Racer Greer hits top gear

Racer Greer hits top gear

25 August 2021

CARRYDUFF’S Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick secured victory in round three of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK N.I. rally championship, the PRM Group/RPM Motorsport-backed Loughgall Stages Rally.

Championship leader Greer started the North Armagh Motor Club event as the number one seed in his potent Citroen C3 and was determined to make amends after his round two disappointment at Shackleton.

That race’s winner, Mark Henry, started Loughgall as he finished the previous event – at the top of the timesheets.

However, the tables turned on stage two when Henry lost time with fuel pump troubles.

Greer capitalised on Henry’s woes and powered to the top of the leaderboard, moving in front of both Henry and Stephen Wright. 

In a twist of fate, stage three was subsequently cancelled as a result of an issue outside of the organising motor club’s control.

A handful of crews had already completed the stage while those competitors who didn’t complete the stage - including Henry - were awarded a notional stage time. 

According to motorsport rules, this was the time set by the last competitor who successfully completed the cancelled test.

That left Henry some 14 seconds adrift of the leaders with little chance of clawing back that time.

All Greer needed to do was to keep his Citroen neat and tidy through the final miles to claim victory and bolster his N.I. Championship lead. But that was easier said than done. 

The heavens opened before the test and organisers were forced to postpone the start on safety grounds.

Eventually, crews were allowed to tackle the rain-soaked stage with Greer taking a measured approach to secure the Loughgall spoils.

“The final stage was really difficult,” said Greer. “We were nearly caught out on some standing water. We just had to wait for the car to straighten itself.”

Desi and Mark Henry pulled out all the stops over stage six to reclaim second position from Stephen Wright. In the end, they finished 6.4 seconds behind the rally winners and were left rueing their earlier mechanical troubles.

“I think it’s safe to say we lost the rally on a technicality,” said Henry. “I think we were the fastest here today but it is what it is.”

In third position, Stephen Wright and Liam Moynihan lost time with a couple of minor mistakes throughout the day that may have cost them second position.

Aidan Wray and Kieran McGrath claimed fourth overall in their Fiesta R5. It was Wray’s first visit to Loughgall and only his second event in the car.

A half-spin cost them some time earlier in the day but it made little difference to the result.

 In fifth overall, an excellent drive by Damian Toner and Denver Rafferty in their two-wheel-drive Ford Escort MkII saw them net the 2WD category victory. 

Toner is a five-times consecutive winner of the Loughgall Rally but this was the first time the event hosted a round of the N.I. Championship, which is dominated by powerful 4WD crews.

Competitors can now enjoy a two-month break before they are back in action at October’s Tour of the Sperrins Rally.

The penultimate round of the N.I. Championship is due to take place on October 16. Visit nirallychampionship.com for more information.