2024 R3: Report

Desi Henry wins while Greer keeps eye on McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship prize

A last stage misfire wasn’t enough to stop Desi Henry and Shane Byrne winning round three of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship – the Eakin Bros Brian James Trailers Maiden City Stages – by almost 15 seconds, writes William Neill.

The Citroen C3 Rally2 team set their stall out early by going fastest on the opening Lisbunny stage, measuring 6.8-mile, by four seconds and didn’t let go of the lead despite three rivals taking stage wins along the way.

On his home rally Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan were second in preparation for Killarney International this bank holiday weekend. The Volkswagen Polo R5 driver improved his pace at the start of the second-half to win a stage but there was no denying Henry from scoring another Maiden City Motor Club event win. For Byrne it was his first rally win – a moment the Bruckless man says he “won’t forget in a hurry.”

Claudy’s Callum Devine supported his local event in preparation for the upcoming Killarney International. Photo: William Neill / www.NeillPics.com

Jonny Greer has his eyes fixed on the McGrady Insurance-backed title having increased his advantage with another top points placing thanks to Niall Burns’ notes. A stage win on the first pass of Colhoun’s Dip confidence was high for the second loop and it became close to a Citroen C3 Rally2 one-two finish with just 1.1 seconds the margin from Devine after 38 minutes of rallying.

Spectators watch current McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship leader, Jonny Greer, pass through one of the six stages. Photo: William Neill / www.NeillPics.com

Michael Boyle improved from a sixth in Birr to fourth following two second fastest stage times at the end of the day in his Donegal-based Volkswagen Polo R5, ahead of Aidan Wray by 9.2 seconds but 9.9 seconds from Greer’s pace.
Fastest of the Ford Fiesta drivers Jason Dickson clinched second in the points race to continue a strong season in the race with Greer and Aaron McLaughlin, who finished ninth behind two-wheel-drive winner Damien Tourish and former Irish Tarmac champion Declan Boyle.
Approaching a year since the switch from a Ford Fiesta to the current Citroen C3 Rally2 Joseph McGonigle rounded off the top ten.


Top two-wheel-drive crew Damien Tourish and Domhnall McAlaney were going fast enough to finish seventh overall. Photo: William Neill / www.NeillPics.com

Darrian T90 driver Barry Morris picked up his second maximum score in a row, boosting title hopes after a Kirkistown retirement. The Dungannon man was 1m 18 seconds back from Tourish but approaching two minutes quicker than Camillus Bradley.

Leaving the Maiden City Motor Club event with top two-wheel-drive points was Barry Morris. Photo: William Neill / www.NeillPics.com


Historic race was a close affair – 2.1 seconds deciding Tommy O’Connell and Paul Hughes as the winners in a Mk2-version Ford Escort. Adrian Hetherington and Ronan O’Neill were second in a Ford Escort RS1800, with Jimmy Mills and Michael Johnston rounding off the podium.


Jason Mitchell retired with mechanical issues while in fifth, Stuart Biggerstaff went off the road on Lisbunny and Ryan Caldwell was on top form with a stage fastest time before exiting at service. Peadar Hurson was a non-starter.

Class 2 winners Seamus Goodfellow and Declan Campbell have gone from a Honda Civic to a Ford Fiesta. Photo: William Neill / www.NeillPics.com


1 Desi Henry/Shane Byrne (Citroen C3 Rally2);
2 Callum Devine/Noel O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo R5);
3 Jonny Greer/Niall Burns (Citroën C3 Rally2);
4 Michael Boyle/Darragh Mullen (Volkswagen Polo R5);
5 Aidan Wray/Paddy Robinson (Volkswagen Polo R5);
6 Jason Dickson/Martin Brady (Ford Fiesta R5);
7 Damien Tourish/Domhnall McAlaney (Ford Escort Mk2);
8 Declan Boyle/Liam McIntyre (Citroen C3 Rally2);
9 Aaron McLaughlin/Darren Curran (Volkswagen Polo R5);
10 Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Citroen C3 Rally2).


Class 1: Tommy O’Connell/Paul Hughes (Ford Escort Mk2); Class 2: Seamus Goodfellow/Declan Campbell (Ford Fiesta); Class 3: Stanley Orr/Graham Henderson (Nissan Micra); Class 4: Aodhan Gallagher/Neil Martin Brogan (Honda Civic); Class 5: Quentin Park/Jenson Park; Class 6: John Devlin/John McCarthy (Ford Escort Mk2); Class 7: Damien Tourish/Domhnall McAlaney (Ford Escort Mk2); Class 8: Ben McFall/Damian McAuley (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); Class 9: Johnnie Mulholland/Ryan Farrell (Ford Fiesta Rally3); Class 10: Callum Devine/Noel O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo R5); Class 11: Desi Henry/Shane Byrne (Citroen C3 Rally 2).


Next up in the five round series is the Go Tour of the Sperrins on May 18 – another road closed stage rally with over 70 entries to date. Limited places remain via www.rallyscore.net.
There is more coverage with an action photo gallery set to feature on the McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship Facebook page and a highlights package on YouTube.


Full results are available from www.rallyscore.net


Full points will follow on www.nirallychampionship.com

McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship 2024 Calendar remaining rounds

May 18 – GO Tour of the Sperrins (closed road) – Magherafelt & District Motor Club
July 20 – Tyrone Stages (closed road) – Cookstown Motor Club
November 16 – Reserve date (may be used in the event of a cancelled round)

Follow YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/@NIRally
Follow Facebook page – www.facebook.com/nirallying and www.facebook.com/niforestrallychallenge
Bookmark website – https://www.nirallychampionship.com/

Editor note: Photography may be used for publication free of charge providing credit is given to the photographer.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login