Loughgall’s Bennett first on junior rally leaderboard

Drew McKeown (second right) showing off his prize at Tullyroan Oval with rival drivers plus representatives of the venue and sponsors. Pic by Brian Lammey.
Drew McKeown (second right) showing off his prize at Tullyroan Oval with rival drivers plus representatives of the venue and sponsors. Pic by Brian Lammey.

Loughgall teenager Peter Bennett holds a lead at the head of the UK Junior 1000 Rally Challenge leaderboard following three rounds.

The 15-year-old driver has steered his Skoda Citigo into top spot thanks to a positive opening run of results.

The series can boast rounds around England, Wales and Scotland for drivers aged 14-17 years old.

Bennett secured the Scottish Series title on his inaugural appearance last year, alongside a past runner-up placing within the Northern Ireland field.

The decision was made by Bennett and his Boost and Boom-backed team to sell the successful Citroen and develop a Skoda for the current challenge.

“It has been a challenge for everyone in the team,” said Bennett. “Firstly, we are trying to develop a new car, and there have been a few teething problems.

“Secondly, I’m learning to adjust the car and develop the set-up and make improvements all the time and, of course, develop a different driving style as the car is different in character to drive than the Citroen.

“It’s all learning though and, hopefully, it will help me to understand the engineering side of the cars more as I progress from the Juniors.”

Bennett picked up a maximum haul of points in England on the opening round, despite gear problems on the day.

A visit to Wales for round two resulted in second spot and he managed to maintain that consistency in England for a leading position on the overall leaderboard.

“I was delighted with the result last Sunday, especially for the championship,” said Bennett. “We still had a few niggles with the car and were choked with dust during the day but, on the stages when we had no issues, we weren’t far away.

“It’s also been another step forward in developing the car.”

England’s Weeton venue will host round four of the Junior 1000 Rally Challenge on June 12.


Bleary-based Drew McKeown enjoyed glory in the Junior Production Golden Helmet class at Tullyroan Oval.

The meeting was sponsored by the driver’s family company, A.McKeown and Son Fruit and Veg, with other wins for Stephen Boyd (ProStocks), Shane Murray (Two-Litre Hot Rods), Colin McNiece (Stock Rods) and Winston Weir (Lightning Rods).

McKeown opened the class with second in the final heat before claiming control of the main event despite difficult conditions and pressure from rivals.

The Birches’ Steven Haugh, a current World champion within ProStocks, was runner-up in his final.

Joel Richardson from Portadown, a former Irish champion, enjoyed an encouraging debut display behind his Citroen Saxo within the Two-Litre Hot Rods class

Portadown’s Vince Litter picked up heat success in the Lightning Rods class.

Tullyroan Oval will stage a meeting on Sunday from 2 o’clock - with the main focus on the final National Hot Rods World Series alongside a packed programme.