Class win for Smyth as Deazley bounces back

Alan Smyth in action during the Easter Stages Rally. Photo: Mark McCullagh

ALAN Smyth and Gareth Deazley were among the local rallying contingent who thoroughly enjoyed the Easter Stages Rally over the weekend.
Drumquin’s Smyth, in his striking yellow Mitsubishi Evo, with Mac Kierans on the notes, finished first in class M4, third in the national B section and 11th overall, while Dromore’s Deazley, assisted by Strabane navigator Eathan McColgan, displayed their bouncebackability, following an accident last time out, with second in the Irish Tarmac Championship’s junior section.
“It was nice to get the class win,” beamed Smyth. “It was very close between me and Kevin Eaves for 10th overall and second in the national, but he just got us on the last stage.
“It was a brilliant event. Friday was very wet, which suits me, while Saturday was brilliant, really fast and flowing, some of the best stages I’ve done!”
Smyth will be back in action next month at St Angelo’s May Day event, followed by the Tour of the Sperrins.
Also competing in class M4 were Castlederg’s Alan Atcheson, who finished third, 17th overall, while Drumquin’s Conor McCrossan guided his Skoda Fabia S2000 to 24th overall and fourth in the class.
Deazley, meanwhile, who was forced to retire from the Irish Tarmac Championship season opener in West Cork after losing an argument with a wall, responded with aplomb at the weekend.
“We hit a stone wall in fourth gear, it was a solid thump!,” he said of his unexpected Cork excursion, which led to a busy fortnight rebuilding his Honda Civic and a loss of confidence.
“We just went out with the aim of trying to finish, to bed back in. I struggled to commit to corners initially, I was lifting off when it was flat out, it was a confidence thing.
“We knew we weren’t going to be competition for Gary McNamee (Junior Championship leader) so we were hoping for second or third at best. By the end of it I was feeling a bit more confident in the car,” he concluded.
Gareth will contest round three of the Irish Tarmac Championship in Killarney early next month.
Meanwhile, Fintona co-driver Aaron Johnston, fresh from his first experience as a member of the Abu Dhabi Racing set-up alongside Mohamme Al Mutawaa in the French Peugeot 208 Rally Cup, helped Josh McErlean to five stage wins out of six as they finished second in class.
The pair will return to action in their Ford Fiesta R2T this coming weekend at the Rallynuts Stages as a test before the British Rally Championship opener a fortnight later.

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