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Bishopscourt Stages - (Sat) 15 Mar 14

Posted: May 24, 2014 8:11 PM - 7144 Hits

Round 1 - 2014 Northern Ireland Rally Championship
Round 2 - 2014 NI Junior Championship

Photo: Wayne Turkington

Epic Rally Experience at Bishopscourt for Cool FM’s Gareth Stewart!

Posted: May 24, 2014 8:11 PM

Cool FM breakfast show host, Gareth Stewart experienced the thrill of rallying on round one of the 2014 McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship at Bishopscourt on Saturday. The Bangor based radio host had an exciting day out, which included two runs in Group B rally cars on the Ballynahinch and District Motor Club organised event.

Indeed Gareth was strapped into the passenger seat of a 500 horse power Audi Quattro sweeper car for his first ever rally stage, and then the awesome Group B Peugeot 205 T16, for his second run, thanks to the Tannahill family. The Group B supercars where used at the height of World Rallying from 1982-1986, before they were outlawed for being too powerful.

Before those outings Clerk of the Course Paul Conlon took Gareth around the course to show them the workings of the stage then competitor Gerry Faloona was their guide around the paddock on the day, with Deputy Clerk of the Course Lissa McCully also assisting.

Gareth said:
"I had an amazing day at the first round of the 2014 NI Rally Championship on Saturday at Bishopscourt – my first hands-on experience of the sport.  The team from Ballynahinch & District Motor Club were fantastic hosts, giving me an exclusive behind the scenes look at how a rally is organised and what’s required of the drivers and cars before they take to the stages.  I also got a crash course in co-driving and a brief introduction to understanding pace notes, before I was let loose in the passenger seat for real!

  “I was lucky enough to get a couple of runs out around the stages in the awesome Group B supercars!  The drivers are utterly fearless and the adrenalin rush you get from taking part is unbelievable – I can totally understand why the participants love the sport so much.  I can’t wait to get involved in the next round at the Circuit of Ireland next month.”

Gareth plans to attend each round, with regular chat on his shows, and we will keep track of how this rallying novice progresses during the season. Set up by Northern Ireland Championship press officer Andrew Bushe future rally features will be revealed throughout the season. “I would like to thank the BADMC officials who made Gareth’s first rally experience a memorable one. We are working on plans for the Circuit of Ireland and something else in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!”


Posted: May 24, 2014 8:09 PM

Bishopscourt Win for William in Junior 1000 Rally Challenge!

Posted: May 24, 2014 8:07 PM

The second round of the 2014 McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, took place on the Bishopscourt Stages Rally. Run by the Ballynahinch Motor Club, six Junior crews tackled the same fourteen special stages that the main field ran, with all six once again finishing with-out major dramas. The 14-17 year olds in their 1000cc machines once again proved their skill over this demanding event.

Leading the field away was round one winner William Creighton. The 16 year old took an early lead that was never to lose, taking thirteen out of the fourteen stage wins in his Citroen C1, in a day were he had no problems to report. “I really enjoyed the day. It was a good rally, a lot of miles and plenty of driving in the stages” commented William.
William’s big rival from the first round at Kirkistown was Michael McGarrity in a similar C1. The 15 year old Belfast driver had an up and down day, to eventually claim a hard fought second place. “We started ok” explained Michael. “However we had two over-shoots on different stages, just braking too late, and it wasn’t flowing as well as it could have been.” A charging Philip White in is Micra had nipped ahead of Michael, and the 15 year old Crumlin driver was having a good run, no doubt aided by having Micra rally driver Matthew Mason in the co-driver’s seat for the first time. They would take an excellent third place and first of the Nissan runners home.

Moira’s James Partridge started off strongly in the Peugeot 107, joint third fastest on the first stage, and second fastest on stage two. On stage three he dropped a few seconds, but was having a good battle with Eoghan Bogue, until a front wheel puncture cost him over twenty seconds on stage eight, and he had to settle for fifth. Newry’s Eoghan Bogue was on his second event in his left hand drive Micra. After a small gear change problem on the first test, he had a clean run to finish a fine fourth.

Contesting her first rally was 15 year Alex Harper in her Superdrive Micra. The Hillsborough girl had an excellent debut making no mistakes, and was surprisingly close to the rest of the field, who all have at least a season’s Junior rallying behind them. MSA coaches James Wozencroft and Adam Gould were on hand to watch the Junior’s and were impressed with what they saw. “Fundamentally they all had a good technique, and made very few mistakes “commented Adam. “The drivers are keen to learn and interacted very well with us, and hopefully they can learn a little more from our coaching session at Superdrive.”

To keep up to date please check out our new Facebook page-Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Junior-1000-Rally-Challenge-Ireland/588151257878544

McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge- Rnd 2 Positions
1 William Creighton/Liam Regan Citroen C1 48m08.6s
2 Michael McGarrity/ Stephen Massey Citroen C1 +54.0s
3 Philip White/ Matthew Mason Nissan Micra +1m 11.9s
4 Eoghan Bogue/Aidan O’Connor Nissan Micra +1m 42.3s
5 James Partridge/Billy Regan Peugeot 107 +2m06.3s
6 Alex Harper/Andrew Bushe Nissan Micra +3m42.8s

McGarrity Takes Mighty Win in Mini at Bishopscourt!

Posted: May 24, 2014 7:58 PM

Round one of the 2014 McGrady Insurance MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship took place today at Bishopscourt with a superb entry, and last year’s Northern Ireland Rally Champion, Derek McGarrity took victory in his newly acquired Mini WRC. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Belfast driver, as on stage one the red Mini spluttered around the test. “The car had over-heated on the line and went into safe mode” commented Derek “It wasn’t such a good start, but it got better. I really enjoyed the stages, and indeed the car. The braking and chassis were superb, and I love to drive anything around here anyway, it’s a great venue.”

Luck was in for the Belfast driver, as the times for stage one were cancelled after a timing error, and it was fortune also for fellow Mini WRC driver Derek McGeehan who had a problem at the stage split junction. A pattern began to emerge on stage two with McGarrity stealing over five seconds on second placed Kevin Barrett in his S14 Subaru. Kevin was to have one of his best runs on a Northern Ireland Championship rally, and would hold onto second place throughout the fourteen stages with co-driver Lesley McGaffin on the pace-notes. Ballymoney’s Alan Carmichael took an early third in another Mini WRC, but his team-mate Derek McGeehan would over-take him during the day to finish fourth. Portglenone’s Desi Henry in his S9 Subaru WRC soon moved into third place, despite a dodgy third gear. “It wasn’t engaging properly going from 2nd to 3rd, so we had to be careful with that change today and make sure to use the clutch” said Desi. Despite those delays Desi would claim third at the finish, with his co-driver Liam Moynihan making the trip up from Cork for the day.

There was a great race for fifth decided by just one second between Alan Carmichael and Emma McKinstry. Despite a big charge from the Banbridge lass in her S14 Subaru, it was decided in favour of the Mini man Carmichael. In sixth was Martin Cairns in the third S14 Impreza WRC, just seven seconds ahead of former NI Rally Champion George Robinson in his Group A Mitsubishi. Ninth overall and winner of the Carryduff Forklift two wheel drive award for the day was Bushmills farmer Alastair Cochrane in his MK2 Escort. English visitor Ray Brammer completed the top ten in his Subaru S8 WRC, ahead of Group N winner Pat O’Connell from Tipperary in his Mitsubishi Evo 9. Just behind Pat was a fine drive by seventeen year old Kyle White in his Citroen C2 R2 Max. Last year’s Junior 1000 Rally Challenge runner up was second two wheel drive finisher and first in the 1600cc class.

For Derek McGarrity however it was a superb start to his Northern Ireland Championship campaign, with the next round on the closed roads of the Circuit of Ireland at Easter. “I’m looking forward the Circuit and I think we can develop this car more before that event, so I am really quite excited about that. The NI Championship too will be interesting with all the tarmac this season and for sure today was a good start” commented Derek.

Posted: May 24, 2014 6:27 PM

Bishopscourt is Go!

Posted: March 13, 2014 11:36 AM

Ballynahinch and District Motor Club are delighted to announce they will once again be bringing the action packed McGrady Insurance Stages Rally to Bishopscourt Racing Circuit, Downpatrick on Saturday 15th March 2014.

Fintan McGrady, managing director of McGrady Insurance, and well known competitor told us;
"McGrady Insurance is pleased to continue its long association with Ballynahinch Motor Club and its members.It is also particularly good that we can support this centre of excellence at Bishopscourt which in turn draws people from all over Ireland to our locality.
St Patricks week in Downpatrick is a time of celebration in honour of our Patron Saint and the rally is part of that festival.
I look forward to a good days racing and urge local families to call to view the best of Irish Motorsport on their doorsteps"

The event which will run as the first round of the MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship and second round of the Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, will see crews tackle 14 competitive stages, all within the Bishopscourt Circuit.

The Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, aimed at 14 to 17 year olds is now in its third year, and gives the next generation of motorsport talent the opportunity to gain vital experience whilst competing along side some of the countries top drivers.

Runner-up in the junior series in both 2012 and 2013 is 17 year old Kyle White, who will this year compete in the main 'adult' rally. Kyle who turned heads last month when he steered his left hand drive, Citroen C2R2 max to a creditable 12th overall on his debut in the car, said;

"I'm not expecting to get things easy as this is a whole new level, but I was encouraged with our pace at the New Year Stages Rally and hope to build on that. I'm really looking forward to the McGrady Insurance Stages at Bishopscourt, wet and slippery would really suit me so I can mix it with much more powerful cars. I'm hungry for a good finish this year after a mechanical failure caused us not to finish in last years Junior 1000 Rally."

The action kicks off just after 10am, so put the date in your diary and join us to see how Fintan and Kyle get on.

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Posted: March 10, 2014 12:27 PM

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Junior’s Prepare for Bishopscourt as First Female Driver Joins The Series!

Posted: March 10, 2014 12:26 PM

The second round of the 2014 McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, takes place on Saturday at Bishopscourt, were the junior drivers, aged 14-17 will line up in their 1000cc rally machines.

Exciting news for this weekend will be the addition of the first female driver in the series. 15 year old Alex Harper, from Hillsborough, Co.Down will be contesting her first rally in her Superdrive Motorsports Centre Nissan Micra. Alex has been successful in Quad Racing in recent seasons, but this is her first year behind the wheel of a car, so she plans to take these first events to learn the rally game.

Having learnt a lot in an excellent first season last year, 16 year old William Creighton will start Saturday’s event as favourite. With a round one win at Kirkistown, and having secured his first Junior victory at this event last year, he will be hard to beat in his Citroen C1. On round one however a rejuvenated Michael McGarrity put up a good challenge, in his newly built C1, and at one point led the event. The 15 year old, will no doubt be taking some advice from his father Derek, a multiple winner of the Bishopscourt event. 16 year old Eoghan Bogue from Newry finished a fine third on round one, as he adapted well to his left hand drive Micra and has carried out more testing in the lead up to Bishopscourt, with the car also sporting a new livery.

16 year old James Partridge from Moira will be contesting his second event in his newly acquired Peugeot 107. A minor spin on the first round stymied his challenge a little, but he could be one to watch on this second round. Another to watch is Crumlin’s Philip White in his Micra. The 15 year old impressed on his debut season in 2013, and set some fast times on the opening round this year. However a stage one spin cost any chance of a top result, but he will be aiming for a good finish on Saturday.

Indeed it will be a busy weekend for the Junior’s as the following day they will be attending a training day at Superdrive, where former Pirelli Star Driver- Adam Gould and former Suzuki GB driver- James Wozencroft will be providing a seminar covering fitness, diet, funding and driving techniques. The MSA coaches will also be at Bishopscourt to observe the Junior’s and provide advice on the day.

This series, now in its third year provides a superb, recognised stepping stone for future rally stars to learn their skills, and is also supported by rally classified ads website www.rallysales.eu

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Posted: March 7, 2014 3:41 PM

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Posted: February 4, 2014 12:22 PM

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