Mckinstry wins as Mcgarrity’s bid for glory at Kirkistown misfires
Organiser: North Armagh Motor Club Ltd When: February 13 Where: Kirkistown Race Circuit, County Down Championships: Mcgrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship and Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland Starters: 78 Stages: six
With a stage to go, old rivals Derek Mcgarrity and Kenny Mckinstry were tied on times on Kirkistown Stages, but a misfire put Mcgarrity out and the latter held on to win.
While Mcgarrity has Northern Ireland championship ambitions following a sixth title last year, Mckinstry arrived undecided on his plans for the rest of 2016. But an early win could sway the choice for the Subaru Impreza S14 driver, who last won his home series in 2011 following two wins in the ’80s.
Mcgarrity and Nigel Magee led after the 4.6-mile SS1 by 1.3s – the biggest gap on the tally between themselves and Mckinstry/aaron Faulkner until SS6. The advantage was reduced to one second after the repeat before a shorter SS3, measuring 4.1 miles, added a mere 0.1s to Mcgarrity’s lead.
On SS4, Mckinstry responded going 2.2s quicker to move into a 1.1s lead and with the tests getting shorter again, down to 3.6 miles, it was a close call heading into the final set of stages. But the misfire ultimately decided the result.
Another to have won the championship in the past, Peadar Hurson, completed the champions’ podium in third along with co-driver Damien Connolly. Their Subaru Impreza had remained in that position throughout, 25s from matching winner Mckinstry.
Despite some front damage to their car, Wesley Patterson and Adam Carson were fourth and two-wheel-drive winners in a Ford Escort Mk2. The crew finished SS1 in eighth and gained a place on the repeat. But it was SS3 where they moved up three spots to their position, one minute off the podium.
The rally winner’s daughter, Emma Mckinstry, finished fifth in a Wrc-spec Impreza. She lost the place to both Matthew Mcgaffin and George Robinson on SS3 but gained it back on SS4 to be placed seven seconds from Patterson. Mcgaffin was sixth and Robinson seventh.
Junior winners Josh and Tommy Mcerlean have two maximum point scores in 2016. This time they beat Ruairi Bell.