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North Armagh Kirkistown Stages - (Sat) 27 Feb 10

Posted: March 8, 2010 7:05 PM - 14249 Hits

Pedro Pet Food Stages Rally - Saturday 27th February 2010
Round 1 - 2010 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

  • Derek McGarrity/James McKee dominate in Kirkistown

Wright takes Kirkistown Class Win to make it Two out of Two

Posted: March 8, 2010 7:05 PM

Fiesta Sporting Trophy front runner, Stephen Wright, has maintained his winning start to the season by taking the class 1 victory in the Pedro Pet Foods North Armagh Stages Rally in Kirkistown. A 6 second margin was enough to give the Monaghan charger maximum points as well as the M-Sport Bonus Scheme voucher.

Greasy stages greeted the crews on the morning loop. Stephen partnered by Martin Connolly for the first time started cautiously, slotting into second behind Jonny Leonard on the opening stage. It was the crew’s first event on Hankook tyres, which would prove to be very successful by the days end. The second stage was just as slippery, but as the confidence in the tyres grew, so did Stephen’s pace, and he took four seconds back from Leonard on stage 2. However, Leonards challenge came to an end on stage 3 when he hit mechanical trouble, handing the lead to Wright and Connolly. The pair drove steadily for the next loop of stages, conscious of the fact that a hard charging Desi Henry was trying to chip away at their lead.

Fiesta R2 driver Barry Greer retired on stage 4 which handed the lead of the M-sport Bonus scheme to Wright and Connolly. The final two stages saw Wright hold on to the class lead.

Afterwards a delighted Wright commented;
“This is the perfect way to start the championship. I’m sure the racing will be just as intense all season so it was important to start off with a good points haul. The Hankook tyres coped brilliantly with the tricky conditions and now I can’t wait to get back out at the next round. It was a great bonus to come away with the M-sport vouchers too and I’m sure they will come in useful!”

The next outing for Wright will be in Bishopscourt on the 13th of March for the second round of the Hankook Northern Ireland series. Stephen would like to thank the Killyhevlin Hotel, Spanwright flooring and Lafarge Cement for their continued support.

Video Clips

Posted: March 2, 2010 1:37 PM

21-year-old Stuart Biggerstaff claims second overall at Kirkistown!

Posted: March 2, 2010 1:28 PM

Stuart Biggerstaff, Dromara's latest rally success story, continued to startle at last Saturday's opening round of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship.

Number two is quickly becoming the 21-year-old driver's lucky number, as he secured second overall for the second time in what was the Dromara driver's second rally!

The Pedro Pet Foods Stage Rally attracted many of Northern Ireland's leading rally talent, including a number of former champions. But Biggerstaff, along with navigator Kenny Hull, was once again unfazed by the opposition.

Just a few weeks earlier, Biggerstaff had secured second overall at the same venue on his debut stage rally. One month further down the line, the newcomer grasped another podium finish, sealing a perfect rally debut.

"It was quite slippery at the start," Biggerstaff admitted. "But it dried out after the third stage. I didn't look at the stage times all day so I didn't know where we'd finished until after the final stage."

Young Biggerstaff used the opening stage to bed himself in, and then he really got into the groove. Sixth overall after stage one, he fought his way through the order and into the top three despite some gearbox issues.

"The gearbox was playing about a bit," Biggerstaff explained. "It kept missing gears so I had to drive around the issue."

Despite those niggling gearbox problems, Biggerstaff held third overall after stage four. It looked as though he had secured another top three finish, but the final stage saw the Dromara driver go one better as he moved into second overall ahead of George Robinson.

"To be honest, only for George having his mechanical problems on the final stage, we would have been third," Biggerstaff admitted. "But to finish second again is fantastic, particularly as Saturday's rally was a round of the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship."

The Northern Ireland series features 10 events which take competitors across the country. Round two takes place on Saturday 13 March at Bishopscourt Race Circuit, near Downpatrick, where Stuart will continue his charge for Championship success.

Derek McGarrity is Kirkistown King

Posted: March 2, 2010 1:27 PM

Glengormley's Derek McGarrity, the reigning Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Champion, opened his 2010 account with victory at the opening round of this year's series.

Organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd, the Pedro Pet Foods Rally featured six stages, all held within the confines of County Down's Kirkistown Race Circuit on Saturday 27 February.

And it was McGarrity, together with navigator James McKee, who immediately made his intentions clear. Fastest time over the opening stage by an impressive 16.9 seconds left the crew's rivals trailing in their dust.

That set the scene for the day as the Glengormley driver went on to secure a full complement of fastest stage times, winning the opening Hankook N.I. Championship round by almost 90 seconds.

While McGarrity raced ahead towards the overall rally spoils, a number of crews tussled for the runner-up positions. Unfortunately for number two seeds, Gary White and Dominic Carson, their challenge failed to materialise. Wheel studs sheered on their rally car at the start-line of stage one, causing a wheel to fall off!

Instead, Gary and Keith McEvoy were the surprised early second placed holders with their older specification Mitsubishi Lancer. The crew finished the opening stage 2.1 seconds clear of George Robinson and Tommy Speers, while Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer topped the Group N category and held fourth.

The McEvoy brothers lost some time on stage two, dropping behind both Robinson and Johnston, while a sleep deprived 21-year-old Stuart Biggerstaff also moved in front. The young Dromara man, who claimed second overall on his debut stage rally at the same venue just a few weeks earlier, was second only to event leader McGarrity over stage two.

"I didn't get much sleep the night before the rally," Biggerstaff admitted. "I was up late getting the car ready for the event but that's all part of the fun!"

Second placed George Robinson was back up to speed on stage three, and he attempted to consolidate his second placed position over the ensuing tests. While young Biggerstaff moved ahead of Raymond Johnston to take third, it looked as though Robinson held a near certain second overall.

But in rallying, nothing is ever certain. Going into the final stage, Robinson was almost 24 seconds clear of Biggerstaff when mechanical problems hit the building contractor's Subaru. He limped through the final miles but Biggerstaff pounced at the last gasp, snatching second overall from Robinson by less than five seconds!

While Robinson completed a top three of Subaru drivers, fourth overall for the Mitsubishi Lancer belonging to Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer was enough to seal the Sunoco Fuels Group N spoils.

Johnston fended off a challenge from Kieron Graffin and Neil Doherty, forcing the chasing crew to settle for fifth overall and second in Group N. Meanwhile, Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont completed the top six and finished third in Group N.

Unfortunately, none of these drivers registered for the Hankook Group N prize drive, which gives an opportunity for crews to win an expenses paid drive on an Intercontinental Rally Challenge event in 2011. The highest placed registered driver was Mark Donnelly, with Martin Collins second ahead of Stephen Wright.

In the Hankook two-wheel-drive category, Drew Stewart and Steven Park clung on to the top spot after a late charge from Terry McGonigle and Damian Caldwell. Stewart sealed the win, as well as seventh overall, by less than five seconds after McGonigle set a string of top 10 stage times - including fourth fastest overall on the final stage - in his Honda Civic.

In the Montgomery Motorsport historic category, Philip Hunter and Michael Faloon sealed maximum points as well as 24th overall. They finished ahead of Andy Johnston and Philip Mills, while Harry Brown and Martin McGrath were third.

The Superdrive MSA N.I. Junior Rally Championship sees Stuart Biggerstaff take an early lead from Stephen Wright. Wright also finished the event as the leading Fiesta driver, taking the M-Sport Bonus Parts scheme prize.

Gary McEvoy heads the Autofashion.ie Group A Cup, and finally, Samantha Thom heads the Ladies Championship from Amanda Gaffney and Roisin Boyd.

Round two of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship will take competitors to Bishopscourt on 13 March. Based a few miles outside Downpatrick, the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally will feature six stages and more than 40 stage miles.

Posted: March 1, 2010 2:46 PM

Full Results and Times

Posted: February 27, 2010 6:16 PM

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 27m 32.5s
2 Stuart Biggerstaff/Kenny Hull (Subaru Impreza WRC) 28m 55.8s
3 George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Subaru Impreza WRC) 29m 00.6s
4 Raymond Johnston/Fabian McAleer (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 29m 07.0s
5 Kieron Graffin/Neil Doherty (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 GpN) 29m 16.1s
6 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 29m 21.0s
7 Drew Stewart/Steven Park (Ford Escort MK II) 29m 21.1s
8 Terry McGonigle/Damian Caldwell (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 29m 25.9s
9 Gary McEvoy/Keith McEvoy (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO) 29m 35.1s
10 Alan Burrows/Gavin Burrows (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 29m 35.4s

Leader After
SS1-6 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Stage Winners:
SS1-6 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Wright Looking to Carry Galway Form into NI Championship Opener

Posted: February 25, 2010 9:20 AM

This Sunday sees the opening round of the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship in Kirkistown, as well as the first qualifying round of the Hankook Junior Prize Drive. After winning the first round of the Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy in Galway, the young Monaghan man will be hoping to carry this form through to the NI Rally Championship opener.
Stephen will be mounting a full challenge on this year’s Hankook Junior Prize Drive, and seems very excited about the challenge ahead.
“I haven’t competed in this rally before but it seems to be a very competitor friendly format and one which I’m really looking forward too. I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel after such a great start to the season in Galway. There’s a strong fiesta entry too so it should be a good battle”.

Stephen will be encountering a number a firsts this weekend. As well as being his first time to tackle the event, he also has a new co-driver in the form of Martin Connolly. Martin is a brother of the Successful Damien Connolly, and is a regular Night Navigation partner of Stephen. It will also be Stephens first time competing on Hankook rubber, the control tyre for the Championship. Speaking last week Stephen Commented,
“Both Hankook and M-Sport have provided great incentives for Junior and Fiesta competitors and I hope I can stay in contention for the prizes. I haven’t used Hankook’s before so it may take some time to adjust but I’ve heard they’re a great tyre so I’m not worried about that.”

The event Kicks off on Saturday morning in the County Down Venue.

Kirkistown Race Circuit plays host to the opening round of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship!

Posted: February 23, 2010 3:16 PM

It's time to blow off those winter cobwebs for Northern Ireland's leading rally talent as round one of the 2010 Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship, Kirkistown's Pedro Pet Foods Stages, kicks into action this Saturday!

Organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd, the County Down venue has attracted more than 100 crews to this weekend's event. The popular season opener, which is held on a mixture of loose and sealed surfaces, will feature six stages within the confines of the Kirkistown Race Circuit.

"We're very pleased to have secured support from Alan Atcheson of Pedro Pet Foods," said Clerk of the Course, Eric McCombe. "The event would simply not be possible without his support and assistance."

Reigning champions, Derek McGarrity and James McKee, are at the top of the entry list in their S12B specification Subaru Impreza WRC. McGarrity has a busy weekend ahead, as he intends to contest the opening round of the Irish National Championship which takes place on Sunday.

Gary White and Dominic Carson start the event at number two in their Subaru Impreza, with George Robinson and Tommy Speers also in a Subaru at number three. Young Dromara driver Stuart Biggerstaff completes a quartet of Subarus at number four with Kenny Hull calling the notes.

Biggerstaff was the sensation of the New Year Stages Rally, which was held at the same venue. He finished second overall at what was his first stage rally, enjoying a dream debut behind the wheel. Biggerstaff starts ahead of the Escort WRC belonging to Dominic McNeill and Martin Carey.

In the Sunoco Fuels Group N category, Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer start the event as the top seeds. They will be joined by Mark Massey and former Northern Ireland Rally Champion, Connor McCloskey.

"I'm going to start the season in a (Mitsubishi Lancer) Evo," McCloskey said, "but I may switch to a world rally car for one or two events. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs this year thanks to Hankook so I'm really looking forward to it!"

The two-wheel-drive category has also received a strong entry which is headed by Gareth and Jonathan Nevin. They start the event at number 20, with the likes of David Armstrong, Ricky McAlonen, Terrence Teggart, Drew Stewart and Fintan McGrady all chasing the laurels.

There are a number of fantastic prizes on offer during the 2010 season. The highest placed Group N driver at the end of the year will have their entry fee, tyres and ferry costs paid to give them an opportunity to take part in a European round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

There is also a Junior Prize Drive on offer which is open to competitors who are under 26 years old. An all expenses paid drive in an overseas International event with a works specification car is up for grabs. Junior competitors will be assessed by a panel of judges who will monitor all competitors on a variety of aspects during the season.

Superdrive Motorsports Centre is also supporting the Junior category with dedicated training and cash vouchers, while Sunoco Fuels is also supporting the Group N category with a drum of fuel up for grabs after each event.

Montgomery Motorsport has again pledged support for the Historic category, while Autofashion.ie is sponsoring a new Group A cup. M-Sport, the company behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, is also supporting the series through the launch of a new bonus parts scheme.

The Pedro Pet Foods Stages will get underway at approximately 9am this Saturday 27 February. Competitors will tackle six stages before the winning is crowned as the champagne finish in Kirkistown Race Circuit. More details

Entry List and Final Instructions

Posted: February 22, 2010 11:12 PM

Available at:

Entries Received to Date

Posted: February 18, 2010 8:48 PM

Available at:

Pedro Pet Foods to sponsor Northern Ireland Rally Championship opener at Kirkistown!

Posted: February 10, 2010 10:36 PM

Pedro Pet Foods has been confirmed as title sponsor of the opening round of this year's Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship!

The Pedro Pet Foods Stages, held at County Down's Kirkistown Race Circuit, will kick-start the 10-round series with six stages based at the venue on Saturday 27 February.

Alan Atcheson, Managing Director of Pedro Pet Foods, said:
"I have great pleasure in sponsoring North Armagh Motor Club for the Kirkstown Stages. I'd like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable day's rallying at what is the opening round of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship."

Clerk of the Course, Eric McCombe, said:
"It's with great pleasure that I can welcome on board our new sponsor, Pedro Pet Foods. Thanks must go to Alan Atcheson as the event would not be possible without his financial support and assistance."

The Kirkistown event, which is organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd, is the traditional Hankook season opener. It is the first of two circuit based events, with the remainder of the season contested on closed roads and in forests.

Regulations and Entry Form

Posted: January 5, 2010 4:51 PM

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2010 12:01 AM

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