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McGarrity’s double dream is not realised

Derek McGarrity made it two Northern Ireland championship wins out of two with another convincing victory at Bishopscourt on Saturday.

In fact, it was a double double for the reigning champion who also won both opening rounds last year.

But the double he really wanted — back-to-back wins on the same weekend — failed to materialise when McGarrity crashed out on the opening stage of the Mayo Rally yesterday.

Driving an ex-Eamonn Boland Subaru Impreza S12C, the former Tarmac champion set fastest times on all six stages of the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally at Bishopscourt to finish 74 seconds ahead of George Robinson.

In an all-Subaru top four, former champion Robinson edged out young Stuart Biggerstaff who had been in second place until he overshot a chicane on the penultimate stage and dropped 18 seconds.

Gary White also made up ground in the closing stages to snatch fourth place away from the Group N Mitsubishi of production category winner Kieron Graffin.

Alan Carmichael, Raymond Johnston and Graham Ballantine, also in production Mitsubishis, were sixth, seventh and eighth ahead of the two-wheel-drive division winning Ford Escort of Drew Stewart.

Afterwards, McGarrity headed south for Claremorris and round two of the Irish national championship.

But the trip proved abortive when he was caught out by a patch of loose gravel at a first stage hairpin and his Subaru unde-rsteered into a bank, toppling onto its side and out of the rally.

Welshman Mel Evans won for the second round in a row ahead of Kevin Barrett, both in Subarus, and Craig Breen took third place as he continued to build-up experience with his new Super 2000 Ford Fiesta.

Belfast Telegraph