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2009 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

Posted: December 4, 2009 6:20 PM - 7652 Hits

Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan - Gp N Winners - 2009 Northern Ireland Championship
Photo: Roy Dempster

Donagh Kelly Wins The Sunoco Fuels Group N Category

Posted: December 4, 2009 6:17 PM

Donegal driver Donagh Kelly has become the 2009 Sunoco Fuels Group N champion with Kevin Flanagan claiming the co-drivers title after a long hard fought season.

Donagh and Kevin decided to contest the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Championship at the start of the year with the aim to become the Group N champions, but they knew it would be a tough ask with top competition coming from Raymond Johnston, Neil McCance and Mark Massey to name a few.

This was the first time in ten years Donagh had completed a full championship and he managed to lift the Group N crown at the first time of asking. The Donegal crew’s vsmsport.com prepared Mitsubishi Evo 9 ran really well all year and on their way to championship victory they had some good results notably the FM Contracts Down Rally win.

Donagh and Kevin are delighted with championship victory and would like to thank VSM and everyone that supported them this season. As well as claiming the Group N crown Donagh and Kevin also get third overall in the NI Championship.

With the issue of bonus marshalling points now all cleared up Donagh and Kevin will be able to claim their class awards with the prizegiving taking place on 30 January, just before the 2010 season begins.

Donagh hasn’t decided what he will be doing next season so keep visiting www.vsmsport.com to see the latest news.

Thanks again to the 2009 sponsors, KN Network Services, Donnelly Bros. Dungannon, Prime Tyres and Swan Plant Hire and for there continued support, Shell Racing Fuels, Pirelli Tyres, Castrol and Vehicle Services Motorsport (www.vsmsport.com).

Championship Points after Final Round

Posted: February 24, 2009 1:44 PM

Superdrive two-wheel-drive Championship & UAC Perpetual Trophy

Posted: February 19, 2009 5:58 AM

Superdrive Motorsports Centre confirmed sponsorship of the two-wheel-drive category of the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship for the fourth consecutive year at the launch at Tyrecall in Antrim.

Northern Ireland 2WD Champion James Kennedy collected his prize of a £500 team day at Superdrive and the much coveted Circuit of Ireland International Rally Larne Perpetual Trophy kindly donated by the Ulster Automobile Club in 2008.

This unique and historic trophy had been missing for more than thirty years prior to 2008 and was re-discovered in his attic by the previous winner Russell Brookes who last won the trophy in 1977. Other winners on the trophy include Roger Clarke, Cathal Curley and Dessie McCartney.

In last year’s series Kennedy sealed his place in his 2 litre MKII Escort at the penultimate round of the Championship in the forests of County Down in October. Competing in the final event, The Townparks Glens of Antrim Rally Kennedy and co-driver John Rowan suffered an accident on the first stage, severely damaging the car. Fortunately the car has been re-built but Kennedy is planning only to compete in a few selected rounds of the Championship in 2009.

The 2WD competition in Northern Ireland is second to none on the island and an action packed year of rallying is sure to entertain competitors and spectators alike.

Superdrive Manager Safron Thomas said,
‘We are extremely proud to continue our sponsorship of one of the most competitive categories in the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship and look forward to another year of total non-stop 2WD action!

‘We’re also really excited that UTV’s RPM rally programme will be bringing the Hankook Northern Ireland Championship into the living rooms of Ireland and the world for the first time.

‘It will be an excellent opportunity to showcase what our province has to offer in terms of the quality of our competitor and spectator friendly events, and of course our highly entertaining rallying!’

The Superdrive Two-Wheel-Drive Challenge & UAC Perpetual Trophy prizes include a £100 part payment of entry fee for another round of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship for the first place two-wheel-drive in each round and a £500 team or corporate activity day at Superdrive in 2010.

Any two-wheel-drive car, including cars in the newly introduced Montgomery Motorsport Historic Category entered in any of the Championship rounds is eligible for the prizes provided they display the Superdrive 2WD Championship Decals. Any team competing without decals will forfeit any Northern Ireland Championship Points gained on the event. Decals will be available at each event’s scrutiny and Rally Office or are available by contacting the centre on 028 3885 2545.

Hankook to sponsor televised MSA N.I. Stage Rally Championship

Posted: February 10, 2009 3:05 PM

Organisers of the MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship are pleased to announce that Hankook Tyres will sponsor the 2009 series, and all 10 rounds are to be televised on UTV's RPM programme!

The 2009 championship, which kicks off at County Down's Kirkistown Race Circuit on Saturday 21 February, will be known as the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

"We're delighted to be associated with such a strong rally championship," Hankook representative Niall Murray of Tractamotors said. "It goes without saying that television coverage is a huge help to any sponsor. We're looking forward to the season ahead and I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful year of rallying!"

The Hankook sponsored series will cover the length and breadth of Northern Ireland, with competitors facing a range of challenges. The championship kicks off with two race circuit based events at Kirkistown and Bishopscourt, before moving to closed roads and forestry rallies.

"We've been working very hard during the winter months to secure a number of new opportunities for the series," said championship co-ordinator, Kieran O'Neill, "so it's fantastic to welcome Hankook Tyres on board as title sponsor."

"Superdrive and Sunoco Fuels are also returning as two-wheel drive and Group N sponsors, while Montgomery Motorsport will sponsor the new historic category. It will be a tremendous year, and the addition of UTV's television coverage is the icing on the cake!"

"This would not have been possible without the support of our previous title sponsor, Pacenotes Rally Magazine," O'Neill continued. "Over the past five years, Pacenotes has helped raise the profile and increase the coverage of what is one of the most competitive championships in the UK and Ireland. On behalf of the rallies committee, I'd like to thank them for their support, and wish them well in their new ventures."

With details of the 2009 Hankook championship announced, interest in the series is at an all time high. Kirkistown's Eurocables Stages, which is also sponsored by Pedro Pet Foods, has been oversubscribed, ensuring that competition will be tougher than ever!

Championship Rounds

Posted: February 10, 2009 3:04 PM

  1. Kirkistown (North Armagh) - 21 Feb 09
  2. Bishopscourt (Ballynahinch) - 14 Mar 09
  3. Circuit of Ireland Rally - 11-12 Apr 09
  4. Tour of the Sperrins (Magherafelt) - 9 May 09
  5. Newry & Mourne Rally - 6 Jun 09
  6. Maiden City Dogleap Stages Rally - 1 Aug 09
  7. Enniskillen Lakelands Stages Rally - 12 Sep 09
  8. Omagh Bushwacker Rally - 26 Sep 09
  9. Down Rally (Rathfriland MC) - 17 Oct 09
  10. Glens of Antrim Rally - 7 Nov 09

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