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Ulster Rally / Rally NI - 23-24 Aug 13

Posted: February 7, 2014 12:16 PM - 16405 Hits

Round 5 - 2013 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2013 British Rally Championship
Round 7 - 2013 British Historic Rally Championship
Round 6 - 2013 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

Video: Full TV Program: Ulster Historic Rally 2013 - Mintex British Historic Rally Championship

Posted: February 7, 2014 12:16 PM

Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship, round six: Barrett’s high-speed home win tames Ulster asphalt

Posted: February 7, 2014 12:11 PM

A policy of full-commitment driving over constantly changing road conditions gave Ryan Barrett and co-driver Barry Ferris a thoroughly deserved second win of the 2013 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship at the Ulster Historic Rally on August 23rd / 24th. Using their local knowledge of the lanes in Co. Fermanagh to full effect, the pairing first fought a flat-out battle with Gareth James / Steffan Evans throughout the opening loop of stages on Friday evening. Then, when James retired his Escort Mk2 early on Saturday, the Irish crew continued to set a stunning pace to fend off Richard Hill / Sam Collis (Escort Mk1) in the overall standings and Category Three rivals Ernie / Will Graham (Escort Mk2).

In the championship-counting Category Three (1975-81 cars), anyone who thought that Omagh-based Barrett might have a home roads advantage reckoned without James and Evans’s determination to take the fight for BHRC points and places onto Irish soil. A sudden downpour of rain as competitors crossed the Enniskillen start ramp on Friday evening made the opening miles treacherously slippery, but Barrett / Ferris remained unperturbed, powering into a 14-second lead on stage one, Mallabeny Hill. However, James / Evans soon picked up their own pace and took a slender lead after stage three, Topped Mountain. This stirred Barrett into action; he hit back straightaway, regaining the lead only for James to return the compliment and finish the Friday evening loop in first place. Further back, a close all-Escort Mk2 battle raged for third in Category between season-long rivals Ernie / Will Graham and Shawn Rayner / Declan Dear, along with asphalt specialist Adrian Seabridge, co-driven by Ryland James.

Saturday morning revealed drier conditions but with mud lying on many corners, drivers needed to be constantly vigilant on-stage. Unfortunately, there was to be no repeat of Friday’s battle as James’s Escort suffered an engine bay fire on the first stage and he retired immediately. This handed the lead to Barrett and with the pressure relieved slightly he went on to claim fastest time in Category on every test, winning by 3m 47.8s from Graham. Seabridge took a solid third after Rayner dropped out due to oil pressure problems.

In Category Two, for 1968-75 machines, Richard Hill’s decision to cut short his holiday and compete in Ulster was vindicated with his fourth maximum points haul of the 2013 campaign. Teamed with the experienced Sam Collis in place of regular co-driver Pat Cooper, Hill opened a small lead over David Stokes / Guy Weaver (Escort Mk1) on Mallabeny Hill before pushing his Escort Mk1 as hard as he dared in the wet conditions, stretching his advantage further. Despite feeling unwell throughout the rally, Stokes pressed on bravely, and once his mechanics had fixed a starter motor problem his car ran faultlessly. He took time out of Hill on the St. Angelo stage and, as befits a three-time British Historic Rally Champion, was able to keep up the pressure while mindful of claiming a points scoring finish. “We’ve come away with 39 points towards the championship, and we’re very pleased with that,” said Stokes later.

Peter McDowell and co-driver Peter Moss brought their Porsche 911 RS home in third, starting steadily on what was, for them, completely unknown territory.
“Trying to concentrate on the information in the pacenotes as well as drive is a full-on operation at the moment,” said McDowell on Friday. As the roads dried out they were able to make increasing use of their Porsche’s prodigious power and, despite an as-yet undiagnosed problem that caused them to use nine litres of engine oil in the closing miles they finished strongly.

Rikki Proffitt / Phill Harrison and Dessie Nutt / Geraldine McBride fought out another tight all-Porsche 911 battle for supremacy in Category One, for pre-1968 cars. Proffitt had the better of his rival on each of the Friday stages, eking out a 15.5 second lead by the end of the opening loop. But it all went wrong for the current BHRC overall leader early on Saturday when he lost first gear on the opening stage. Worse came at stage two Arrival control when debris from the broken gear wrecked the rest of the ‘box and Proffitt’s car was on the trailer home. This left Nutt with a comfortable lead over second-placed Geoff Taylor / Steve Greenhill. The Imp crew suffered a rally-long litany of problems, starting with a misfire caused by a faulty condenser that forced them to return to Service before the end of Friday evening’s final test. On Saturday, their car jammed in second gear through the long Sloughan Glen stage, costing significant time. Despite the problems, they battled bravely through the closing miles to finish over 28 minutes behind Nutt / McBride.

In the accompanying HRCR ‘old Stager’ Clubman’s Challenge, Clive King / Bob Ward’s efforts to get their Mini Cooper ‘S’ to Ireland were rewarded with a maximum points tally that has virtually clinched this year’s HRCR Mini Cup. Reporting their first-ever experience of Irish rallying as “absolutely fantastic” the West Midlands pairing battled hard with the local crews through both Friday and Saturday, taking second in Class B2 behind the vastly experienced (non-championship registered) Rory Tougher / Harry Armour in their Mini Cooper ‘S’. “Drivers like Rory know these roads far better than ourselves, but we’ve given it our best shot and most importantly we’ve enjoyed every minute of the rally,” said King at the finish.

Daniel Mc Kenna the Billy Coleman Award Winner Makes it Three in a Row at the Tough Ulster Rally

Posted: February 7, 2014 12:09 PM

After the 4th round of the British Rally Championship (BRC), the Ulster Rally in Enniskillen, Daniel and Co-Driver Arthur Kierans took their third victory in a row in the Rally Two (R2) Category to extend their lead in the championship by 7 points from Norwegian driver Steve Rokland after an extremely tough and testing event.

After a very challenging Recce on the Thursday, all of the crews knew that they had a very tough event ahead of them as the stages where very bumpy with a mix of fast and technical sections but the biggest challenge was going to be the mixed weather conditions as showers where forecast for the two days competition.

After a number of runs on the shakedown stage Friday morning where Daniel made some small suspension adjustments to the Scanbitz Ltd and Ravenol Motoroil Lubricants supported Fiesta R2 to cope with the wet weather, it was on to the ceremonial in Enniskillen Town Centre start and then straight into the action on stage 1 just outside Enniskillen.

Stage one was going well for the crew until about 2 miles into the test the fiesta dropped power when the V-tech system on the engine stopped working properly severely hindering the crews progress, but even with the problem they managed 4th fastest time overall, 2nd fastest time in R2 only 4 seconds behind R2 leader Jon Armstrong. Daniel and Arthur knew what the problem was, as it was a re-occurrence of the problem they had in the Jim Clark rally, but they were limited to what they could do to repair it before the first service after stage three. They were able to repair the problem to a certain degree but they knew they would lose more time over the next two stages. They got through the stages holding 2nd in R2 and 5th overall as the wet roads helped somewhat with the power loss. In service the problem was fixed and the crew were happy to hold their position as they were in line to extend their championship lead.

After stage 4 the St, Angelo airport spectator stage it was a repeat of the first three stages. Daniel decided to make sure they stayed on the road and stayed ahead of main championship contender Rokland. Jon Armstrong extended his lead over Daniel by the end of the 1st leg by 58 seconds and was going to be very hard to catch. Daniel however had a major worry as he came to the end of the final stage of the day when the gearbox of the Fiesta started to make an internal bearing noise and it looked like the 2nd leg was to be a matter of survival for the crew. All the service crew could do was to change the gearbox oil at every service and hope that the noise would not get any worse as it may mean that Daniel and Arthur would have to retire the car rather than destroying the expensive gearbox.

The 1st stage Saturday morning was the daunting Sloghen Glen stage and a big shock to the system for Daniel and all of the other crews as Daniel and Arthur where the 1st crew at the scene of the John Mc Crone accident where Daniel raised the alarm as it was obvious that the crew needed medical assistance and the stage was then cancelled.

After the crew where safely escorted away to hospital it was on to the next stage. Again Daniel and Arthur received another surprise early in the stage as they came across Jon Armstrong’s accident which then saw the crew promoted to leading R2 and 3rd overall. At the 1st service of the day the gearbox was monitored and Daniel was happy the problem was not getting worse but the oil was changed at every service as a precaution. Holding a 30 second lead with 6 stages to go it was decided to remain on a steady pace and hope that the gearbox would hold out.

Daniel was very happy to be in a podium position but with the roads drying out Daniel knew it was going to be extremely difficult to keep the more powerful R3 cars at bay. Daniel was willing to sacrifice overall positions for the safety of keeping his position of 1st R2. Daniel and Arthur closed out the remaining stages with no problems as the gearbox did hold out and the pair took a credible 5th overall and a 48 second win in the Rally two category.

Daniel and Arthur were absolutely delighted with the result and it really puts the crew on the front foot in the championship with only two rounds remaining. Daniel is feeling very confident ahead of the next round, the Trakrod rally of Yorkshire as Daniel has competed on the event in 2010 and won’t be on the back foot in terms of knowledge of the stages.

Daniel will let you all know how preparations are going for the Trakrod rally with a pre-event press release so keep an eye on his website, Twitter and Facebook pages over the next few weeks.

McKenna secures fourth BRCLIVE Media Trophy nomination

Posted: February 7, 2014 11:52 AM

Daniel McKenna from Donegal added to his already impressive year in the British Rally Championship, by not only winning BRC RallyTwo for the third time this year, but also taking the fourth nomination in the BRCLIVE Media Trophy in association with Prodrive.

Harry Threlfall just pipped McKenna to the Media Trophy nomination after the Scottish Rally, so the Irishman re-read the brief over the summer break and nailed the task with an excellent review video of his year to date.

The review can be found on the BRC’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/brcmedia) and it is well worth a watch!

The BRCLIVE Media Trophy is open to all BRC crews and they are set a task for every event of the championship. Those who make the effort with their PR and Marketing are competing for a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend the day with members of Prodrive’ s test and engineering team at a test of the latest specification John Cooper Works Mini S2000.

McKenna joins Jon Armstrong, James Ford and Harry Threlfall as finalists and they will be joined by just two more hopefuls on October 23rd, when all the competitors will face the judges at the Prodrive HQ in Banbury after the final round of the championship.

No other rally championship in the world has the level of competition between as large a group of drivers as currently in the BRC. So now it is time to shout about it! Competitors are now tasked with demonstrating an activity that purely supports and promotes the British Rally Championship for 2013.

The activity can be supporting BRC promotional events, or promotional videos from the competitor’s perspective outlining why the championship is so important to an aspiring career rally driver, or other activity where the competitor has promoted the championship as an exclusive piece.

Evidence to be provided to the judges, which will then be assessed and the winner will be announced just after round five; Rally Yorkshire on September 27th to 28th.

Raftery survives to take maiden BRCC victory

Posted: January 30, 2014 3:19 PM

Dean Raftery and co driver Aileen Kelly took their maiden NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge victory on Saturday’s second Ulster Challenge Rally, on an afternoon when an unusually high attrition rate saw only five crews reach the finish.

Steven Smith and co-driver Daniel Johnstone were rewarded for their heroic, seven hour repair efforts on Saturday night to take second while the ‘Challenge’s other registered Irish crew, John Byrnes and Paul Murphy took the final podium spot.

The second NGK BRCC event was all action from the moment the cars completed the first, with three crews having to work through the night to get their cars ready for Saturday morning.

Championship leader Russ Thompson worked into the early hours with his team and that of Ross Hunter to replace the sump he cracked on Friday’s second stage, while next door to Thompson, event one winner Hunter was replacing the broken gear linkage that had threatened to cost him Friday’s victory.

Further down the service park, Smith was also burning the midnight oil replacing the broken gearbox in his Peugeot 206 with one sourced from a local scrapyard.

The efforts of the three groups meant that as the stages got under way, ten of the 12 registered runners headed out to the first stage Sloughan Glen, a stage that graced the Irish World Rally Championship round in 2009.

It was here, on a stage regarded as one of the most technical on this year’s ‘Challenge roster, that Richard Sykes retired his Citroën R2C2 after crashing out in a big accident that saw the car well off the road with a heavily damaged front end.

While the driver was able to extract himself from the car, co-driver Simon Taylor complained of lumbar pains. Taking all the due care necessary after such a heavy impact, the pair summoned the stage medical teams to provided assistance with Taylor being taken to hospital in for precautionary checks.

After the stage was cleared, the early pace was set by Ross Hunter, who was looking to build on his Friday win and close the gap to the top of the championship further. His time of 12:55.2 was the benchmark for the 13.81 miles.

Right on his gearbox though, was Galway’s Raftery, a mere 2.9 seconds adrift and looking an ominous threat to Hunter’s hopes of recording an Ulster double and taking his third win of the campaign.

The threat was made manifest on the next stage after the Irishman completed the test 14.2 seconds faster than Hunter and take an 11.3 second overall lead.

For the rest of the challenge field, the stage was less plain sailing. Thompson overshot the road at a junction on his way to the third fastest time, Smith hit a telegraph pole, damaging his radiator while Aaron McClure damaged his suspension and drive shaft after hitting a rock off road.

As the cars headed into service, Gareth White was seen stranded on the road section to see the total number of retirements over the course of the two events reach four. It was a total that would continue to rise over the rest of the afternoon.

First to attempt to join the list of retirees was Friday’s winner Ross Hunter on stage four, Carran Bridge. Nursing a handling problem after hitting a chicane bale on the St Angelo spectator stage, the Scotsman had a sizeable collision with a telegraph pole, causing serious damage to the front left of his car.

While he was able to conduct a running repair by the roadside and get the car to the end of the event, the organisers deemed Hunter to be over his allotted time, removing him from the overall classification.

At the same time further back on the road, Thompson and Murphy were the next to fall victim of the fickle finger of fate. The pair ran wide on the first junction of the stage with the car’s rear end stepping out, colliding with an unidentified roadside obstacle and damaging the brake pipe.

After undertaking so much effort to get the car onto Sunday’s event, the crew decided to try and get to the end of the stage using the handbrake and gears in place of the damaged braking system. A mile further down the road however, the left rear wheel sheared off, leaving the duo no option but to park up and call it a day.

Speaking after returning to the service park, Murphy expressed his and Thompson’s feelings of disappointment at how their rally ended.

“It’s just gutting! Everybody involved with the car gave so much to get it ready for today to see it all fall away because of a little slip is devastating. We owed the guys so much more than this and we’re both genuinely sorry to all of them as it could have been one of those great results we all celebrate together. We will have to make it up to them in Yorkshire.”

By now, Ulster Challenge 2 was starting to look like an event no one wanted to win and there was a real sense of incredulity when on the last stage, Fiesta SportChallenge leader Chris Wheeler became the event’s final retirement.

In scenes reminiscent of Carlos Sainz’ infamous retirement from Rally GB 1998, the 19 year old’s Fiesta ground into retirement with a gearbox issue within sight of the flying finish of the final spectator stage at St Angelo airport.

In the face of all this carnage and calamity however, the beaming, smiling face of Raftery was quite happy to take the win, coming home with a one minute and forty second cushion.

In second place, RC4 winner Steven Smith nursed his Peugeot to a season best result while the Challenge’s other registered Irish crew, John Byrnes and Paul Murphy, finished in the final NGK BRCC podium spot.

The pair in the Honda Civic finished fourth on the road, two seconds behind local crew Jonni & Sarah McDaid after adopting a steady approach to the day’s stages to maximise their championship points haul.

As the McDaids were ineligible for championship points, Byrnes and Murphy took the awards for third to bounce back from a troubled Friday where they were plagued by a fuel starvation problem.

Their Ulster Challenge 2 score sees them take an eight point lead in the combined RC2 RC3 class.

In the Fiesta SportChallenge, north west pairing of Aaron McClure and Tom Woodburn secured top honours with a well recovered fifth place after their morning accident. A result which sees them regain the championship lead from Wheeler.

The NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge now moves to Pickering in North Yorkshire for the Trackrod Challenge Rally over the weekend of September 27th and 28th.

Video: Full BRC TV Program

Posted: January 29, 2014 1:34 PM

2013 British Rally Championship - Rally NI full programme from British Rally Championship on Vimeo.

In Car

Posted: January 29, 2014 1:14 PM

Jon Armstrong & Karl Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R2) SS2


Ronan Campbell & Thomas Wedlock (Ford Escort MkII) SS5


Ryan Barrett & Barry Ferris (Ford Escort Mk II) SS8


Derek McGeehan & Darragh Mullen (John Cooper Works Mini WRC) SS12


Kieron Graffin & Paddy Robionson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) SS13

Video Clips

Posted: January 29, 2014 1:13 PM

Pryce takes maiden BRC win in Ulster

Posted: January 29, 2014 1:08 PM

20 year-old Welshman Osian Pryce won the fourth round of the 2013 MSA British Rally Championship, Todds Leap Rally NI this weekend, becoming the youngest driver to win a BRC event since current WRC front-runner Jari Matti-Latvala in 2003.

The victory with co-driver Dale Furniss came after a nail biting first day, in which first Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble, then leaders Tom Cave/Ieuan Thomas crashed out of the event, which had started with torrential rain in Enniskillen.

Rewarded for their consistency and tenacity were series leaders Jukka Korhonen and Marko Salminen, climbing from a lowly eleventh place on the opening stage. They extend their lead at the head of the tables to a huge seventeen points and must now be favourites for the title.

Northern Irish pride was upheld by Mark Donnelly, who recorded his best result this season in the Pirelli Star Driver car and helped DGM Sport stay at the top of the BRC Teams Cup. He and Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts eventually clicked with the Citroën DS3, buoying their confidence with some fastest stage times.

After an eventful first day in which DGM Sport lost Fisher from their stable and Morris Lubricants DMS, who only have Cave scoring, lost their man from the sharp end, Saturday looked like being a tussle between Pryce and Korhonen. Culina Palletforce crew John MacCrone and Phil Pugh were lucky not to receive more serious injuries as they crashed out at high speed too. They were both hospitalised, but given the all clear, although MacCrone’s face was badly bruised and Pugh also took a bump to the head.

The Finn had already rocketed to second overnight, 4.4 seconds down on Pryce. But the Welshman had the bit between his teeth and belying his tender years, drew clear of his more experienced rival as the day progressed.

Korhonen admitted that he was playing it safe, having never driven on wet asphalt before and playing the championship game. The pair even made a little pact that if one backed off, so would the other!

Nevertheless, the result is a momentous one for the Citroën DS3 driver from Machynlleth and after the rally he was clearly pleased:

“We thought it was all over on the very first stage when we hit a bank, but we must have found the softest one in Ireland and to come back from sixth was fantastic. They were that hardest stages I have ever done, but it felt like the right time to win a BRC rally and I was three times hungrier for it than last year in Yorkshire, when we came so close.”

The sensation of day one had been County Fermanagh youngster Jon Armstrong and new co-driver Karl Atkinson in the Fiesta R2. He stunned onlookers with an outright fastest time on the day’s second stage, holding third place overnight. But Saturday’s second test would not be so lucky for the eighteen year-old. Despite crashing out of the event he was prevented from heading home by a phone call from the BRC team, informing him of his Pirelli Star Driver nomination. The nomination was well received by many fellow competitors and his local supporters too.

Armstrong’s departure meant all but the top pair shunted up one, fellow Irish Fiesta crew Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans taking third place and top Fiesta SportTrophy after some storming driving. They would be victorious once more in the BRC RallyTwo championship at the end of the event, eventually taking fifth place overall into the bargain.

Reigning Pirelli Star Driver Donnelly was one of two who leapfrogged McKenna, his countrymen Jonny Greer and Jonny Hart slipping past too for a season-best fourth. One of a very few English drivers, Callum Black also had a red letter day in yet another DS3, posting a personal best sixth after a rally that everyone agreed was ultra-tough.

With James Morgan on the ‘notes, the 22 year-old from Brackley managed to fend off Steve Røkland and James Aldridge, who were consoled with the RallyTwo runners-up spot and seventh overall. Alex Parpottas and Jamie Edwards took to the RallyTwo podium for the first time this season in third, finishing with a flourish of fastest Fiesta time on the last stage.

Rounding off the top ten were Citroën C2R2 crew David Carney/Ray Fitzpatrick and a pragmatic Tom Cave/Ieuan Thomas, carrying a ten minute penalty after their off. Carney was really disappointed to have spent nearly two minutes beached on a bank, but took top honours in the Ravenol Oils Newcomers Trophy and now lies second behind Armstrong and ahead of Ben Mckay.

Kit & Tim Leigh, Ben & Jason Mckay and Harry Threlfall/Andy Bull were the final finishers who didn’t use Super Rally, unanimous in their conclusion that it had been a truly demanding rally.

The battle for the MSA British Junior Rally Championship and Twingo Renaultsport R1 Trophy went the way of the Mckays again, drawing four points clear of Threlfall/Bull. Both drivers were blown away by the stages and conditions, but Mckay had pulled clear in the early stages and never looked back.

Of the cars that used Super Rally, Alastair Fisher & Gordon Noble grabbed enough points to stay second in the Citroën Racing Trophy behind Korhonen, with Cave third. And with another all-Citroën podium it is unsurprisingly Citroën UK which dominates the MSA British Manufacturers Rally Championship.

The final award, the Mantis Best Presented Car trophy and cheque for £250 wasn’t claimed at the weekend. Not because Joe McGonigle’s car wasn’t pristine, but because he was one of several caught out by the difficult conditions, crashing out close to the place that Armstrong came unstuck.

Catch all the action from this weekend’s MSA British Rally Championship on Sky Sports on Monday 2nd September. If you can’t wait until then, keep an eye on the BRC website early next week for the short news edit.

Ulster Rally 2013

Posted: January 29, 2014 1:06 PM

THE 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally made a spectacular debut in Fermanagh and South Tyrone on Friday and Saturday, when intermittent rain added an extra edge to the already demanding stages.

One man mastered those conditions better than anyone, however, and it was local favourites, current Irish Tarmac Rally Championship leader, Garry Jennings, from Kesh, in his Subaru Impreza S12, who raced to victory by almost one minute and 20 seconds from Derek McGarrity, with Donagh Kelly third.

After crossing the finish ramp in Enniskillen town centre on Saturday evening, Jennings, who endured engine problems during the event, said:
“It’s fantastic to win the Ulster Rally on home soil. I wasn’t sure what it would mean, with the event being so close to home, but when we were coming here on Friday morning we went to see Gladys Fisher, the late Bertie’s wife. To do that, see her and for her to wish us all the best and tell us she wanted us to win the rally gave me a real lift. After that we knew we had to do this and it’s fantastic to have won the rally.

“It wasn’t straightforward, I don’t know how the car made it this far. It had a rebuild last week, but the head gasket dumped the water out. They told us to park the car up, it was all over, but I wasn’t giving up. We got some water into it and I don’t know how, but it kept going,” he concluded.

In Rally NI, round four of the British Rally Championship (BRC), Osian Pryce, from Machynlleth, in Wales, took the top step on the podium from Finland’s Jukka Korhonen and Omagh’s Mark Donnelly, who finished second and third respectively - all three were driving Citroen DS3 R3s.

Pryce, who became the youngest ever BRC winner on Saturday at the age of 20, said:
“We thought it was all over on the very first stage when we hit a bank, but we must have found the softest one in Ireland and to come back from sixth was fantastic. They were that hardest stages I have ever done, but it felt like the right time to win a BRC rally and I was three times hungrier for it than last year in Yorkshire, when we came so close.”

Donnelly, the Pirelli Star Driver, was delighted to finish in a podium position in the end, saying:
“I think this is the turning point of the season for me. The first half of the season I kept getting bad results and I couldn’t understand why. But on Saturday it just clicked, it all came together. I still feel I’m driving the same but the times were just there. Hopefully that’s us bedded into the car now and we can go on like this for the rest of the year.

“It’s probably the best rally I could have returned to form on, being so close to home. It’s been 16 months since I’ve been on a podium - I’ve almost forgotten what one looks like! It’s long over due and hopefully there will be more to come this year.
“The confidence boost this has given me is unbelievable, so we’ll be trying for podiums if not better at the remaining two rounds.”

There was also good news for Kesh teenager, Jon Armstrong at the conclusion of the event when he received the Pirelli Star Driver nomination after a thrilling outing in his Ford Fiesta R2. The 18-year-old impressed the judges and was third overall in Rally NI before crashing out of the event.

The Ulster Historic title went to Omagh’s Ryan Barrett in a Ford Escort, by one minute and nine seconds from Richard Hill and third placed Rob Smith. After picking up his third win in a row this season, Barrett said:
“It feels good, it’s nice to win your local events and to win the Ulster Rally at the third attempt is fantastic. The rally is fantastic, the marshals the spectators, the stages, they way the whole thing is organised, it’s a first class show.
“The stages were fantastic. They had a bit of everything - tight, twisty, slippy, fast, big jumps - they’re proper stages for a proper rally!”

In the National Rally, Draperstown’s Derek McGeehan, in a Mini WRC, went one better than last year, picking up victory by 24 seconds from 2012 victor, Moy’s Frank Kelly, with Shane McGirr third.
McGeehan said following his win:
“It’s very, very good to win the National. Last year we were very close and after a problem with the car we ended up losing it by only six seconds, so we had another good battle with Frank [Kelly, first last year, second in 2013] this year and really enjoyed the rally.
“The stages were tricky, technical, but very fast and very enjoyable. It’s fantastic to get the win. I’m second overall in the Northern Ireland Championship now, four points behind with two gravel rounds to go, which I’m looking forward to.”

In the Ulster Challenge Rally, Ross Hunter, driving a Peugeot 205, won the first event, from Dean Rafferty, with Richard Sykes third and in event two, Rafferty guided his Honda Civic to the top step of the podium, ahead of Steven Smith and Jonni McDaid.

McGeehan & Mullen's Mini Magic on Ulster National Rally!

Posted: January 29, 2014 1:04 PM

The 2013 Carryduff Forklift MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship resumed after it’s summer break with the toughest rally of the season, the two day Ulster National Rally, which included ten stages, with eighty-eight special stage miles for the fifty-six starters. At the Enniskillen town centre finish, it was Draperstown’s Derek McGeehan who took a well-deserved victory in his Mini WRC, ahead of the MK2 Escort of Frank Kelly, and Shane McGirr’s enthusiastically driven Toyota Starlet.

After Friday’s four stages, two of which were in darkness, it was Frank Kelly who held the over-night advantage, despite being caught out on slicks on the final night stage, and having a few scary moments in the powerful 2.5 car.
Derek McGeehan was actually fastest on that Mallabeny Hill stage, despite the Mini stalling on the start line with an Anti-lag switch issue, and the gap was 3.8 seconds overnight to leader Frank Kelly. Third, just ten seconds further back was Paddy McVeigh in his S10 WRC Subaru, with Shane McGirr fourth in the little Starlet, the MK2 Escort’s of Fergus O’Meara and Chris Armstrong fifth and sixth and Jonny Leonard in his Evo 6 in seventh. Emma McKinstry had started well in her WRC Subaru in sixth after the third test, but fuel pressure problems dropped her well down on the final night test, but she would climb up to ninth by the Saturday tea-time finish.

The Saturday morning stages included the challenging Sloughan Glen and Widow Magee stages, and Frank Kelly was fastest on the opening Sloughan Glen stage, with McGeehan taking three seconds back on Widow Magee to leave the gap at 6.8 seconds entering the second running of the St.Angelo airfield spectator stage. Here Derek McGeehan took four seconds from Frank, and on the next stage, the first run over Carran Bridge, the Mini man moved into a twenty-two second lead, with a storming time, with Frank having picked the wrong tyres suffering a slight over-shoot. Paddy McVeigh retired his Subaru on the opening stage of the day, so Shane McGirr was now third, followed by Fergus O’Meara, Jonny Leonard and Chris Armstrong. Kieron Graffin had moved ahead of Stanley Ballantine in the Group N race, despite Stanley being third fastest overall on the Carran Bridge stage.

Over the final stages Derek McGeehan extended his advantage, and Jonny Leonard, after an earlier scare, moved up to fourth behind Shane McGirr, with other notable drive’s coming from Brian Armstrong, Fintan McGrady and Group N winner Kieron Graffin. The win however puts Derek McGeehan in a much closer to leader Derek McGarrity in the Carryduff Forklift NI Championship, and he was naturally delighted.
“It was superb to get this Ulster National victory after losing out to Frank last year. Everything worked well today, the car, Daragh on the notes, and we made a good tyre choice. It was a tough event, and a satisfying result which puts us back in the hunt for the NI Championship.”

McGeehan’s Win Sets Up Championship Battle!

Posted: January 29, 2014 1:01 PM

Derek McGeehan and Darragh Mullen claimed victory aboard their MINI WRC at this weekend’s Todds Leap Ulster National Rally, round six of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

After an intense battle with the Mark 2 Escort belonging to Frank Kelly and Russell Harold, McGeehan emerged victorious by just 24 seconds from the chasing Ford, with Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott third in their Toyota Starlet.

The result enforces McGeehan’s second placed position in the championship standings. And with series leader Derek McGarrity failing to score after he opted to contest a separate Ulster event, McGeehan is just two points adrift of his rival with three rounds remaining. It is all to play for!

The Event

The National Rally got underway on Friday evening and it was McGeehan who was immediately on the pace in his MINI. Three seconds faster than the Impreza WRC belonging to Paddy McVeigh and Stephen O’Hanlon while Emma McKinstry and Kenny Hull were third, the Draperstown driver enjoyed the best of starts.

Through stage two it was Frank Kelly who set the pace in his Escort, jumping from seventh overall to second. One stage later, he moved into the rally lead and he maintained the advantage at the overnight halt.

Meanwhile, Derek McGeehan briefly dropped to third behind Paddy McVeigh but recovered the position through the final stage of the day to hold second overall, just 3.8 seconds behind Kelly.

McVeigh was third, 13 seconds behind the leaders, with Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott fourth ahead of Fergus O’Meara and James McNulty, while Chris Armstrong and Tommy Clinton completed the top six finishers at the end of the opening day.

Action resumed on Saturday morning and it was leader Frank Kelly who resumed where he left off with another fastest time, enforcing his position at the top of the order.

However, McGeehan refused to let him get away and a string of fastest times by the MINI pilot saw him surge to the top of the order. It was at the end of stage 11 that the Draperstown driver moved in front when Kelly was caught out on the wrong tyres. He lost over 20 seconds after an aquaplaning moment turned into an overshoot, allowing McGeehan into the top slot.

In the end, McGeehan’s winning margin was 24 seconds, leaving last year’s winner Frank Kelly to settle for second in his Mark 2 Escort. Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott were overjoyed with third overall, finishing one minute ahead of the Evo 6 belonging to Jonny Leonard and Niall Burns.

Chris Armstrong and Tommy Clinton brought their Escort home in fifth overall, with Brian Armstrong and Paul Mulholland sixth. Insurance expert Fintan McGrady and Mark Hanna claimed seventh, while Kieron Graffin and Paddy Robinson completed the top eight, taking the Group N win in the process.

The Ulster National Rally marked the final tarmac event in the season for the Carryduff Forklift N.I. Championship crews. The final three events of the series all take place on gravel, with the next round of the championship – the Lakeland Stages – based in the Fermanagh forests on Saturday 7 September.

Results

Posted: January 29, 2014 12:58 PM

TODDS LEAP ULSTER INTERNATIONAL RALLY AT ENNISKILLEN (ROUND 4 OF IRISH TARMAC CHAMPIONSHIP):
1 Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 59m 43s,
2 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Ford Focus WRC) 2h 01m 02s,
3 Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Ford Focus WRC) 2h 02m 13s,
4 Josh Moffett/John Rowan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 07m 53s,
5 Stephen Wright/Susanne Wright (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 10m 07s,
6 Willie Mavitty/Andrew Brown (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 14m 10s.

TODDS LEAP RALLY NI AT ENNISKILLEN (ROUND 4 OF MSA BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP):
1 Osian Pryce/Dale Furniss (Citroen DS3) 2h 05m 37s,
2 Jukka Korhonen/Marko Salminen (Citroen DS3) 2h 06m 28s,
3 Mark Donnelly/Dai Roberts (Citroen DS3) 2h 07m 15s,
4 Jonny Greer/Jonny Hart (Citroen DS3) 2h 08m 27s,
5 Daniel McKenna/Arthur Kierans (Ford Fiesta R2) 2h 08m 35s,
6 Callum Black/James Morgan (Citroen DS3) 2h 09m 04s.

ULSTER CHALLENGE RALLY 1:
1 Ross Hunter/Josh Davison (Peugeot 205) 44m 01s,
2 Dean Raftery/Aileen Kelly (Honda Civic) 44m 10s,
3 Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor (Citroen C2R2 Max) 44m 24s.

ULSTER CHALLENGE RALLY 2:
1 Dean Raftery/Aileen Kelly (Honda Civic) 36m 41s,
2 Steven Smith/Daniel Johnstone (Peugeot 206) 38m 22s,
3 Jonni McDaid/Sarah McDaid (Peugeot 106) 39m 07s.

Daniel Mc Kenna the Billy Coleman Award Winner Aims to Make Ulster Three in a Row in R2

Posted: August 22, 2013 11:44 AM

After the championship summer break, Daniel, Arthur and team are feeling confident of hopefully snatching another victory in the R2 category and are excited about the challenge of taking what could be termed as their home rally as Daniel resides only 40 minutes away from Enniskillen where the event is based. Since taking two victories in a row, including the Jim Clarke tarmac rally, Mc Kenna is the top R2 seed for the event and if he continues his winning form this weekend, he will extend his lead in the R2 category. The Scanbitz Ltd and Ravenol Motoroil supported Fiesta R2 has undergone a total overhaul since the very tough Scottish rally by the team. Pre-event preparation has gone well; this included a tarmac test in Daniel’s home county of Monaghan where the roads are very similar in nature to the Fermanagh stages where car setup is crucial.

Also the very tricky nature of the stages means that Pacenotes are of the utmost importance and both Daniel and Co-driver Arthur have been studying their in-car DVD’s looking on areas where they can improve. Arthur has also competed in some of the stages used in this weekends event in previous years and his experience will be invaluable in insuring that the pair will be right on the pace of the front runners.

Although Daniel and his team are hungry for another win in the championship to make it three in a row, he is also conscious of the championship battle ensuing between Norwegian Steve Rokland and himself. Daniel will have his championship head on, with the number one priority being to get a good finish and a good haul of points, as the hard chasing pack could find themselves in Championship contention if the top two were to make any slip ups this weekend.

Daniel will let you all know how the event unfolds with a post-event press release next week so keep an eye on his website, danielmckenna.net. In the meantime keep an eye on Daniel’s Twitter and Facebook pages for any updates over the rally weekend.

BRC - too fast for sightseeing in Ulster

Posted: August 20, 2013 2:39 PM

With so many Irish competitors in this year’s MSA British Rally Championship, it could be argued that round four, this weekend’s Todds Leap Rally NI, (part of the Ulster Rally), is a home event for the series.

As it moves briefly but importantly back to asphalt for the last time and begins the second half of the season, the series longest event has a new base in the beautiful Fermanagh Lakes and with it new challenges for the BRC crews.

Around thirty percent of the field hails from Ireland, north and south of the border and although the top of the tables is occupied by a Finn, three of the top five places are held by drivers from the emerald isle.

Importantly for the series, one of Ulster’s own wrested the top of the podium from Finn Korhonen on the previous round in Scotland, County Tyrone’s Alastair Fisher taking his first BRC victory with Gordon Noble on the ‘notes. DGM Sport’s Fisher has consistently set good stage times and has overhauled Tom Cave for position on both of this year’s gravel events. Now back on asphalt, he will be hoping that local knowledge and a home crowd will spur him on to another victory.

Thanks to Fisher’s top points, DGM Sport now takes a clear two point lead in the BRC Teams Cup ahead of Morris Lubricants DMS, with three third places leaving Culina Palletforce Racing needing good results to catch up.

But Korhonen and Marko Salminen still lead the championship with two wins from three rallies. And despite admitting to preferring gravel, it was they who won on the Jim Clark Rally.

After three events the points difference is minimal and with the top five having a perfect finishing record, dropped scores will come into play at the end of the season, potentially further narrowing the gap.

The 29 year old has set one target for this season – to take the BRC title and break the thirteen year drought for a Finnish driver’s name on the coveted BRC trophy. He and Salminen are well on their way though, already cracking the Finns’ ten year absence from the top spot on a BRC event.

Morris Lubricants DMS crew Cave and Ieuan Thomas add to the Celtic feel of the series, the Welsh pair never off the podium this year. But a win eludes them in 2013, despite leading in Scotland and coming within a hair’s breadth of victory on the Jim Clark. They have proved their pace time and time again and with two wins last year must surely be in with a shout.

At just 24, Carryduff’s Jonny Greer is already one of the BRC’s stalwart competitors, first appearing on the Ulster Rally as far back as 2007. Never out of the top five at the end of the season, he is no stranger to the podium either and with fellow Ulsterman Jonny Hart back alongside, the pair must hope for a shot at the top at home.

From the Republic of Ireland comes the fist driver not in the ubiquitous Citroën DS3. Fiesta R2 pilot and former Pirelli Star Driver finalist Daniel McKenna vowed to take another shot at the coveted prize shootout and has already grabbed a spot. Mixing it in the top five overall in the BRC, he has overcome problems on each event to top the BRC RallyTwo championship tables with two wins and a third place.

Next up is yet another Celt. Scottish islander John MacCrone know all about closed public road rallies, having grown up on the Isle of Mull. He has set some quick times this year, but struggled with a puncture and suspension failure, robbing him of a decent result until the Scottish Rally. He hung on for a sensible fourth, but his Culina Palletforce team is relying on a another good result in Ireland.

Steve Røkland hails from Norway, but has made quite a stir in the UK this year. He and James Aldridge did more than enough to grab the first Pirelli Star Driver nomination and have given McKenna a run for his money so far. They trail McKenna by five points in RallyTwo, nine ahead of Jon Armstrong.

And so to the 2012 Pirelli Star Driver winner; Omagh’s Mark Donnelly is driving a Citroën DS3 R3T as his prize for impressing at last year’s shootout – a dream result for a youngster who has ticked all the right boxes in the BRC over the last few years.

Still just 22, he and Dai Roberts are taking a little time to adjust to the flappy paddle gearbox and 1600cc turbo car after previously driving with mechanical change and high revving engines. But they proved a wining partnership last year and their time will come again – watch this space.

The MSA British Junior Rally Championship and Twingo Renaultsport R1 Trophy UK points tables are identical - a fight between Ben Mckay and Harry Threlfall. With a non finish apiece until the Scottish, it was all to play for. But it was Mckay who held his nerve and leads both series by two points.

Citroën UK continues to dominate the MSA British Manufacturers Championship and the prestigious Citroën Racing Trophy UK. Results and points tables follow those of the overall events and championship, the top four locked out by the DS3. McKenna took back to back Fiesta SportTrophy maximums on the Jim Clark and Scottish, moving two points clear of Røkland and Scottish Pirelli Star Driver nominee Ruary MacLeod.

With one of the shortest distances to travel for the start of the Todds Leap Rally NI, Kesh’s Jon Armstrong has extended his lead to 26 points over southern counterpart David Carney in the RAVENOL Oils Newcomers Trophy. Westport’s Carney shares second place with Mckay.

The Mantis Best Presented Car Award has gone to three Fiesta crews so far. Garry Pearson taking the £250 cheque, trophy and Mantis products on round one, Kit and Tim Leigh were deemed the best turned out on round two, while Enniskillen’s Timmy Cathcart’s Fiesta was deemed showroom standard in Scotland. The award is voted on by championship scrutineers before each event – the challenge for the crews is to keep them like that until the end.

With all the classes, cups and categories to fight for, new stages and new challenges face many of the crews in Enniskillen, but one thing is for sure – they won’t have time to look at the stunning scenery!

N.I. Championship Crews Gear Up for Ulster Spectacular!

Posted: August 20, 2013 2:38 PM

The Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship bursts back into action this week when the Todds Leap Ulster Rally gets underway on Friday.

The Championship tussle resumes on the closed roads in Fermanagh and Tyrone with the two-day event also hosting rounds of the premier British and Irish Tarmac series.

There are a number of different categories to this year's Ulster event to cater for each series but most of the Carryduff Forklift N.I. crews are entered within the Ulster National Rally.

Many crews leave the start ramp early on Friday afternoon but National Rally competitors will not start until 7.15pm on Friday evening.

Derek McGarrity is the current series leader and having scored maximum points on all four rounds to date, he is head and shoulders above his rivals in championship terms.

However, the Glengormley man has not entered the National Rally, instead opting to pursue one of the separate Ulster categories. As a result, he will not be eligible to score points, providing an opportunity for his rivals to play catch-up.

Derek McGeehan currently lies second in the Carryduff Forklift N.I. series standings, 14 points adrift of McGarrity. A victory in Ulster would really bolster his championship campaign, placing him within two points of his rival.

But that will be easier said than done. He finished third to Frank Kelly and Camillus Bradley at last year's Ulster National Rally, and both crews will be vying for the top spot once again.

In fact, it is Kelly who tops the Ulster National entry list in his potent 'Baby Blue' Mark 2 Escort. Navigated by Russell Harold, he won last year's event by just six seconds. Having added another trophy to his cabinet just last weekend when he claimed 2WD victory at an Irish forestry event, Kelly's confidence will be high.

Camillus Bradley and Crawford Henderson were their closest pursuers last year and with number two on their Escort's doors for this weekend's event, they have Kelly firmly in their sights.

Paddy McVeigh and Stephen O'Hanlon are seeded at number three in their Impreza WRC, just ahead of the MINI WRC belonging to Derek McGeehan. The N.I. Championship regulars will not have to worry too much about fifth seed Fergus O'Meara, as he is not registered to score points, so next on the list is James Laverty and Francis Regan with their Group N Impreza.

Keith White and Damien McCabe will be among the crowd favourites with their beautiful Mark 1 Escort. They provide the meat in a Subaru sandwich with Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy starting the event at number eight in their Impreza.

Other Championship regulars include David Armstrong, Emma McKinstry, Kieron Graffin, Jonny Leonard and Fintan McGrady.

Based at Enniskillen's Belmore Court & Motel, the two-day event starts on Friday (23 August) and continues through to Saturday afternoon. Event programmes, which contain full entry lists, stage maps and other useful spectator information, can be purchased online or in selected shops. More details can be found online at www.nirally.com.

Ulster Rally pledges to ‘Share the Road to Zero’

Posted: August 20, 2013 2:24 PM

The Department of the Environment has welcomed Todds Leap Ulster Rally’s support for the ‘Share the Road to Zero’ road safety campaign.

Margaret Aiken from DOE Road Safety said,
“‘Share the Road to Zero’ is a huge community programme with one aim – a vision of zero road deaths in Northern Ireland. As road users, we all share the road, so this campaign is asking us to also share the responsibility. As such, we are encouraging citizens in Northern Ireland to sign up to a path towards no deaths on our roads and in turn pledging to use the roads safely.”

In 2012 the number of road deaths in Northern Ireland reached its lowest level since records began in 1931. However, 48 people died and 48 families were devastated by these tragedies. Every one of those road deaths is one too many.

Gerard Walsh, also from DOE Road Safety, added,
“The goal of reducing road deaths to zero is a shared community responsibility. As such, I want to encourage everyone to join up on a journey towards zero road deaths. Any organisation can support this aspiration by pledging and encouraging members or employees to pledge and adopt safer behaviours on the roads.

As road users, we all have responsibility to behave appropriately – as a driver, a passenger, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian so that we do not take risks and we do not put our own lives or anyone else’s in danger.”

“The support of the community is vital if we are to further reduce road casualties. The Ulster Rally has thousands of spectators and can influence many road users. This means that its support for the Share the Road to Zero campaign will be influential in saving lives and helping us achieve zero road deaths in Northern Ireland. We encourage everyone to Keep the Race in its Place.”

2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally Clerk of the Course, Lewis Boyd said,
“It is a privilege for the Ulster Rally to support ‘Share the Road to Zero’ and we actively encourage every road user to sign up to the Road to Zero and commit to zero road deaths in Northern Ireland.

It must be remembered that The Ulster Rally’s competitors are only allowed to drive fast on the special stages, which are closed to the public and open only to licenced drivers who have proven that they have the necessary skills to rally safely.

We would remind all spectators to respect all other road users and to leave the spectacular driving to the rally car drivers who can be seen during this year’s Ulster Rally in St Angelo Airport, Enniskillen on Friday 23rd August and Saturday 24th August.”

Garry Jennings, the current Irish Tarmac Championship leader, said,
“There is a big difference between rally driving and driving on the roads. I encourage everyone to Keep the Race in its Place.”

Jon Armstrong, a rising star in The British Rally Championship, continued,
“Rally car driving and road car driving are like day and night but even with all the safety equipment we have there are still risks. When driving on the roads you should never try what rally drivers do as the risks are much greater.”

Frank Kelly, renowned as one of the quickest Mark 2 Escort drivers on the circuit added,
“Drivers, especially young drivers, should never try to emulate rally drivers. We race in controlled conditions. I would encourage drivers to respect other road users, such as pedestrians, and to share the road to zero road deaths. Every road death is one too many.”

Organisations and individuals can view the television campaign and pledge online at www.sharetheroadtozero.com and share through Facebook and Twitter.

New stages and new setting for Ulster Rally

Posted: August 13, 2013 1:35 PM

The 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, August 23 and 24, promises plenty of excitement, with new stages and a new setting in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Clerk of the Course, Lewis Boyd, who was born in Fermanagh, but who now lives in Tyrone, believes he has the right balance of stages to give both the competitors and the spectators plenty to look forward to and enjoy over the weekend.

The special stages selected all offer something different. From the tight 'Widow Magee' outside Omagh, the exciting 'Topped Mountain' near Enniskillen, 'Sloughan Glen', which was used for WRC event Rally Ireland, the spectacular 'Mallabeny Hill', 'Carren Bridge' and 'Fardross'; there will be a lot of tarmac tackled and spectacular action seen.

And on both days, there is the Modern Tyres Spectator Special Stage and Service Park at St Angelo Airfield, just outside Enniskillen, which will allow the fans to get up close and personal with the action. The Spectator Special Stage opens at 4pm on the Friday and 9.30am on the Saturday, with preferential disabled parking on offer. Admission is £5 or 6 Euros for adults, while under-12s go free if accompanied by a fee-paying adult.

The spectator areas locations on each of the road stages will be published on www.ulsterrally.com but full stage details, maps, entry lists and championship news will be detailed in the official programme which can be pre-ordered from the website also. The deadline for online orders for the programme, to ensure delivery prior to the event, is Monday, August 19. "It took several months to decide on the stages, which involved a lot of driving," explained the Clerk of the Course. "We found loads of suitable roads, but it's about being able to string them together to make proper, flowing stages, so it takes a while to get a good result.

"We feel we have a good balance between the stages and we're really looking forward to seeing how the drivers manage them," he concluded. As well as the sporting action, Fermanagh District Council are running a competition in the build-up to the event which involves spotting rally car models in 20 shop windows in Enniskillen. The prize is a fuel-filled family half-day ticket for two adults and two children at the amazing Todds Leap Activity Centre. The winner will be drawn on the finish ramp.

The ceremonial start to the rally will take place at Enniskillen Town Hall from 1pm, with an autograph session involving the top competitors beforehand. The finish will be in the same location from 4pm on Saturday.

Backed by title sponsor Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Fisher Foundation and a number of local businesses, the award winning two day event caters for all the premier British and Irish Rally Championships, including the MSA British Rally Championship and BRC Challenge, the Irish Tarmac, MSA British and Irish Historic and the Northern Ireland Rally Championships, and it is sure to provide a thrilling weekend of rally action.

The Fisher Foundation was established by Fisher Engineering as a permanent memorial to the lives of Mark, Emma and Bertie Fisher, who died following an air accident in 2001. Its aim is to commemorate Bertie and Mark’s interest in rallying, as well as Emma’s commitment to Christian service overseas, by supporting those involved in these areas today. This year’s Ulster Rally will benefit from significant support from the Foundation. Safety in rallying was always of paramount importance to four times Ulster Rally winner Bertie Fisher and to this end the Fisher Foundation will assist with the provision of Rally Safety Units and Competitor Tracking during the event.

The Foundation also assists in a number of other initiatives. It helps young people via a bursary award towards carrying out voluntary work overseas, and provides financial support towards the work of the Leprosy Mission, Trocaire and the Church Missionary Society.

To keep up-to-date with the build-up to the event, visit the newly designed website - www.ulsterrally.com - ‘Like’ the Facebook page (Ulster Rally) and on Twitter.

Entries Received

Posted: August 5, 2013 2:32 PM

Available at:

Entries flooding in for Todds Leap Ulster Rally

Posted: July 25, 2013 1:51 PM

ENTRIES for the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which will take place on August 23 and 24, are starting to flood in ahead of the event’s debut in Fermanagh and Tyrone.

A host of British, Irish and Northern Irish Rally Championship competitors have already put their names down to tackle the challenging stages in Fermanagh and Tyrone, which will provide plenty of excitement for the fans who are sure to flock to the area in droves to cheer on their favourites, including some crews who have travelled from as far away as Finland and Australia

The cream of Irish rallying is expected to be joined by a large local contingent on the Ulster Rally, including Monaghan’s Sam Moffitt who will wheel out the Donegal Rally winning Subaru Impreza S14 and Donegal’s Donagh Kelly in the Ford Focus. Representing the home county will be Kesh’s Garry Jennings, a real crowd favourite and current leader of the Irish Tarmac Championship in his Impreza.

2012 Ulster Rally winner Darren Gass is also expected to defend his crown and when you add Ulster regular Derek McGarrity to the list a great battle is in store over the rally weekend.

There will also be a host of local drivers in action in Rally NI, with top British Rally Championships (BRC) competitors from the Province including Omagh’s Pirelli Star Driver, Mark Donnelly; Portglenone’s Desi Henry; Kesh teenager, Jon Armstrong; Enniskillen’s Timothy Cathcart and Carryduff’s Jonny Greer expected to be amongst the lead runners during Rally NI.

Finland’s Jukka Korhonen currently leads the BRC from Alistair Fisher, with Tom Cave in third. Recent Scottish Rally winner Fisher has a clashing World Rally Championship event in Germany on the same weekend, but with the Scottish win moving him into contention for the British Championship title there is still a small chance that the Citroen DS3 driver may yet make the starting list in Enniskillen.

The Ulster Historic Rally already has a list of classic cars sure to put a smile on the faces of car fans, with Porsche’s, Hillman’s, Sunbeam’s, BMW’s and the always popular Escorts already confirmed to display their own particular brand of spectacular stage craft over the weekend of the event. Past category winners, and former British Historic Champions David Stokes (Escort MkII) and Dessie Nutt (Porsche 911) where some of the first crews to sign up for the event and as always, the Historic event is just as popular as ever.

The Ulster National Rally always attracts a wide selection of cars and this year’s event will be no different, from the 1400cc machines right up to the modern WRC cars.

With current NI Rally Championship leader Derek McGarrity expected to chase after Irish Championship points in the main event, Mini WRC driver Derek McGeehan has an ideal opportunity to close the point’s gap over the weekend as does third placed man Kevin Barrett in his Impreza WRC.

The Ulster Challenge Rally, a support event to the British Rally Championship rounds off the high octane weekend and includes some of the stars of the future so make sure you check them out during the event.

Spectators will have the chance to get up close and personal with the drivers, the cars and the action this year as organisers have designed a Spectator Special Stage at St Angelo Airfield, just outside Enniskillen, which will provide drivers with the chance to impress their fans at close quarters.

Overall, a thrilling weekend of rally action is sure to be witnessed in just four weeks’ time at the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which will get underway with a ceremonial start in Enniskillen on August 23.

The early closing date for entries is fast approaching, so if you are a competitor and you want to avoid a late entry charge, log on to the Competitor’s page on the event website and get your entry in before Wednesday, July 31.
The final closing date for entries is Wednesday, August 7.

To keep up-to-date with the build-up to the event, visit the newly designed website - www.ulsterrally.com, ‘Like’ their Facebook page (Ulster Rally) and follow it on Twitter.

Promotional Video

Posted: July 24, 2013 7:57 PM

Entry Opens for the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally

Posted: July 5, 2013 12:26 PM

Regulations can now be downloaded from the competitor page on the event website, and crews also have the option to save time by securing their entry using the online entry system.

The 2013 Ulster Rally is again able to offer five different events over the action-packed weekend from National B status right up to full National A standard to include:

Todds Leap Ulster Rally
National A Status event for competitors contesting the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (4wd vehicles).

Todds Leap Rally NI
National A Status event for homologated cars included in the MSA British Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (2wd vehicles), Citroen Racing Trophy, Fiesta SportTrophy and the Twingo Renaultsport Trophies UK. Rally NI covers the same route as the Ulster Rally

Todds Leap Ulster Historic Rally
National A status event catering for competitors contesting the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship, Irish Historic Tarmac Rally Championship and the HRCR 'Old Stagers' Challenge.

Todds Leap Ulster Challenge Rally
National B event for competitors registered for the NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge which includes the Fiesta Sport Challenge. The challenge event runs over two legs, with Challenge points available for each leg.

Todds Leap Ulster National Rally
National B event providing classes for modified cars including competitors from the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Modified Challenge.

As previously mentioned, entries can be secured using the online entry system which will be available as an option for all five events and competitors are recommended to make use of the system which will greatly streamline and speed up the process of securing an entry in the award winning Ulster Rally.

The early closing date for entries is 24 July and entries will finally close 7 August; so competitors are urged to secure their place now for the 2013 event.

To assist competitors plan their participation on the event, the organisers have produced Ulster Rally Guide 1 which can also be downloaded from the event website.

2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally Set to Make a Big Splash in Fermanagh

Posted: July 5, 2013 11:34 AM

A host of sporting stars from track and field, including British Touring Car frontrunner Colin Turkington and Fermanagh GAA manager Peter Canavan joined organisers, local Rally stars and special guests at Enniskillen Castle to launch the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally. The event, which will be based in Fermanagh this year for the first time, will again play host to all the best drivers and cars from across the UK, Ireland and beyond, and an action packed extravaganza is expected by race fans on 23rd and 24th August.

Backed by title sponsor Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and a number of local businesses, the award winning two day event offers a five race line-up to cater for all the premier British and Irish Rally Championships including the MSA British Rally Championship and BRC Challenge, the Irish Tarmac, MSA British and Irish Historic and the Northern Ireland Rally Championships.

Fermanagh has enjoyed a prominent place in the history of the Ulster Rally, having hosted the traditional Saturday morning breakfast halt during the 1980’s and 1990’s, but this is the first time that the event has been based completely in the Fermanagh Lakelands.

At the Event Launch it was also confirmed that the 2013 Ulster Rally will benefit from significant support from the Fisher Foundation. The Foundation was set up as a permanent memorial to the lives of Mark, Emma and Bertie Fisher who died following an air accident in 2001. Safety in rallying was always of paramount importance to 3 times Ulster Rally winner Bertie Fisher and to this end the Fisher Foundation will assist with the provision of Rally Safety Units and Competitor Tracking during the event.

2012 NITB award winner, Todds Leap, the activity, conference and training centre is once again backing the race as title sponsor and managing director Benny O’Hanlon said,
“Todds Leap is pleased to be sponsoring the Ulster Rally for the sixth consecutive year. As Northern Ireland's number one activity centre we are totally dedicated and committed to backing regional events which support the tourist trade and the local economy. The Todds Leap Ulster Rally attracts thousands of spectators to Northern Ireland each year and reaches a wider global audience, show casing the region at its sporting best. Todds Leap is looking forward to another successful rally and we wish the organisers, participants and supporters all the best for what will be a thrilling event.”

Ulster Rally Clerk of Course Lewis Boyd paid tribute to the local competitors and key event partners saying,
“It is very satisfying to be in Fermanagh today to launch the 2013 Ulster Rally, especially on the back of a tremendous win for Alistair Fisher and Gordon Noble at the Scottish Rally, taking them to second overall in the British Championship and with local man Gary Jennings leading the Irish Tarmac Championship, it would appear that Co. Fermanagh is the perfect location for this year’s event. This is all made possible with the enthusiastic support of Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council and the Fisher Foundation and I look forward, with their help, to the safe running of this event on 23rd and 24th August.”

Entries for the event have just opened and the organisers, Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd anticipate a top line up of local and international competitors including Finland’s Jukka Korhonen, currently leading the MSA British Rally Championship, Alistair Fisher, fresh from winning the Scottish Rally, Omagh man Mark Donnelly as well as other local BRC frontrunners Jonny Greer, Desi Henry, Jon Armstrong and Daniel McKenna.

The Irish Tarmac Championship will be well represented with current Championship leading driver, Kesh’s Garry Jennings, recent Donegal winner Sam Moffitt along with previous Championship winners Darren Gass, Derek McGarrity and a multitude of other WRC cars expected to return to do battle.

The Todds Leap Ulster Rally encompasses 130 competitive miles over 15 stages in the Fermanagh and Tyrone regions. Set to kick off at lunchtime on Friday 23rd August with a ceremonial start in Enniskillen town centre, the rally finishes back in the town centre on Saturday from 4pm.

New for this year will be the family friendly Modern Tyres Spectator Special stage and other attractions at the St. Angelo Airport complex along with the event’s Central Service Park – all within easy reach of Enniskillen town centre. Rally HQ will be based at the Belmore Court & Motel and the organisers expect 300 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 150 rally cars over the two day period.

For the last number of years the event has attracted over 10,000 spectators, visitors, officials, and competitors from Ireland, the UK and further afield and generated in access of half a million pounds for the local economy each year. It’s also set to be broadcast on local TV, nationally and on global networks reaching 850 homes worldwide.

Welcoming the events arrival the Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Councillor Alex Baird, commented;
“Fermanagh District Council is delighted to support the 2013 Ulster Rally. County Fermanagh is internationally renowned for its motorsport heritage and we look forward to welcoming rally drivers, crews, officials and spectators from across Europe to the Fermanagh Lakelands in August. We wish everyone involved a safe and enjoyable rally."

Todds Leap confirms continued support for the Ulster Rally...

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:15 AM

NITB Best Visitor Experience 2012 award winners Todds Leap are once again backing the Ulster Rally as title sponsor in 2013 when the event moves to its new base in Co. Fermanagh.

Confirming its continued support for the event, managing director Benny O’Hanlon said:
“Todds Leap is pleased to be sponsoring the Ulster Rally for the sixth consecutive year. As Northern Ireland's number one activity centre we are totally dedicated and committed to supporting regional events which support the tourist trade and the local economy. The Todds Leap Ulster Rally attracts thousands of spectators to Northern Ireland each year and reaches a wider global audiences show casing the region at its sporting best. Todds Leap is looking forward to another successful rally and we wish the organisers, participants and supporters all the best for what will be another thrilling event in Fermanagh.”

Established in 1989, Todds Leap is Northern Ireland’s number one activity, training and conference centre. With a staff of 60, Todds Leap caters for school, corporate stag/hen and family fun days. Comprising a purpose-built conference centre, restaurant, accommodation and a 100 acre adventure centre, Todds Leap plays host to 10’s of thousands of guests each year and this year looks to be the busiest ever.

The two day Ulster Rally, which takes place from 23rd – 24th August, incorporates Rally NI and the Ulster Historic Rally. It attracts world class international competitors and each year brings thousands of spectators from throughout the UK and Ireland to Northern Ireland, and contributing millions to the local economy. The event is also followed by millions of others throughout the world via TV, social media such as Facebook and Twitter and on the World Wide Web.

Lewis Boyd, Clerk of the Course of the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally, welcomed Todds Leap continued support and said:
“Todds Leap’s support for the Ulster Rally over the last few years has been invaluable. Their backing has meant we have remained sustainable and can focus on investing in and building the event and in partnership with Fermanagh District Council, we all look forward to the exciting plans we have in place for Enniskillen in August”

ULSTER RALLY SAILS INTO FERMANAGH

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:08 AM

The Northern Ireland Motor Club has confirmed that County Fermanagh will host the 37th Ulster Rally on August 23rd and 24th, with the Rally being based in and around Enniskillen town. The event will once again be sponsored by the Todds Leap activity centre in Ballygawley.

Confirming the move, Ulster Rally Clerk of the Course Lewis Boyd commented;
“It is fantastic that an event of this magnitude has, with the enthusiastic support of Fermanagh District Council, moved to the home county of the legendary Fisher family who have been, and continue to be at the forefront of international rallying. I am personally delighted that as a native of Co. Fermanagh I have the privilege of being at the forefront of this exciting move to Enniskillen.

“A number of exciting new initiatives have been introduced for this year’s Ulster Rally, including a Town Centre Ceremonial Start and Finish and an accessible Spectator Special Stage on both days of the Rally at St. Angelo Airport. I also welcome our 2013 sponsors Todds Leap Activity Centre and Fermanagh District Council and I look forward, with their help, to the safe running of this event on 23rd and 24th August.”

Fermanagh has enjoyed a prominent place in the history of the Ulster Rally, having hosted the traditional Saturday morning breakfast halt during the 1980’s and 1990’s, but this is the first time that the event has been based in and around the Fermanagh Lakelands.

Welcoming the event's arrival the Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, commented;
“Fermanagh District Council is delighted to support the 2013 Ulster Rally. County Fermanagh is internationally renowned for its motorsport heritage and we look forward to welcoming rally drivers, crews, officials and spectators from across Europe to the Fermanagh Lakelands in August. We wish everyone involved a safe and enjoyable rally."

The 2013 Ulster Rally will again host all of the premier Rally Championships from both the UK and Ireland including the British Rally Championship and the British Historic Championship as well as the Irish Tarmac and the Northern Ireland Stage Rally series.

Rally Guide 1 / Details / Website

Posted: May 22, 2013 9:22 AM

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