Belfast Telegraph

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Thompson rises to the occasion at Cairncastle

 

By Sammy Hamill

He's already known as 'the King of Cairncastle' and Graham Thompson added to his reputation with back-to-back wins in rounds five and six of the Millers Oils Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championship.

With reigning champion Chris Houston and the current championship leader Richard McGimpsey failing to make the start line for the Larne Club's double-header weekend, Thompson was left to take unchallenged victories in his GTR Turbo on Friday night and again on Saturday.

He was the only driver to break through the 70-second barrier for the scenic 1.65 mile climb above the Antrim coast road. But in the hot conditions even Thompson couldn't get close to his own hill record of 65.41 seconds set during his winning run in 2017.

On Friday night Thompson's best time was 71.54 seconds which saw him over six seconds clear of Gerard O'Connell's OMS with Brendan Flynn less than a second further back in his Radical.

Times were faster on Saturday with Thompson recording a weekend best of 68.06 seconds and O'Connell again taking second on 72.85. Rory Stephens was third on 77.62 in his Radical.

Ivan McCullough set the fastest saloon car time at 78.29 seconds in his Nissan GTR to edge out rally winner and preparation specialist Derek McGeehan in his WRC Mini.

The next round of the series is the Mid Antrim Club's Garron Point climb just along the Antrim coast on August 11.

Belfast Telegraph

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