Marty McCormack continued his fine run of form behind the wheel of a Ford Escort MK2, by taking the Historic Category win and an impressive sixth overall at Sunday’s Rali Bae Ceredigion (8th September), the very first closed-road stage rally to take place in Wales.
The result across the infamous lanes near Aberystwyth comes just a week after taking second in class at the BTRDA rally series qualifier, the Woodpecker Stages Rally and the second podium in as many weeks sets McCormack up perfectly for a trip to Belgium and the iconic Escort Rally Special (14th September).
The Tiger Risk Partners backed ace has been dovetailing a British Rally Championship campaign in the Skoda Fabia R5 with selected outings in his Escort as he prepares for one of the biggest challenges of the year, the classic Roger Albert Clark in November.
With hopes all but gone of taking the BRC title, the Draperstown driver has switched his attentions to Historic machinery and wheeled out his Tarmac specification Mk2 for the eight-stage, 44-mile event in Wales.
The event would make history by becoming the very first rally in Wales to use entirely closed-public roads for the stages and McCormack brought along the “White Tiger” which has not seen competitive action since the Killarney Rally in 2018. Four stages, repeated in the afternoon, offered some of the toughest roads in Wales and are often used in night events which are a popular feature of the region.
McCormack and co-driver Barney Mitchell would be up against a host of local drivers, all eager to make their mark on the rally and be some of the first to claim bragging rights on this inaugural event.
The day wouldn’t start easy for the duo, as they bedded back into the Escort which felt “very different” to their other MK2 which was used on the gravel around Shropshire last weekend. But the longer third test of the event around the Nant Y Moch reservoir presented the chance to push and by the end of the opening loop, McCormack had recovered from 18th place after the opener, to seventh overall, taking over the Historic lead in the process.
There McCormack would stay for the second loop of stages, taking his first class win on asphalt since the Turkey Run Stages in 2018.
“Wow, that was a tough rally” remarked McCormack at the finish.
“I’ve never heard Barney talk so fast in the stages before, they were so very technical he was shouting like an auctioneer at times in there. It was fantastic though; they were really challenging roads and this Escort really is a handful around bumpy stages like that. It breaks away from you a lot and you have to be very neat and tidy, more so than usual to get the most from the car. It was a big challenge that’s for sure and it’s great that we came away with a class win. It sets us up nicely for next weekend which will be a very different rally altogether”.
McCormack has just a few days to prepare for the Escort Rally Special in Belgium which is an invitational event for the iconic machines.
Marty is sponsored by Tiger Risk Partners, P McCormack and Sons Ltd, Ears.ie, Millers Oils, IMF Fabrications, Pirelli and MTec Graphics.