SS1: Henry Fastest; Greer has a big moment; Tourish leads 2WD

(Image: D Harrigan Images) SS1: After stage one of the Eakin Bros Brian James Trailers Stages Rally, Desi Henry and Paddy Robinson have grabbed the lead by an impressive nine seconds after a tricky opening test. Despite complaining of some brake fade, the Kilrea driver was fastest by a substantial margin through the test.

“We had a clean enough stage but we’re losing our brakes a wee bit. There’s quite a bit in that stage so we’re relying on the brakes quite a lot.”

Jonny Greer and Niall Burns are second overall but were lucky to reach the finish of the opening test after they survived a big moment after a jump. Greer reported: “The car bottomed out and we went down the road sideways.” The reigning champion survived to tell the tale and finished the test just over a second faster than Cathan McCourt and Liam Moynihan.

McCourt was a bit frustrated after stalling on the start line, reckoning he lost what felt like around 15 seconds. Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy are fourth overall after what Jennings called a “baptism of fire”, while Jason Mitchell and Paddy McCrudden reckoned they were a bit slow to get into the swing of things at the start.

Mitchell holds joint fifth overall with leading two-wheel-drive pilot, Damien Tourish and Domnhall McAlaney. Derek McGarrity and Graham Henderson are seventh, with McGarrity reckoning he was “a wee bit timid”, while Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan are eighth.

Ninth-placed Joe McGonigle reported a “near miss at a square left”. He commented on it being dusty and slippery in places but is happy with the setup changes he made to his Fiesta during a pre-event test. Alan Carmichael and Arthur Kierans are 10th after also reporting a few moments.

Aaron McLaughlin has switched to a Fiesta R5 for today’s event and he thought the first stage “went OK until I saw the times!” It is Niall Devine’s first tarmac rally in two years so he is taking some time to get into the groove.

Joe Hegarty had a cautious run and spotted Ryan Loughran’s Escort sitting at the side of the road. Loughran later finished the stage and reported a “silly mistake” which resulted in a puncture.

The stage is still lives and times/positions are subject to change. Latest results are available from and follow @onthepacenote for live stage end interviews!


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