John MacNiven doesn’t seem to have much luck on the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally, despite loving the stages and enjoying the famous craic.
Last year the Oban driver retired his JAM Drilling-backed Subaru Impreza on the Northern Ireland round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship with gearbox failure on stage three – and this year it was a severe misfire that forced him out on stage two!
Co-driven by his brother-in-law Graeme Kermode, MacNiven had started this year’s event well – setting a magnificent time on the opening stage, despite going through the flying finish backwards! However, after a major mechanical overhaul following the Masterpixel Media Manx National Rally (including a new gearbox, just to make sure) the Subaru picked up a severe misfire on the first run through the Drumaknocken test. It got so bad that when the car eventually stopped, the engine wouldn’t restart.
“We’d definitely like to do at least one of the remaining two rounds of the Asphalt Championship, but we haven’t decided whether that will be the Mewla – and we’ve won our class on Epynt before – or the Cheviot on Otterburn,” says MacNiven. “We’ll also have to find out what damage, if any, has been done to the engine.”