more than a year,” said rally winner McCloskey.


Photo by

Shane McGirr in his RWD Toyota Starlet.

1. Michael O’Brien/Greg Shinnors (Ford Focus WRC) 29m 31s. 2. Philip Morrow/Simon Morrow (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 29m 39s. 3. Josh Moffett/Jason McKenna (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 30m 17s. 4. Martin Cairns/Kevin Flanagan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 30m 26s. 5. Sam Moffett/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 31m 10s. 6. John Reid/Enda Shiels (Toyota Corolla WRC) 31m 19s. 7. Liam Regan/Damien Duffin (Peugeot 206) 31m 20s. 8. Niall Henry/John Rowan (Subaru Impreza) 31m 28s. 9. Enda McNulty/Paul Sheridan (Subaru Impreza) 31m 36s. 10. Mickey Conlon/Ciaran McPhillips (Ford Escort) 31m 59s.




Class winners Emmet Cronin/Adam Coffey (Ford Escort); Pascal O’Shea/Robert Hennessy (Ford Escort); Paul Fitzgerald/Pierce Doheny Jnr (Ford Escort); Hugh McQuaid/Enda Gerety (Ford Escort); Mickey Conlon/Ciaran McPhillips; Danny Creedon/Tom Foley (Subaru Impreza); Martin Cairns/ Kevin Flanagan; Sam Moffett/David Moynihan; Dean Raftery/Aileen Kelly (Honda Civic); Liam Regan/Damien Duffin.

Josh Moffett came home in third place.

Mickey Conlon was the top two wheel driver.

“For the remaining four stages (stage six was cancelled) it was nip and tuck on every test but Morrow was not able to pull back the time loss on stage one.”

Hyundai releases more WRC car details


yundai Motorsport has taken another significant step towards its forthcoming participation in the FIA World Rally Championship with the unveiling of its latest specification i20 WRC car at the Geneva Motor

Show. Hyundai is gearing up for its debut season in the challenging FIA World Rally Championship in 2014 with a year of private testing and development as it progresses towards a competition-ready WRC-specification of its i20 model. A first iteration of the car made its debut at the Paris Motor Show back in September but this latest model incorporates notable updates to the exterior bodywork and suspension. The upgrades are the result of collaborative work between Hyundai’s R&D facility in Namyang, Korea and the newly formed Hyundai Motorsport GmbH in Alzenau, Germany, headed up by veteran WRC man Michel Nandan. Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal, Michel Nandan commented: “We are still in the infancy of our WRC programme so the development curve for the car and team is steep. This latest version of the i20 WRC has centred on aerodynamics with the objective of improving the car’s cooling systems. A new rear wing and front spoiler give the i20 WRC a new external appearance while, under the bodywork, improvements have also been made to the suspension and chassis stiffness as we gear up for a more structured test programme later in the year. We have lots of important foundations to lay both with the car and the team at Alzenau. “Hyundai has returned to the World Rally stage to demonstrate its technical capabilities on one of the world’s most competitive stages. Our ultimate goal is to be victorious but we know that we have a lot of tough competition ahead of us. We will use this year to lay the solid foundations but hope to advance quickly as 2014 approaches.”




It’s Not The Boxing Day Rally... Eamon Byrnes up the UAC lanes...

PHOTOS: Richard Earney/


he Ulster Automobile Club’s “Its Not The Boxing Day” Rally was held on the 27th December 2012 and started at the Premier Inn, Lisburn. A total of 28 tests were planned for the day for the 74 competitors entered to take part in a mix of Classic, Modern and Modified Cars. A loop of 14 tests were laid out to be completed twice which included tests at Annahilt, Culcavy, Maghaberry and six tests within the Maze Prison site. At the half way point Eamonn Byrne had taken the lead in his Starlet from Robert Woodside Jnr in an MX5 a close 3 seconds behind. Will Corry in his Midget, who had been leading the rally earlier in the day slipped down to third, 13s behind leader Eamon. Eamonn went on the win the event overall with Will making up time in the Maze site to close the gap on Eamonn to just 3 seconds and move into second position ahead of 3rd place finisher Robert Woodside Jnr.

Eamonn Byrne Toyota Starlet 1st Overall Will Corry MG Midget 2nd Overall

Sam Wilson Mini 4th Overall

David Cochrane MG Midget 5th Overall


Robert Woodside Jnr Mazda MX5 3rd Overall

Andrew Bushe and Roy Dempster

Colin Earney 1972 Mini Clubman


Michael Reid MG Midget Water Splash


Frank Lenehan Toyota Starlet 6th Overall

Robert Woodside Snr Ford Escort Mexico

What is a Lanes Rally?


anes rallying is one of the cheapest forms of motor sport and can also be the most fun. Any two wheel drive car (or van) is allowed provided it is road legal, taxed and MOT’d. A Lanes Rally is a combination of Navigation and Driving Tests (Special Tests). Navigation is more straightforward than a night navigation rally, with the competitive element being the driving tests, also known as Special Tests. Tests are run on private lanes, with a mixture of tarmac, concrete, gravel, mud and grass. Tests start at one end of the lane, finishing at the other and pass through the occasional farmyard. Cars start at one minute intervals and must stop astride the finish line (same

finish procedure as autotests) No reversing is required. Bogey times are set at 30mph average, so there are some measures to try to make sure no-one beats them. These measures may include chicanes, slaloms, code boards and the occasional 360. Stop & Collect. On certain tests, competitors must stop and collect an item from an official. This same item must be presented to an official at the end of the test. Any competitors failing to present item to the official will be excluded from the event with immediate effect. The stop point will be marked on test diagrams. The item will be provided by the organisers

There will be no ‘recce’ or walking of tests, crews will complete them blind. All test information will be given in the form of diagrams, tulips and other information. Although there are sections on the public road, these are set to a very easy schedule (if you arrive early you will be able to wait for your due time) and navigation will also be straightforward.

Lanes rallies consist of 3 classes: Class 1 All Front Wheel Drive Cars Class 2 All Rear Wheel Drive Cars Class 3 All Historic Cars (first registered prior to 31.12.1981) Every competing car must have been

driven to the event, must be currently registered, taxed, insured, and where appropriate, in possession of a valid MOT certificate, which must be available for production at the event. Cars are not permitted to carry any advertising and are not permitted to carry any in-car cameras or film any special tests. No four wheel drive or turbocharged cars are permitted and tyres must be road legal and not gravel or forest tyres. The wearing of race suits, crash helmets, the use of intercoms and the carrying of spare fuel cans is prohibited, the penalty being exclusion for competitors found in possession or using any of the listed items.





All time Irish Porsche Champion Cathal “C.B.” Curley examines the Carrera 2.7 replica market...


he proliferation of replica Carrera 2.7 RS has reached record levels. What is the interest and fascination for such a car that has the trade turning out so many replica models? Undoubtedly, as the price of a genuine and original light weight Carrera RS now appears to be fetching a figure beyond two hundred and forty thousand pounds, the thought of owning such a car will remain only a dream for most of us. The original cars have joined the hallowed ranks of the Aston Martin DB5 and several desirable Ferrari models, a concept that was impossible to consider only a few years ago, hence the demand for replicas. So how good is a replica car? A question that is impossible to give an accurate answer to as each car is an individual with no equal match. However, a good benchmark would be an original car but who would be best qualified to judge an original as against a replica? Enter Cathal “C.B.” Curley, a man who has not only owned three such original cars, but has taken them to greatest success in British and Irish International rallying. Curley’s record is world class, beating the works Porsche achievements of Bjorn Waldegaard and matching those of Pauli Toivonen. The Carrera RS achieved eleven International Rally wins in Ireland and the Isle of Man. Over half of them were won by Cathal Curley and the remainder by a series of individual drivers, each of whom never managed to repeat their successes. A trawl of the internet turned up what looked liked a very good replica example at the Specialist Dealer Paul


“So how good is a replica car? A question that is impossible to give an accurate answer to as each car is an individual with no equal match. However, a good benchmark would be an original car.” One of the many winning celebrations on International finishes.

The original winning “C.B.” Curley Carrera RS.

Stephens in Essex. The challenge was put to Paul and without hesitation he agreed to host the showdown. Cathal was persuaded to interrupt his busy schedule, fly to England and part with his expert knowledge. Unfortunately this was not going to be a back to back test as no original car was available but the thoughts, feeling and memories of Cathal Curley drawn from the inner man, were to be pitched against what he was soon to drive. As we entered the Paul Stephens premises, the Carrera RS replica was there waiting and if looks were anything to go by, the stakes were going to be high. It’s thirty five years since “C.B.” Curley took a 911 to victory but his knowledge and understanding of this great icon has not diminished one inch. As the old pro that he is, he carefully walked around the car checking the fit and finish, the wheel sizes, trim and many other features. The car pretty well passed the visual appraisal both inside and out, and a thorough road test was all that remained. This car started out as a 1973 2.4E, had the engine upgraded to 2.7 with mechanical fuel injection and rear wheel arches extended to take the original size Fuchs alloys. The dash was completed with original type dials and period Recarro seats had been added At this point we were greeted by Paul who explained the thinking behind the replica and the type of customer he seeks to put in such a car. After many years of Porsche involvement, he has established himself as one of the UK’s leading authorities on the specialist Porsche market. Judging by the size and range of stock, he could easily cater for

Paul Stephens discusses the merits of replica cars with “C.B.” Curley.

A pensive “C.B.” reflects on the glory days.

the demands of even the most fanatical Porsche customer. To create an accurate retro scene the registration of the original C.B. winning car was produced. As we fixed the plates I saw a sudden rush of emotion race across Cathal’s face. He paused, stood back, and in a silent moment looked at AUI 1500 and it all came flooding back – the glory days, the silver trophies, the champagne and the winner’s rostrum. His eyes watered slightly as he gazed upon the ghost of a faithful old friend and the memories of his most favourite car of all time. Paul handed over the keys and we hit the road with the legendary “C.B.” Curley once more at the wheel of a Porsche Carrera RS for this historic run. For him, it was like putting on a cosy old pair of favourite slippers as he edged



The stunning PS Autoart recreation.

behind the wheel. He was instantly familiar with the car as he wrestled with non-power steering but with the revs up and the twisty Essex country roads beckoning, it was déjà vu! It would be foolish to ignore the considerable passing of time since this car was in its heyday and judgements had to be made accordingly. It was indeed an old car, absent in modern comforts but rich in character. It had the feel of the original car and much of the charm but was it a winner? C.B. reported that the handling was firm and without drama but I expect that comment comes easy from a man who has won a dozen international rallies, all be it over quarter of a century ago. Deep in the countryside and after the first test session it was time to stop for a pub lunch. It was there that Cathal

The waiting replica Carrera RS at Paul Stephens.

reflected on the car and its place in the modern world. He freely confesses to not being in the first flushes of youth and this replica would have to appeal to a younger man, but that was no excuse for not having a thrilling run. During his Porsche rally days and for many years beyond, C.B. had a standing order for a new Porsche 911 every year. Consequently he was able to measure each and every improvement as the new model arrived. Back in his winning days “ABS and PSM” were passed from the brain to the foot in a micro second to get the maximum from the 210 bhp engine. As you would expect from a car of this vintage you can’t draw on all the latest driving aids so you need to be on the metal all the time. After lunch the blood sugar was high and revved up for another run. During the break there had been a slight skiff of rain, just enough to wet the road for the replica Carrera RS to have a little tail wobble when the power was applied into a slight bend. As you would expect of the old master, Cathal quickly held the curve, red lined to the next gear and promptly headed down the road. The replica RS is without question a driver’s car. Although recreated in Touring mode, this is not the car you would likely do breakfast in Calais and dinner in Nice with. It’s for high day and holidays with a quick dose of adrenaline. You will be working all the time as the car requires sharp and positive handling but it has undoubtedly the feel of the original car. As we pushed the car hard this could have been one of the

many special stages in Ireland with the replica recreating the excitement which only these cars can. Curley instantly reconnected with the Porsche handling characteristics and set the car up perfectly, with measured precision, as he powered through each bend. With a faultless performance from the “old master “it was a quick sprint back to the safety of the Paul Stephens Emporium of Motoring delight. Back to the test and what was the verdict on the replica? At a cost representing about a fifth of the price of what an original Lightweight car would cost today, it scores high in value for money but as a driver it is what it is, a car from almost forty years ago. Paul Stephens describes any replica car, no matter the make, the sum of donor components and that’s what dictates the result. Perhaps, the greatest pleasure of this car may not be in the driving, but possibly the ownership. It has a presence and a dynamic that stirs the emotions of original car’s undisputed historic past. This example is not Paul Stephens’s product but one he has traded. However, before you get over excited, put away your cheque book. This car is sold and winging its way to a collector in the Far East. As an alternative, Paul introduced a current PS Autoart conversation, undertaken by the company. It was nothing short of a masterpiece. This car was originally a 964 which had the retro treatment. The finish of the interior, the power steering, the lush paint work and the overall result was hugely impressive. As Paul advised, these cars are for individuals who need something different, a direct connection with the past yet at the same time retaining the sportiness and luxury of a modern day Porsche. He has created his own specialist brand, PS Autoart, and whilst not a totally reconstructed car, it is as new, but with all the character of a preimpact bumper car. With present day Porsches at the zenith of engineering excellence, who possibly would want to take such a step back in time with a car, replicating a product of nearly forty years ago? The answer – many, many people. The charm and place in history of these cars is almost totally irreplaceable but it can be replicated for those who want to wallow in this very unique place of motoring history. It is without doubt “a thrilling experience” and that’s the word of an expert. Special thanks to Paul Stephens of PS Autoart and Cathal “C.B.” Curley.




Nothing ‘KAC’ handed about this Sunbeam PHOTOS: GARY JENKINS


allyclare’s Mark Quinn knows his Sunbeam Lotus. He is a former owner of KKV 444V, Henri Toivonen’s 1980 Lombard RAC Rally winning Talbot. ‘KKV’ was too precious to use or abuse so he sold it to a collector in England and bought a fully prepped shell that had been started by an enthusiast who was unable to finish it. The car, with a works style numberplate, KAC 999V, came with a back axle and front suspension as well as


some engine and transmission parts so Mark headed off to England with a trailer and a set of wheels and brought the Sunbeam Lotus back home. The shell was already arched and had a roll cage fitted so Mark sent it off to Nigel Magee’s bodyshop who sprayed it in works Peugeot Talbot colours similar to that of Stig Blomqvist’s works car. The engine went over to works engine builder Phil Davison of Revic Engines who rebuilt the 2.2 twin 48

carburettor powerplant which drives through a dogleg first ZF full race gearbox. Stephen Mawhinney fitted the engine and gearbox and the other rally essentials while Ronald Montgomery looked after the electrics. The car also has a heated front screen and perspex rear windows. It is as close to original as a Sunbeam Lotus could be and the car made its competition debut on the Eurocables Rally at Kirkistown with Stephen Mawhinney driving while Henry Campbell was in the co-drivers seat.





C a lendar MARCH 2013 16/17 West Cork Rally 23/24 Wexford Hillclimbs 24 Midland Stages Rally 30 Triton Showers Easter Stages Rally

APRIL 2013 6/7 Rally of North Wales 6 Race Meeting, Kirkistown 7 Circuit of Kerry Stages 13 Croft Hillclimb, TSCC 13/14 Race Meeting, Mondello 14 William Loughman Memorial Forestry Rally, Carrick on Suir 20 Sprint, Kirkistown, Larne MC 21 Monaghan Stages Rally

Conor on the way to the top


anbridge’s Conor McPolin typifies the Conor McPolin aspirations of most karting drivers after he scooped the winter series at Kirkistown in the Mini Max class. And with an Ulster Championship title also behind him then 2013 promises to be an encouraging year. Most kart racing drivers here start young and McPolin was no different after starting out in Cadets. After winning the Irish Kart Gran Prix in his last year in Cadets after taking a calculated risk on tyre choice then McPolin was definitely showing his worth and ready to move on. Last year saw Conor move into the much faster Mini-Max class, but the learning continued and the discipline from starting very young in Cadets paid off. Conor’s consistency really paid off last year when he won the tough seven round Ulster Championships, managing to fend off Jack Graham and Samuel Harron in the process. That result also earned him the UKC’s most improved junior special award. Over the winter though Conor has continued his ‘training’ and with a dominant win in the final round in February took the series at Kirkistown and as a result will no doubt be worth watching out for this season.

Dynes set for European Oval season


ieran Dynes from Clonmore in Tyrone will compete in the 2013 European Late Model Series Championship which kicks off at Easter at Warneton in Belgium. Dynes will use a new car, a 5.7 litre V8 Chevrolet in the ELMS Championship which consists of 14 rounds at 11 meetings in France, Belgium, Holland and Lydden Hill, England. Kieran has secured sponsorship from Liverpool based Estate Agents Andrew John. Dynes has competed in the ELMS for a number of seasons scoring many podium finishes but this is the first year he has committed to a full series.

Kieran Dynes

Nesbitt on his bike! The team from Cross Refrigeration, l-r: Randall McAllister, Andrew Nesbitt and Daphne Greer getting some practice before they left for Cambodia


ormer Irish Tarmac Rally Champion Andrew Nesbitt recently swapped his helmet and racesuit for cycling shorts as he cycled from Saigon in Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia for charity. Andrew and a number of


colleagues from the Cross Group, Armagh joined colleagues from Mitsubishi Electric on a charity challenge “The Mitsubishi Electric Big Bike Trek for Save the Children”. The challenge is a marathon cycle in Vietnam & Cambodia to raise some much needed funds for

Save The Children. Andrew Nesbitt (Group Managing Director), Daphne Greer (Financial Controller) and Randal McAllister (Air Conditioning Sales Director) cycled from Saigon in Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia over a six day period covering

a distance of 500 km in 35 – 40 degrees heat! Andrew Nesbitt commented, “I’m more used to 4 wheels, from my rally career, so 2 wheels and no engine is quite a change for me!” The trip was not all peddling though and the group took in floating markets, hidden temples and an historic 12th Century bridge, as well as visiting the sombre Cambodian Killing Fields. The group also visited Skun in Cambodia, which is known as Spiderville because of its association with tarantulas and its culinary speciality of fried spider. If you would like to donate please visit

Mourne Rally on closed roads


losed roads will be used to stage this year’s Mourne Rally in an attempt to boost entries after the 2012 event struggled to gain its usual healthy entry, writes William Neill. The re-mapped rally will see

competitors visit stages in the Newtownhamilton, Whitecross and Loughgilly area on Saturday June 8. Des O’Loan from Newry Motor Club said, “The club is expecting a strong entry. The rally organisers footed the bill for last year’s event, but see the

new format as a chance to bring more competitors back to the Newry area for the fifth round of the Northern Ireland rally series.” The rally was previously held on closed roads in 2010, and secured almost 90 cars. But the number of

road closing orders allocated to motorsport is limited and shared across the country, so the last two Mourne events were held on the mountains in the Slieve Gullion area. Commended for their efforts on making the 2012 rally run despite the economic pressures on an expensive sport, the Newry event secured a road closing order that will increase the event’s popularity. The format has already secured interest from some of the event’s local competitors including Jim Feenan (Ford Escort Cosworth), David Armstrong (Ford Escort Mk2), Denis Patterson (Ford Escort G3), and Christopher Simms (Ford Escort Mk2). Fans will have a chance to see the cars at the safety check at the premises of event sponsor, Modern Tyre Service in Carnbane Business Park from 6.30pm on Friday June 7 – the evening before the main event. The following morning cars will cross the start line at 9.30am at Modern Tyre Service and drive to the first stage, Black Hill, starting shortly after 10am. The other two stages (each completed three times) are Deadman’s Hill and Ballydougherty with service in Loughgilly. The rally will finish at the Sheepbridge Inn at 3.50pm.


The last Mourne Rally held on the roads produced some spectacular action. Pictured are Darren Gass and Sean Mullally near Cladymilltown on the way to victory in 2010 using a Subaru Impreza. Picture: William Neill/NeillPics


Hopkirk book makes record price

Paddy Hopkirk and Brian Dennis who bought his book at a charity auction


addy Hopkirk was guest of honour at the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs Annual Awards Dinner Evening at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells recently, where he presented prizes in the charity auction. One of his books “The Paddy Hopkirk Story: A Dash of the Irish” made a record £650, which will be donated to SKIDZ. Paddy donated the entire final print run of his book “A Dash of the Irish” to SKIDZ, a charity which helps provide automotive training to disadvantaged young people.  The charity benefits from all of the funds raised from selling signed copies of the book. Paddy said: “SKIDZ is a great organisation for educating young people to become hands-on vehicle technicians and I am honoured to be one of their Patrons along with Ross Brawn – this is a record price for my book.” Plans are also progressing on the 2014 Paddy Hopkirk Gala Dinner on February 22nd, 2014 at the Titanic building in Belfast. It now has its own facebook page,




Rapid rise to the top


arSport readers of a certain age may remember the last Skoda to wear the Rapid badge – a twodoor coupe with a rear-engine, rear-drive layout, the last Rapid arrived in 1982, powered by a modest 1.3-litre fourcylinder engine. Today, the 1982 Rapid is considered to be a collectors’ item, with values rising considerably over recent years. With just 48 still on the road in the UK, its status as a future classic is assured. The first Škoda to wear the Rapid badge was actually launched in 1935. Back then the Rapid was introduced as a mid-range car, between the entry-level Popular and Superb. It was designed around what was then an extremely

modern platform that featured a centre tubular chassis and rear swing half axles. The original Rapid was a very successful car, its modern successor looks set to follow suit. Skoda is riding high at the minute, with record sales recorded in both the UK and around the world. With the launch of the new Rapid, Skoda is sure to have another record breaking year in 2013. The Rapid offers great space for five adults, high specification and is a great car to drive. |It is also the first production Skoda to feature the brand’s new design styling. Four petrol and one diesel engine are available in the Rapid range, mated to five or six-speed manual transmissions

or a seven-speed automatic DSG. The Rapid offers great value for money and low running costs with CO2 emissions starting from 114g/km of CO2 (on the 1.6-litre TDI CR 105PS) and insurance ratings starting as low as 7E (for the 1.2-litre 75PS). With Benefit in Kind (BIK) ratings from only 14%, the Rapid is expected to provide a boost to the brand’s rapidly expanding fleet sales. On-the-road pricing starts from £12,900 for the Rapid 1.2-litre 75PS in entry level S trim, rising to £17,850 for the Rapid 1.6 TDI CR 105PS in flagship Elegance grade. The Škoda Rapid comes with a high level of standard equipment. Every model

gets remote central locking, curtain airbags, daytime running lights, rake/ reach-adjustable steering wheel, heightadjustable driver’s seat and electric front windows. SE trim adds 15-inch alloy wheels, body coloured door mirrors and handles, air-conditioning, Maxi-dot trip computer, MDI (Multi Device Interface), a leather steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity. Buyers opting for range-topping Elegance models benefit from 16-inch alloys, cornering front fog lamps, cruise control, height-adjustable passenger seat, rear electric windows, chrome interior detailing and a four spoke multifunctional steering wheel.

208 GTi on the way... P

eugeot’s latest GTi model, the 208 GTi will arrive here in April. The three door model will be powered by a 200bhp 1.6 petrol turbo engine giving a 0-60mph time of 6.8 seconds with maximium torque of 275 Nm at 1700rpm. Designed to appeal to driving enthusiasts with a perfect blend of performance and style, the 208 GTi will prove to be an exciting addition to the 208 range. Peugeot now announces prices for the eagerly awaited new 208 GTi, from only £18,895. Following the successful launch of the new 208 in June 2012, Peugeot has rejuvenated the supermini car segment. The 208 has been a great success and the 208 GTi will deliver even stronger desirability with exhilaration, performance and panache. Prices start at £18,895.




Pat Burns tries a 350bhp 171mph twin turbo Alpina BMW that manages 45mpg...

The Power and the


You probably won’t have heard of Burkard Bovensiepen, but you will have heard of Alpina BMW. The range of finely engineered and developed Alpinas are now available in Ireland for the first time through Bavarian Garages in Belfast, part of the Sytner Group.


he Alpina philosophy is based on a combination of sports performance with limousine comfort, Alpinas are not cars that will shake, rattle or roll, but cover miles effortlessly not only at speed but with stylish comfort. Back to the history lesson first. In 1964, Burkard Bovensiepen was a student working in the family engineering business, Alpina, which at the time made typewriters. Young Burkard was a big BMW fan and in his spare time developed a set of twin Weber carburettors for his BMW 1500. This proved to be so successful that he was soon taking orders for the conversion from other BMW enthusiasts. Produced in his father‘s precision components factory, the engines

produced with Alpina dual-carburettors received praise not only from the automotive press, but also from BMW and its legendary sales boss, Paul G. Hahnemann. This success story blossomed and in 1965 the Alpina tuning division was set up in Kaufbeuren where it remains today. The company logo, consisting of a pair of twin carbs and a camshaft was becoming a familiar sight on BMWs. In the late sixties, Alpina started racing in Touring Cars – with considerable success. Notable drivers such as Derek Bell, James Hunt, Jacky Ickx and Niki Lauda all drove for the team during that period where the cars cleaned up in the European Touring Car Championship. Alpina developed the lightweight BMW

3.0CS before moving to the Alpina BMW 3.5CSL which raced against the works Jaguar teams, winning right up to 1977 when the outfit announced it was quitting racing to develop performance road cars. Alpina’s first road car was the B6 2.8. At the time, BMW only sold 4-cylinder 3 Series models, but this car featured the 2.8 six cylinder unit from the 5 Series. This set the trend for Alpina, developing BMWs with powerful engines but which were still comfortable to drive. Alpina’s ‘trademark’ blend of sporting character and limousine-like comfort has continued right up to the present and one of its current models, the D5 Bi-Turbo exhibits all the Alpina traits of speed and comfort but also surprisingly impressive economy.

Alpina base the D5 on the 535 and not the M5. The brakes and suspension are based on the 7 Series while the twin turbo engine produces 350 bhp and a phenomenal 700Nm of torque at just 1500rpm. It drives through an eightspeed automatic transmission and BMW’s adjustable electronic dampers have been reconfigured for its combination of 20” wheels and non-runflat tyres. Incidentally, the wheels of the D5 still bear a great resemblance to the original Alpina wheels of the seventies. Alpina are of the opinion that the strongest wheels are those of twenty spokes set at 18 degrees and this style has been a feature of Alpinas for the past forty years. Look closely at an Alpina rim and you will notice the absence of a tyre valve.




Alpina machine out one of the spokes of the wheel so the tyre valve can be hidden behind the centre wheel trim... It is this kind of attention to detail that set Alpinas apart. Inside the car is the smell of lavoline leather, the same as used on Rolls Royce. Alpinas have their own dashboard which includes a speedometer that reads up to 200mph as this diesel flyer can hit 171mph on an autobahn, making it quicker than an M5. The seats, mats and dashboard all feature the Alpina logo. Underneath the bodywork is where most of the work takes place. The suspension features Alpina specified springs, with increased camber at the front and subtle changes to the toe-in which does away with a purely sportsorientated set-up for comfortable agility and precise turn-in. The high performance Michelin Pilot Super Sports are 255/35 ZR20 front and 285/30 ZR20 rear and are non-run flat as non run-flats offer a more comfortable ride due to having a more compliant sidewall. To obtain the contradictory demands for comfort, everyday usability and dynamic handling, the D5 Bi-Turbo is equipped with electronically-adjustable dampers (Variable Damper Control). This system has been artfully calibrated by Alpina and features pronounced Comfort+, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings, allowing the D5 Bi-Turbo transitions effortlessly

from cultivated luxury to thoroughbred sportiness. The amount of traction control is reduced through progressive settings... The combination of state-of-the-art engine and transmission technologies allow the D5 Bi-Turbo Saloon to achieve impressive performance figures: 0-62mph in 5.1s and a top speed of 171mph. Excellent braking ability is provided in the form of ventilated discs, 374mm front and 345mm rear. The engine features direct injection and two turbochargers with variable turbine geometry. Technical ingenuity in combination with small series production has allowed Alpina to effectively derestrict the air flow between the air intake and the air filter housing - thus allowing the engine to breathe more freely, resulting in improved performance and a more lively character. The D5 also has an uprated cooling system and new exhaust manifolds fitted to improve both performance and a deep throaty sound from the exhaust, a rarity for diesel engines. Despite all this trickery, 48mpg is achievable making it a great choice for both private and business users. Faster than an M5, better specified, more comfortable and cheaper to run, it has to be a serious contender in the executive express market. Former rally driver Tony Gaffney is the man to talk to at Bavarian...

“Faster than an M5, better specified, more comfortable and cheaper to run, it has to be a serious contender.� CarSport



In the first of a new series, we look at the latest developments and technology behind tuning modern vehicles...


David Wishart, Torquetronix


hip tuning or remapping refers to changing or modifying an EPROM chip in a car or other vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU) to achieve better performance, whether it be more power, cleaner emissions, or better fuel economy. The days of manually pulling and desoldering or replacing EPROM chips from a factory ECU are long over. In most cases a “chip” for your modern car is nothing more than a software upgrade that’s reflashed onto your ECU’s memory via the onboard diagnostic (OBD-II) port. Modern ECUs can be tuned by simply updating their software with recalibrated (remapped) software. ECUs are a relatively recent addition to the automobile, having first appeared in the late 1980s. As technology advanced, so did the electronics that go into cars. The ECU in a modern automobile, together with advanced engine technology controls many aspects of the engine’s overall performance. Between the car manufacturer and ECU supplier, each system is custom designed and the software calibrated for each vehicle. Model year differences and factory software updates mean that the tuner is in a constant battle to develop tuning solutions for each ECU type and also to reverse engineer around the ever increasing complexity of the hardware and software.


Performance increases Performance gains are realized by optimising various engine parameters such as air fuel ratio, ignition, injection timing fuel pressures and boost levels etc. Most manufacturers tune for optimum emissions and reliable engine duration under any environmental condition such as extreme

temperature or altitude conditions whilst allowing for the use of poor quality fuel and servicing, this greatly limits performance accordingly. Tuning on an individual basis optimises the ecu calibration for individual requirements and the use of good quality fuel and proper servicing. Turbocharged petrol or diesel vehicles can have the requested and

allowable boost levels raised typically gaining around 30% extra power and torque with normally aspirated vehicles gaining between 10 to 15% in power/ torque. A properly tuned ECU will result in transformed performance, driveability, and improved fuel consumption and can make the difference between a good car and a great car!



Double ANICC Motorsport Award winner Steven Ferguson (right) with his father Norman.



aving won all three autotest championships for the second year in a row, British, Irish and NI Autotest Champion Steven Ferguson lifted the ANICC Motorsport Award for the second time at the ANICC prizegiving night. All motorsport disciplines were represented at the awards at the Armagh City Hotel, from autotesting and racing, to hill climbing and rallying. One positive was the number of young competitors on hand to receive trophies including Ben Crealey, the winner of our newest Championship, the Formula 1000 Juniors where 14 to 17 year olds compete against each other in specially prepared 1000cc cars. On hand to present many of the awards was special guest Joe Corcoran, President of Motorsport Ireland. Together with presentations honouring all the ANICC Championship winners there were also a few surprises in store as well, and not only for competitors. The ANICC presented a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award to Bill Patterson highlighting special recognition for his services to motorsport in Northern Ireland which included him attending every car race at Kirkistown being a former competitor, organiser and steward. Bill said: “Receiving the ANICC

Lifetime Achievement Award has come as a shock as everything that I have done in motorsport has been a real pleasure and an honour”. In winning the 2012 Northern Ireland Motorsport Award, Steven Ferguson created history as the first

person to receive this award twice in consecutive years. The Award is voted for by members of the media, local motor clubs and ANICC Council members and is regarded as the number one prize in Northern Ireland motorsport. To receive it

in consecutive years shows how much the motorsport community in Northern Ireland respect the achievements of Steven Ferguson who is a triple Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland Autotest Champion and a double British Champion –

Steven Ferguson with friends and team mates from autotesting




again all in successive years. Other nominees for the award included F1 designer turned television pundit Gary Anderson, British Rally Chapionship co-driver Marshall Clarke, Pirelli Star Driver Mark Donnelly, Tarmac Champion Darren Gass, Irish Forestry Champion Garry Jennings, RAC Rally winner Marty McCormack and rally engineer and runner-up in the NI Rally Championship Derek McGeehan. Steven said: “Receiving this award once was a shock for me but to receive it for a second time is fantastic and I am very grateful to everyone who voted for me. It would not have been possible to compete at the level I did without the support of my family and I would thank them together with all the Clubs and marshals who work so hard to run events”. Tandragee’s Ian Howard received

the ANICC Clubman of the Year award. He is co-ordinator of the ANICC Sprint Championship, a motorsport engineer of repute and a prolific competitor in his own right campaigning a Mini. Speaking on behalf of the ANICC, Chairman Henry Campbell, said: “This has been a tremendous evening for Northern Ireland Motorsport. This small country has the ability to produce some exceptional driving talent and in 2012, many achieved their personal goals and have been recognised on the International stage.” “Whilst I also congratulate Steven Ferguson on being selected for the 2012 ANICC Motorsport Award, I feel it is important to offer support and congratulations to all of our award winners. I wish everyone a safe and successful year’s motorsport during 2013.”

Magherafelt MC’s Steven O’Neill receives the MSA Marshall of the Year award from Ronnie Trouton Sprint Class winner Andy Hawthorne with Bill Adair



NORTHERN IRELAND FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP 2012 FF1600 Champion: Ivor McCullough McGRADY INSURANCE JUNIOR 1000 RALLY CHALLENGE IRELAND 2012 Champions: Ben Crealey and Liam Regan McGRADY INSURANCE N.I. NAVIGATION RALLY CHALLENGE 2012 Champions: Andrew Hughes and Kerry Moreland-Moore

Roger Gage receives the BMRC award from John Cunningham

Ronnie Trouton presents Steven Ferguson with the MSA Autotest trophy

Ronnie Trouton presents Steven Ferguson with the MSA Autotest trophy

Junior Champions Ben Crealey and Liam Regan



Roger Gage and Bill Adair


The Motorsport Marshal Partnership winners receive their award from Joe Corcoran of Motorsport Ireland

The ANICC presented a lifetime achievement award to Bill Patterson of 500 MRCI

Ian Howard, Sprint Champion with Bill Adair

Winners of the Northern Ireland Navigation series Neil Andrews and Kathryn Vaux with Brian Crawford and Joe Corcoran

Co-ordinators of the ANICC Championships




Mark Berry of Millers Oils, Hillclimb Champion Seamus Morris and John Rice of Jem Oils

Clubman of the Year Ian Howard with Joe Corcoran and Nicky Moffitt Mark Berry, Graham Thompson and John Rice

Northern Ireland Group N Champion Trevor McIlroy with David Greer of Carryduff Forklift



Second in the Juniors: Alan Purdy and Kyle White with Joe Corcoran (centre)

ANICC AWARDS Mervyn Gregg and Harold Hassard

Derek McGeehan (2nd NI series) with Davy Greer

Davy Greer and Ray Braimner

Averill Morton and Davy Greer

Drew Stewart and Davy Greer

Davy Francis and Bill Adair

Adrian Mulholland receives his Hillclimb award from Mark Berry of Millers Oils and John Rice

Henry Campbell with Bill Adair




Whoosh Family Robinson BY WILLIAM NEILL


Noel Robinson and the next generation of Robinson race drivers

2013 Formula Libre Dates announced The 2013 Magic Bullet/ Breezemount Motorsport calendar has just been announced and this years series for the fastest cars in Ireland will be fought over seven race meetings at three different tracks – Kirkistown, Mondello and Bishopscourt. The season kicks off on April 13/14 at Mondello Park. Among the drivers returning to the series is Aidan Bagnell, Dan Daly in his ex-Ken Williams car, Philip Shields and Stanley Watson. A newcomer to the series is former rally driver Jonathan Babs from Lisburn who will drive a Formula Renault Taatus.

2013 Magic Bullet Calendar April 13/14 - Mondello - IMRC May 11/12 - Bishopscourt - BARC/ Leinster (F2 cars only) May 25 - Kirkistown - 500 June 22 - Kirkistown - 500 July 6/7 - Mondello - Kildare August 31 - Kirkistown - 500 Sept 14/15 - Mondello - Leinster


otorsport is a family occasion. Many have been steered into the sport by those closest to them who have competed, watched or worked in four-wheeled recreation. For former racing champion Noel Robinson his childhood was spent watching his father (Brian Robinson) competing in stock car and hillclimb events. The glint in his eye was sparked when he started junior racing aged eleven at his local stock car track – Shamrock Park, Portadown. Noel explains, “Racing has been in our family for years. My uncles – Noel, Robert and John – all raced, and then there was my dad.” While keeping an eye on his own young children who seem keen on racing already he said, “I remember at five or six years old following the racing scene.” The early memories would inspire the next generation of Robinson racing. Noel was joined by his brother, Neil in the two-car team. “My dad stopped racing as there were now two cars to look after.” Karting is often the way into


single-seater racing. But for Robinson stock cars was the training ground that worked for him. In his first racing series at Kirkistown during the 1997 season he became the champion of the popular one-make Metro 1000cc series. Noel said, “I had never even been to Kirkistown to watch. The first time I was there I was racing.” Robinson recalls his ambition was Formula Ford, and he got the chance in 1999 to enter the Kirkistown Pre-90 FF1600 Championship. He won it and made it sound easy by winning in the overall Northern Ireland FF1600 Championship the following year. Like so many who have risen to the top of championship tables it is only viable to be there for so long. Noel says, “Since then we haven’t done a full season, just selected rounds.” Two of those selected events are among the semi-professional footballer’s best known achievements. The Martin Donnelly trophy was introduced as a tribute to the Belfastborn Formula One racer who suffered a massive crash in the 1990 Spanish

GP in which he came close to death. The significant trophy race is one of Ireland’s biggest meetings. Robinson won it in 2009 and again in 2011. He recalls, “In 2009 the heats went badly, so it was down to the last chance race. I started twenty-first on the grid.” Over the course of the race he brought himself to the front of the pack to win. With the support of Lisburn business Global Lubricants/ Magic Bullet he is back this year, and he has his eyes on a season again. Robinson said, “Stanley (Global Lubricants/Magic bullet owner) knew our family through stock car racing, and became a big help to us.” The Irish championship will be decided over two rounds at Kirkistown Race Circuit and two rounds at Mondello Park International. Robinson, with a car he has had only limited race experience in from last year is hopeful he will be among the front-runners once again. The Martin Donnelly Trophy in September, Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone are also among his 2013 plans.

From the pages of


CarSport in 1984


John Robert & l, e o N , n a m L-R Bri

ers, fro inson broth b o R 4 e h T

My Fath e cars in the r Brian when he ra ce hay day o f stock car d a mini in the pro ductions racing

“Stanley (Global Lubricants/Magic bullet owner) knew our family through stock car racing, and became a big help to us.�

are heavily involved in my racing. Uncles Noel & Robert both of whom or and senior production car titles in This was taken when they won the juni the same year.





Gabriel in action with her Camero in 1972.

Gabriel and Kevin Flanagan on the 1994 Circuit.

An Appreciation: Gabriel Konig BY plum tyndall


abriel Konig, the name she always used when referring to her motorsporting activities, was a reminder of the privileged days of the sport. She was indeed a privileged person as the ‘lady of the manor’ of magnificent Beaulieu House, Ireland’s oldest unfortified house which overlooks the River Boyne on the coastal side of Drogheda. Quite extraordinarily the Beaulieu Estate, which has been in her family since 1650, has been handed down for all those years through the female line of the family, which probably had a lot to do with Gabriel’s confident, decisive and strong personality. Her assessments of her fellow competitors were blunt and entertaining, Gabriel did not suffer fools gladly, but she truly loved her motorsport and liked to be taken seriously as a very competitive driver in a male dominated sport, which indeed she was. My first acquaintance with Gabriel and her then husband Mark Konig was in South Kensington mews. While working as a trainee architect in the big smoke, I passed an entrance and to my amazement I spied a racing Lotus Elan being pushed out onto the cobbled


courtyard by a young and well-attired couple. My obsession with the sport overtook my inhibitions and I introduced myself to Mr and Mrs Konig, while admiring Mrs. Konig’s beauty as much as her husband’s gleaming racer. Gabriel had already been racing an Elite and the Elan for a number of years when I bumped into them in 1964. The Lotus, which she shared with her husband, was by then in full race trim and they had driven it in the 1000km at the daunting Nurburgring in Germany. By 1966 Gabriel had won her first race in a Roger Nathan prepared Hillman Imp, but her big successes came in Mod Sports, where she was spotted by the late John Britton and installed in one of his very swift MG Midgets in 1968. Racing in Ireland was confined to Kirkistown, the annual road races at Phoenix Park and Dunboyne at that time. Gabriel’s ambitions were more international, so she had never raced at home. Her 1968 season was sensational, 15 class wins and nine lap records and when the Britton Midget was further modified in 1969 with a 1340cc engine, Gabriel had an outright win at Fasborough in

Germany and she took the little MG into 18th place overall out of 80 starters on the famed Italian road circuit at Mugello. She also experienced another roadracing classic that year, the Targa Floria in Sicily, where she shared the drive with her husband Mark in his self designed Nomad BRM, but a puncture put paid to a result on that occasion. There was a major setback in 1970 when a front upright broke on the Formula Ford that she was driving at Interlagos near San Paulo in Brazil, but by the following year she was sharing a Chevrolet Camero with another famous female driver, Marie Claude Beaumont, at the Spa 24 hour race. Gabriel acquired that Camero and brought it to Ireland in 1972 where she won the Group 1 races at Phoenix Park, Mondello, Bishopscourt and Kirkistown. It was during that visit that I got to meet her again, and she was a very good person to get to know especially at Phoenix Park, where her mother would produce a lavish picnic basket complete with smoked salmon and copious quantities of very good wine! At the end of the 1972 season Gabriel shipped the Camero to the Caribbean for the BOAC Team Speedbird races in Guyana and Barbados. There she was joined over the years by such Irish racing luminaries as Alex Poole, Derek McMahon and Eddie Jordan. As is often the case in the Caribbean the racing weekends were mainly a means of filling in the periods between the rum parties and it was in this highly charged social atmosphere that Gabriel met her second husband Phillip DeFreitas. Phillip was a local racer and his family were the Vauxhall dealers in Guyana. That Vauxhall connection led to the purchase of a Blydenstein prepared 2.3 Lotus engined Viva from Des Donnelly who had successfully raced the sister car to Gerry Marshall’s ‘old nail’ Firenza in Ireland. Gabriel raced this car in Guyana and it now resides in the small motor museum at Beaulieu House. It was through her Caribbean connections that I next met up with Gabriel. As the founder of Formula Friendly, the class for middle-aged menopausal men that I dreamed up in the mid 90s, I had arranged a dinner following one of our leisurely Mondello outings. These après-race gatherings had gained quite a reputation and Gabriel thought it might be fun to bring along two of her friends from Barbados, Andrew and Winona Phillips.

It creates quite a lasting impression the first time you meet a white person who speaks with a black Bajan accent. So when Andrew rang me some months later requesting me to recruit ‘a hot Irish driver in a hot rally car, who had no preference for drinking milk’, I immediately recognised the voice and thanks to Gabriel that was the start of my long rally association with Barbados. There have been many adventures since, not least our trip to Tour de France Auto in 1997 when we and the RPM cameras accompanied Gabriel and her Vauxhall GT. Sadly that outing came to a premature end when Gabriel T-boned a very irate Frenchman in an immaculate MGA on the very first test of the five-day event. “Total brake failure!” said our forlorn heroine as she tried to disguise her desperate disappointment on what should have been a highlight in her distinguished motorsporting career. Gabriel, like so many who struggle to maintain the inheritance of running a place like Beaulieu House, had status but very little available cash. She had many lofty friends but she was always a very down to earth person. Her breeding may have placed her in a different world to most of us but the lady of Beaulieu seemed to enjoy being downsized by me and she was quite prepared to bunk down in the ‘Slum on the Hill’, our old gaff in Lisburn, or a fairly shoddy B&B if the company talked cars and the bottles were open. She even confessed to me at times that she felt that her west-Brit public school accent was an impediment when in the company of many of her racing colleagues. When she returned to manage Beaulieu on her mothers death, she continued to compete in rallies and races in her Hillman Imp, Vauxhall GT and A40 Farina. This may read like the pastime of a privileged person, but believe me Gabriel had to do it all on the cheap and if it wasn’t for her final partner, Malcolm Clarke, who helped her to run the house and her cars, it would not have been possible. Gabriel’s daughter Cara now takes over Beaulieu, so that intriguing female heritage continues, however the motorsport connection with the great house will end as Cara’s interests lie in the arts, not the art of covering ground at great speed on four wheels, or often on three in Gabriel’s case! Now that Gabriel has left us she will be sorely missed. Characters and friends like her are not made anymore, and motorsport and I will miss her dreadfully.

Ian racing at Kirkistown.


APPRECIATION Ian Woodside and Esler Crawford with some of their trophies; which included victory on the 1963 Circuit of Ireland

Harold Hagan, Ian Woodside and Adrian Boyd.

An Appreciation: Ian Woodside BY BEATTY CRAWFORD


n the late fifties and in the course of the sixties, three sets of brothers more or less ruled Irish rallying: Adrian and Derek Boyd, Dessie and Ronnie McCartney and Ian and Robert Woodside. They honed their driving skills on autotests and night navigation rallies. They competed in autocross, hillclimbs and races. There was no such thing as trailering a car. The car that was driven to work was the one that was used to slither through the boreens of Co. Tyrone and Monaghan on a Friday night or on an autotest on the disused wartime airfields of Maghaberry on a Saturday afternoon. Ian Woodside is perhaps the least well known of the sextet, but by no means the least talented. He won the 1963 Circuit of Ireland in an MG Midget navigated by my brother Esler. He won numerous rallies and would have won more if he had taken more time off from his business. He was a member of the victorious Northern Irish team in the Ken Wharton TV Driving tests. In later years he concentrated very successfully on hill climbs and sprints in his trusty MG Midget. In the meantime, he and his brothers built up one of the most successful haulage businesses in Ireland through hard work and superb business acumen. Ian was not particularly well-known, mainly because he was a shy quiet man who didn’t say much. He was a home

bird who loved to play badminton in Ballynure Church Hall. His idea of fun was to take his Ferrari to Portstewart for an ice cream on a Sunday afternoon. Ian let his prodigious driving talent do the talking as Esler recalls: “I was in awe of Ian Woodside’s driving – he was simply the fastest and safest driver with whom I have ever sat on the public road. In night navigation events he never seemed to have reached his limit – if you were running a little bit late you just had to hint at this and he upped his pace effortlessly. He was also totally courteous and sportsmanlike but intensely competitive and nothing gave him more pleasure than beating his good friend and neighbour Adrian Boyd! “He was also a man of the utmost integrity and generosity. My cousin Charles Crawford tells of how for several seasons Ian loaned him a car – totally free of charge and with no strings attached – to compete in sprints and hills climbs. “Ian suffered more personal tragedies in his life than anyone I know – his father died young, his elder brother died at 46, he had a baby girl who died at birth, his son died at nine and his wife died some years ago. Yet he never let this succession of tragedies get him down and enjoyed his motor sport until quite recently as well as running an extremely successful haulage business. “Ian Woodside was a gentleman whom I was proud to call my friend.”


Esler Crawford, Ronnie White and Ian Woodside. Photo: The News Letter.


sler recalls that Ronnie White was the man who made our win in the Circuit possible. He and Ian were both using 1098 supercharged engines and on the Monday morning, while in a substantial lead, Ian’s carburetor caught fire and was ruined. Without demur Ronnie gave us his carburetor and retired from the event. Of course we had lost a lot of time and had fallen well back in the placings. But the Circuit in those days always had a vicious sting in the tail in the form of a night navigation section on the notorious network of narrow roads in Co. Monaghan of which the half inch maps of the days only gave a rough representation! Here we managed to keep a clean sheet and overhaul Adrian Boyd and Maurice Johnston.




An Appreciation: Lee Lucas BY RONNIE TROUTON


ee Lucas was a very successful motor sport competitor especially in Autotesting where he was a member of the winning Northern Ireland Team at the famous annual Ken Wharton Memorial International Autotest in 1978 and 1982. Lee passed away at the age of 86 on 15 December, 2012. He was born in Trillick, Co. Tyrone on 11 December, 1926. He and his family moved to a number of towns throughout Northern Ireland including Coagh, Fintona, Limavady, Omagh and Portrush until settling permanently in Belfast. Lee and his wife Joyce were married for 61 years and they had a daughter Claire and two sons, Malcolm and Philip. Most of his professional life was spent with Sydney Pentland Ltd., Ravenhill Road, Belfast where he was a Director and the Company Accountant. His very moving funeral service was held in St. Nicholas Parish Church, Lisburn Road, Belfast where he had been Treasurer for over 20 years and an active member of the church choir for 30 years. Lee was a devoted family man, and he is fondly remembered and sadly missed by his wife, sons, daughter, daughters in law and his five grandchildren, Jenn, Catherine, Matthew, David and Natalie. He started competing in Driving Tests in 1959. In 1970 the UK Motor Sport


Governing Body changed the name from Driving Tests to Autotests. Lee almost exclusively drove Vauxhall cars mainly due to the fact that Sydney Pentland Ltd was a large respected Vauxhall main dealer. He drove Victor, Velox, Chevette and Astra saloon models, including his fabulous Grasshopper Special, built locally and based on Vauxhall/Bedford Van parts. As a keen caravanner, he even used his road legal Grasshopper to tow the family caravan visiting Cork, Kerry, Wicklow and Donegal in the 1960/70s. Most of his cars were driven to and from events, and very few autotest drivers today would be able, or willing to cope with under the dashboard “umbrella” handbrakes and steering column mounted gear change levers, but he did and frequently won. Lee was a true sportsman, but totally competitive and a very skilful autotest driver. Some of his major successes included driving on the winning Vauxhall Team in the 1964 Circuit of Ireland Rally, where his great motor sport friend Ken Shields was a fellow team member. He was also the first joint winner of the Paddy Hopkirk Trophy for the Driving Test/Autotest Championship in 1966 which he shared with Adrian Boyd. Lee’s tall slim figure was a welcome sight at Autotests for over 40 years. He had a mild polite manner and was always

tactful and diplomatic. Although he was quietly spoken and a good listener, what he said was well worth listening to, and he was always generous with his time and advice. His diplomatic manner ensured that the Hagley Club who organise the annual Ken Wharton Memorial Team Autotest event finally accepted that his very competitive VW Beach Buggy was eligible in the production Sports Car class! He was a founder member of the Autotest Drivers Club (NI) when it was set up in 1980, and acted as a very efficient Honorary Treasurer until a few years ago. As with everything in his life, Lee always put back as much as he got out, and the


Autotest Drivers Club benefited greatly from his advice and example. Lee will be missed by his many friends in motor sport who will remember him not just for his driving skill and competitiveness, but most of all for his sportsmanship. Members of his church will miss him and remember him for his dedication and loyalty. Most of all his family will miss Lee and remember him as a devoted, caring, loving husband, father and grandfather. I have many happy memories of Lee Lucas as a quiet kind gentleman in a very competitive sport.


S rally driver Celsus ‘Charlie’ Donnelly passed away on November 30, 2012 aged 54. Celsus always had a great passion for rallying and perfected his skills in his 1975 Toyota Celica around his local Fintona roads. He left Ireland in 1981 and set up home in New York. Soon afterwards he met up with Tom Lawless who became his lifelong friend and together they joined the local NY motor club. Celsus bought another Celica and began Autocross at Yorkers raceway. Driving round cones did not interest him for long. He bought a 4WD Mazda 323 turbo and set about forest rallying, soon afterward he bought a Mitsubishi and entered the PGT class, it was there Celsus began to make his mark, having won the PGT championship in the Eastern States. He then moved up to an open class Evo 4; this car became famous for landing in a lake after Celsus took a crest flat in 5th on a practice stage. His next car was an Evo 2 open class when pace notes became the norm for the drivers but Celsus still preferred to drive blind. To make the package complete he called upon his cousin and great friend Barry McCann to come from Ireland and co-drive for him. Their first rally was STPR in Pennsylvania, within the first few 100 yards Celsus said, “Just tell me if the next corner is right or left and what is over the next crest.” The rally consisted of two events, one club and the other national; the pair achieved 3rd overall in the club event. The national started late in the evening and continued into the night. One of the stages was 27miles long, however within a few hundred yards he couldn’t see because of the dust from the car in front and by the end of the stage Celsus was hooked on pace notes. In 2004 the pair featured in ‘On the limit motorsport’ where he finish 3rd overall in Rally New York. This car became a familiar sight throughout many States in America, including Rally Tennessee, a rally he won many times. He had plans to bring this car back home and continue his winning streak on

“One of the stages was 27miles long, however within a few hundred yards he couldn’t see because of the dust from the car in front, and by the end of the stage Celsus was hooked on pace notes.”


Celsus (Charlie) Donnelly


home ground. Celsus had a great circle of friends and this was clearly evident on one occasion when he slid off the road and got stuck, he shouted to Barry “get out the rope - Paddy Brennan is a few cars behind and he will pull me out” and so he did costing him valuable time and a place in the rally. His next car was an Evo 8, the pair again won the Black River rally their first time in the car. In 2007 he continued to rally with Barry as often as Barry was available to travel. He was leading Eastern State Championship with Mayo’s Noel Gallagher and Kerry’s Brian McCarthy as mechanic. He had scored enough points to compete in California’s X games alongside Ken Block. A new white Evo8 was built, this car won many more rallies, setting faster times than WRC’s Ken Block during Rally New York. He drove the three day long journey to Nevada near Las Vegas to rally in the Grand Canyon. His life-long ambition was to rally in Ireland and in August 2012 he made his dream come true. He purchased the ex-Jim McKenna Starlet literally hours before the rally but unfortunately Celsus and Barry had no luck in the event. They had great plans for 2013 where they hoped to compete in many national events and the main event was to be Rally Barbados. The plans were made during a late night phone call to Ireland and the entry confirmed just hours before Celsus passed away. Celsus will always be remembered by so many people in the U.S.A, Ireland and further afield for his sense of humour, charming smile and warm handshake he had for everyone, young and old. His family would like to thank his closest friends Tom Lawless, Donnie McGiviney, John Meegan, Paddy Brennan, Niall Donnelly, Pasty Lilly, Martin Donnelly and many more from the rally family for their help in bringing Celsus’ remains home to his final resting place in Ireland Thanks also to all those who travelled from different parts of Ireland who attended his wake and Month’s Mind mass. Celsus will be sadly missed by all his family and friends.




An Appreciation: Gary Emmett BY MICK (MJ) MORRISSEY


he world of rallying was shocked and saddened in mid December, to hear of the untimely death, at a comparatively young age of Gary Emmett who owned Evolution Motorsport. Gary was a highly respected rally mechanic, engineer and team manager, at home in Ireland, the Continent, and in particular the Middle East, where he successfully ran a number of teams for about 12 years.


He trained as a mechanic in the PMPA Garage, on the Long Mile Road, Dublin, a Renault dealership. These were the days of the Renault 5 turbo, when turbo chargers were in their infancy. Gary showed his potential very early, and was soon the acknowledged expert on turbo charged cars. He got involved in motorsport with John Keaney via Aiden Fields, who was starting to race a Sierra Cosworth in Mondello Park and other

circuits, purely part time. Eventually, he went to work for Aiden, who had a successful race and rally car preparation business. Mitsubishis, a Celica 185, and later a Celica 205, and other cars, gave Gary his initial rallying experience. After some years, he opened his own preparation business. He prepared all of Michael Barrable’s cars, the Subaru P2000, and a Ford Focus or two. He prepared Stephen Murphy’s cars, finishing up with the hi-tech Subaru S11 and S12B. Noel Redmond was also a customer who had Mitsubishis initially, finally ending up with Subarus like Stephen. He prepared and ran Stephen Cullen’s cars, all Gp N, for many years. The Neville family from Wexford were customers for many years, starting with Anthony and Padraig. Then their father, the late Pat started rallying, as did their sister Niamh. Before Pat’s untimely death, he did work on some vintage cars also. He prepared Robert Barrable’s cars, finishing up with the Škoda, which he ran on Irish and Continental events. Over the years, there were other cars that he prepared for various Irish drivers. About the year 1999, he got involved in the Middle East Rally Championship. He was asked to go to Qatar for one event, to prepare a car, which was, in Gary’s own words “A shed!”. The older brother of Hamad al Sowaidi, Sultan,

saw Gary turn around a badly damaged car in a 30 minute service, and send it back out again, ready to rally. The Sultan was so impressed, that he approached Gary after service, and asked me to come back out and prepare Hamad’s car (an Evo 6 in bad shape). This Gary did, and as they say, the rest is history. After a number of events, Hamad asked Gary if he could get him an experienced co-driver, that’s how I got involved, codriving with Hamad. Ahmed al Sabban, from Saudi Arabia, then asked Gary to prepare his car also. This partnership lasted until Gary’s sad death. Gary was eventually preparing and running four cars for Qatari drivers for a number of years. He also prepared and ran cars for a Kuwaiti driver, Salah bin Eidan, and occasionally a Saudi, Essa al Dossery. He started Irish co-drivers in the Middle East Rally Championship, Joe Downey, Allan Harryman, Killian Duffy, Dermot O’Gorman, Damien Connolly and I, we all rallied there. Gary had a great team. They say the greatness of a man can be measured by the men around him, this was certainly true in Gary’s case. From the start of the Middle East events, Geoff Whan, Jody McGrath, Jason Brett and Robbie Reid were the backbone of the teams, and remained steadfast and loyal until the end. There were many other of course,

Killian Duffy: I first met Gary at Donegal International Rally 2003. Gary gave me my first opportunity in the Middle East. Last March, Gary called me to see if I was available to do the Kuwait rally in a Mini, even though he was not running the car, he always had the best interests of other people at heart.  I went to Kuwait, and subsequently ended up getting a season of rallying with another driver that I met in Kuwait. I have so many memories of my trips to the Middle East with Gary, and all the Evolution Motorsport crew, but the most thing that stands out is, the happy, fun, and professional environment I always enjoyed. The world is a far lesser place without Gary, a true friend. Stephen Murphy: I met Gary Emmett some years ago through his association with Noel Redmond. I liked Gary’s style and asked him to prepare my rally cars, initially a Subaru S11 followed by an S12b. The car was always presented at each event in immaculate condition. I never had to worry about sourcing spares, tyres or anything

Hamad al Sowaidi, Qatar: I was so sorry to hear of Gary’s death, we were like brothers. He even attended my wedding ceremony (He never saw the bride. Ed). He prepared my cars until I retired, and I had much success during that time. I never had a retirement due to a mechanical breakdown during that time. Through the years, I kept in touch with Gary, he was a great friend. I will miss him.



all first class at their job, reliable, hard working and loyal to the end. When the rallies were over, we relaxed when we could. We had great times, great craic, so many stories. Here is one such story. Some of the Arabs could not pronounce Emmett, they called him “Em-meet.” Joe Downey christened him “Sheikh Em-meet”. For a few years, Gary brought a team of up to 16 to the Middle East. We had a long walk in Heathrow, from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3, and vice versa on the return journey. We had a rule that the Sheikh would lead, and we all followed in single file. If anybody broke rank, they would get a wallop! Gary just smiled, and led us, it was brilliant! He led, we followed. We often addressed him as Sheikh of course. Gary had another side to him also. He was involved in St Finians GAA Club, in Swords, and managed some of the schoolboy hurling and football teams there. His son Rob started playing both hurling and football at a young age there, still does, he is now 15 and a very good player in both disciplines. I got to know Gary about 1997, and became quite friendly with him from about 1999. I often called to his house for a cuppa, and catch up on the gossip, and spoke regularly on the phone. I found him very sincere and genuine, a total family man. He had the gift of “a great head, and a great pair of hands”. He had an enquiring mind, and kept himself well informed of the very technical engine, transmission, electrical and suspension systems in the modern rally cars. He was very knowledgeable in all those areas, and made great contacts with all the right people in rallying. So professional. He was also a very skilled negotiator, very cool, calm and collected, but also very forceful in getting his point across. I know, I have seen him in action. He was a great friend to me, and I miss him greatly. He is a huge loss to his wife Cathy, daughter Megan, and son Rob, and also to his immediate family, and his wide circle of friends and acquaintances. We have lost a great man! Here is what some people had to say about him...

Ahmed al Sabban, Saudi Arabia: I have known Gary for 12 or more years. I was shocked to hear of his sudden death. He looked after my cars through all those years, without him, I would not have been rallying. Gary and his team were first class, and repaired my cars, time after time. I will miss Gary, and I don’t know who will replace him. else. All I had to do was turn up and drive, Gary took care of the rest. His attention to detail was second to none. During our time together, I never had a single retirement due to mechanical failure and this is testament to Gary’s professionalism. As a person, Gary was a gentleman to the fingertips. He was liked by everyone. Motor sport is a lesser place without his presence.

Joe Downey: Gary Emmett, or Sheikh Em-meet as we knew him, lived the dream to prepare and run all types of rally cars. He brought many of us on a trip of a lifetime. Each time we headed out to the Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, etc., unique cultures, which without Gary we would never have ever visited. As an aside, a Perpetual Trophy was awarded at the recent ALMC Endurance Trial, in honour of Gary Emmett, and the winner was none other than Ian Downey, who is delighted to be the first name on the trophy. Tony Grizedale: I was deeply saddened to here of the untimely death of Gary. I got to know him through doing the Middle East rally championship. He was always friendly and ready to help anyone, even when competing against each other. A true gent, he would never see anyone stuck, if he could lend a hand he would, one of the sports gentlemen. For sure I will miss him, and he will be a big miss on the rally circuit around the world. Jason (J) Brett: Well, words to sum up are Pal Gaz. There are many words I could use, to describe this great man, but I am going to use true gentleman. As we go on our way through life, there always someone that has something bad to say, about us all, or someone you meet, or that we don’t see eye to eye with! But not Gaz. Everyone that met him always said, no matter what colour, creed or religion they were, what a great man he was. The lasting impression Gaz has left me with is, no matter how bad a day I was having, a call to Gaz and they were many, he would instantly make you feel better with his witty humour and generally slagging me off! But for sure we often laughed so much, there were tears of laughter and side spitting moans. So to sum this up, Gary Emmett, a true

gent, total professional, and my great mate. Sadly missed but never forgotten.  

Aiden Fields: I got to know Gary when we both had RS2000’s, we used meet casually initially. I got him involved in running a track Sierra Cosworth for John Heaney. He came to work for me full time in later years. That’s how he got involved in rallying. Eventually he left and set up his own business. He was a topper to work, meticulous and honest, always anxious to learn, very reliable, and always prepared to go that extra mile. We have always remained the best of friends, his death has left a void that cannot be filled. Stephen Cullen: At a rally Gary would arrive with the cars for scrutiny. The cars would be fully prepped, fly through scrutiny requiring only a top up of fuel and a change of tyres, back at the service truck to be ready for parc ferme. This 20 minute job would take hours. A talk with the fuel man, the tyre man and everybody else on the way. We were always late sitting down for dinner together. The dreaded call that had to be made when you crashed the car. After an explanation of how it was the navigator’s fault, there would be a stony silence, only broken by asking for to be collected. When he arrived to collect the car the look of disgust on his face was priceless.

Martin Halpin: In 2004 Gary Emmett, took on the role of managing the Under 8 football and hurling team with me, at St Finians GAA Club, Swords. The team which included Gary’s son Rob, were only starting out, and Gary had the kids convinced within a few weeks that he had played for Dublin (this was news to Rob). Gary turned up to the training sessions week after week, often covered in oil. More often than not, straight after, he would return to his workshop to rebuild a car or an engine, getting ready for a rally. No matter what Gary was doing, he took the time out from the rally circuit, to give time to the team in Swords. He gained the respect of the lads there, who all looked up to him. Gary was an inspiration to all of the lads on the team, and brought fun and enjoyment to the game. Gary’s unique sense of humour and fun will be missed by all in St Finians GAA club, a huge loss to us.

Salah bin Eidan, Kuwait: I could not believe when I heard the sad news. I have known Gary for seven or eight years. He looked after my cars for a few years, until I retired. His knowledge and engineering skills kept me rallying in the Middle East Championship. I found Gary’s attention to detail, skills, and dependability, were first class. I was very happy to have him prepare my cars, without him and the confidence he gave me, I would not have achieved as much. We had great times together. He will be missed by everybody in rallying. Robert Barrable: I did a rally sprint that turned out to be a success and Gar (as I called him) started planting the seed about going rallying. Being young and naive I said, okay!! I asked him what car he thought would be best. I’d say it was less than 24 hours later when Gar was back on the phone, with a car and championship picked out. He recommended a left hand drive car, and at the time I questioned this but he insisted it was the right choice and again he was spot on. We dipped our toe in the water with the Fiesta ST and then moved up to the C2 the following year. This turned out to a very successful year. We clinched both the Irish and UK Championships. I had many great times with Gary, but what I loved most about the friendly giant, was his commitment to making sure my car was faultless, and looking like new at every event. I have no doubt that Gary is definitely not sitting resting above, it’s more likely he is flat out working on one of the great rally legend’s cars that have gone before him. Damien Connolly: ‘Alright there bud’ along with a big strong handshake was how Gary Emmett greeted many of us. I have been very lucky to have worked closely with Gary on his team, as a co-driver in many of his very well turned out rally cars over the past decade, from Europe to the Middle East. Gary gave many of us opportunities, success, memories and friendship in the sport we love. I personally treasure all of the above, because without his generosity and encouragement, I would not have enjoyed the adventures of rallying in the way I do today. Gary was always supportive whether you were on his team or not, that’s just the genuine guy he was.




2013 Season Preview



ith the F1 driver market more or less stable and the technical regulations largely unchanged for 2013, the one significant influence on the forthcoming season is the whereabouts of top design talent. With only a matter of weeks remaining before testing began in February, one of the biggest stories in the off-season focused on what was happening within Mercedes and the knock-on effect for the rest of the F1 entry. Word was that Mercedes were talking to Paddy Lowe, the Technical Director at McLaren. This was unexpected on two counts: Lowe had been with McLaren for 20 years and, to all intents and purposes, seemed very happy there; Mercedes were already heavy with technical talent and it made you wonder what would happen to Ross Brawn, the Technical Director. It eventually turned out that Lowe would remain with McLaren ‘at least for 2013’. But the approach by Mercedes had set in motion a series of ‘Plan B’ thinking as McLaren penciled in a possible replacement. Top of the list was James Allison thanks to his excellent work at Lotus. Which meant Lotus, as a precaution, were also looking elsewhere. And so the knock-on effect continued.

Apart from the obvious disruption to running the technical side of a team just as the season is about to start, it is also necessary to consider not just 2013 but the far-reaching changes due this time next year. The 2014 season will bring a major revamp as the engine formula moves from the current 2.4-litre normally aspirated V8 to a 1.6 litre turbo V6. Naturally, the teams have been working on this for some time. As this season progresses, the 2014 car will move higher and higher on the agenda of each team. How far it rises depends on how successful that team is in 2013. In other words, if this season looks like a write-off, then it makes sense to focus on the totally new concept and be fully prepared in 12 months’ time. So, if you’re in the running for the 2013 title, it’s going to be very tough on the technical department because the 2014 car will be extremely important. And we can guess, with reasonable conviction at this stage, that the 2013 season is going to be even closer than last year. Looking at the cars from Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus; they are virtually unchanged – which is to be expected because of the aforementioned

Ferrari are under some pressure to ensure that Fernando Alonso has a car capable of winning the 2013 Championship. This is Fernando with the new 2013 car testing in Barcelona in February.

stability in the technical regulations. There has been aerodynamic tidying up here and there and the problems experienced by each team last year will have been eradicated, if they have done their homework. With nothing to choose between the top teams, even

the smallest aerodynamic tweak could make the difference. But where do you channel your resources? Into 2013 or 2014? All of this will have an effect on the outcome of the forthcoming season and trying to predict its outcome. But here goes...

Red Bull Sebastian Vettel / Mark Webber Can anyone stop Red Bull from winning the World Championship for a fourth year in succession? Possibly. But it’s a big ask. Red Bull’s strength lies in the ability to relentlessly develop their car and extract every ounce of performance. Just look at last year when an obvious struggle with the RB8 resulted in some deep thinking by Adrian Newey, a massive turn-around in September and four wins on the trot that effectively won the title for Vettel. With the technical regulations barely changing, victory this year will go to the team that does the most with what they’ve got. Perfect territory for the fertile mind of Newey. The more compelling question is how long Webber, as good a racer as they come, can bear to be edged by Vettel’s ability to somehow find that extra tenth of an second when it matters. Either way, the Australian and Vettel make for a very strong team that points to Red Bull being in contention for the Constructors’ title yet again.

Ferrari Fernando Alonso / Felipe Massa Alonso’s patience must surely run out soon. Ferrari can not afford to have him get to the end of a fourth season with a car that does not match his captivating mix of speed, race craft and an ability to drive on the limit for lap after lap. The team has gone to great lengths to improve simulator and wind tunnel correlations. Not before time. The constructors’ title remained out of reach last year thanks to Ferrari effectively being a one-man team. That changed halfway through 2012 when Massa suddenly found a confidence and cool that had been missing since his potentially lethal accident in Hungary in 2009. Massa is no threat to Alonso in what is – despite strenuous denials by Ferrari – the Spaniard’s team. It makes for a very powerful liaison in Alonso’s favour, assuming Ferrari have done their sums and the car is competitive.


McLaren Jenson Button / Sergio Pérez



How is it that 2013 marks the 15th season since McLaren last won the Constructors’ Championship? McLaren’s troubles came in so many different shapes and sizes during 2012 that a company with such impressive facilities and brain power found themselves scratching collective heads and muttering: ‘Well, that’s never happened before.’ McLaren must also deal with the loss of Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes. They need Button to fill the gap because Pérez, for all his latent talent, has yet to show consistency. This is going to be a telling season for the Mexican. With the Sauber team, he had three or four good weekends. With McLaren, he will not be allowed three or four off weekends. The demands have been stepped up enormously. As for Button, the latest Pirelli tyres, which are easier to heat, ought to suit the 2009 World Champion. When in tune with his car, Button is simply unbeatable. On other occasions, he’s an also-ran. Is it too late for the 33-year-old Englishman to change? We’re about to find out.

Mercedes Nico Rosberg / Lewis Hamilton The arrival of Hamilton adds to existing pressure from the Daimler (parent company) board to succeed after three years of very little. It will be interesting to see how one of the fastest men in F1 copes with an absence of the success which is meat and drink to such an obsessively hungry driver. During early pre-season tests, Hamilton looked as relaxed as he did in the latter part of 2012 following the announcement that he was leaving McLaren after spending most of his competitive life-time with the British team. Hamilton found his old form and drove brilliantly. But now he needs the car to do it. And how will Rosberg shape up? Seeing off Michael Schumacher will seem an easy business when paired with his old sparring partner from F3 and GP2. The team are definitely focused on making the most of their new 2014 engine, which means 2013 could be another average year. But can this be tolerated on so many levels within such a well-funded team?

Lotus Kimi Räikkönen / Romain Grosjean The Lotus was potentially strong throughout 2012 but Räikkönen’s relative lack of experience cost him just as much as the team’s inability to sort out the car. If Räikkönen can get a handle on qualifying, then front-of-grid starting positions should leave the 2007 World Champion ideally placed to give Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari serious concern. There will be disquiet of a different kind following the decision to keep Grosjean on board. There is no question that the Frenchman is super-quick but Lotus needs to help Grosjean sort out his judgment and spaceial awareness if the collisions that blighted his (and the team’s) 2012 season are to be avoided. Lotus have massive potential, not least because of the calm and talented approached by their technical chief James Allison. The team from Oxfordshire could go either way.

Force India Paul di Resta / TBN A team that gets better and better – but only in disappointingly small increments. Force India came close, on merit, to winning the last race of 2012 but it is difficult to see the former Jordan team ever being a consistent threat to Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. That seemed even more relevant as they continued to search for a decent pay driver beyond the launch of their 2013 car and into the pre-season testing; not an ideal situation when it comes to having your team gel as a fighting unit; small details like that will make the difference in a season such as this. Di Resta remains difficult to rate following a season when Nico Hülkenberg overshadowed him. Assuming he will be the de facto Number 1, you have to ask if the Scotsman is capable of helping give Force India the necessary push forward. It will be interesting to see how he reacts if the second driver proves to be as quick as Hülkenberg.


Sauber Nico Hülkenberg / Esteban Gutiérrez



Another team hovering for too long on the brink of being a force to be reckoned with. Last year’s car was one of the best they’ve had in terms of understanding how it worked and yet at one race Sauber would be in the top five and the next, barely capable of scoring points. It’s difficult to see how anything has changed on the technical front within the Swiss-based team. Hülkenberg will bring a lot to the party; possibly more than the departing Kamui Kobayashi. Gutiérrez lacks experience and consistently good results but, as has been proved before, Sauber is an excellent place for a F1 novice to learn the ropes.

FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2013 australia (aus) driver...

17 March


MALAYSIA (MYS) driver...

24 march


CHINA (cHn) driver...

14 April



Williams Pastor Maldonado / Valtteri Bottas

driver... team...

We’re no wiser about the prospects for one of the most popular teams in the paddock despite Maldonado’s brilliant maiden victory in Spain last year. Always threatening but rarely achieving, the controversial Venezuelan driver matches his team in many ways. Maldonado is incredibly quick – if only he could translate that into the impressively calm driver who withstood such enormous pressure from Alonso in Barcelona. Bottas comes highly rated, not least by his mentor and fellowcountryman, Mika Häkkinen. But showing well during Friday practice (which the Finn did regularly for Williams) does not make up for the lack of racing miles in 2012. Apart from that, there must be a concern following the departure of Ulsterman Mark Gillan, the team’s highly respected Chief Operations Engineer.

SPAIN (Esp) driver...

Monaco (MCO) driver...

If Toro Rosso is the staging post we think it is for potential Red Bull talent, then this season is vital for both drivers if they are to move forward at the end of two years with the small Italian team. Ricciardo had a slight edge in 2012; a popular driver who produced classy performances, particularly towards the end of the season. Vergne was favoured by many but let himself down during qualifying. In truth, there is little to choose, which bodes well for another intriguing contest between a driver who is smooth (Ricciardo) and one who is more aggressive.

canada (can) driver...

9 June


30 June


germany (dEU) driver...

7 July


hungary (hun) driver...

28 July


belgium (bel) driver...

25 August


italy (ita) driver...

Caterham Charles Pic / Guido van der Garde

26 May



Toro Rosso Daniel Ricciardo / Jean-Eric Vergne

12 May



8 September


singapore (sgp)

Instead of moving forward as promised in 2012, Caterham seemed to take a step back. And now they are without the experience and solid running of Heikki Kovalainen. Having moved to a more central location in England, Caterham needs to regroup and progress. Pic, a thoughtful, intelligent driver, was highly regarded by Marussia last year. Van der Garde, the first Dutchman in F1 for six years, is another novice with experience limited to only six Friday morning sessions for Caterham in 2012. Having two youngsters is a huge gamble, dictated by the need to have pay drivers. Whether Caterham have the capacity to extract such potential on the track remains to be seen.


22 September


South korea (KoR) driver...

6 october


JAPAN (jpn)


13 October


INDIA (IND) driver...

Marussia Max Chilton / Luis Razia A sign of these difficult times is Marussia’s decision to reluctantly drop Timo Glock because they can no longer afford to pay the highly experienced German driver after three years. Marussia will have KERS for the first time and the technical liaison with McLaren will continue to pay dividends. But it’s expecting a bit much of Chilton, a British novice, and Razia, a 23-year-old Brazilian with four wins in GP2, to extract the most from a package that needs to work if Marussia are to finally overhaul Caterham in this battle at the back.

27 october


ABU DHABI (uAE) driver...

3 November


UNITED STATES (uSA) 17 November driver... team...

brazil (bRa) driver... team...


21 April

24 November

Turkington is back in the BTCC

the opening round of the season. The team has the experience of using the NGTC engine and gearbox already, so it’ll mainly just be a case of getting on top of the new chassis.” “It will be no less tough than it was in 2009, and believe me that was difficult! We will just keep our heads down, work hard and, hopefully, be rewarded with some great results when the season gets underway,” says Colin. “The engineering capability of WSR/ eBay Motors is huge. With this team behind me I am fully confident that we will get up to speed as quickly as possible. Remember we also have a three-pronged attack with Rob (Collard) and Nick (Foster) too, so that adds to both the data and experience that we can quickly get into the car. As I said before, you can never say 100 per cent where everyone is going to be in terms of their competitiveness, but we have the right skills and machinery to deliver.” Former Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year, Aron Smith, makes a welcome return to the Motorbase squad for his second season. The 23-year-old Irishman impressed during the closing rounds of the 2012 season, picking up his maiden race win at the season finale at Brands Hatch. “Your first season is always a tricky one because you’re very conscious that you need to prove yourself, so that was an added bit of pressure,” said Smith. “The best part about last season was being with Motorbase, everyone made me feel right at home and helped me to develop into a touring car driver. To return to for a second season with Motorbase is what I always wanted, so fingers crossed I can give them the results that they deserve. I don’t think people realise how big a transition it




ortadown’s Colin Turkington will be back in action in the British Touring Car Championship this year. Turkington, who was 2009 BTCC champion will drive a West Surrey Racing BMW 3 Series. He will be joined in the BTCC grid by Dublin’s Aron Smith who will again drive for Redstone in a Ford Focus. “I am absolutely delighted to be back in the BTCC and to be reunited with West Surrey Racing, eBay and BMW,” said Colin. “I didn’t think it would take so long to come back of course, particularly after winning the championship, but despite that it feels fantastic and natural to return to the BTCC and this team. “It wasn’t easy to sit on the sidelines of course, although it’s a little easier if you have a different racing programme to focus on. I had that with the STCC (Swedish Touring Car Championship) and with the occasional WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) round, but there were times where it was a bit frustrating. Now just feels like the ideal time to return however and importantly with the right opportunity – working on a new project and car, but with a team who I know and trust so much.” Although the racing will be as fierce as ever, Colin will have to contend with a change in regulations. “I have every confidence that the team will build a great car. Of course the competition were able to gain some experience with their respective NGTC (Next Generation Touring Cars) last season, but we have the skills and qualities within our team to hopefully be competitive from the outset. We’re expecting the cars to be finished in early March, so we’re also hoping to have four weeks to work on things before

Colin Turkington will be back behind the wheel of a BMW in the BTCC.

is into the BTCC, so it’s nice to know I don’t have as big a learning curve ahead of me this year and that everyone at Motorbase is behind me. “I think this season will be a great one to be part of as all the major teams have converted to the NGTC regulations which can only mean one thing – some

great racing! Before Christmas I got my first taster of the NGTC Focus and was blown away by it. Since then the team have been flat out developing it even further so I can’t wait to start testing once again.” The BTCC season kicks off at Brands Hatch at Easter. Aron Smith achieved his first win during last year’s season finale at Brands Hatch.

Aron will be joining Colin Turkington on the BTCC grid with the Redstone team.




James Irvine receiving the NIKA Gearbox Driver of the Year award from Kris Meeke

125 Gearbox winners: Matt McGaffin, Noel Lindsay and Northern Ireland Champion James Irvine with Kris Meeke

UKC & NIKA Awards D

aniel Conlon from kart racings World Formula class is on top of the world right now after picking up the Scotts Fuels Northern Ireland Driver of the Year award recently at the Belfast Hilton. The combined North of Ireland Karting Association (NIKA) and Ulster Karting Club (UKC) awards ceremony saw nearly 250 people turn out to see almost 100 awards presented in the the NIKA and UKC championships. Despite a tough year, kart racing’s World Formula class has been a big success with near capacity grids all year making for close racing in every heat. Conlon, from Dollingstown, Co. Armagh, took on both the Northern Ireland championship and the Ulster Karting Club championship in the class and virtually cleaned up in all the races this season. Conlon had been no stranger to winning prior to this year after winning the Northern Ireland championship last season. Adding the 2012 Northern Ireland title, second in the Ulster Championship title, the Ulster Cup, the Coleraine & District Motor Club championship and still managing to be ahead by a massive 146 points is quite a feat in the class.


The UKC junior driver of the year award and the Percy Jordan Memorial Cup for the NIKA Junior driver went to Gary Donnelly from Dungannon after equivalent championship title wins this year in the JAG-Rotax supported Mini Max class. Donnelly also finished on the podium in the local rounds of the British championships and got the chance to take on the World Rotax finals in Portugal. The UKC club driver of the year and International driver of the year awards went not surprisingly to Belfast’s Charlie Eastwood after winning the World Rotax Max championships at that same Portugese meeting and finishing on the podium in the British championships. Apart from the additional set of Irish Kart GP awards, UKC special awards were also made. The most Junior non gearbox wins went to Michael Woods and the most Senior non gearbox wins went to Nigel Stewart. The most improved junior award went to Conor McPolin after a terrific year in Mini Max with Jack McConnell picking up the most improved senior award. The best Cadet driver award went to Shay Burns, the most consistent junior went to Michael Woods, and the most consistent senior went to Nigel Stewart. Man of

the meeting award went to Robert Devenney, the Gary Ireland Memorial award went to Neville Bell and the Bell Memorial 250 Superkart award went to Liam Fox. Outgoing UKC chairperson Vince McCaffrey also paid tribute to Mary Jordan and David Bell who unfortunately passed away in the last twelve months with both having served the UKC and the sport for many years. The UKC chairman’s special awards went to Gary McGaughey (sponsor co-ordinator), David Richardson (Treasurer) and Nicholas Dewart for his efforts in helping make the awards night a special one. Guest presenters on the night were Kris Meeke, the 2009 World Intercontinental Rally Champion, and motorcycling’s William Dunlop. Meeke of course is no stranger to karts after taking on the British championship round earlier this year at Bishopscourt and winning the Irish Kart GP in 2011. People on the organisational side of the sport did not go unnoticed either. Jonny Quigley picked up the Marshal of the year award. Muriel Holder picked up the UKC Chairpersons plate and a NIKA special award for her massive contribution to the organisational side of the sport.

Liam Fox (left) receiving the Bell Memorial Trophy from William Dunlop

Robert Devenny (right) receiving the Man of the Meeting award from William Dunlop

Karting Magazine / Nutt Travel for their support to the Superkart classes. NIKA Special awards were also presented. Special achievement award were made to James Irvine in the 125 Superkarts and to Liam Fox in the 250 Superkarts. Female driver of the year went to Rachael Marrs after superb results in the CDMC championship. The Newcomer of the year awards went to Recce Barr (Junior), Peter Dornan (Senior) and to Matt McGaffin (Gearbox). The Agnew Recovery Cup for gearbox driver of the year went to James Irvine.



Outgoing UKC chairperson Vince McCaffrey (Pro-karts) and NIKA chairperson Richard Dewart (250cc Superkarts) paid a special thanks to all the organisers for their hard work this year and also to the individual club reps that make up the committee of NIKA itself, the ‘co-ordinating’ body for the sport in the province. Richard also paid a special thanks to Dunlop & Anderson CSK for their support to the four stroke engined classes, to JAG-Rotax for their support to the Rotax engined classes, and to

Ulster Championship Awards Honda Cadet: 1. Michael Owens, 2. Jack McGaughey Clubman Cadet: 1. Shay Burns, 2. Dylan Tuite, 3. Chris Doyle Mini Max: 1. Conor McPolin, 2. Jack Graham, 3. Samuel Harron Honda Junior: 1. Michael Woods, 2. Jonny Murray, 3. Luke O’Donnell Prokart: 1. Nigel Stewart, 2. Mark Murphy, 3. Stan Woods World Formula: 1. Robert Devenney, 2. Daniel Conlon, 3. David Lilburn Senior Max: 1. Stuart Coey, 2. Douglas Reid, 3. Daniel Burgoyne. 125 Superkart: 1. Noel Lindsay, James Irvine, 3. Matt McGaffin 250 National: 1. Stephen Foster, 2. Scott Greenaway, 3. Dese Black 250 Division One: 1. Richard Dewart, 2. Jonny Wilkinson, 3. Liam Fox

Senior Max: Douglas Reid, Andrew McClelland and Northern Ireland Champion Stuart Coey with Kris Meeke

Northern Ireland Championship Awards Honda Cadet: 1. Jack McGaughey Honda Clubman: 1. Dylan Tuite, 2. Shay Burns, 3. Reece Barr Honda Junior: 1. Michael Woods, Mini Max: 1. Gary Donnelly, 2. Daniel Harper, 3. Jack Graham Pro-kart: 1. Michael Troughton World Formula: 1. Daniel Conlon, 2. Paul McLaughlin, 3. Chris McNeill Rotax Max: 1. Stuart Coey, 2. Andrew McClelland, 3. Douglas Reid 125 Superkart: 1. James Irvine, 2. Noel Lindsay, 3. Matt McGaffin 250 Superkart: 1. Liam Fox, 2. Stephen Foster, 3. Alan Witherow

Daniel Conlon receiving the Kart Driver of the Year award from Kris Meeke and William Dunlop Jack McGaughey (right) receiving his trophy from Kris Meeke

Sam McDonnell, Michael Hyde, Jack Irvine, Reece Bar, Shay Burns and Dylan Tuite with Kris Meeke

Some of the many awards

Michael Woods (right) receiving his Most Junior Wins award from William Dunlop








Karts at Motorcycle Club


utdoor kart racing in Northern Ireland is well regulated and safety conscious and has always been considered by many as a very cost effective way to take part in motorsport events. Just like many other forms of regulated Motorsport the Kart racing clubs in the province recognise that education and training is also important. At the annual motorcycle show recently, the North of Ireland Karting Association (NIKA) and their affiliated kart racing clubs launched the latest initiative to give those interested in taking part in the sport the opportunity to try out a racing machine in an open day style of environment. The first of these ‘Northern Ireland Karting Experience’ days take place at the Ulster Karting Club base at Nutts Corner Circuit (Dundrod Rd), just ahead of their 23 March Ulster Cup, one day trophy race meeting. The scheme follows up on the previously very successful ‘Lets Go Karting’ scheme, which under the expert guidance of Susan McCutcheon and her team turned out to be one of the most successful of it’s type in the UK. As a result, the NIKA created scheme to let people try out karting will build on that success and hopefully see more new drivers come in to the sport. Anyone from eight years old can attend where they will receive coaching and instruction on how to drive a fully race prepared kart on a full sized outdoor track. Both the non gearbox style


machines for junior and seniors, and the incredible 140mph capable ‘Superkarts’ for senior only drivers will be part of the scheme. This will be a strictly booking only experience with costs on the day to cover the expenses being £20 for non gearbox karts (35-70mph capability) and £50 for the Superkarts (90-140mph capability). Nutts Corner Circuit is considered by many to be one of Europe’s top circuits with one of it’s ‘home’ drivers of recent times, Charlie Eastwood, showing that off by winning at his very first attempt the World Championships in the fastest non-gearbox 125 Rotax Max class. To start this year’s Northern Ireland Karting Experience at the circuit is fitting but other dates will include Saturday 11th June and Saturday 19th August. Anyone interested in making a booking should visit where they will find out more including different contact names around different parts of the province. Anyone from counties Antrim and L’Derry should contact Stephen Tosh from Coleraine & District Motor Club karting section, tel 07718 876385. Anyone from counties Tyrone, Fermanagh or Armagh should contact Richard Dewart from Bishopscourt Karting Club, tel 07767 656619. Anyone from counties Down or greater Belfast and Lisburn should contact Paul Fullerton from the Ulster Karting Club on 07785 518131 although any of the three can take enquiries.

1. Belfast’s Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson (centre left) helped launch the ‘Try Karting’ experience. With him are Billy Nutt (centre), Muriel Holder, Paul Fullerton, Zara and Victoria Price. 2. John Acheson (right) receiving the MCUI Marshals Safety Award from Gerald Dallatt. 3. The UKC’s Ivan Harbinson with Dawn Sutherland and Julia Stewart. 4. Brenda Brennan at the Crossan launch of the 800cc bike powered Xingyue buggy. 5. Paul Fullerton with the Rotax Max award with Zara and Victoria Price. 6. Paddy Calwell and Brenda Brennan with Julia and Dawn and his new 800cc buggy.



Stephen and Callum sitting on pole before the final at Castelletto.



Cookstown’s world class kart mechanic BY FRANK WEIR


he name Stephen Megarry may not be well known in County Tyrone, nevertheless Stephen who originally hails from Cookstown is basking in the glory that is associated with being a successful racing kart technician in the world of international karting throughout Europe. Stephen is working at the highest level of international karting competition where a driver’s weekend budget can be as high as five figures. He now resides in Lowestoft where he is employed by the internationally renowned kart racing team owned by former World Karting Champion Oliver Oakes. At the recent end of season meeting for the Italian Winning Series Karting championship held over the first weekend in October at the Castelletto

circuit 30 miles south of Milan Stephen’s preparation helped his driver Callum Ilott record a magnificent victory. Forty eight competitors entered Callum’s race with entries drawn from across the globe. There were drivers from Brazil, Venezuela, USA, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Finland, Denmark, Romania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, China, Italy, France and Great Britain. Stephen has been with the Oliver Oakes organisation for just over a year. In that time he has been entrusted with the preparation of Callum’s karts. This means that if a tyre should deflate or worst still, a wheel come loose, or a chain break, or the brakes fail, or the exhaust falls off, or something comes slack then the responsibility for such failures


rests with Stephen. Thankfully the engine preparation is entrusted to the manufacturer of the unit and Stephen just has to make sure that it stays on the chassis. One final important check that Stephen makes before Callum takes to the circuit ensures that the minimum weight will be attained at the end of the race. There’s also the job of transporting the team equipment form venue to venue. Stephen says that he is very comfortable driving throughout Europe. Most trips start on a Wednesday from Stanstead Airport to a convenient city where the team van has been parked up from a previous trip. Then it’s on to the motorway and you just follow the satnav instructions. It’s not as glamorous an existence as some would think; there’s

the waiting at the airport, it’s lots of motorway driving, working at the track till late, then back to the hotel for food and sleep, then up early in the morning and back to the track. You also have to be a bit of a psychologist and try to instil confidence in your driver on the days when things are not going to plan on the circuit. Stephen considers himself to be privileged to have an association with such a talented young driver as Callum. Soon they will be off to France for the final round of the French championship. Because there are double points at stake there is a chance that Callum could add another victory to his recent Italian win. Stephen says: “You don’t have to be the star in the big picture, there’s always room for a good support act”.

Eastwood’s day is made with wins in Florida


s if winning the World Rotax Max kart racing title in Portugal in late November wasn’t enough, Belfast’s Charlie Eastwood really proved a point beyond doubt after taking on the USA to take double wins in midJanuary at the Formula Kart Productions promoted Florida Winter Tour (FWT). Billed as “the largest and most geographically diverse Rotax program in the world” with over 250 competitors, in it’s 15th season, the FWT hit the Palm Beach International Raceway kart track with numerous world and national karting champions, and drivers with experience in professional racing series from stock cars, to Indy Cars to Formula One. Past winners in the FWT have went on to claim a Rotax World title but with three of the four reigning World Champions in attendance this years race was something special. This was especially so for Eastwood who was in the company

of two Rotax World title winners Ben Cooper from Canada, the reigning DD2 World Champion, and South Africa’s Cristiano Morgado, the reigning DD2 Masters World Champion. After his win, Charie commented: “It has been an ambition of mine to compete in the FWT for the past few years and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity this year with the support of FWT and Keane Racing. I am honored to be representing Ireland at such a prestigious event and now I have two FWT wins under me I hope to continue the success from winning the World Championships and I am also looking forward to racing in the warm sunshine this winter.” No doubt about it, Charlie Eastwood is making waves in kart racing just as our wee province’s other sports stars of recent are doing so hopefully this will rub off on others.




Smashing fun at Tullyroan S

hort oval racing enthusiasts were kept warm during the holiday period when Tullyroan Oval staged their annual festive meeting on 30th December. With a huge crowd on hand to witness the action, the drivers produced an excellent afternoon’s entertainment despite the inclement weather which left track conditions very difficult indeed. The headline event as always at Christmas time was the Big Van Bangers ‘Van-dalism’ showdown. Amidst the carnage as the Transits etc got destroyed

it was Coleraine’s Kieran McIvor who stole through to win the feature race, before he again led them home in the Allcomers race for his second trophy of the day. The drivers somehow managed to save the best ‘til last however, and the Destruction Derby was a cracker, ending with a monstrous head-on between Davy Wright and Stefan McClelland. McClelland was able to limp away to victory at the end of a hugely popular outing which had the crowd on their toes throughout and loving every minute of it.

Aside from the Banger action there was some much more serious business to attend to, as the 2.0 Hot Rods and Lightning Rods contested further 2013 World Championship qualifying rounds. In the Hot Rods the racing was fast and furious as always, with Portadown’s former World Champion Wayne Woolsey snatching the heat win after a tense struggle on the outside of Lurgan’s Eddie Litter. The final took place in the worst of the conditions, and allowed another Portadown driver, Adam Hylands, to work his way through from the rear of the line up to snatch a deserved win ahead of Woolsey and Irish Champion Derek Martin. The 2013 season proper gets underway at Tullyroan Oval in association with Spedeworth Motorsports during March and April. First up there’s a big 2-day charity event over St. Patricks weekend, March 16/17th. The meeting is in aid of FORDS, the Fund for Oval Racing Drivers and Staff. National Bangers top the bill on both days with The Tony Gilmore Memorial Trophy the main event. A whole host of formula are in support action across the two days, which will serve as a warm up before the main points chase and the weekly action commences at Easter. Topping the bill on Easter Monday will be the resumption of the National Hot Rods World Champonship qualifying campaign. With six spots on the World

Final grid at Ipswich in July up for grabs for oval racings elite formula, the racing should be fast and furious. One added ingredient for 2013 sees the top two in the Wash ‘n’ Dash sponsored World Series NI being guaranteed a top eight start in the World Final, which should keep things interesting to the end to say the least! Former British Champions Stewart Doak and Gary Woolsey currently share the lead at the half way stage, with the reigning World Champion Glenn Bell in fourth behind Mark Hearick. Crowd favourites John Christie and Keith Martin will need to be on top form to make up for their disappointing starts to the series in the latter half of 2012, as they currently lie outside the qualifying slots. The biggest National Banger meeting of the year, Shamwreck 2013, takes place on Sunday April 21st, and with an influx of English drivers it also should be an entertaining afternoon for those who enjoy the crash and bash style of the full contact brigade. Saturday April 6th will also see the debut of our new Ninja Kart class for 6-11 year olds which has seen unprecedented interest and should see 20+ youngsters on track for their first meeting. The Lightning Rods and ProStocks have been stalwarts of our winter programme, and they kick off exciting seasons for both formulae at Easter, with both their World Finals down to be decided at Tullyroan Oval in September.

Portadown’s Adam Hylands steered his Citroën Saxo to victory in the 2.0 Hot Rods final.


by darren black PHOTOS: BRIAN LAMMEY

Kart Cross Buggy action.



ABOVE: Background to foreground: Philip Lawless (Peugeot 205 GTi), Willie Coyne (Opel Corsa), Dessie Tierney (Opel Tigra) and Pearse Brown (BMW Compact).

Andrew Morris (Impreza) in Supercar action.

Eoin Murray (Peugeot 205 GTi) in Stockhatch 16v action.

Thomas Rafferty (Fiesta XR3i) in Supercar action.

Declan Kelly (Fiesta) and Andrew Morris (Impreza).

Supercar showdown at Mondello BY MICHAEL ANDERSON


he big guns of the Irish Rallycross Championship came out to play for Round 4 of the 2012/13 Championship with Derek Jobb returning to the Championship after a long absence. He returned in the ex-David Binks Evo 7. Another addition to the supercar grid was another championship regular Thomas O’Rafferty who recently acquired a Fiesta XR3i Supercar, Thomas previously raced in the Rallycar class in a Opel Corsa. Longford’s John Kelly raced against Wexford man Andrew Morris in the first three heats, the pair elected to save the cars for the Supercar A Final. Paul Pascoe who has supported the BMRT team for a number of years sat behind the wheel again and provided much entertainment all day with his superb driving style, an altercation in Heat 3 with Derek Jobb left the supercar stranded. It was all to play for in the Supercar A Final, Andrew Morris on pole, John Kelly in P2 and Declan Kelly in P3. After the lights went out both Declan Kelly and Andrew Morris had a superb getaway however John Kelly experienced an issue which left him on the grid for vital seconds. After getting going again John powered through the lap to end the first lap on the back bumper of Derek Jobb. Morris pulled a considerable lead from the pack who swapped positions after taking their respective joker laps. Thomas O’Rafferty surprised all by finishing the Supercar A Final in second after a strong run all day in the Fiesta but it was Andrew Morris who crossed the win to take his second consecutive win of the season. There was drama in the Modified class as Ian O’Connell suffered with a misfire in the engine bringing it down to three cylinders, however during the course of the day the team were able to repair the fault and get Ian back out for the Modified A Final, with positioning based on the two fastest heats of the day. Ian qualified for the pole on the grid. Into the first corner Ian ran wide allowing most of the grid to pass but a determined O’Connell reeled in the field and won the Modified A Final. Stockhatch saw Eoin Murray take the 16v class, the Irish racing star showing the rest of the field how it can all be down to driver ability in evenly matched cars, the same story is true of Noel O’Brien in the 8v class as has taken all class wins in the last year. Keith Kershaaw and Peter McGarry could do little to tame him over the weekend. Going into Round 4 Dylan Curley and Sophie Byrne were split by just two points, during the heats Dylan and Sophie were bumper to bumper all the way; In the Junior A Final Dylan Curley used every inch of the tarmac in order to try and get past Sophie Byrne. On the last lap Dylan made a valiant pass on Sophie coming out of Dunlop, on the main straight Curley had the speed but not the distance to take the win from Sophie Byrne. Kart Cross saw Ian Barrett cross the line to take the chequered flag ahead of William Bolster. In Rallycars Patrick Donoghue won the Rallycar A Final ahead of Peter O’Brien and Kieran Curran.


Supercar A Final 1. Andrew Morris (Impreza RSC / 2000cc) 03:39.6. 2. Thomas O’Rafferty (Ford Fiesta / 2000cc) 03:48.6. 3. Declan Kelly (Ford Fiesta ST / 2000cc) 03:49.9. 4. John Kelly (Mitsubushi Evo 7) 03:50.8.                                

Modified A Final

1. Ian O’Connell (Lotus Exige / 1800cc) 03:46.1. 2. Pearse Brown (BMW Compact / 3200cc) 03:49.4. 3. Willie Coyne (Opel Corsa / 1998cc) 03:53.9.

Modified B Final 1. Philip Lawless (Peugeot 205 GTi / 2000cc) 04:01.9. 2. Colm Mullins (Ford Fiesta / 1598cc) 04:29.1.                             

Stockhatch 16v A Final

1. Eoin Murray (Peugeot 106 GTi / 1600cc) 03:47.1. 2. Eddie Peterson (Peugeot 106 GTi / 1600cc) 03:49.5. 3. Aaron Dalton (Peugeot 106 GTi / 1600cc) 03:53.1.                               

Stockhatch 8v A Final

1. Noel O’Brien (Peugeot 205 GTi / 1600cc) 03:59.1. 2. Fergal Bowes (Peugeot 205 GTi / 1600cc) 04:03.9. 3. Peter McGarry (Peugeot 205 GTi / 1600cc) 04:05.5.                               

Junior A Final

1. Sophie Byrne (Nissan Micra / 998cc) 04:10.1. 2. Dylan Curley (Toyota Starlet / 1000cc) 04:10.4. 3. James Huddleston (Nissan Micra / 998cc) 04:18.8.                               

Kart Cross A Final

1. Ian Barrett (JB Buggy / 600cc) 03:35.8. 2. William Bolster (JB Buggy / 600cc) 03:40.3. 3. Ronan Mackle (JB Buggy / 600cc) 03:42.4.                                

Rallycar A Final

1. Patrick Donoghue (Peugeot 205 GTi / 1905cc) 03:53.8. 2. Peter O’Brien (Peugeot 205) 04:12.6. 3. Kieran Curran (Ford Escort MkII) 04:14.2




The LARK in the PARK is BACK!! A

fter several years of absence, the Lark In The Park Stage Rally (LITP) will return to St. Columb’s Park in Derry/Londonderry on Saturday April 27th as part of the 2013 UK City of Culture celebrations. Innovations for this special year include a revised route for the five stages in St. Columb’s Park with the service park being located in Ebrington Square.


(Left to Right): Anne O’Neill, MCMC; Alderman Maurice Devenney, DCC; Paul Doherty, ILEX; Gerry O’Doherty, Deputy Event Director LITP; Jude O’Neill, Chief Marshal; Mayor Kevin Campbell, Mayor of Derry City Council; Dwayne Wallace, Environmental Officer MCMC; Jon McIvor, MCMC President and Danny Gormley, MCMC Treasurer. (Front): John Crumlish, LITP Steward and Gerard Mullan, MCMC Committee member. Photo by Lorcan Doherty.


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Micra 1400 GpA Mitsubishi Evo 6 & 9 Arrive and drive package available at competitive rates. Contact Raymond Mason: Tel: 028 9044 8111 / 07788 453742


Rally Car Preparation

Specialists in historic and contemporary motorsport equipment and accessories. Quality motorsport products at competitive prices – including all major brands such as Sparco, OMP, Recaro, Peltor, Stack, TRS and many more... Tel: 028 8554 9851 E: W:

2+4 WD Clubmans to WRC & Rally Car Hire

Corolla WRC RHD, 2 Mini WRC RHD/LHD N12 Subaru – Gravel or Tarmac

Balmoral Road, Belfast BT12 6QA Tel: 028 9066 6077 Email: Web:


Contact Derek Mob: 07803 124379 or Tel: 028 7962 8479



M.O.T. Servicing, engine reconditioning & tuning. Tuning all makes of cars and 4x4’s. Saintfield. Tel: 028 9751 0003

Irish importers and distributors for Proflex Shock Absorbers. Authorised service agents. In house SPA Damper Dyno. Unit 21 Beechlawn Industrial Complex, Greenhills Road, Dublin 12 Tel: +353 (1) 4500555 Email: Web:


New Builds. Restoration of Classics, Historics & Modified rally cars. Grp4 Fabrication & Body Shop. Tel: 07787 570170 Email: Web:

Competitive Formula Vee and Formula Sheane Cars for Sale or Hire

Blainroe, Co. Wicklow Tel: 0404 67189 Web: Email:


Proven Championship-winning engine mapping and setup. Sales and support of DTA ECUs/Jenvey throttle bodies. Contact Steven on Mob: 07752 753460 or Alan on Tel: 028 2766 3191


Vehicle Services Motorsport

Contact David at:


9 Cardy Road, Greyabbey, Newtownards BT22 2LS Tel: 0044 (0)28 4278 8854 Email:

Unit 3 O’Neil Court, Campsie Ind., Estate, Eglinton, Derry BT47 3XX Tel: 028 7181 3797 Fax: 028 7181 3797 Email: Web:

E.C.C. Powerwriter. Dyno-met 4X4 rolling road. Tel: 028 9266 6555 Web:


• RALLY • RALLYCROSS • RALLYRAID • HISTORIC Gearboxes, Gearshifts, Diffs, Shafts, Gears Tel: 01782 280136 Web: Email:


All Fuels in Stock. Car, Bike & Kart. Next Day Delivery Available. Web: Email: Tel: 028 8076 0775



GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE Web: Email: Tel: 028 8076 0077


Evo 6,7,8 & 9. Honda Civic R3 and C2R2 Max Citroën. For more information contact us on Tel: 07885 443496


• sales • service • set-up advice


DMS 2&4 way, adjustable suspension with precision adjustment for optimum performance

The Tops Demense, Raphoe, Co. Donegal, Ireland Tel: 00 353 (0)7491 44444 Mobile: 00 353 (0)872 707257 Email: Web:

Competition Turbos, fast road & motorsport developments Owen Developments (UK) Ltd 28 Kingston Business Park, Kingston Bagpuize, Oxford OX13 5AS England Tel: 01865 821062 Fax: 01865 821076 Web: Email:

Specialist in Ford Escort MK1

Mk 2 parts for road and rally cars.


2 & 4 Wheel Drive Rolling Road Tuning, ECU Upgrades & Remapping Cookstown Tel: 028 8675 1000 Email:

Frank Kelly, Sole Agent. 44a Rhone Road, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone BT71 7EN Tel: +44 (0)7771 727803 Email:

Tel: +44 (0) 1604 705050 Fax: +44 (0) 1604 769668 Web: Email:





Back - James O’Keeffe (National KZ2 Class Champion) Arthur Kierans (National Forestry Rally Champion Co-Driver) Garry Jennings (National Forestry Rally Champion Driver), John Higgins Dunlop National Stage Rally Champion Navigator) Sylvie Mullins (National Hillclimb Sprint Champion), Kevin O’Hara (Young racing Driver of Year), Gerard T.Brennan (National Autocross Saloon) Brian O’Mahony (Dunlop National Stage Rally Champion Driver) Enda Sherry (Tarmac Co-Driver Champion), Daniel Mckenna (Young Rally Driver of Year), Steven Ferguson (National Autotest Champion) Front - Michael Carbin (National Navigation Trial Champion Driver), Evin Hughes (National Navigation Trial Champion Navigator), Odhran Henry (National Junior Kart Champion), Aaron O’Rourke (National Cadet Kart Champion), Shane Daly (National Kart Champion), Craig Breen (International Driver of the Year), Lee Newsome (National Racing Champion) George Tracey (National Rallycross Champion), David Fallon (National Autocross Special Champion)

Breen named Driver of the Year

at Motorsport Ireland Awards C

raig Breen was named Driver of the Year at the Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards in Dublin.  Breen secured his second successive world title last year when he won the S2000 category of the World Rally Championship following his victory in the WRC Academy in 2011. Breen was presented with the Manley Memorial Trophy at the ceremony and reflected on what was a hugely successful but also emotional year after he lost his best friend and co-driver, Gareth Roberts, during a tragic accident in June. “Winning this trophy twelve months ago was a huge privilege and now to win it for a second time is unbelievable. It has been a difficult year but to finally secure the championship (SWRC) in Spain was justification of my decision to continue. I want to thank Motorsport Ireland and particularly Joe Corcoran, Alex Sinclair and James Coleman for their support throughout the year.” “In the aftermath of the accident it took some time to decide on my next step but after making the decision to continue, I knew it was the correct one. I love every minute of what I do and it’s times like this that I can look back on in years to come.  The second half of the season has been difficult at times but to come back and win three rounds out of four in the SWRC has been very rewarding.  I want to again thank everyone who supported me, it would not have been possible without you,” Breen said. The Billy Coleman award for the Young Rally Driver of the Year went to Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna ahead of runners up Dean Raftery and Stephen Wright.  McKenna is one of Ireland’s best young drivers and was a runner up himself in the award last year.  This year McKenna put in some excellent performances which included victories at the Monaghan Stages Rally and Midland Moto Rally during the season.  McKenna will now receive €50,000 worth of support for the 2013 season where he hopes to compete in the British Rally Championship.   The Dunlop Sexton Trophy for the Young Racing Driver of the Year was awarded to Kevin O’Hara ahead of runners up Stephen Daly and Jake Byrne.  The Kildare driver excelled this year in his Formula Vee car becoming the first driver to break the 1min lap time in a Formula Vee car at Mondello Park.  The 22-year-old also went on to take the Leinster Trophy for 2012 in the Vee race at Mondello Park.  He will now go on to compete in the Formula Ford 1600 series in 2013 in the newly commissioned Motorsport Ireland Formula Ford car, with support from Dunlop and the Irish Sports Council.     Irish National Rally champion Brian O’Mahony was awarded the Vard Memorial Trophy along with co-driver John Higgins, who received the Noel Smith Memorial trophy, for their Dunlop National Rally Championship victory.  Enda Sherry was


also in attendance to receive his and Darren Gass’ award as the Tarmac Rally Champions from this year. The Ivan Webb Memorial award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport went to Eoin Longworth from Birr and District Motor Club who has been an integral part of the Irish motorsport community for the past 20 years.  The JC Millard Memorial Award for Clubman of the Year went to Paul Kiely from the Connacht Motor Club for his contribution both on and off the roads as a competitor winning several national rally titles and an organiser who is integral to the Sligo Stages Rally and inputs nationally to the Dunlop Rally Championship. Joe Corcoran, President of Motorsport Ireland, said; “2012 has been an excellent year for Irish motorsport across all the disciplines.  We have seen three Irish world champions crowned over the past month or so and we have also seen many of our drivers succeeding nationally and internationally, which is hugely encouraging.  While the economic climate has made it increasingly difficult to compete we are doing all we can to support Motorsport in Ireland and if we can continue the way we are going we will see more World champions in the future.”

Billy Coleman presents Daniel McKenna with the ‘Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year’ award


Model Rachel Wallace and Craig Breen, who was named International Driver of the Year, at the Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards in Dublin.

Janet Dockrell presents Paul Kiely, Sligo, with the J.C. Millard Memorial Trophy Clubman of the Year award

Michael Fitzsimons, Chair of Rallycross Committee, presents George Tracey, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, with the National Rallycross Champion award

Liam Shanahan, father of the late Neil Shanahan, presents Odhran Henry, Ballivor, Co. Meath, with the Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy for National Junior Kart Champion - from the KF 3 Class

Richard Warbrick, Dunlop, presents Kevin O’Hara with the Young Racing Driver of the Year award

Joe Corcorcan, President of Motorsport Ireland, presents Steven Ferguson, Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone, with the Hewison Trophy, for National Autotest Champion 11/12

International Driver of the Year Award – Craig Breen Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year – Daniel McKenna Dunlop Sexton Young Racing Driver of the Year – Kevin O’Hara Dunlop National Stage Rally Champion Driver – Brian O’Mahony Dunlop National Stage Rally Champion Navigator – John Higgins National Forestry Rally Champion Driver – Garry Jennings National Forestry Rally Champion Navigator – Arthur Kierans National Navigation Trial Champion Driver – Michael Carbin National Navigation Trial Champion Navigator – Evin Hughes Tarmac Rally Organisers  Association Champions – Darren Gass & Enda Sherry   National Rallycross Champion – George Tracey National Autocross Saloon Champion – Gerard T. Brennan National Autocross Special Champion – David Fallon National Autotest Champion – Steven Ferguson National Hillclimb / Sprint Champion – Sylvie Mullins Clubman of the Year Award – Paul Kiely   National Racing Champion – Lee Newsome   National Kart Champion (Formula Rotax 125 Max Class) – Shane Daly National Kart Champion (KF3 Class) – Odhran Henry National Cadet Class Champion – Aaron O’Rourke National KZ2 Class Champion – James O’Keeffe National Super 4 Class Champion – Conor McCabe   Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport – Eoin Longworth


Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards Winners:

James Coleman, Chair of Rallies Committee, presents Enda Sherry (on behalf of Darren Gass) with the Tarmac Rally Organisers Association Champions award




Shane Lynch from Boyzone

Marty McCormack’s Roger Albert Clarke Rally winning Escort



he annual Autosport Show at the NEC in Birmingham brought the usual heady mix of magnificent motor sport cars and products with a good selection of glamour. Making their debut at the show was the new VW Polo R world rally car as well as the new Qatar Ford EcoBoost Fiestas. There was also a display of Richard Burns’ cars while there was plenty of Irish interest in Barry McKenna’s Den Motorsport stand. Belfast’s Mark Luney had his Lucas Oil drift car on display while Marty McCormack’s RAC Rally winning Mark Two was also present as well as Boyzone’s Shane Lynch.

Barry McKenna from Den Motorsport



The Volkswagen display

PHOTOFILE Frank O’Mahony and his ex-Brookes Chevette HSR Martin Brundle

Mark Lumey from Belfast Malcolm Wilson with Mads Ostberg

Richard Burns’ title-winning Subaru WRC



Armin was brought over to compete in the 1998 Toshiba Glens of Antrim Rally

Heading to victory on the 1996 RAC Rally

Competing on the 2002 Rally GB with Hyundai


erman Armin Schwarz competed in the World Rally Championship from 1988 to 2005, winning the 1991 Rally Cataluyna, and taking six other podium finishes. Outside the WRC, he won the German Rally Championship (1987–88), the European Rally Championship (1996) and the “Rally Masters” event at the Race of Champions (2000). He made his rally debut in 1983. After having won the German Rally Championship for two years in a row, he made his debut in the WRC in 1998 and was signed by Toyota Team Europe for the 1990 season. Driving a Toyota Celica GT-4, Schwarz led a world championship rally for the first time at the 1990 Rally Portugal, took his first podium finish at the 1991 Rally Australia and his first win at the 1991 Rally Cataluyna. In 1996, he won the Manx International Rally and the Cyprus Rally and captured the European Rally Championship. Later that same year, he drove to victory in the RAC Rally. In 1997 Schwarz drove for the M-Sport Ford rally team and in 1998 drove for the Toshiba sponsored RED team in an Escort WRC. He was brought over to the Toshiba Glens of Antrim Rally, winning the event in 1998. In the 1999 season after stints with Mitsubishi and Ford, Schwarz started his long partnership with the Škoda works team. His best result with the team was third place at the 2001 Safari Rally. Schwarz retired from the world championship after the 2005 season. Following the successful completion of its Red Bull Young Rally Driver’s Search Program, Schwarz joined forces with the team to create the WRC Red Bull Škoda Team. Armin also competes in the American Score International off-road championship for the California-based All German Motorsport team. Schwarz now lives in Austria and during the winter runs his own ice driving rally school, in Lapland.


Armin Schwarz AGE: 49 LIVES: Austria What was the best moment in your motorsport career? I never had only one best moment, there are so many – I cannot mention any special one.

What was the worst moment? When Colin McRae died in the helicopter crash.

Which event do you look forward to? The Baja 1000 Off road event.

You’ve won the lottery. What car do you rush out to buy? Ford Raptor.

What was your best car... and your worst? The best was the Toyota Celica ST165... I did not have a worst car.

Which car do you regret selling and why? None of them, most of them were works supplied cars.

What’s the most entertaining car you’ve ever driven? Lancia Stratos.

What is your most effective or personal asset? My family.

What advice would you offer the aspiring driver? Focus on your personal target, never give up and be honest with yourself and the people around you.

Who has been your greatest motoring inspiration? Walter Röhrl.

Tell us something surprising about yourself? I am turning 50, but feel like 30, ha, ha!





Photo courtesy of Robert Dwane Photography

Carsport april 2013  

Northern Ireland's Number One motorsport magazine

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