Bliss for Garry but missed wedding invite leaves him in the doghouse
Garry Jennings skipped out of Lurgan Park in a hurry on Saturday evening, heading for Donegal and the wedding party of Alastair Fisher.
So keen was he to carry on his winning sequence in the Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally that he risked the ire of his wife Kerry by missing the wedding ceremony of his friend and rival Alastair and Fiona Teague.
"She wasn't happy about it, and I was sorry to miss the wedding, but I really wanted to be here," said Jennings.
So much so he harried the engineers in England to rush the re-build of the engine of his Subaru Impreza which had blown up on the first stage of the Donegal International.
They got it back just in time for Garry's Crozier Motorsport team to re-fit it on the eve of the rally but it only ran in anger on the first of the Lurgan Park stages on Saturday morning and Jennings's heart went aflutter when, despite setting fastest time, warning lights were flashing on the dashboard of the Subaru. The oil pressure was too low.
His efforts might been in vain there and then but Jennings and the team managed the problem with oil changes and easing the settings on the engine to enable the former Irish Tarmac champion from Kesh to carry on, setting fastest times on seven of the eight stages and win in Lurgan Park for the fourth year in a row.
He had Kenny McKinstry on his tail all day, the 11-times winner having to settle for another second place in his S14 Subaru just 13 seconds adrift but nine clear of the WRC Ford Fiesta of park debutant Declan Boyle.
Derek McGeehan won a private duel with Derek McGarrity to take fourth, his WRC Mini edging out McGarrity's WRC Fiesta by five seconds.
But they were both almost caught in the closing stages by a fast-finishing Stuart Biggerstaff who climbed from an early 11th place to end up just half-a-second behind McGarrity. Robert Wooside impressed in seventh, his R5 Fiesta the best of the non-WRC cars.
Meanwhile, as Jennings headed north west to party, Boyle turned south for Trim and yesterday's ALMC round of the Irish national championship. It proved a worthwhile trip, the former Tarmac champion leading from start to finish to win by 43 seconds from Roy White (Ford Fiesta) with Peadar Hurson (Subaru) third.
Desi Henry finished fifth in his R5 Skoda, sandwiched between the WRC Subarus of two ex-national champion Niall Maguire and Mel Evans.
Craig Breen did his Citroen ambitions no harm at all with a strong seventh place on Rally Poland as Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen grabbed a fortunate victory.
Long-time leader Ott Tanak's Ford Fiesta picked up a puncture on the penultimate stage, allowing Mikkelsen through for an unexpected win. Haden Paddon was third for Hyundai.
Breen won his personal battle with fellow Citroen hopeful Stephane Lefebrve when the young Frenchman crashed two stages from the end having led the Circuit of Ireland winner by 12 seconds going into the final leg.
And there was a superb victory for Jon Armstrong in the WRC4 division as well as the DMACK Frod Fiesta Trophy series. From Kesh, like Jennings, finished 31st overall ahead of former Rally Northern Ireland winner Osian Pryce and Gus Greensmith in all all-GB top three.