MOTORSPORT: Scott Moran sets new hillclimb record at Craigantlet

Alastair Fisher has moved to the top of the 2016 Tarmac Championship.
Alastair Fisher has moved to the top of the 2016 Tarmac Championship.
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Scott Moran not only won the Craigantlet Hillclimb to take the News Letter Trophy, but he also set a new hill record.

As expected the visiting British Hillclimb Championship runners led the way, with winner Moran and runner-up Trevor Willis actually dead-heating on their first runs at 40.76secs.

Moran responded by lowering the hill record to 39.40secs to win the event outright on his next run but then went on to lower it yet again in the final Avon Tyres British Championship Run-Off of the day to leave it at 39.12secs.

Willis and third placed Will Hall both dipped in to the 39sec bracket in their chase of Moran but the multiple former British Champion prevailed.

The Millers Oils Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championship second round, running alongside the visitors, proved just as exciting, although it ended up a repeat result from Croft Hillclimb a fortnight ago with Chris Houston (46.57sesc) again holding off a hard charging Richard McGimpsey (46.72secs) in OMS and RMG single-seat racers, respectively.

Their best times put them in amongst the British Championship runners inside the top ten overall whilst George Stevenson again brought his Jedi Mk6 home in the last Northern Ireland podium spot.

It was the Northern Ireland Saloons that caused the real talking point as multiple champion Rudi Gage continues to develop his new Maguire Mini and his son’s similar car suffered head gasket failure.

Mark Lancashire finally beat his elder brother Ian in their shared Subaru, on the final run, to be top saloon on the day by 6/10ths of a second with a best of 49.17secs.

Tarmac Rally Champion Donagh Kelly at the wheel of a Ford Focus WRC repeated his victory of last year to win the Rally of the Lakes and Fermanagh’s Alastair Fisher finished second in his Ford Fiesta R5 to claim maximum points in the battle for the 2016 Tarmac Championship to move to the top of the leaderboard.

Kelly put in a charge on day two while on stage ten Garry Jennings crashed his Subaru WRC and into retirement.

Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) finished third overall and is now second to Fisher in the points for the Tarmac crown.

At the conclusion of the opening day Alastair Fisher was just 26.8 seconds off the lead held by Garry Jennings while Sam Moffett featured strongly and was only 13 seconds further adrift.

The pace of day one has took its toll with some of the other championship contenders hitting trouble: Keith Cronin lost a huge amount of time with mechanical woes, Josh Moffett crashed out and Joe McGonigle suffered a time consuming first stage puncture.

Meanwhile, Enniskillen Motor Club has attracted some interesting entries for the Historic section of the May Day Rally, which is being staged at St. Angelo Airfield on Monday.

Barry Murphy will debut his newly built Talbot Sunbeam and Mervyn Johnston will be driving his Mini Cooper S.

The event will consist of six special stages with the action getting under way at 9am.