Bogie takes a popular victory ahead of Kelly NATIONAL RALLY
After two seasons away, Scot David Bogie returned to Donegal in 2015 scoring a fourth-in-class finish in the national category. But after an even better run this year, the 2011 British rally champion came, saw and conquered in a tricky battle headlined by Ford Escort Mk2s.
Adrian Hetherington was the early pacesetter, but his distinctive bright green Escort left the road on a big jump near the start of stage three. Hetherington took the same jump flat out last year with no problem, but this time his Escort snapped sideways. At first service Donegal Motor Club chairman Brian Brogan led by just a few seconds from Damien Tourish. Although only in a class 13 Escort, Tourish was driving brilliantly, but of course he was on his home patch. At the Friday night halt Brogan still led by 7s from Tourish.
It was all to change on the first Saturday morning stage though, when Brogan’s Escort gearbox jammed going up the infamous Knockalla hill. Although he finally got going again, he was out of the picture and called it a day on Saturday evening. Jonathan Pringle surged to the front and took the lead. But on the second run over Knockalla, he slid wide at the top of the hill, dropping four minutes and he slid back to 10th. Stage-by-stage Escort legend Frank Kelly and Bogie had been upping their pace against the local drivers. On Saturday afternoon Kelly in particular really cut loose and surged to the front in the car known as ‘Baby Blue’. Bogie’s Escort needed a new alternator by the end of the day, and Frank Kelly edged further ahead.
On the wet Sunday morning stages the picture changed dramatically as Kelly’s Escort developed differential problems. The popular Kelly has had no end of bad luck so far in 2016.
Bogie drove brilliantly to take the lead. The five-time Scottish champion has achieved podium positions on the event before, but for him to win the modified category outright was very special for him and his family. Kelly set some good times towards the finish, but could make no real impression on Bogie. Damien Gallagher overcame rear brake problems with his Escort to take third. Tourish in fourth was a hero in many people’s eyes, mixing it so well with the big engined class 14 Escorts. Fifth was reigning Tarmac Modified champion Declan Gallagher, so often the dominant figure in the National category in recent years. But he had a subdued run this time, his cause not helped by throttle problems with his Starlet, and an excursion at a chicane.
ROAD RALLY ROUND-UP
Matt Warren took his fifth win of the year on Sunday at the East Anglian Classic Rally, the sixth round of the HRCR Clubman Championship.
With regular partner Andy Pullan away winning HERO’S Summer Trial, Warren was navigated to victory by Ryan Pickering. Unusually the Ford Escort driver didn’t dominate the tests, he was only third quickest through the 13 that were tackled. However, a combined performance by the two crew members – they had the second best regularity scores – meant they romped home with a margin of over a minute.
Darrell Staniforth/ Les Mcguffog took the runner up spot, 40 seconds ahead of Simon Mellings/ Henry Carr, who were third.
Jim Deacon/ David Taylor led early
Chelmsford MC When: June 19 Where: Norfolk/ Suffolk Championships: HRCR Clubman & Premier Route: 130 miles Tests: 13 Starters: 33.