SS3: Greer Extends Lead; Henry’s Hopes Punctured

SS3: There has been plenty of action on stage three with Jonny Greer extending his lead to 13.7 seconds over Derek McGarrity while Desi Henry has dropped out of the running with a puncture.

Greer and navigator Kirsty Riddick set the pace on the stage by 6.9 seconds from the Focus WRC belonging to McGarrity and Paddy Robinson. Both drivers seemed content at the finish but Henry, who had held third going into the test, was far from happy.

“I picked up the puncture about three corners in,” Henry said. “I didn’t hit anything but that has ruined the whole day now.”

With Henry dropping down the order, Stephen Wright and Liam Moynihan have moved into third overall. They lost a little bit of time behind another competitor and then they caught Henry’s stricken Hyundai but still have a three-second cushion to Phillip Allen and Ian Dickson in fourth.

Aaron McLaughlin and Darren Curran are now up to fifth and are getting happier as the day goes on. “We made a few tweaks and it seems to be working,” McLaughlin said.

Peadar Hurson and Damien Connolly are sixth in their Fiesta WRC with Stuart Biggerstaff and Chris Nelson up to seventh despite catching another car.

Niall Henry and Damien Duffin “can’t complain” in eighth while ninth-placed Kieron Graffin was able to “find a bit more grip” on that stage.

2WD leaders Barry Morris and Dylan Doonan are now 10th overall after a stunning drive through that third stage. They entered the test three seconds ahead of Damian Toner in the battle for 2WD honours…but emerged with 10-second cushion!

Toner reckons he still needs harder tyres, while Jason Black and Karl Egan are back up to third in the category, with Jamie Grant and Ben Teggart fourth.

James Kennedy is getting used to driving without power steering in his Escort. “It needs a totally different driving style,” Kennedy said. “You have to flick her into the corners. I’m getting used to it!”

Running inside the top 20, Sean Devine reported a lucky escape on the stage. “We nearly had a big one,” a relieved Devine said. “We were up on two wheels and then I had to fight to get her straightened up!”

Also in a bit of bother were Peter Bennett and Rob Graham. They clipped a kerb which left them having to drive to the finish with a front puncture. Clive Kilpatrick and Jay Colville lost their front bumper somewhere on the stage and are also having to cope with some throttle issues. “Sometimes the throttle works, sometimes it doesn’t!” Kilpatrick said.

Event and championship sponsor Fintan McGrady lost time with a spin after the jump, while John Bradley was lucky to escape without damage when he had to take evasive action to avoid another competitor that had spun and was blocking the road.

Gary McEvoy is still struggling with his brakes while Paul McKenna is really enjoying himself and was singing the praises of event organisers, Ballynahinch and District Motor Club.

Robert and Sara Erwin only completed one lap after a bolt came loose in their rear suspension, leaving a rear wheel wobbling in every direction on their Toyota MR2 (pictured). “The bolt was definitely tight before we started!” Erwin said.

Michael Conlon was relieved to reach the stage three finish. He broke a shaft earlier in the day and thought he was going to be unable to restart. But after some deliberations, organisers gave him the green light to continue.

There’s a big battle brewing in class three. Philip White slid into some tyres earlier this morning but he has fought back into the category lead after that stage with Stephen Whitford and Derek Crossen second ahead of Stephen Jess and John Magilton.

Third-placed Jess said: “I think we need them to stop for a tyre change in the middle of a stage to let us catch up!”
Earlier in the day, Richard and Hannah McCartney dragged a trackside tyre back to service with them in their Ford Ka. Retirements include Joel Eakin who broke a shaft after the jump.

Stage four will be starting soon. Results available from

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