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McGarrity Wins Modern Tyres Mourne Rally!

Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson sealed victory at the Modern Tyres Mourne Rally, round three of the McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship!

The Subaru Impreza WRC mounted crew dominated the Newry-based event from start to finish, eventually winning the rally by more than one minute. As the only World Rally Car powered crew entered in the event, McGarrity had little comparable opposition but the tricky Gullion stages still proved to be a demanding test of man and machine.

“Our plan today was to get points, stay out of trouble, not mark the car, and that’s exactly what we did,” McGarrity said at the Mourne Country Hotel finish. “It would have been nice for there to have been a bit more competition. The guys go great in the Mk2 Escorts but it’s not ideal to race them with a World Rally Car. But we had a job to do and that’s what we did.”

Coming home in second position, Damian Toner and Denver Raffety sealed the top two-wheel-drive award in the process. In the end, they enjoyed a fairly comfortable advantage over the rest of the pack after a trouble-free day rallying through some scenic stages.

“They were tricky stages,” Toner admitted, “but we had great weather and we really enjoyed it. It was a very good day and we’re happy to be top two-wheel-drive.”

The battle for third overall between David Armstrong and Camillus Bradley went right down to the wire. Bradley lost time early in the event when a pipe came adrift on the second stage, leaving him down on power. Initially he believed his manifold had broken but it transpired to be a problem that he was able to fix in service.

Bradley spent the remainder of the event reeling in his rival and going into the final stage, 1.7 seconds separated the two contenders. Bradley pulled out all the stops and at the final time control, he had done enough to secure third overall by a mere one-tenth of a second!

“We were pushing as hard as we could over the last four stages,” Bradley admitted. “It was a great day’s racing. He knew I was coming after him and I knew I had to try to catch him!”

Despite losing out on the final stage, fourth placed David Armstrong and Paul Mulholland were still happy with the result.

“That was some driving by Camillus!” Armstrong conceded. “Unfortunately our anti-roll bar come off during the afternoon stages and she was a bit wobbly but I’m happy enough.”

John Devlin and John McCarthy completed the top five and won class six in their Escort, while Paul Britton and John McElinney secured sixth overall and won the Group N category in the process.

“It was nip and tuck between us and James Laverty all day,” Britton said. “There were five seconds between us after the first loop of stages and there are about five seconds between us at the finish. It was a good race with him!”

James Laverty and Emmett Sherry had to be content with second in Group N as well as seventh overall but it’s a great result that will bolster their Championship campaign.

James and Heather Kennedy enjoyed a steady run to bring their Escort home in eighth while recently turned 18-year-old, Peter Bennett, overcame some early anti-lag problems to net ninth overall. Fintan McGrady and Ray Fitzpatrick completed the top 10 in their Escort MkII.

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