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SS1: Moffett & Hamill Share Lakeland Lead

The Trailer Parts & Spares Lakeland Stages Rally, round five of the McGrady Insurance N.I. Rally Championship, is now underway and the big news from stage one is that Barry McKenna and Leon Jordan have slipped into a ditch!

Other crews who passed their stricken Fiesta reported the damage to be minor but it appears that their long trip from New York has been in vain.

There was some confusion over stage times at the end of that first stage but it appears that Josh Moffett and Stephen Thornton hold the joint rally lead with Vivian Hamill and Andrew Grennan. Both crews reported slippy conditions but they stopped the clocks one second faster than Cathan McCourt and Barry McNulty.

Meanwhile, number three seeds Andrew Purcell and Mark Wiley said they had “no grip at all” over the compact gravel and lost time with an overshoot at a chicane. Their Fiesta was sporting a few battle scars as a result.

Speaking of chicanes, a number of the leading crews were unhappy that a couple of chicanes noted in their pace notes were not on the stages. “It was very off-putting,” Kenny McKinstry said, “because you don’t know if you were in the right place in the notes or not.” N.I. Championship leader, Derek McGarrity, echoed his thoughts…

“It would have been dead on if it had been the stage that we had the notes for,” McGarrity said, “but there were two chicanes that were not there!”

Championship rival, Alan Carmichael, is having a few teething issues with his Mini and reported that neither his handbrake nor his gear change display is working but “we’re alright”.

Desi Henry said he was “a wee bit rusty in the first half but it felt good towards the end.” Adrian Hetherington was embroiled in conversation with Derek McGeehan about differential settings at the end of the stage but reported a good stage.

Patrick O’Brien said he was “a bit scrappy” as it has been a long time since he was last in the Evo while Alan Smyth reckons there is something not quite right with his Evo X as it’s “all over the place”.

Donall Sweeney reckoned some of the chicanes were nearly too tight to get his hired Evo around them, a thought that was echoed by Pauric Sheridan who “messed up a couple of the chicanes”. Conor McCourt said he had a couple of moments and Niall Devine lost time with a spin at a hairpin.

Crews are now in the midst of stages two and three before returning to service. Results are available from www.rallyscore.net.

Jonathan MacDonald

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