WRC star unwinds at Autotest as Crothers glides to win.
After hosting round three of the McMillan Specialist Cars N.I Autotest Championship, Larne Motor Club were back again with a relaxed evening of Autotesting. The venue in Raloo provided the setting for some clubman fun as some of Northern Ireland's top drivers were in attendance.
World Rally Championship Legend and current M Sport co-driver, Chris Patterson returned to another Larne Autotest, this time in his Mazda MX5. The event is a more relaxed affair than a WRC weekend and it was great to see Chris floating his MX-5 around the pylons. On test one chris set his fastest time at the first attempt. The rear wheel drive machine was great to watch with full opposite lock around the test. Next up will see Chris back beside Gus Greensmith in the M Sport Fiesta to Kenya as the Safari Rally returns to the WRC schedule. Larne Motor Club wishes them both well.
Another local legend Simon Woodside entered his Toyota MR2. The multiple discipline champion is another great supporter of Larne Motor Club and enjoys getting time to throw his car around the pylons. A fail on test one proved costly and with only six tests in the event, Simon was unable to close the time back. Simon slipped from third place and finished in 9th overall.
NI Autotest regular and championship sponsor George McMillan was out in his recognisable yellow Nova. Fresh from a fourth place class finish at our weekend championship event, George was just testing his machine in preparation for the next round of the championship in Omagh this weekend.
Third place overall was a great Clubman, Paul Magill. Paul is a fantastic example of how the right car can cover a lot of motorsport disciplines. In his MX5, Paul will tell you that Autotesting is not his strong point, but this was certainly not the case last night. He only had one 5-second penalty all evening and his great driving sealed 3rd spot. Paul will next be using his Mazda at Cairncastle Hill Climb at the end of the month.
The event runner up was Ben McKee. It's clear to see Ben is enjoying every minute of motorsport. Who could blame him as his smooth driving style is a joy to watch. Swapping from his Nissan Micra at the weekend, Ben moved into another MX5, this time entered with his dad, Wallace. Ben chased the overall winner and matched a few of the fastest times on the evening. However a penalty free evening wasn't to be enough yet a solid second overall was a great result for Ben.
Overall winner was David Crothers in his Mazda MX5 affectionately known as S59. David who is one of the most talented and modest men in Motorsport, felt he was going to be rusty as he had not competed in several months. Everyone who watched along quickly realized that he was far from it, setting amazing times and is road going car. The smooth fast lines and his raw talent was not to be matched on the night. David had a penalty free evening and finished the event a superb 15 seconds in front of Ben.
Larne Motor Club would like to thank the land owner, Allan Dorman & Son Hardware, and competitors for supporting our fun evening. Our evening Autotests are be becoming more popular, we might have to move to a bigger more exciting venue, fingers crossed, watch this space.