The Larne coastline greeted 37 cars on Saturday25th March who chose the Halfway House Hotel as their starting point for the N.I Air Ambulance fund raising, Circuit of Ulster Targa Rally. The great weather provided everyone with a stunning view over the Irish Sea which laid the foundations for further stunning locations throughout the day. Larne Motor Club were asked to be a part of Magherafelt & District Motor Club’s plan to raise substantial funds for the new lifesaving helicopter and the club were delighted to oblige. Eighteen special tests were in place for the 120 plus entry. The 37 cars started at 10:00 with Robert Woodside Jnr and Bruce Drummond leading the pack off towards the lunch halt at The Elk in Toome. The first two test were place around factory yard in Millbrook before heading over to the lane provided by Lismenary Motors in Ballynure. After a quick trip, over to Nutts Corner and seven tests completed, Woodside and Drummond arrived in their Toyota Team Straid MR2. The tests that followed were a super treat of speed and scenery as the two tests that followed lunch saw the competitors pip their skills around a Game of Thrones set. Following this the cars headed for the highest part of the event in Dungiven where the views over the Sperrin Mountains were breath-taking. The organising team provided a further surprise as the rally route passed through another Game of Thrones favourite, The Dark Hedges where rally crews could get their photo taken. The rally returned to Larne via the scenic Antrim Coastal Route. Nine Larne Motor Club member crews competed in this epic event with David Crothers and Barbara Kane the highest seeded in their seasoned Mazda MX5. Mark Francis bravely teamed up with seasoned targa navigator Gillian Haydon in his MX5’s maiden targa rally. Mal Haveron in another Mazda had a stressful start to the day when his navigator Andrew O’Toole became ill, leaving Haveron needing a replacement and quickly. Sean McDonnell answered the call to create a sibling rivalry that added to this exciting day. Mal’s brother Kevin Haveron and Sean’s sister Leanne McDonnell have the greater experience in targas than Mal and Sean so it was always going to be something to watch. Conor and Hugh O’Boyle set up another family battle with Conor and his navigator Lee Magil battling Hugh and Mark Smyth. Conor and Lee came out on top of this family affair finishing in 42nd and Hugh and Mark in 87th. Michael Johnston had the task of navigating son Jason around the rally in their Ford Escort with the blue machine coming home in 99th place. Millar Hood and Robin Hamill enjoyed another outing in the Ford Puma and they brought it home in 88th place. After the cars safely returned to the Halfway House Hotel, the results and prizes were given out in The Elk. David and Barbara finished an excellent 2nd overall behind the event winner Robert and Bruce. Third place went to experienced crew Eric Patterson and Raymond Donaldson who started the event from Toome. Now if you are still reading this I know you are busting to know the outcome of the Haveron/McDonnell battle, well after 18 tests Mal & Sean narrowly beat Kevin & Leanne with only 9 seconds separating the two cars. Larne Motor Club would like to thank the land owners, marshals, the halfway house hotel, P&O Ferries, Valentinos Pizzeria and The Woodside Group for helping make the event a fundraising success with £13,000 raised for Air Ambulance.