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11 May 2015



In memory of Ryan Bradley

Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
The bright orange and silver Subaru of Derek and Diarmuid was yet again on fire; the duo claimed their fourth consecutive victory in the Northern Irish Rally Championship, further extending their overall championship lead. It seams the team this season is unstoppable.
Organized by the Magherafelt Motor Club the “2015 ANICC McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship” Round 4 – Tour of the Sperrins took place on Saturday 9th of May. The motor club dedicated the event in the memory of late Ryan Bradley, who tragically lost his life in the accident at the Down Rally last year; it was touching to see his brother Kevin entering the event in a MKII Escort. 
Situated around the scenic Sperrin Mountains the event consisted of 3 newly selected special stages, the longest test stretching for nearly 7 miles. Stage Gorteade and Megargy was ran twice, while the Knockoneill was repeated for three times. It seems the new stages went down well with the spectators and drivers alike. Surrounded by beautiful scenery the stages proved tricky enough with their blind junctions, high jumps and slippery hairpins. 
Stage 1 “Konckoneill” located near the town of Swatragh started late in the morning under dry and sunny weather conditions. The fastest time recorded by McGarrity in his Subaru S14 WRC indicated it was his pace that would continue to be the dominant throughout the day. The pair outpaced everybody else in 5 out of 7 stages, claiming the MKS Ryan Bradley Memorial Tour of the Sperrins 2015 trophy. 
After 7 competitive stages the second place was claimed by Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan in their Impreza WRC. The crew finished 14.5 seconds adrift from Derek; despite pushing hard and being right on the tail of Derek for majority of the day it seemed the older model S9 Impreza WRC couldn't match the speed of Derek's S14. 
The battle for the final place on the podium was between the Mini WRC piloted by Derek McGeehan and Skoda Fabia S2000 with Marty McCormack in the driver’s seat. It was Derek that secured the victory on the final stage claiming third position overall.
A stall and time loss resulted fifth place for Paddy McVeigh in his Impreza WRC, followed by David Bogie in his R5 Fiesta. The the multiple Scottish rally champion seemed to be enjoying the stages and the challenging times of the local drivers, so let's hope we'll see David returning for some more local rally action soon.
In 7th place overall beating much faster cars was no other than Ken Block of Ireland - Frank Kelly in his baby blue Ford Escort MKII. The Escort Hooligan was flying all day...quite literally. 
(video copyrights: LKMedia59) 
The video of his jump went viral on the social media and has now been shared on hundreds of motorsport pages, proving Frank is undoubtedly the most aggressive and spectacular MKII driver on these shores.

For full results click here

The beautiful Northern Irish Scenery most certainly provides some of the best rally stage backdrops on the Planet.
Sideways is always more fun. Kieran O'Kane's Opel Ascona sounded and looked amazing.
With only two short services the crews were on their sharpest to get the cars back out quickly.
The job of the co-driver is equally hard as is the one of the driver.
Who said safety cars can't have some fun? 00 delivering some donuts for the marshals.
If you think the Irish rallies are overwhelmed with many Ford Escorts MKII, you are RIGHT!
Where there is a rally, there is always some spectacular spectator's cars.

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