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Lakeland Stages
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Pre Start - Saturday @ 08:31:52

RALLY NEWS NO.1 Ballinamallard/Saturday morning 08.30
This Fisher Engineering Lakeland Stages Rally brings together a fascinating mix of some of the best forest drivers, particularly the plethora of ‘young tigers’. The benchmark will be Kenny McKinstry in his Subaru WRC. Derek McGarrity was to run at 1, but he has withdrawn, so Kenny, although he will have the No.71 on his Subaru, will now lead the rally away from the Fisher Engineering start to the opening Conagher stage. The young tigers include Alastair Fisher, Jonny Greer and Mark Donnelly, add top class drivers such as Dogleap winner Donagh Kelly, Martin Cairns, Ian Cochrane plus several more into the mix and it becomes ever more interesting.

The name of the game as well over today’s 8 forest stages through the Fermanagh Lakeland area will be the chase after Hankook NI Championship points, so additionally the spotlight will very much be on NI series leader Stuart Biggerstaff. 22 year old Stuart, in his first proper season of rallying, will again drive his father Denis’ Impreza WRC. The nature of the stages, fast and with fearsome crests and dips in places is such that fortune will favour the brave. For Biggerstaff it will be a daunting challenge.

Top two wheel drive exponents are Frank Kelly and Adrian Hetherington in their Escorts. There is also a good selection of very accomplished drivers in various Mk2’s. Just some of those include Vivian Hamill, Michael Conlon, Ryan Barrett, Mark Barnett and Andrew Trotter. Drew Stewart currently leads the 2-wheel drive category in the Hankook series and he is seeded at 33 in his Escort. Just some of the other Championship class leaders scattered throughout the entry include CL6 Escort man Oran Donnelly with Francis Regan on the notes: Gareth Sayers, who is at 38 in his Nova, leads CL3. Ballinamallard’s Jonny Leonard is the top points scorer in CL1 and is hoping for a good result on this his home forestry rally. Jonny’s co-driver Jackie was helping out with the rally ‘signing on’ last night. She will be looking after a different type of paperwork on the rally as the pair continue their bid to not only win their class in the NI series, but also to win the Hankook Junior Prize Drive, worth around £10,000. Further Championship class leaders competing on the rally include Paddy McToal (CL4 Escort), Robert Erwin (CL5 Corolla) and the irrepressible Andy Johnson in his Chevette HSR who leads CL11.

Some changes to the published entry list include Raymond Johnston non-starting. John Bustard/Robert McKelvey come in at 66 in their Lancer: Neil Harron/Kieran McElhinney (Escort) are at 67: Patsy Keenan, who has flown over from the USA especially for the rally is at 68. Patsy has Martin Brady co-driving. Amy Cox/Aine McGuigan (Escort) are at 69: Jimmy Donnelly/Fabian McAleer in their GpN Impreza are at 70. Kenny McKinstry has Kenny Hull co-driving and Andy Johnson has Jim McSherry in the hot seat of the Chevette.
More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

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