The Equinox Targa Rally Saturday 7th October 2017 – Ard’s Peninsula

The Ulster Automobile Club held The Equinox Targa Rally on Saturday the 7 October 2017, based once again at Harrisons of Greyabbey. The overcast weather remained most of the day and there were just occasional rain showers. RB Automotive, Newtownards, kindly sponsored this year’s event.

The first of sixty-three cars left the start line shortly after 10:00, and made their way to the first Special Test at Lord Dunleath’s Estate. Targa Rallies attract a wide variety of vehicles, ranging from the ubiquitous and ever popular MX5 to Ford Anglia’s and Volkswagen Beetles. Whilst rear wheel drive cars that have predictable handling characteristics often lead the field, not so at this event. Matthew Mason from Moneyreagh drove his front wheel drive Nissan Micra, navigated by Will Corry from Ballymena, to a very credible win. Will said after the event, “Fantastic driving all day by Matthew. Well deserved, and certainly earned over the course of the year.”

The event included some 16 Special Tests covering a wide area of the Ard’s Peninsula. The jewel in the crown this year was Special Test 6, regarded by many competitors as being their favourite of this year’s Targa Rally Calendar. What had been two Special Tests last year was joined up into one.

A number of members of the public visited Castlebawn, a previous ERC Special Stage, and were not disappointed, witnessing some spectacular spins and slides. One of the most dramatic Special Tests was at Clandeboye Sawmills, Bangor, as the day went on the loose ground rutted and some dramatic sideways action ensued.

The overall winners were car number 1 driven by Matthew Mason and navigated by Will Corry with an overall time of 16 minutes and 17seconds, followed by car 20 Douglas and William Reid from Ballynahinch in an MX5, who were just nine seconds behind. In third place just 2 seconds behind them was car 9 Simon Woodside from Templepatrick & Mark Faulkner from Ballygowan, again in an MX5.

Targa Rallies are a good entry point to Motorsports and anyone interested is encouraged to speak to their local Motor Club. The Clerk of The Course, Mr Ronnie Mitchell said at the prize giving, “The Club would like to thank Harrisons for welcoming us back again, the event continues to grow year on year and we would not be able to do it without the support of all the competitors. We are extremely grateful to all the land owners who allowed us to use their properties today.”

The Ulster Automobile Club will be holding its next event, the S W Adair Championship Sprint at Kirkistown on Saturday the 14 October, practice starting from 09:30am.

Results Overall:

  1. M Mason / W Corry
  2. D Reid / W Reid
  3. S Woodside / M Faulkner
  4. M Francis / G Haydon
  5. T Ferguson / D Mooney
  6. S Cromie / T Gribben
  7. J Nolan / A Ryan
  8. M Woodside / A Blair
  9. M McDowell / R Dickson
  10. E Patterson / R Donaldson

Class Winners

  1. M Mason / W Corry (Micra)
  2. S Woodside / M Faulkner (MX5)
  3. J Nolan / A Ryan (Starlet)
  4. D Reid / W Reid (MX5)
  5. A Earney / R O’Boyle (Yaris)
  6. P Hunter / R Hunter (MX5)

Some images from Bill Swann thank you Bill :)

Some images from Declan McPhillips, thank you Declan :)