2024 R4: Report

Go Jonny go…Greer is now a provisional five-time NI champion!

Fourth at the ‘Go’ Tour of the Sperrins was enough for Jonny Greer to score top points yet again this season and now has a provisional fifth McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship title, writes William Neill.

In a calculated performance this season – with a round still to go – Greer has proved to be at the fore of the country’s headline rally championship in a DGM-run Citroen C3 Rally2. For Letterkenny co-driver Niall Burns it is his first NI crown.

In terms of the Magherafelt-based rally itself there were three drivers out in front competing for a rally win rather than concerning themselves with the points battle. And fresh from a second place in WRC2 at Rally de Portugal, Josh McErlean, for the first time in four years, competed at home to comfortably win by 20.8 seconds in an IN Sport Volkswagen Polo R5 under James Fulton’s notes.

Rally winners Josh McErlean and James Fulton were 20.8 seconds clear of Desi Henry. Photo: William Neill / NeillPics.com

A power issue hindered a challenge from Maiden City winner Desi Henry. Despite the problem the Citroen C3 Rally2 driver secured runner up sport by 43 seconds from Jason Mitchell, who bagged two second fastest stage times with Paddy McCrudden – both on the Forgetown test.

It has been Aaron McLaughlin and Jason Dickson racing against Greer this season but for McLaughlin a mechanical issue on the opening Drumshee Hill stage, that left the Volkswagen Polo stopped for a few minutes before continuing to finish back in 28th overall, could prove costly in the final championship standings.

Jason Dickson and Martin Brady sit second in the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship. Photo: William Neill / NeillPics.com

Dickson was visually trying and has been a name to watch this season. Finishing fifth in the rally, the leading Ford Fiesta Rally2 runner is second on the championship table going into the Cookstown Motor Club final. Busy co-driver Martin Brady was alongside Merion Evans in a Toyota Yaris Rally2 test session the day prior to finish 30.6 seconds from Greer but place secured by 44.9 seconds.

Brake issues were sorted at mid-event service for Kyle White to finish sixth in a Hyundai i20. Anthony Nestor steeped in as White’s co-driver.


Jason Black and Karl Egan were clear two-wheel-drive winners with a winning margin of 1 minute 9 seconds and seventh overall in a Toyota Starlet.

The County Armagh man was followed by Camillus Bradley and Crawford Henderson in a newly built Ford Escort Mk2 debut and Donegal’s Daniel Breslin and Mark McGeehan followed.

Colin Price, fourth on the day, leads the championship race and is in an impressive fourth on the overall tally, with Ben McFall the nearest challenger in a Mitsubishi Lancer E9.

Back to two-wheel-drive and Barry Morris exited on SS4 with mechanical problems, John Devlin failed to start the second loop and differential issues placed Jonny Cargo on the DNF list.

Fintan McGrady pictured competing in the McGrady Insurance-backed Ford Escort at the ‘Go’ Tour of the Sperrins. Photo: William Neill / NeillPics.com


Of the 95 starters, 81 finished. For Simon Michael suspension damage stopped his day while a broken driveshaft was Raymond McLaughlin’s reason for exiting. Oliver Belton parked up with a steering rack problem and Sean Devine retired in service with engine woes.


1 Josh McErlean/James Fulton (Volkswagen Polo R5);
2 Desi Henry/Shane Byrne (Citroen C3 Rally2);
3 Jason Mitchell/Paddy McCrudden (Volkswagen Polo R5);
4 Jonathan Greer/Niall Burns (Citroen C3 Rally2);
5 Jason Dickson/Martin Brady (Ford Fiesta Rally2);
6 Kyle White/Anthony Nestor (Hyundai i20);
7 Jason Black/Karl Egan (Toyota Starlet);
8 Camillus Bradley/Crawford Henderson (Ford Escort Mk2);
9 Martin Cairns/ Peter Ward (Ford Fiesta R5);
10 Niall Henry/Stephen O’Hanlon (Ford Fiesta Rally2).


Class 1: Tommy O’Connell/Paul Hughes (Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800); Class 2A: Seamus Goodfellow/Declan Campbell (Ford Fiesta Rally4); Class 2B: Kyle Elder/Mark Elder (Honda Civic); Class 3: Stanley Orr/Graham Henderson (Nissan Micra); Class 4: Colm McFall/Margo Christie (Honda Civic); Class 5: Eamonn McGuigan/Michael Moran (Ford Escort Mk2); Class 6: Colin Price/Damian Doherty (Toyota Starlet); Class 7: Jason Black/Karl Egan (Toyota Starlet); Class 8: Ben McFall/Damian McAuley (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); Class 9: Johnnie Mulholland/Ryan Farrell (Ford Fiesta Rally3); Class 10: Jonathan Greer/Niall Burns (Citroen C3 Rally2); 11: Josh McErlean/James Fulton (Volkswagen Polo R5).


Next up in the five round series is the final – the Tyrone Stages on July 20.

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.

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