THE NI Autotest Team retained the MSA British Inter Association Autotest title at Portstewart last Saturday. The event was co-promoted by the Autotest Drivers Club and Coleraine Motor Club at the spacious NW200 paddock and attracted five teams.
The N.Ireland A team of Steven Ferguson in a Mini Special, Sam Bowden in a Mini Saloon and Mark King in a Vauxhall Nova led the event from the first test. Opposition initially came from the England A team of Paul Fobister, Richard Pinkney and David Thompsan with the N.I. B team of Norman Ferguson, Paul Blair and Paul Mooney following close behind, but as the day progressed the NI A team steadily increased their lead with a fine display of team and individual driving.
Mark King’s Nova suffered gearbox problems on the third lap and then Richard Pinkney’s Caterham had a similar failure with two tests to complete, but speedy gearbox changes saw both competitors return without any change in the team’s fortunes.
In the end the NI A team won by a margin of 105 seconds after 16 tests with England A second and NI B third, 40 seconds adrift.
The awards presentation and dinner were held at the Inn on the Coast Hotel and guest speaker Mike Sones, Chairman of the MSA Autotest Committee presented the awards.
The individual award for fastest overall went to Sam Bowden, with Steven Ferguson winning the Special class, Paul Blair the Sports Car class and David Thompson the Large Saloon class.
A special award, a bottle of Champagne, for fastest time of the day on the Power Stage was presented to Steven Ferguson who beat Paul Mooney by just one tenth of a second!