Icebreaker Rally – McKinstry the Master but Misery for Morrow

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Sileveanorra, that mighty forest in the hills of North Antrim, reverberated with the sound of rally cars once again, as crews took to the stages for the Carey Cleaning Machines Icebreaker Rally. The Mid-Antrim Motor Club event attracted a small, but high quality field to this early season opener. Philip Morrow headed the entry list, making a return to rallying in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, after an absence of just over a year.

The opening stage, Beaghs, was a relatively short and gentle introduction to the car killing havoc that would follow. Morrow’s lack of seat time appeared to be of little disadvantage as he blasted into an early lead. Oran Donnelly’s blistering pace saw his Ford Escort MKII hot on Morrow’s heels. The top two had caught the rest of the field napping, sitting nearly three seconds clear after the initial test. However, a much tougher task lay in wait.Icebreaker Rally - Oran Donnelly

The classic and infamous 7 mile Sileveanorra stage showed no mercy. Morrow, who had showed so much early promise fell victim to a deep ditch. On an open section, approaching a fast left, his car jumped out of third gear. The Lisburn driver made a fumbled attempt to grab another cog, out-braked himself and his Mitsubishi ended up off the road. Martin Carins, who had been well positioned in 10th, also succumbed to a Sileveanorra drain. No damage was done, but the car was stuck fast.Icebreaker Rally - Philip Morrow Crash

Morrow’s demise meant the evergreen McKinstry moved into the lead, at the end of the opening loop. The Banbridge driver had a significant cushion over the hard charging Donnelly, who still held second place. Once McKinstry hit the front, he never looked back. The multiple Northern Ireland champion was in a class of his own, winning three stages in a row to seal victory by a margin of over 40 seconds.Icebreaker Rally - Kenny McKinstry Winner

Unfortunately, Donnelly’s remarkable run ended with retirement on the second pass through Sileveanorra. It was a cruel blow for the local man, who had been holding off a range of cars which, in theory, would have been more suited to the tricky and challenging gravel roads. Shaun Sinclair’s Impreza WRC assumed second place in Donnelly’s absence, whilst the effervescent Adrian Hetherington grabbed the lead in two wheel drive category.

Whilst McKinstry controlled the event from the front, a sensational late charge over the closing leg saw Patrick O’Brien surge up the leader board in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evoultion VI. Shaun Sinclair now had a serious fight on his hands for the runner’s up spot. Less than two seconds separated the drivers and a final stage showdown would determine who would take the spoils. A sensational run saw O’Brien grab 2.8 seconds from Sinclair and take the place by just over a second.Icebreaker Rally - Patrick O'Brien

Pictures courtesy of Graham Curry Photography. For more event coverage, please check out the gallery below.

Results:

Carey Cleaning Systems Icebreaker Rally

1. Kenny McKinstry / Kenny Hull – Subaru Impreza WRC

2. Patrick O’Brien / Stephen O’Brien – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI

3. Shaun Sinclair / Stephen O’Hanlon – Subaru Impreza WRC

Icebreaker Rally - McKinstry the Master but Misery for Morrow

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About Author

Chris, known as Cess on the forums, is a long time RMS member. He is a fervent motorsports enthusiast and lover of all things automotive. He can be found on the ditches of most Irish rallies, at Mondello watching drifting or in front of the TV watching motorbike racing.

RMS Forum Comments

Graham 19:15 | Sun 10 Jan, 2016 | Report
This was a fantastic start to the season, soaked to the bone, frozen solid and with a very sore and bruised thumb after a stone thought it would be fun to use it as a crash test but all in all very enjoyable !
zafturbo 19:36 | Sun 10 Jan, 2016 | Report
Was just looking to see the results from yesterday.Nice place to be on a brisk January morning.
davecoupe 22:05 | Sun 10 Jan, 2016 | Report
Nice write up and great pics (y) sounds like it was a great opener to the season. My footie match was cancelled so I was actually going to take a spin up but ended up in the pub instead :oops:.
weeloaney 23:52 | Sun 10 Jan, 2016 | Report
| This was a fantastic start to the season, soaked to the bone, frozen solid and with a very sore and bruised thumb after a stone thought it would be fun to use it as a crash test but all in all very enjoyable !
Such a piss of a day it turned into, woke up a 5am, it was bone dry and freezing hard. Thought might be a grand day, I can deal with the hardy cold if it's dry, was raining by the time we got to the service site and I was wet by 11am. Anyway the freshly painted nova didn't land in a shuck or tree so was a good enough day :p Great to see a few photos of my mate in the white a yellow nova. Number 28, Stewart McClean. You get any Graham, presume they're @Cess's in the write up?
Cess 23:58 | Sun 10 Jan, 2016 | Report
Thanks to all - the comments and likes are appreciated :) There are pictures of the Nova by @Graham in the gallery at the end of the article @weeloaney (Y)
weeloaney 00:00 | Mon 11 Jan, 2016 | Report
| Thanks to all - the comments and likes are appreciated :) There are pictures of the Nova by @Graham in the gallery at the end of the article @weeloaney (y)
Was just about to edit my post, just seen they were by @Graham, Thanks. New Co-driver loves his hand signals :P
Graham 09:06 | Mon 11 Jan, 2016 | Report
@Cess auld Nokia camera phone isn't bad these days lol
Cess 10:06 | Mon 11 Jan, 2016 | Report
Burst mode is all you need. Fair play to Patrick O'Brien - that's some comeback to nab second place.
Graham 10:44 | Mon 11 Jan, 2016 | Report
| Burst mode is all you need. Fair play to Patrick O'Brien - that's some comeback to nab second place.
He didn't even look overly fast on the stages which only means one thing, he is super smooth, Seb the third ?
Cess 12:16 | Mon 11 Jan, 2016 | Report
Billy Colman award nominee, so must have something about him.


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