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Ulster Rally - 21-22 Aug 09

Posted: October 2, 2009 11:30 AM - 33185 Hits

Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally 2009
Round 7 - 2009 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2009 British Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2009 Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy
Round 5 - 2009 Fiesta SportingTrophy UK
Round 7 - 2009 Irish Evolution Challenge
Round 7 - 2009 UK Evolution Challenge

Harry Hunt is IRDC Most Improved on Ulster Rally

Posted: October 2, 2009 11:30 AM

The International Rally Drivers’ Club continues to monitor the improvement of drivers within the MSA British Rally Championship and the results from the recent Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally have now been calculated.  

Newcomer to rallying and contesting the Fiesta SportTrophy in his debut season, Londoner Harry Hunt is the latest driver to top the IRDC’s Most Improved table.  

The table is calculated using a unique algorithm which has been employed since the 1980s, taking a representative sample of stage times from each event and comparing them. In this case the sample was taken before Hunt’s retirement from the Ulster Rally which is therefore not taken into account.  

But the 20 year-old, whose first ever rally was the Fiesta Sport Trophy opener in early March, has improved in speed and confidence in the 24 weeks since he began. By stage five of the 127 mile tarmac rally he had moved into 15th place in the BRC, surely a sign of things to come.  

The IRDC scheme operates on an event-by-event basis, but the boffins who make the sums work also have a calculation for the most improved throughout the season, the eventual winner taking a cash prize at the British Rally Championship awards ceremony on October 31st.  

Most improved drivers round-by-round  
Round 1-2 Kyle Orr
Round 2-3 Fin McCaul
Round 3-4 Mark Higgins
Round 4-5 Harry Hunt
 

How it works  

A raw score for each competitor is calculated on stage times for (usually) four stages chosen across the event. The four stages are chosen to ensure most (if not all) competitors passed through the stage.  

Their personal raw score is then compared with the last event and a difference in the two figures is established. The person with the highest difference is shown at the top of the table.

In Car

Posted: August 23, 2009 5:21 PM

Video Clips

Posted: August 23, 2009 5:17 PM







Results

Posted: August 23, 2009 4:54 PM

1 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC) 1h 48m 09.2s,
2 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 48m 23.3s,
3 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 50m 21.4s,
4 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11 Gp N) 1h 53m 01.6s,
5 Gwyndaf Evans/Chris Patterson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 Gp N) 1h 53m 10.5s,
6 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 1h 55m 53.1s,
7 Kris Princen/Bram Eelbode (Renault Clio R3) 1h 59m 07.7s,
8 Brian O'Mahony/John Higgins (Renault Clio S1600) 1h 59m 31.1s,
9 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 01m 10.1s,
10 Pat Kirk/Peter Ward (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 01m 10.9s.
Leaders After
SS1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS3 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS4 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS5 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
& Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS6-8 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS9 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)

Stage Winners
SS1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS3 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS4 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS5 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS6 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS7 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS8 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS9 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS10 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS11 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS12 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS13 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS14 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)

Posted: August 22, 2009 12:11 AM

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!

Posted: August 21, 2009 1:12 PM

The time for talking is over, as we enter the final countdown for 2009’s most titanic tarmac tussle: it’s revs up for the ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally!

With the start only hours away for Northern Ireland’s most eagerly awaited motorsport spectacular, fans and crews alike can focus on the two days of high octane heaven, as top crews from the UK, Ireland and Europe tighten their straps and take on some of the trickiest stages this island has to offer!

Leading this year’s contenders into the fray will be four times Irish Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly - his pocket rocket Skoda Fabia WRC possibly the ideal tool to demolish the opposition on what looks to be a rain slicked rally…

At number two it’s Focus WRC mounted Gareth MacHale - the honour of Irish rallying’s ‘royal family’ in his capable hands, while hoping to ‘sink’ the two men in his sights will be S12 ‘Sub’ skipper Derek McGarrity, whose confidence is cresting a wave after multiple Hankook NI series victories this year!

The International entry list reads like the top table at a banquet of speed – with Mark Higgins, Keith Cronin, Gwyndaf Evans, Glenn Allen, Darren Gass, Alastair Fisher and Jonny Greer rounding out the top ten.

The National rally entry is no less appetising, with the Mk2 Maestro himself Camillus Bradley heading a field that includes the likes of Adrian Heatherington, George Robinson and Gary White. The Challenge Rally will see top two wheel drive action as the Fiesta ST crews battle it out!

The Ulster is true petrolhead paradise, because the field contains every crowd-pleasing classic on four wheels including Twin Cams, RS1600s and Porsche 911s! Add in the rushin’ roulette unpredictability of forecast heavy downpours, and we have a playing field that will really sort the men from the boys!

The action begins with the ceremonial start from Antrim’s Courthouse Square at 1430 on Friday, with servicing at Junction One throughout Friday and Saturday. Head for Antrim this weekend - it’ll be a real blast from start to finish!

Weston Jnr makes Ulster International debut

Posted: August 19, 2009 6:28 PM

Scotland’s Dave Weston Jnr will make his Ulster International Rally debut this weekend, under the watchful eye of established local co-driver Gordon Noble.

In his first year in the British Rally Championship, the 18-year-old from Aberdeen already lies fourth overall in the points table after taking a well-deserved fifth place finish in the BRC points on the notoriously difficult Rally Isle of Man last month.

“Everyone talks about the unique style of the asphalt roads in Ireland,” said Junior. “Even when the WRC drivers came over to prepare for Rally Ireland they mentioned how different the roads are over there, so I know I have a challenge ahead. My only experience in the country to date is outings on Ravens Rock and the Stonethrowers Rally earlier this year. We finished fifth overall on the Stonethrowers ahead of plenty of Irish rally regulars and I learned a lot there, but it’s hard to say if that will benefit me on the roads we will be using this weekend.”

An added benefit to Junior’s attack in his Subaru Impreza in Ulster will be his co-driver Noble. The highly respected competitor has previously guided the likes of Alister McRae and Kris Meeke over stages, and is Clerk of the Course on Rally Ireland.

“I know of Gordon of course, but I will only meet him for the first time today (Wednesday) which is the day before the recce,” said Junior. “Switching to a new co-driver is not something which worries me though. While it’s nice to have a full time co-driver, bringing a new one in can teach you a lot and give you new ideas about both making and reading pacenotes. This year is very much a learning year for me, so guidance from someone as experienced as Gordon will really help.”

Although Junior says his strong finish on the Isle of Man has given him a confidence boost going into the Ulster International, he says trying to catch Alastair Fisher to move himself up into third place in the BRC points will not be his aim.

“In what is genuinely a learning year for me I would be stupid to go chasing after Alastair and end up having an off,” he said. “I am happy with where I am in the championship. Hopefully I can keep hold of fourth, and improve on that when I am more experienced next year.”

Weston and Noble are seeded at number 32 on the entry list. Although they were originally listed as an entry for Revolution Wheels, this is no longer the case as Noble is not registered for BRC points.

Call for Marshals - Get Closer To The Action…

Posted: August 19, 2009 10:33 AM

As the clock ticks down to the start of the 2009 ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally this Friday, the organisers have put out a last minute call for extra stage marshals. Nobody gets closer to the supercharged on-stage action than the marshals, who play a vital role in keeping thousands of rally fans safe throughout the event.

Chief Marshal at this year’s Ulster - which could be a slippery affair, given the prevailing weather conditions - is thirty three year old Barry O’Neill. There’s no better man for the job, as O’Neill is the MSA’s Marshal Trainer for Northern Ireland and also tutors the National Award In Motorsport course at Omagh’s South West College!

The O’Neill ‘clan’ at this year’s Ulster will top 500 marshals - because that’s what it takes to safely run a motorsport spectacle on the scale of the August 21st/22nd rally.

“There are still some slots left for marshals at this year’s event,” said Barry. “I’d like to hear from anyone who is interested, right up until the morning of Friday 21st. We need both experienced and inexperienced marshals. Any new marshals will always be teamed up with experienced ones - because whilst the marshals are always the closest to the action, the safety of all concerned is paramount!”

Anyone interested in marshalling at the 2009 ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally should contact the Chief Marshal immediately on 07740 510551 / +44 7740 510551

Meanwhile, fevered anticipation builds in fans and competitors alike. New stages and old enemies will make for a classic asphalt ‘Clash of the Titans.’ If the Gods decree slippery tar, the 2009 Ulster could be an all time great!

Cronin Motorsport - Starting Over

Posted: August 19, 2009 10:28 AM

After 4 hard Rallies and 52 stages of nail biting action, Cronin Motorsport?s assault on the 2009 British Rally Championship(BRC) resumes this weekend with the team tackling the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally.

Having taken the lead in the championship on the opening round in Mark Higgins? adopted North Wales, Keith Cronin and co-driver Greg Shinnors have retained it thus far, albeit now a joint lead after Rally Isle of Man. This has been a fantastic achievement on what has been their debut year on this notoriously tough championship.

In effect, the championship starts here, as after the 4 rounds so far 23-year-old Keith Cronin and multiple British Champion Mark Higgins are tied at the top of the table level on points after both have won two rallies and been runner up on two more. Five months after the first round in North Wales in March, it is now down to the final two events to determine this year?s champion. Now, before Ulster, is the final time this year that the championship can possibly be tied! In reality, the final round in York, the ?Trackrod? International rally will probably have the most influence on the overall outcome as for this event all point scored are a multiple of 1.5 times the normal.

For the third time this year the BRC dovetails with the Irish Tarmac Championship(ITC). This means that the World Rally Cars that are not allowed in the BRC will run in front of the main BRC protagonists, with Mark Higgins seeded 5th and Keith 6th. Alistair Fisher, who lies 3rd in the BRC starts from the number 10 berth.

Because of the overlap between the two championships Keith decided to register for the ITC also and currently lies 8th overall despite having competed on just 2 of the 6 rounds to date.

The Ulster Rally is also a counting round of the Irish and English Mitsubishi EVO Challenge Championships. Cronin and Shinnors signed up for this championship in March at the West Cork Rally. At that time it was stated that all of the 2-day events would count as 2 rounds of the championship. These regulations were subsequently changed and now the Ulster Rally is the only multi- day event to count as only one round! Because of this rule change it is now unlikely that the Cronin Motorsport team will score in enough rounds to qualify for the championship regulations! It will however be interesting to compare the times from the fastest competitors in both championships.

To date this year the Cronin Motorsport, TTEC prepared car has not missed a beat and hopefully that will continue for the final two rallies.

All in all, an intriguing weekend of motorsport lies ahead as we wait to see who will lead the championship into the final round in York!

Swift Sport Cup & BRC Class R1 - Ulster Rally preview

Posted: August 19, 2009 9:55 AM

RALLY 1 / SWIFT SPORT CUP  
As the Rally 1 crews head to join the main MSA British Rally Championship runners on the Ulster International Rally this weekend, the class is dominated by the BRC’s Swift Sport Cup Suzukis, the one-make series drivers topping the points table after three events.  

However the lone Honda Civic of Joseph McGonigle must not be forgotten, taking a podium at his first attempt and leading briefly on the Pirelli before a Kielder ditch swallowed the car. He crashed out of the Jim Clark on the very first stage, but managed a come-back on the Manx lanes where he finished third again.  

Leading both the class and Swift Sport Cup though, is the only driver with experience of the little 1600cc Suzukis, Borders driver Gordon Nichol shone on home asphalt to take his first victory on the Jim Clark. He and co-driver Emma Morrison overcoming an enforced switch back to supplied pacenotes to take third on the Isle of Man, enough to move them to the top of the table.  

Yorkshireman Luke Pinder closed the gap to the Scot though, with his first win on the Isle of Man after knocking on the door of the top spot for several events. He rolled spectacularly out of the lead of the Pirelli though, Richard Sykes repeating the feat on Borders tarmac after early series leader Molly Taylor damaged her suspension with a costly incident on the Borders lanes.  

Australian Taylor led both R1 and the Swifts until the Isle of Man, having surprised the boys with victories on the two gravel events. Her inexperience on asphalt seems to have been her downfall since, going off the road on both tarmac events, most spectacularly in the Isle of Man where the car launched over a bank and landed heavily on its roof. Both crew members were only shaken, but it will certainly mean the young Aussie won't be looking forward to the Ulster tar.  

The tussle for the lead has been a four way affair this year, Pinder, Sykes and Nichol have kept the young Aussie honest, swapping fastest stage times during the first four BRC events.  

Manxman David Harrison and Yorkshireman Nick Everard hold the final points positions in the Swift Sport Cup. Harrison’s prize of free entries in the 2009 BRC courtesy of winning last year’s BRC Challenge, has not gone smoothly so far, taking scant consolation from second on the Pirelli. The pair both have two no-scores, mainly due to mechanical problems, so will be playing catch-up for the remainder of the season since the best five scores count towards the British Rally Championship.  

The Ulster International Rally is a tough one by anyone’s standards, concentration and stamina required throughout the 127 miles of difficult tarmac stages. Running near the end of the field in their diminutive 1600cc Swifts will not mean any less commitment from the six crews though, all the drivers needing to give their maximum until the Antrim finish on Saturday afternoon.  

The whole event is based at the Junction One retail centre on the edge of Antrim, but the ceremonial start and finish will take place in the town centre.

More BRC action in store on Ulster lanes

Posted: August 18, 2009 8:07 PM

Action at the front of this weekend’s Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally may be the focus of everyone’s attention, but there is loads of intrigue and interest in the battles for other categories in the fifth round of the MSA British Rally Championship too.  

MSA BRITISH TEAMS RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP  

Three teams are currently striving to add the prestigious MSA British Teams Rally Championship trophy to their cabinets, the current leader Pirelli TEG Sport’s number one Impreza driver Mark Higgins, also jointly leads the Driver’s title chase. The family run team led the Teams’ Championship on the first event back in March, briefly handing the reins to JRM Lico, when current Pirelli Star Driver Adam Gould ended the Pirelli Rally in a Kielder ditch.  

Team JRM Lico initially put up a strong fight, with Stuart Jones and David Bogie taking good points in Mitsubishis on round one. Daniel Sigurdarson stepped in to drive Jones’ car on the Pirelli where the team took the lead, moving eleven points ahead. Unfortunately the Teams’ title has since slipped away from the Chesterfield outfit and despite enlisting 1996 BRC Champion Gwyndaf Evans in a second Evo 10, David Bogie will be the only driver scoring points on the Ulster, Evans too late to register.  

The final team in the hunt has succumbed to a reduction in available points’ scorers too. The Revolution Wheels Rally Team struggled in the early stages of the Championship. Rob Swann breaking their duck on the Pirelli, but Euan Thorburn and Geoff Jones’ partnership was short-lived, Jones only stepping in for one event. Thorburn now takes on the mantle of sole Revolution Wheels driver on the Ulster, making the quest for the trophy extremely difficult.  

MSA BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP  

Martin McCormack’s “home” BRC event will be his opportunity to take a hat-trick of MSA British Junior Rally Championship victories, having been top youngster on both tarmac events this year.  

Second in the race for the MSA gold flag award, which will be presented at the Royal Automobile Club’s Pall Mall headquarters, is Tom Walster. He won the first event, but has taken a while to get used to his new Clio R3 and will hope that perseverance on the Isle of Man has helped his set up for the Northern Irish lanes.  

The only other driver to take a Junior win this year is current Fiesta SportTrophy UK and Ireland leader Craig Breen. He won on the gravel of the Pirelli Rally, but has had a couple of non finishes and will need to stay focused to keep in touch with the leaders.  

PIRELLI STAR DRIVER  

The reigning Pirelli Star Driver Adam Gould continues to make a good fist of his 2009 prize drive, although the momentum of his excellent third place on the Jim Clark Rally was somewhat diminished with a big crash on the Isle of Man.  

Nevertheless his stage times have been quite astonishing considering this is his first season in a four wheel drive car and the Pirelli TEG Sport team will be looking for his contribution towards Teams’ points as well as further improvement on the Ulster.  

The rally will see another driver added to the four existing nominations of Keith Cronin, Craig Breen, Euan Thorburn and Alastair Fisher. These four young drivers have all proved their potential to the panel of judges and will go forward to the end of season shoot-out, a maximum of nine finalists in with a shout by the end of the season.  

RALLY 3 / DIESEL CUP  

Tom Walster leads the BRC’s Rally 3 class, but has scored in two different cars to take the two wins and second place, which have made the bulk of his points haul. He swapped back to his Fiesta for the gravel of the Pirelli to save the new car, but with two tarmac events under his belt, he will be hoping to hold off not just the BRC R3 drivers, but the Clio Euro Trophy runners on the Ulster.  

A massive thirty points adrift, Craig Breen needs to win the class on this and the final event in Yorkshire to stand a chance of being in the running. But his goal is fourfold in Ulster; he not only needs to concentrate on the BRC class and Junior title, but he could win the Irish FST on the Antrim lanes and must hold on to his UK FST lead too, truly a tall order.  

The only other driver to have won in the R3 class is Finnish hot-shot Matti Rantanen. He has led on each of the four rallies, but over exuberance and lack of experience on British events has led to some spectacular exits in his more conventional two litre production Clio. With an amazing fifth place on the recent Rally Finland, the ninth round of the World Rally Championship, he should be on a high and able to push hard for a win.  

Cumbrian Kris Hall has set a storming pace in his Fiesta too, but ended two events off the road and languishes towards the bottom of the points table. He unfortunately managed two crashes on the Isle of Man, one before the start of the rally, the second a proper roll on the first stage.  

An excellent third in R3, Steve Graham also continues to battle Fin McCaul for the Diesel Rally Cup, Graham taking first blood when McCaul had transmission problems. McCaul won on the Pirelli but both failed to score on the tarmac of the Jim Clark, the Isle of Man netting win number two for brothers Steve and Tony.  

Finally a local tip is young Omagh driver Mark Donnelly who has had a difficult first year in the BRC. He was fourth in R3 on the season opener, but having missed one round and failed to finish on two more, he holds unlucky thirteenth in the standings. However since he lives on the rally’s doorstep and has set some good stage times this year, he is certainly worth keeping an eye on over the Ulster Rally weekend.  

The Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally starts in Antrim town centre on Friday afternoon, running into the darkness of the evening before re-starting bright and early on Saturday. The finish ceremony will take place back in Antrim at around 6pm after 127 miles of cracking action on some of the most challenging roads in the British Rally Championship.  

Irish Tarmac Rally Championship hits the home straight on the Ulster Rally.

Posted: August 18, 2009 7:34 PM

The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship reaches the business end of the season at this weekend’s ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally, the seventh and penultimate round of this Ireland’s premier rally Championship.

This year’s Ulster Rally has a new base in Antrim and it features six timed special stages on Friday evening. Cars restart early on Saturday morning to contest another eight stages before the finish at 6.00pm, having covered an overall competitive distance of 127 miles.

Long time championship leader Eugene Donnelly has won this rally twice and he can be expected to ring the most out of the Skoda Fabia on his home event. With a lead of fourteen points the four times champion looks favourite to win a record equalling championship number five. However the rules of the championship stipulate that one must count the best six scores out of eight rounds and there is also a 50% bonus points on the final round in the Cork 20. And Gareth Mc Hale who is leading the chasing pack will have benefitted hugely from his first international victory in Donegal. The Dubliner will be on the pace and his Focus WRC will revel in the fast stages of day one. Mc Hale has a ten point cushion over third place man Tim Mc Nulty. The Subaru driver had a bad start to the year but then he won the Lakes rally and was second in the Jim Clark and he got back into contention. Just two points behind Mc Nulty is Eamon Boland in fourth place, however the 2008 Ulster rally winner and current Irish Tarmac champion has decided not to enter this years event. Thus it is a three horse race, but one feels that the championsip is there for Donnelly to lose.

The battle for Group N honours is no less exciting with just six points covering the top 4 drivers. Alastair Fisher heads fellow Ulsterman Alan Carmichael by a point, who in turn is a point ahead of Ger 0’Donovan. Just four points behind O’Donovan is fellow Bantryman Keith Cronin. Fisher and Cronin were the stars on the Manx rally, and Cronin will be anxious to finish ahead of Mark Higgins, as they are the joint leaders of the British rally Championship (B.R.C.) part of the rally. The Ulster rally is the penultimate and fifth round of the BRC.

JR Motorsports fields two-car team for Ulster

Posted: August 18, 2009 7:31 PM

Next weekend will see the JR Motorsports Rally Team double its attack, when former British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans will drive a second Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X in the ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally, round five of the MSA British Rally Championship. The experienced Welshman joins the team’s regular driver David Bogie to form a two-car line-up for JRM.

David and his co-driver Kevin Rae have had a season of mixed fortunes so far. After recording fourth and third places on rounds one and two, a non-finish on round three and then a spin which put them out of contention on round four, they are looking forward to getting back into the JRM Evo X and putting in a performance which is more commensurate with their abilities.

“The past two events have been frustrating, but after rejoining the Isle of Man Rally on the second day we managed to get some miles under our belt and work on the set-up of the car”, said David. “The Evo X is still a new entity in terms of its development, but I don’t think it’s far away now and it would be great to get another podium finish this weekend.”

The team has stated that they see the ongoing development of the car as a vitally important issue and this is exactly why Gwyndaf has been drafted in for this event: “Having previously driven for the Mitsubishi UK works operation in 2007 and 2008, our team’s experience of working with Gwyndaf coupled with his enormous wealth of knowledge makes him an ideal addition to the line-up. Added to this, it could of course help our position in the team’s championship”, said a spokesman for JR Motorsports.

Having tested David’s car at the end of July, Gwyndaf said: “I was really impressed with the Evo X. It’s a fast car and with a few changes to the set up I’m sure it won’t be long before we see it winning rallies. I was great to be asked to drive a Mitsubishi again and, although I realise that my main role is one of development, I still enjoy competing in the British Championship, especially when there’s the prospect of getting a good result in store.”

Having won a round of the Scottish Rally Championship last week, David Is keen to convert his pace from Celtic gravel onto the Ulster asphalt and will also test his JRM Evo X this week. He will again be co-driven by Kevin Rae, with Gwyndaf enlisting the services of WRC regular Chris Patterson.

This year’s Ulster Rally sees a change of host town from Armagh to Antrim and the introduction of stages that have not been used on this event for a number of years. The rally gets underway on Friday afternoon and features six stages before the overnight halt. A further eight stages follow on Saturday, the total of the two days providing a competitive distance of 127 miles.

JR Motorsports’ 2009 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: Oakbank Services, exe-tc competition suspension, Lico, Opie Oils, PPG Transmissions and Carbonetics Clutches.

Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland - Round 5 Preview

Posted: August 18, 2009 7:16 PM

Round 5 of the Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland will take place this weekend as the championship contender’s head for the famous ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally run by Northern Ireland Motor Club. Nine crews will compete over 85 miles of classic Northern Ireland stages. The event begins on Friday and finishes on Saturday afternoon and also allows competitors to compete on some of the classic stages in darkness on the Friday night, an experience not often seen in modern rallying. The Ulster rally will be a first for the FST with the IE and UK championships both competing at the event creating a double header for the popular one make series. This means a total Fiesta entry of 17 cars making it a great experience for all competitors involved.

Championship leader in the Irish series Craig Breen (18) from Waterford and navigator Gareth Roberts currently have a 45 point advantage over second place man in the championship Mark Donnelly, Breen only needs to leave the event with eleven points to give him an unattainable lead and reward him with the 2009 FST IE title. Breen comes to the event in excellent form after taking victory on the previous round of the FSTi on Rally Finland. Breen’s main aim will be for championship victory but with him also scoring FST UK points he will want a good result to help his chances in the UK series - of which he currently also leads.

Donnelly (17) from Omagh and navigator Paddy Robinson have had a mixed start to the season. With a fourth place and two second places over the first three rounds Donnelly is not far away from his first win. The previous round of the series in Donegal saw Donnelly retire but he will be fired up for the Ulster International Rally. Donnelly is also registered for the UK series so will look to score well in both series and although championship glory in Ireland is looking harder to claim the talented youngster will put as much pressure on the title leader as possible to keep his chances alive.

Shane Buckley and navigator Thomas Maguire come to the event after finishing an impressive second overall on the previous round of the series. In his first full year in the driving seat Buckley has taken the fight to Breen leading several events until misfortune has cost him the win. Buckley will want to finish this event with a maximum points haul and claim the victory he has been chasing all season. Buckley has also decided to register for the FST UK series and will aim to show the FST UK competitors the pace of the Irish FST series on the tarmac!

Newcomer to the series this year Robbie Barrable (21) from Dublin and navigator Dermot O’Gorman have increased their speed during each event, culminating with a third overall in Killarney and Donegal. Barrable is another competitor entered into both series and will hope to score highly and with Breen more than likely not fighting as hard for the overall victory Barrable has a huge chance of taking the overall win in the FST Ireland penultimate round.

Desi Henry (19) from Port Glenone and navigator John Rowan have suffered three DNF on the previous three rounds, however this does not tell the true story of their year. Henry has set fastest stage times and mixed with the front-runners on numerous occasions. With this event being Henry’s home event he will be aiming to please home fans and take a podium place.

Stephen Wright and Paul McGee will start the Ulster Rally after a fourth overall in Donegal. Wright had a frustrating start to the season with a number of DNF but like Henry has showed pace and talent all season. Wright hopes his score at the previous round will continue this weekend and he will aim to jump up the leaderboard and help to finish his season on a high.

Liam Regan (20) from Belfast and navigator Billy McCullins return to the season after missing the previous two rounds. The event will also be Regan’s home event and he will be looking to get a good result on home soil. Regan has good experience on tarmac and before retiring on the Circuit of Ireland he set a fastest overall stage time, he will hope to repeat this at least once this weekend.

Kyle Orr (19) from Dromore and Dai Roberts also return to the series after missing the previous round. Orr has performed well throughout the season and will hope to continue at this weekend’s event.

With the Ulster Rally seeing the UK series also in attendance, three of the regular UK crews have opted to register for the Irish series and compare their pace to the regular tarmac runners. The first of these is Kris Hall (19) from Appleby and navigator Robbie Durant. Hall recently narrowly missed out qualifying for the final of the Pirelli Star Driver award but will hope to show the judges that he has the speed necessary to win events this weekend. Matt Edwards (24) from Cockermouth and navigator Rob Fagg have performed incredibly well on their debut year in the ST, Edwards will use the event to gain tarmac experience and compare himself to the tarmac regulars in Ireland. The final entrant for the event is Neil Coalter (26) from Belfast and navigator Hannah Cessford. Coalter used to be a tarmac specialist and will hope to confirm his pace at the Northern Ireland event.

Championship leader, Craig Breen said:
“I am really looking forward to the event, Donegal was a great event for me and it worked out very well for us. The stages on this event are great and some are absolute classics. It should be a great rally and with the night stages as well it will be a great challenge. It will be a tough event but we need to perform as well as possible to help seal our championship”

Fiesta SportTrophy UK - Round 6 Preview

Posted: August 18, 2009 7:13 PM

The sixth and penultimate round of the Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy UK takes place this weekend at the Ulster International Rally, based in the Northern Ireland town of Antrim. The event sees the FST continue its partnership with the British Rally Championship and allows competitors to compete in the dual format option of the FST series whereby registered crews can not only take part in the FST event but also the full two day BRC event or the double header BRC Challenge event. The FST event starts on SS1 of the event and finishes after SS10.

The Ulster rally sees a new challenge for all crews competing whereby on the Friday night the crews face stages in darkness, a challenge rarely seen in modern rallying. The Ulster rally will be a first for the FST with the UK and IE championships both competing at the event creating a double header for the popular one make series. This means a total Fiesta entry of 17 cars making it a great experience for all competitors involved.

The current FST leader is Craig Breen (18) from Waterford and navigator Gareth Roberts. Breen is currently in fine form leading the UK and Irish series and comes to the event fresh on the back of a win in the previous FSTi round, Rally Finland. Breen will be looking to finish as highly as possible to try to help him secure the UK title at the event but with him needing to finish the event to wrap up the Irish series he will have to be cautious at his approach to the event.

Matt Edwards (24) from Cockermouth and navigator Rob Fagg currently lie second in the series and come to the event after a third overall on their first debut on tarmac at the previous round of the series, the Manx International Rally. Edwards will look to improve on his last tarmac performance at the event, and has also chosen to register for the Irish series to compare his times to the regular Irish runners.

Kris Hall (19) from Appleby and navigator Robbie Durant come to Ulster after recently narrowly missing out on qualifying for the final of the Pirelli Star Driver award but will hope to show the judges that he has the speed necessary to win events this weekend. Hall still has a chance of winning the series so a good finish is imperative for the talented youngster.

Billy Coleman award winner Ross Forde (25) from Galway and navigator Gary McElhinney will start the event after a promising second overall at the previous round of the series. Forde has been improving all season and with tarmac his favoured surface he will again hope to shine at the Ulster event.

Kyle Orr (19) from Dromore and navigator Dai Roberts missed out the previous round of the series but return to try and improve their title position at their home event in Ulster. Orr has the pace to challenge the leaders but will need to drive sensibly over the tough event to secure a good finishing position.

Mark Donnelly (17) from Omagh and navigator Paddy Robinson struggled on the last round of the UK series being forced into retirement after a heavy impact on stage one. However, the talented Donnelly has the potential to win outright and with title glory now looking less achievable he will be out to purely show his fellow competitors his true talent.

Stevie Brown (21) from Peterhead and navigator Andrew Roughead return to the series after missing out the Manx rally. Brown competed on the Ulster Rally last year as part of the IE series and hopes the notes he made and experience he gained at the event last year will give him an advantage and put him in good steed for this event.

Tom Watson (18) from Glanamman and co-driver Ken Bowman are looking to improve on their fifth placed position at the Manx Rally. Watson has improved at every round he has competed on so far, a great achievement in his first year of rallying. The young Welshman will look to continue this trend at the Ulster Rally and continue to show his ever-increasing talent.

Barry Greer (20) from Carryduff and navigator John Lemon return after missing the previous two rounds, the event is also Greer’s local home event and will look to score well on home turf and perform for his local fans.

Harry Hunt (20) from London and navigator Kris Killip return to the series for the Ulster Rally. Hunt is still in his first competitive year of rallying and has competed as many events as possible this year, with his times and results continually improving Hunt will want to score well on the penultimate FST event of the year.

Robert Barrable (21) from Dublin and navigator Dermot O’Gorman are also a crew to watch for the weekend. The ex Formula Ford ace is at home on the tarmac roads and after finishing well on the FST IE rounds he will want to show up the FST UK runners and prove his pace on the tarmac.

Jamie Brown (17) from Foulsham and navigator Craig Burgess and Neil Coalter (26) from Belfast and navigator Hannah Cessford are also both competing at the event. Brown has used this year as a learning experience and with little tarmac experience he will hope to use the event to improve his speed. Coalter used to be a tarmac specialist and will hope to confirm his pace at the Northern Ireland event.

With the Ulster Rally seeing the IE series also in attendance, two of the regular IE crews have opted to register for the UK series and compare their pace to the regular UK runners. Shane Buckley and navigator Thomas Maguire and Desi Henry (19) from Port Glenone and navigator John Rowan have both showed good pace in the IE series and will add extra competition and Irish interest to the already strong UK FST field.

The Kick Energy FST UK has a prize fund in excess of £18,000, with £750 for the winner of each round down to £75 for eighth place.

Current championship leader, Craig Breen, said:
“I am really looking forward to the event, the Isle of Man was a great event for me and it worked out very well for us. The stages on this event are great and some are absolute classics. It should be a great rally and with the night stages as well it will be a great challenge. It will be a tough event but we need to perform as well as possible to help seal our championship”

Rally Programme

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:17 PM

The 2009 Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally programme is now available at all good newsagents in Northern Ireland and Border counties.

It's packed with all the essential information required.

    • Overview Maps
    • Full Colour Stage Maps
    • Entry Lists - International, National & Challenge Rallies.
    • Rally Schedules
    • Spectator Areas information Guide
    • Features & much more..
Priced at £8 or €10euro

How to get it...
    • All good newsagents in N Ireland and border counties.
    • Also available at a special Kiosk at the service area at Junction One, Antrim from Thursday morning.
    • Order online and get it delivered to your door from the Pacenotes online shop found at:
    Pacenotes Magazine
More Details:

Irish Evolution Challenge Preview

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:12 PM

Next weekend’s Antrim-based ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally hosts the seventh round of this year’s Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland, when for the first time, the Irish one-make series for Group N Lancers converges with its UK counterpart.

Heading the Evolution Challenge charge are current British Rally Championship front-runners Keith Cronin and co-driver Greg Shinnors, who contested the first round of the Irish Mitsubishi series – the West Cork Rally in March – as a shake-down for their season ahead. Showing impressive pace all season, they are going to be the crew to beat this weekend.

However, they may we have their work cut out, as joining the Irish series for this event are recently crowned 2009 UK Evo Challenge Champions, Daniel Barry and Martin Brady, both also from Southern Ireland.

Next in line are winners of rounds five and six, John McGlaughlin/Crawford Henderson, who are another Mitsubishi pairing to show excellent form this season and are aiming for their third Evo Challenge victory in succession. In doing so, because of the absence of their regular sparring partners and current series leaders Neil McCance/Sean Ferris, McGlaughlin/Henderson will be looking to score as many points as possible.

Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont are another crew who have a foot in both the Irish and UK camps and will be aiming to put their local knowledge to good use, bearing in mind one of the stages passes Carmichael’s house!

Making a welcome return to the Evo Challenge fold since last year is Liam McFall with co-driver Ronnie Craig, whilst running further down the field than normal are Irish Evo Challenge regulars Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O’Callaghan. Currently tying for second place in the series standings, they are destined to improve on their unusual seeding when cars are re-grouped on Saturday morning.

They are followed by another crew tying for second, William Mavitty/Keefe Kilcoyne, who are getting quicker event-by-event and could well be in with a chance if their recent form is anything to go by.

Rounding off the quality Evo Challenge field are the third crew to share the runner-up spot, Liam Egan and Mary O’Kane, the Galway-born driver making another of his regular trips from New York especially to compete in the Irish Mitsubishi series.

This year’s ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally starts and finishes in Antrim and features six timed special stages on Friday evening. Cars restart early on Saturday morning to contest another eight stages before the finish at 6.00pm, having covered an overall competitive distance of 127 miles.

The Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland is supported by: Pirelli tyres, Sunoco Racing Fuels, James Foley Rallysport, Carbone Lorraine, Murray Motorsport, Speedline Corse wheels, PIAA lights, Pacenotes, Sparco racewear and Mitsubishi Motors Ireland.

Round seven entries – in start number order
6    Keith Cronin (Cork)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick)
15  Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Martin Brady (Navan)
18  John McGlaughlin (Cookstown)/Crawford Henderson (Magherafelt)
28  Alan Carmichael (Ballymena)/Ivor Lamont (Ballymena)
30  Liam McFall (Bushmills)/Ronnie Craig (Ballycastle)
42  Stanley Ballentine (Strabane)/Donnacha O’Callaghan (Mallow)
44  William Mavitty (Eniskillen)/Keefe Kilcoyne (Westport)
46  Liam Egan (New York)/Mary O’Kane (Maghera)

UK Evolution Challenge Preview

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:10 PM

Round seven of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK sees the championship for Group N Lancers head to Northern Ireland for the ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally, which takes place on 21st & 22nd August. The event provides the second all-asphalt surface rally of the season and is a round of MSA British Rally Championship.

The event is also a landmark in the history of the Evolution Challenge, as this will be the first time that Mitsubishi series’ from two countries have contested the same event. It will therefore be interesting to see whether competitors from the all-asphalt Irish series will have the edge on their UK counterparts, who are more used to gravel surface forest rallies.

Although securing the Championship last time out in Swansea, Daniel Barry and his co-driver Martin Brady have pledged to take part in all of the championship’s eight rounds. They will therefore be out to score their sixth victory of the season and, in doing so, equal the record for the most number of wins in one season, an accolade currently held by Phillip Morrow for achieving six in 2007.

Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew are also contesting every Evo Challenge round this season and start right behind Barry/Brady. Lying third in the championship standings, Elsmore/Drew will be looking to record as many points as possible next weekend and take advantage of the absence of Simon Hughes/Craig Parry, who currently hold the runners-up spot.

Third of the UK crews are Ballymena-based Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont, who will are aiming to put their local knowledge to good use, bearing in mind one of the stages passes Carmichael’s house!

Even though entries are down this year, it has not stopped every round of the Evolution Challenge so far this season being a closely fought affair. There will also be pride at stake, as not only will the UK and Irish competitors be out to prove who’s fastest, it will also be interesting to see how the Evo Challenge crews compare with other Group N British Championship regulars.

The ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally this year starts and finishes in Antrim and features six timed special stages on Friday evening. Cars restart early on Saturday morning and contest another eight stages before the finish at 6.00pm, having covered an overall competitive distance of 127 miles.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by Mitsubishi Motors UK, Ralliart, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JR Motorsports, Speedline Corse wheels, Carbone Lorraine brakes, Walkinshaw Performance, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge entries
15 Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Martin Brady (Navan)
16 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Craig Drew (Bream)
28 Alan Carmichael (Ballymena)/Ivor Lamont (Ballymena)

Citroën Racing Trophy/C2R2 Cup Ulster preview

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:04 PM

All the cars in the R2 category are part of the Citroën Racing Trophy prize structure, so Cup follows class in the points table, and all four registered crews will make the trip across the Irish sea for the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally next weekend.  

Irishman McCormack leads with a hat-trick of wins since the Pirelli, while second placed Jason Pritchard took the first round in his new C2 Max Kit car. McCormack has a six point lead over the 2008 champion and that should be some comfort as they head to his “home” event.  

Welshman Pritchard can't afford for the Ulster to end as it did last year if he wants to stay in touch with McCormack, as the Irishman finished ahead in 2008. Although with the final round of the series, Rallye Le Touquet counting 1½ points, the C2R2 Cup is likely to go to the wire.  

In third is Mark Gamble who has taken a couple of events to upgrade to the Max Kit. He completed the suspension for the Jim Clark Rally, only fitting the new engine for the Isle of Man. He crashed into a house in Castletown but dropped more time with electrical problems later, demoting him to third before an off finally ended his event.  

Suffering after a pre-first round crash damaged the new car is Andrew Hockridge, who even missed the Pirelli Rally when a courier error left him without replacement parts for the Cumbrian event. The unlucky Welshman had a wire break while changing the gearbox on the Friday of the Manx event, causing the car to misfire and eventually stop.  

With all four drivers in the C2R2 Cup eligible for their share of the €7000 per-event Citroën Racing Trophy prize money, the Ulster will be a frantic battle from the new start in Antrim, stages running from Friday mid-afternoon until Saturday teatime with a well deserved overnight halt in between.

Every Sponsor Counts…

Posted: August 12, 2009 3:42 PM

With a new base for 2009 - Antrim as opposed to Armagh - the 2009 ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally has gained fresh impetus, and this has been reflected by the fact that all the available sponsorship slots have been taken up.

The rally, regarded as the most spectacular in Northern Ireland, is headquartered at the Holiday Inn Express at Junction One - a key commercial centre in Northern Ireland. Despite the economic restraints of the current recession, Ulster Rally Commercial Manager Ian Duff is pleased with the support the event is receiving…

“These are tough times for anyone in business,” says Duff, “and I’d like to say a special thank you to every sponsor who is contributing to this year’s ‘new look’ Ulster. We have a fabulous base in Junction One, and an absolutely outstanding sporting spectacle in prospect. The 2009 Ulster will deliver the goods to sponsors, fans and crews alike!”

Along with title sponsor ToddsLeap.com, this year’s rally supporters & special stage sponsors include:

    • ANTRIM BOROUGH COUNCIL
    • Department of Culture Arts & Leisure
    • Junction One - International Outlet Shopping
    • Holiday Inn Express
    • Stena Line
    • KDM Hire
    • Kerrs Tyres
    • John Mullholland Motors
    • Solo Petroleum
    • Stewart Commercials
    • McCreath Taylor
    • Renault UK
    • Autofashion
    • PB Shotblasting
    • Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland
    • Autotrader NI
    • Fleet Financial
A real treat awaits rallysport fans on the weekend of August 21st/22nd 2009 as CoC Michael Johnston explains: “The change of county for 2009 brings new challenges to the crews on this year’s Ulster. Some of the stage mileage is brand new to the crews, and this will really sort out the men from the boys. This, allied to August’s changeable weather pattern, means that tyre choices will be even more critical than usual. We should be in for an absolute classic!”

The rally’s new location should provide a welcome boost for businesses in the Antrim area, as thousands of rally fans flock in for a weekend of high octane thrills!

For upto date information check out the event website or buy the official rally programme a all good newsagents from Saturday 15th August.

Unseeded Entry Lists

Posted: August 10, 2009 2:14 PM

BRC title fight starts in Ulster

Posted: August 3, 2009 3:33 PM

The 51st year of the MSA British Rally Championship may have started back in the grey cold of Wales in March, but as far as the title fight between Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors and Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas is concerned, it starts on the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally in three weeks time.  

That’s not altogether fair on the other title protagonists though, since it is mathematically possible for anyone down to eighth place in the points table to snatch victory. However, the smart money is almost certainly on the pair at the top with two wins and two second places apiece, jostling for position on 76 points each.  

Almost nobody would have guessed this at the start of the season though; Higgins fans were set to cheer on their triple BRC champion to a fourth title. But then came Cronin, stunning onlookers as he tied with Higgins on stage times at the first service halt of the year.  

It has been one of the most entertaining scraps in the Championship’s recent history since then, gravel wins for Cronin on the very last stage of rounds one and two, followed by a puncture and fight back on tarmac, which nearly saw a debut hat-trick. Never really doubting his ability, Higgins won in the Scottish Borders, but the combined stage times from the first three events left the pair split by just 0.4 of a second. Nail biting stuff.  

Next was home tar where Higgins was sure to pull out all the stops. But Cronin astonished the crowds with awesome pace, even forcing an uncharacteristic Higgins error. Transmission problems for both crews left everyone on the edge of their seats as the scrap continued into Saturday afternoon, but another puncture for Cronin put paid to the battle, leaving Higgins with an historic fifth Manx win and the Championship all square.  

The tussle for third place has been a thrilling affair too. While the pace of the other new youngsters in the BRC has not been quite on par with 22 year-old Cronin, the chasing pack has been getting steadily closer and there have been four different drivers on the podium’s third step so far this season.  

Stuart Jones’ brief BRC appearance netted him the position in Wales, but it has been a sustained effort from Jonny Greer, Euan Thorburn, Dave Weston Jnr, David Bogie, Pirelli Star Driver winner Adam Gould and Alastair Fisher which has provided most of the entertainment.  

These seven drivers have an average age of just 21, the youngest, (appropriately) Dave Weston Jnr, not celebrating his nineteenth birthday until three days after August’s Ulster Rally ends. This astounding fact belies talent beyond their years, as Bogie, Gould and Fisher have taken third on rounds two to four respectively.  

Their battles have been as hard fought as that at the front; Thorburn and Greer also holding third on the tarmac events before driveshaft problems for the Scot on home territory and a big off for Irishman Greer on the Manx Lanes. Gould has a couple of DNFs on his score sheet after a frustrating slip into a ditch on the Pirelli, joining Greer upside down on the Isle of Man.  

In the top ten points mix are two front wheel drive youths; 23 year old Citroën driver Martin McCormack has popped some astonishing times and lies an amazing fifth in the BRC points table, while another youngster Tom Walster has also been inside the top ten on three events and lies eighth in his awesome Clio. Pleased to be spoiling the low average age statistics and posting respectable times in his debut BRC season has been Chris Firth. The 40 year-old has moved up from National championships and although a costly incident with a Manx wall damaged the car, he continues to learn and improve.  

The Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally will provide new challenges for all those drivers in their first British Rally Championship season, but even those who have been before will be presented with a tough competition as the event moves away from Armagh this year. The new Antrim base has opened up stage combinations that may have been used in the past, but some have not been seen on the Ulster for several years.  

A Friday afternoon town centre start sees 45 stage miles over six stages, with a further 82 miles on Saturday completed just before six o'clock.  

Last Chance To Grab Some Glory…

Posted: July 31, 2009 3:37 PM

Entries for the ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally, which runs on August 22nd/23rd close at 5pm on Monday 3rd August 2009…

Entries for what is set to be a classic Ulster are filling up fast, with over 69 international, 57 national and 8 challenge crews already confirmed and raring to go!

Fans and crews alike are in for some fabulous tarmac rallying in 2009, as the Ulster takes on a new challenge in County Antrim with legendary stages like Torr Head, Glendun, Slemish and the monster 18 miler that is Slieve Gallion!

The best cars and crews from every class in UK and Irish rallying will be fighting for glory on the ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally. The last opportunity that crews have to enter is before 5pm this Monday (3rd Aug) by logging on to the event website
or by contacting the Event Secretary on 07753 846734 / +44 7753 846734. The event is a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (including Tarmac Trophy and Tarmac Historic Championship), a round of the British Rally Championship (including the UK Citroen C2R2 Cup, Suzuki Swift Sport Cup), a round of the UK and Irish Fiesta Sport Trophy (the only round where both come together), the UK and Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge (the only round where both come together) and also hosts a round of the Clio R3 West European Trophy. This is the single most thrilling rallysport event in the UK/Ireland calendar – don’t miss this year’s ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally!

Marshals for Ulster Rally

Posted: July 28, 2009 12:29 PM

Last years, the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally seems only a blink away and the 21st and 22nd August 2009 the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally is vastly approaching.

The Ulster Rally has been centred on Armagh City for the last number of years, but 2009 will see the Ulster Rally go back to its roots, using some classic and spectacular stages in County Antrim and Londonderry.

The Holiday Inn hotel at Junction One will be rally HQ, with the events service area based within the grounds of the retail park. Over the two days, 16 testing special stages in counties Antrim and Londonderry await crews: three repeated twice on the Friday and five repeated twice on the Saturday.

As usual, the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally will feature the full spectrum of high performance machinery, from WRC to modified Escorts. The event will host rounds of the ITC, the BRC, the Irish and UK Fiesta Sporting Trophies, the Suzuki Swift Cup, the UK EVO Challenge and for the first time the Clio Challenge and not forgetting the entertainment and spectacular National Rally.

Friday Stages
SS1/4 Mid Antrim Motor Club (SC) Gilbert Martin
SS2/5 Alan McClelland (SC) Alan McClelland
SS3/6 QUBMC (SC) Chris Ragg

Saturday Stages
SS7/11 Innisfree Marshal Club (SC) James Mc Dermott (Coordinator – John Comiskey)
SS8/12 Lough Neagh Car & Tarmac Rally Marshals Club (SC) William Wylie
SS9/13 Magherafelt Motor Club (SC) Stephen O’Neill
SS10/14 Omagh Motor Club (SC) Ronnie McAleer
Would you like to become part of the team behind the 2009 Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally?

Over 600 marshals are required for the two-day event, to play a major role in the success of the rally. Without them it could not happen and you could become part of that team!

If you are available on either Friday 21st August or Saturday the 22nd August and would be interested in becoming involved then please get in contact with the Chief Marshal: 07740 510 551 / +44 7740 510 551 or barry.oneill@swc.ac.uk

Event Website:

Entries Filling Fast on Ulster International Rally.

Posted: July 27, 2009 7:21 PM

Few motorsport events bring together the best drivers from Ireland and the UK, but this year’s ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally is the exception to the rule…

The August 21st/22nd autosport extravaganza has an all-star cast, headed by current Irish Tarmac Championship leader Eugene Donnelly in his nimble Skoda Fabia WRC!

A counting round of the fiercely competitive British Rally Championship, the Ulster will host a head to head clash between current championship joint leaders Mark Higgins (IOM) and Ireland’s hottest ‘young gun’ Keith Cronin.

Dazzlingly fast Cronin amazed the rally fraternity by almost beating ‘Manx Missile’ Higgins on his home rally last time out. The vastly experienced Manxman will want to assert his authority on the young title challenger, so a battle royale is set to be fought out on the slippery Ulster lanes!

Another young and old pairing are set to ignite the twisting and treacherous Ulster stages as legendary ‘Welsh Wizard’ Gwyndaf Evans is paired with young ‘Flying Scot’ David Bogie in the Mitsubishi Evo 10 mounted Team JR Lico!

With the entry list three quarters full, the clock is ticking towards the August 21st start of the 2009 Ulster, so anyone wishing to enter what is set to be a modern classic should do so immediately. Normal priced entries ‘close’ this WEDNESDAY 29th July, after which time any late entries will incur a financial penalty, until the absolute entry deadline of Monday 3rd August.

The easiest way to enter online or find out more information is to visit the event website

Rallysport aficionados will doubtless note the presence of a certain Peter Scott on the 2009 entry list. Scott is a former event CoC and this year has swapped the ‘hot seat’ for the hot tar of Ireland’s premier motorsport extravavganza - the ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally!

Event Website:

Ulster Rally early closing date imminent......

Posted: July 24, 2009 10:22 AM

The early closing date for entries for the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally 2009 is fast approaching and if you want to avoid a late fee charge, you will need to submit your entry before the 29th July deadline.

Entering this years event couldn't be easier with the new on-line entry System.
Simply log on to the competitors page on the Ulster Rally web site and click on the event you would like to enter. Enter your details and submit your entry. We can also offer you 3 payment options:

Post a cheque after entering online
Provide debit/credit card detail by post after entering online
Bank Transfer
Paper Entries

If you prefer to submit your entry on paper , you can download the Regulations and Entry Form from the event website.
If you chose this method, please drop the Secretary of the Meeting an email informing him to expect your entry within a few days.

More Details:

Posted: July 24, 2009 10:21 AM

Regulations / On line Entry

Posted: July 4, 2009 12:00 PM

Antrim Countdown to Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally

Posted: June 26, 2009 3:03 PM

Top local rally drivers Eugene Donnelly and Toni Kelly joined forces today at Junction One International Outlet Shopping Centre to officially launch the 2009 Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally. This year’s event takes place on 127 competitive miles and 14 stages in the Antrim and Mid-Ulster regions. Set to kick off early afternoon on Friday 21st August with a ceremonial start at Antrim’s historic Barbican Gate, the rally finishes at the same location on Saturday 22nd August.

Originally held in the Antrim area in 1976 when the inaugural Ulster Rally took place, the international event returns to the region for the first time in over 20 years. Rally HQ will be based at the Holiday Inn Express at Junction One and the event’s Central Service Park will be located in a section of the outlet shopping complex’s extensive car parks. Organisers expect 300 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in150 rally cars over the two day period.

Ballygawley based multi-activity centre Toddsleap.com is once again backing the race as title sponsor and managing director Benny O’Hanlon said, “As a racing enthusiast this is an event worthy of support – the calibre of drivers racing on our roads makes for a very exciting major spectator event. This is a marvellous showcase for Antrim and beyond.”

Leona Barr, centre manager of Junction One who hosted today’s launch said, “We’re delighted to stage this special launch of the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to Junction One during Rally week-end in August.”

The international event will attract competitions from the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the British Rally Championship, the British Rally Challenge and the UK and Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge. The Toddsleap.com event also forms a round of both the British and Irish Ford Fiesta ST series and the UK Citroen C2 Cup and Suzuki Swift Sport Cup.

The Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally is expected to attract up to 10,000 spectators from Ireland, the UK and further afield at both the start ramp and throughout each special stage. It’s also set to be broadcast on local TV, nationally and on global networks reaching an estimated audience of 30,000 on Rally Week-end.

Clerk of Course Michael Johnston paid tribute to key sponsor Toddsleap.com and partner Antrim Borough Council saying, “It’s wonderful to make a fresh start this year with a new start/finish zone and brand new stages which will undoubtedly challenge both old hands and newcomers to the race. This is the second year that Toddsleap.com have been the main sponsor of the Ulster Rally – their passion for the event is awesome and we are delighted to have them on board again.

“In addition to cash funding, Antrim Borough Council have provided support and the use of facilities including the excellent Vanguard Depot for our scrutineering teams. We’re also very pleased today to welcome and thank representatives of our many sponsors whose support is especially appreciated in today’s difficult economic conditions.”

For the first time the organisers are delighted to welcome competitors from the Renault Clio R3 West European Trophy. Explained Michael Johnston, “This has been made possible due to support from the Events Growth Fund and we wish to thank the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Sports Minister Gregory Campbell for their invaluable funding support.

“We’re also grateful to Junction One for hosting today’s launch event and of course for enabling us to create a Central Service Park in the shopping centre’s large car park.”

Newly elected Deputy Mayor of Antrim Cllr Alan Lawther said he was delighted that the Borough is to play host to such a prestigious sporting spectacular. “It’s an honour for Antrim to welcome the Ulster Rally back to the Antrim region. We’re looking forward to both local people and international guests sampling the delights of Antrim and enjoying a safe yet thrilling motorsport event. On behalf of the Council I’d like to wish the organisers the very best of luck for August 21st and 22nd and hopefully we’ll be blessed with some superb weather.”

Posted: June 26, 2009 2:59 PM


Michael Johnston, Event CoC is pictured with
Ben O’Hanlon MD Toddsleap.com, event main Sponsor and
Cllr Oran Keenan, Mayor Of Antrim,
at the launch at Antrim Civic Centre, of the 2009 Ulster International Rally.

Rally Guide 1 Available

Posted: June 22, 2009 2:42 PM

Ulster Rally to be a counting Round of Clio R3 West European Trophy

Posted: May 28, 2009 5:47 PM

Northern Ireland’s most prestigious rallysport event, the ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally, has just been given extra ‘Va-Va-Voom’ with the news that the dynamic Clio R3 West European Trophy will form part of the August 21st/22nd tarmac extravaganza!

Competition is always ultra-fierce in this rich Euro-battle, which includes rallies in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France and now Ireland. The winner of each round scoops a prize worth €10,000, made up of cash, parts and tyres!

The two litre ‘screamer’ Clios are an extremely potent package, as proven by Ireland’s Tommy Doyle, who drives his Clio R3 ‘pocket rocket’ on many Irish Events..

Series Co-ordinator Phillipe Bouvier says he is looking forward to taking the series outside mainland Europe for the first time, commenting, “We have seen the sort of challenges that Irish tarmac can offer with Rally Ireland, and the Ulster Rally is renowned for the quality of its stages. The R3s will be well suited to the narrow lanes and I can promise fans thrills aplenty, with some of Europe’s best crews battling for victory!”

Support for the Clio R3 West European Trophy comes from Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure (DCAL), through it’s Events Growth Fund. The Ulster Rally Team expect at least six foreign crews will take up the Irish tarmac challenge!

The ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally, with it’s new Antrim base for 2009, is now in a completely unique position in terms of the variety of cars and number of championships it plays host to...

The event is a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (including Tarmac Trophy and Tarmac Historic Championship), a round of the British Rally Championship (including the UK Citroen C2R2 Cup, Suzuki Swift Sport Cup), a round of the British Rally Challenge, the UK and Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge (the only round where both come together) and now hosts a round of the Clio R3 West European Trophy.

No single rallysport event in the UK/Ireland calendar delivers more thrills per stage mile – don’t miss this year’s ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally!

Rally Legends On The Menu! - (Fri) Friday 6th February, 2009

Posted: January 31, 2009 10:56 AM

Friday 6th February, 2009, will see the luxurious Armagh City Hotel graced by a legendary group of rally drivers as the Ulster Rally Second Fifteen Gala Dinner gets under way! ‘The Ulster’s Second 15 Years’ in style.

The dinner will be celebrating the years 1991-2006, and there are only a few seats still up for grabs…

This is no surprise when you consider the list of Ulster Rally past winners and stars who have confirmed they will be in attendance - people like Ford WRC team boss Malcolm Wilson, Welsh Wizard Gwndaf Evans, Manx Missile and Bond movie ‘Quantum Of Solace’ stunt driver Mark Higgins!

The cream of Ireland’s rally legends will be there too: men like ‘The Genie’ - four times Irish Tarmac Championship winner Eugene Donnelly, with the ‘King of Donegal’ Andrew Nesbitt…

And the true glory days of rallying are represented too with the great Irish pilot Cathal Curley and the head of the most famous rallying family of them all - Jimmy McRae - both confirmed!

Hoping to attend if commitments permit are international legends Michele Mouton, Walter Rohrl and Tapio Laukkanen – so it really will be a stellar night at the popular County Armagh venue!

Please contact the organising team below as soon as possible, if you want to book one of the few remaining seats for what is certain to be an unforgettable evening of rallysport nostalgia!

For more information or to book your table, contact: 07929342433 or 07768670854 or 07771654700

Rally Retraces Its Antrim Roots…

Posted: January 6, 2009 11:30 AM

In association with the Borough Council, Antrim Town is the new location that’s set to host Northern Ireland’s premier motorsport extravaganza - the 2009 Ulster Rally!

The Ulster has been centred on Armagh City for a number of years, but now goes back to its roots, with spectacular stages in County Antrim…

Toddsleap.com remains as main sponsor for the 21st and 22nd August event, and the successful organising team from 2008 returns once more.

The Holiday Inn hotel at Junction One will be rally HQ, whilst 16 testing special stages in counties Antrim and Londonderry await crews on the spectacular two day event: three repeated twice on the Friday and five repeated twice on the Saturday…

Commenting on the 2009 stages, Event Clerk of The Course Michael Johnston said, “Coming to Antrim has given us a great opportunity to select some really challenging roads, most of which will be a new test for our competing crews. The selection of Antrim as our host, will give the town and its businesses a real boost in what are uncertain times, I trust we will put on a great show for everyone involved. ”

Focusing the Ulster on Antrim instead of Armagh will revive some classic stages that haven’t been used for twenty years, and some can trace their ancestry back as far as 1976, when Cathal Curley won the first ever Ulster Rally in a Porsche 911.

Mayor of Antrim, Councillor Oran Keenan was encouraged by the announcement, “We are thrilled to welcome Ulster Rally back ‘home’ to Antrim for 2009. Antrim Borough Council is proud to support this prestigious event, which will no doubt contribute significantly to the Borough, attracting competitors and visitors from all over UK and Ireland. We look forward to working with the Club in the run up to the event and wish them every success.”

As usual, the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally will feature the full spectrum of high performance machinery, from WRCs to modified Escorts, and the event will host rounds of the ITC, the BRC, the Irish and UK Fiesta Sporting Trophies, the Suzuki Swift Cup and the UK Evo Challenge, with other series to be confirmed.

Benny O’Hanlon, of main sponsor Toddsleap.com commented, “We look forward to some great performances by all the main characters and are delighted to continue our association with one of the country’s most popular sporting events, the 2009 Ulster Rally with it’s new base should be the biggest and most exciting ever!”

So, if you haven’t any dates in your 2009 diary yet, put this one in now - Friday 21st August, when the revs will be up, the visors down and the Ulster Rally blasts off from Junction One!

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