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SS8: Greer Leads Down Rally while Bogie Retires

After stage eight of the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally, Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick continue to lead the event in their Citroen DS3 R5. The reigning McGrady Insurance N.I. champions have so far fended off all challenges from the chasing pack to extend their advantage to more than 30 seconds!

“Everything is still working well,” Greer said as he arrived at this afternoon’s second service. “I’m happy enough but there’s a fair bit to go yet.”

Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan hold second overall in their Skoda Fabia R5. They lost time earlier today after a heavy landing dislodged an intercooler pipe so he has been playing catch-up.

It looked like he was going to enjoy a tussle with David Bogie and although Bogie is listed as third overall after stage eight, he has retired in service.

“We caught Jason Pritchard on stage five after he spun,” Bogie said as he entered service. “We had to stop so hopefully we’ll get our time amended for that. Then we started to lose the power-steering over the following two stages.”

It has since transpired that his power-steering issue is terminal.

“We drained the power-steering fluid but found a load of metal filings,” Bogie explained. “We topped it up with new fluid but it was no better – the pump had failed so we retired. On the bright side, we’ve managed to get the 3.30pm boat back to Scotland so we’ll be home a bit earlier!”

In fourth overall, Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson are on course for another healthy points haul to help their N.I. Championship campaign. Despite some braking issues, the crew look set to inherit a top three position in the rally after Bogie’s retirement.

“We still have that brake issue and there’s nothing we can do about it,” McGarrity lamented. “On the long stage, I keep losing the pedal which just saps confidence but I’m happy with what we’re doing.”

Slotting in behind McGarrity are Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell in their Mini WRC. They were disappointed that their times weren’t much quicker over the second loop, with Harper commenting, “either the stages are getting slower or I am!”

Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson are in an excellent sixth overall with their Fiesta R5. It’s only Evans’ second event with the car so he’s still getting used to his new mount.

Meanwhile, Melvyn Evans and Mark Glennerster are at the bottom half of the top 10. They’re also struggling with a braking issue that has become gradually worse as the day has progressed.

“We had a small brake problem this morning so we swapped the pads at first service but a rear disc has been warped and it’s got worse and worse,” Evans explained. “On stage eight it was very bad so we just wanted to get it back to second service to put new discs on.”

Meanwhile, fellow Protyre MSA Asphalt Championship driver, Jason Pritchard, has been in the wars with his Focus…

“We hit a patch of gravel and became stuck between two banks,” Pritchard said. “Eventually we got the car moving again but then we got a rear puncture on the next stage. It’s one of those character building days.”

The same can be said for the Protyre Championship leader, Wayne Sisson, after he went through a fence…

“I just lost it on a ‘square right’ and took a woman’s fence out,” Sisson explained. “We’ve lost boost so I think the problem could be with an intercooler pipe.”

As for the other McGrady Insurance N.I. Championship contenders, Alan Carmichael used harder compound tyres for the second loop which didn’t work too well.

“We were slower over everything,” Carmichael rued. “The tyres were too hard so we were sliding everywhere.”

Things were looking up for former champion, Kenny McKinstry, after his earlier overheating problems were easily rectified.

“Our overheating problem turned out to be a number plate blocking the front of the radiator,” McKinstry explained. “It was very easily cured but it has cost us a lot of time.”

Further down the order, William Herron is very lucky to be in the rally after he lost an argument with a tree during the first loop of stages…

“We hit a tree and took a wheel off towards the end of stage four,” Herron explained. “It broke the two arms and the hub but we managed to get her back to service and fixed it in time for the second loop. It was very hard to drive back – we had to drive six or seven miles with the wheel hanging off!”

Two-Wheel Drive

The two-wheel drive category is headed by Damian Toner and Barry McParland. They’re having a faultless drive, leaving others like Camillus Bradley and Wesley Patterson playing catch-up.

“I feel like we’re going well but maybe I’m not out often enough!” Bradley said.

As for Patterson, an incident on the second run over Hamilton’s Folly gave him some cause for concern.

“I put the steering out on Hamilton’s Folly,” he explained, “so I had to back off on the second half of the stage because the car was all over the place. I got it tracked a bit better before the start of the next stage so it wasn’t too bad.”

Meanwhile, Rodney White had a lucky escape this morning in his Talbot Sunbeam but was happier with the second loop of stages…

“We blocked stage two for about 30 or 40 seconds when we caught some gravel after a jump,” White explained. “The car went sideways and jammed between the two banks. Then on stage four we had another spin. I put on a harder set of tyres for the second loop and that was good.”

Kyle White is having some engine problems with his Peugeot 208 R2 while Barry Morris lost time with an overshoot and a puncture. Championship sponsor, Fintan McGrady, had a big smile on his face in service and is thoroughly enjoying the event.

“I’ve been fairly committed,” McGrady said. I’m enjoying the car, it’s working well and I think we’re putting up respectable times.”

Some retirements include Malcolm Pedlow and Billy Regan who are out with gear linkage problems in their BMW 2002tii while Tim and Jack Waters were forced to retire their Renault Clio V6 when they lost the throttle on the third corner of stage two. Berian Richards has also retired with a broken half shaft.

The crews are now in the midst of the final loop of stages. They’re due back at the Eikon Centre for the finish shortly before 5pm.

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