There have only been two British World Rally Champions. Back in 1995 Scotland’s Colin McRae from Lanark became the first, then in 2001 Richard Burns from Reading won the title for England.
Fast forward 19 years and Elfyn Evans is poised to capture the illusive crown. Following his surprise victory in a rough tough Rally Turkey, the little “Welsh Wizard” is 18 points clear of Toyota team mate Sebastien Ogier. Due to the unprecedented nature of the shortened 2020 WRC, Evans is perfectly placed to take the Championship. For that to happen though there must be seven events completed. To date there have been five with just two remaining.
The next scheduled event is Rally Italy in Sardinia (8-11 October) followed by the Ypres Rally Belgium (19-22 November). A further event, the Monza Rally based entirely at the race circuit in Italy, could be added as a backup in December, but that has yet to be confirmed.
The Carryduff Forklift Challenge 2000 was a last minute replacement for the cancelled Ulster Rally. A short six stage one day closed-road rally, this event was based in Gortin, Co.Tyrone. We were timekeeping on SS1/4 Butterloop near Plumbridge. The weather was atrocious with heavy rain all day. The winners were Ian Greer and Dean Beckett in a Toyota Corolla WRC. Padaer Hurson/Ian Porter were second in an Escort Cosworth while Philip Shaw and Ciaran Kelly finished third in a Mk.2 Escort. 27 Cars started and 19 finished.
Garry Jennings and Neil Doherty won the Donegal Harvest Stages in October 2010 in their Subaru S7 WRC. Five of us were timekeeping on the finish of SS2/4 (McBride’s Court) just outside Castlefinn. A huge entry of 161 cars started the nine-stage closed-road event based at Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey. The “Rally in the Valley “ as it was known was organised by Donegal Motor Club. All nine tests were in the Finn Valley area of the county. 99 competitors made it to the finish. Jennings was fastest on 8 stages while Seamus Leonard/John McCaffery were second in a Subaru S9 WRC. On the last stage the Jennings Subaru broke its front suspension, but despite loosing 59 seconds to Leonard, the Kesh driver still made it to the finish in first place. Gary McPhilips and James McNulty were third and top two-wheel-Drive finishers in their Ford Escort Mk.2. A total of 99 cars in the main event made it to the finish in Ballybofey followed by all 7 junior drivers who started.
I missed the Down Rally in 2010 because five of us made the trip to Rally Spain in Salou. It was an expenses paid trip which we won earlier in the year at our local ANICC prizegiving event. This was my second visit to the Spanish round of the World Championship. We managed to take in shakedown plus three stages of the mixed surface event. One of the highlights was having lunch in the Ford M-Sport hospitality unit. We were mixing it with stars like Ken Block and Ari Vatanen and many others. Lots of people from Northern Ireland were involved in the WRC at that time including ; co-drivers, cameramen, chauffeurs and service crews.
On the Down Rally (based in Castlewellan) Stuart Biggerstaff became the youngest winner of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The 22 year-old from Kinallen finished fifth on the gravel event, but with his closest challenger Mark Donnelly not scoring any points after problems dropped him to last position, Biggerstaff was crowned champion. Winners for the second year in succession were Kenny McKinstry and Noel Orr in a Subaru S8 WRC.
Rallying as a discipline was given the green light earlier this month, and now Motorsport UK has created a guidance video to help everyone understand the changes we have to undertake. Here is a link to the video:- ReturnToTheStages
The Jimmy McRae Award is presented each January and recognises a current member who has best represented the club throughout the preceding year. It is not intended simply to reward attendance, but to mark someone who has made a real difference.
2020 is proving to be an exceptionally difficult year with very little motorsport of any sort, particularly rallying. Therefore BRMC has decided to extend the qualification criteria for the 2021 Award, to also include the activities that many of our members are undertaking outside Rallying in support of their wider communities, often using the kind of skills developed in marshalling.
So, if you know a club member that you think deserves the award, click the button below.
The award was first introduced in 2019 and presented to the inaugural winner Ian Evans at the Autosport International Show in January 2020.
Latest updates from Motorsport UK, the wider motorsport community and the latest from the UK Government..
The latest information can be found here.
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