Jonny Greer wins as rallying returns in Northern Ireland

Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick won the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally as the first round of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship took place at Bishopscourt at the weekend.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 6:00 am

The Co Down circuit hosted the first stage rally since March 2020, prior to the coronavirus lockdown.

Greer and Riddick romped home to victory with their Citroen C3 R5.

At the Ballynahinch and District Motor Club organised event, their final winning margin was 33.3 seconds over the Ford Focus WRC of to Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick claimed victory at the McGrady Insurance Stages, round one of the NI Rally Championship. (Image: Jonathan MacDonald)

McGarrity had been fastest on the opening stage and was one of the favourites for victory but he had no answer to the flying Greer over the remainder of the event.

In fact, the entry list read like a who’s who of motorsport with multiple former champions lining up to do battle.

Greer, the 2017 champion, was pitted against eight-time champion McGarrity as well as reigning champion, Stephen Wright, who won the series in 2019.

Meanwhile, 2010 champion Stuart Biggerstaff was also in the mix with a hired Fiesta R5, as well as three-times champion Kenny McKinstry.

But from the outset, it looked as though it was always going to be a battle between Greer and McGarrity.

It was McGarrity who took first blood, going fastest on the opening stage with his stunning Focus WRC by eight-tenths of a second from Greer. Then Greer upped the ante, emerging from stage two with a six-second lead and he never looked back.

“I thought we had an OK run on the first stage,” Greer said at the finish,” said Greer.

“So we tidied things up a bit on stage two. I didn’t expect to be so far ahead on that stage but once we managed to do that, we just had to try and keep doing the same thing again and again.”

Desi and Mark Henry held third until a front puncture dropped them out of contention, leaving Stephen Wright and Liam Moynihan to complete the top three in their Ford Fiesta.

Subject to government regulations, the Dogleap Stages Rally is the next event due to take place on August 7 followed by the Loughgall Stages on 21 August.