BRADLEY WINS AS MCGARRITY TAKES TI­TLE

Down Rally

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Ja­son Craig Re­sults

Or­gan­iser: Rath­fri­land Mo­tor Club When: Oc­to­ber 15 Where: County Down, North­ern Ire­land Cham­pi­onship North­ern Ire­land Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: 6 Starters: 67

Derek Mcgarrity put a topsy-turvy MSA North­ern Ire­land Rally Cham­pi­onship sea­son to bed with a fifth-straight driv­ers’ crown and his sev­enth in to­tal to re­write the record books, as Camil­lus Bradley took over­all vic­tory on the Down Rally.

Mcgarrity was forced to dig deep after los­ing bags of time on the open­ing loop with a misted-up front win­dow. Al­though Mcgarrity didn’t win he up­held his side of the bar­gain by fin­ish­ing on the podium to deny event win­ner and main ti­tle ri­val Bradley. Sand­wiched be­tween them was the Ford Es­cort Mk2 be­long­ing to Damian Toner.

“I’m over the moon to have won. With the con­di­tions the way they were, I never thought win­ning would be pos­si­ble. It caps off a fan­tas­tic year for me and the team,” said Bradley.

Mon­soon-es­que show­ers prior to the event meant road con­di­tions should have favoured four-wheel drive but that failed to ma­te­ri­alise as a clearly sur­prised Bradley headed up the timesheets after the open­ing loop. Toner was sec­ond with David Arm­strong in third and Mcgarrity 25th. Jonny Greer was an early re­tire­ment six cor­ners in with en­gine woes in his Citroen DS 3 R5.

Stand­ing wa­ter re­mained a prob­lem for the sec­ond pass over Ard­brin and Closkelt, Bradley do­ing enough to keep Toner at bay as Bren­dan Cu­miskey moved up to third, mul­ti­ple North­ern Ir­ish cham­pion Kenny Mckinstry was fourth and a resur­gent – and vis­i­bly hap­pier – Mcgarrity up to fifth. He had threat­ened to with­draw if the mist­ing is­sue per­sisted, but thank­fully it did not.

Show­ers were re­placed with sun­shine for stages five and six but the roads re­mained greasy. While cau­tion might have been the or­der of the day, Bradley could not af­ford to ease up with Toner breath­ing down his neck. He held on to record his first vic­tory in the North­ern Ire­land cham­pi­onship since May 2012 and also seal the two-wheel-drive ti­tle.

Mcgarrity clawed back a fur­ther two places to fin­ish third with Mckinstry net­ting fourth, de­spite en­coun­ter­ing gear se­lec­tion trou­bles with his Subaru Im­preza. John Devlin in fifth pipped peren­nial ri­val Alas­tair Cochrane to the two-litre spoils while Mit­subishi Lancer driver Clive Kil­patrick crashed out to­wards the end to hand Colm Mc­fall t he Pro­duc­tion Class win.

Alan Smyth won the front-wheel-drive race in his slightly bat­tered-look­ing Suzuki Swift, with Andy John­son (Vaux­hall Chevette) get­ting the bet­ter of Drew Wylie to win the His­toric hon­ours.

Bradley took Down glory in Ford Es­cort

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