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Bishopscourt Stages - (Sat) 13 Mar 10

Posted: March 26, 2010 12:53 PM - 11658 Hits

McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages 2010
Round 2 - 2010 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

  • Derek McGarrity/James McKee win again!

Photo: Neillpics.co.uk

Video Clips

Posted: March 26, 2010 10:36 AM

Drive Shaft Failure Puts End to Wrights Winning Run

Posted: March 26, 2010 10:27 AM

Stephen Wright’s winning start to the season came to an unfortunate end in Bishopscourt last weekend when driveshaft failure dropped the Monaghan charger time that would be irretrievable.
Stephen had sister, Susanne calling the notes for the first time this season in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Spanwright Flooring and Lafarge Cement backed fiesta. The pair had a mixed run over the first stage. Cold tyres caught them out early on, but by the second lap, the Hankooks started to perform perfectly and left the crew happy with their time. However disaster struck on the second lap of stage two and a driveshaft failure dropped them well away from the leading pack.

The brother and sister team pushed hard on stage three with the DGM team having repaired the driveshaft. Second fastest stage time meant that they were poised to pounce should the leaders falter. Another second fastest time on stage 4 followed by a solid time on stage 5 lifted the crew up to 3rd in the class standings. A final push on the last stage consolidated 3rd in class and left Stephen and Susanne lying 39th overall.

After the event Stephen commented; “
It's great to get another solid score on the board. It's a pity about the driveshaft failure but I had a really enjoyable day. The rain stayed away and in the extremely abrasive conditions, the Hankooks performed brilliantly. I'm looking forward to getting back out in the circuit but unfortunately as I'm contesting the Fiesta Sport Trophy I won't be able to score NI Championship points."

McGarrity takes two on the trot at McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages!

Posted: March 26, 2010 10:16 AM

Derek McGarrity and James McKee claimed another emphatic victory on Saturday at the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally, round two of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship!

The Glengormley rally car and helicopter dealer dominated at Bishopscourt Race Circuit, setting a full complement of fastest stage times to win the rally by more than one minute in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B.

The venue, which is situated a few miles outside Downpatrick, attracted almost 100 crews to the former airfield. But it was reigning Hankook champion McGarrity who dominated once again, sealing a second consecutive Northern Ireland Rally Championship victory.

McGarrity and McKee were in a league of their own throughout the event, leaving George Robinson and Stuart Biggerstaff to again tussle for the runner-up position.

Robinson, a Ballymena building contractor, was determined to make up for his round one disappointment. He had looked set to seal second overall at the opening event of the season until he was forced to complete the final stage in two-wheel-drive. 21-year-old Biggerstaff capitalised on that occasion, nipping in front at the last gasp.

On Saturday, it was Robinson who held second overall after stage one but Biggerstaff was just a few tenths of a second in arrears. The second test saw Biggerstaff move in front, and he extended his advantage on the following test.

Robinson was forced to up his game, and the fourth stage saw him snatch almost two seconds back. With two stages remaining, little more than two seconds separated the two pilots. It was all to play for but a small mistake by Biggerstaff through stage five handed his rival some breathing space.

"It was the first time the track was run in reverse," Biggerstaff recalled. "At the square right after the big jump, I ran wide, caught the grass and spun. After that, I concentrated on having a clean run to get the car to the finish."

The 21-year-old pilot lost 18 seconds with the incident, forcing him to settle for third overall. A clear run through the final test saw Robinson and navigator Tommy Speers claim the runner-up spot, while third placed Biggerstaff sealed third, as well as the top Superdrive and Hankook Junior positions.

Gary White and Dominic Carson also put their Kirkistown demons behind them. The crew failed to complete a stage at round one after a wheel fell off their Impreza. They enjoyed better luck at the McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages, with fourth overall a deserving result, as well as maximum points in the AutoFashion.ie Group A Cup.

In the Sunoco Fuels Group N category, Kieron Graffin and Neil Doherty claimed the top spot aboard their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. The crew also finished fifth overall in the process, with rivals Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont taking second in class and sixth overall.

The Hankook two-wheel-drive category victory was sealed by Drew Stewart and Steven Park. They claimed the win by less than three seconds after a late charge from James and Heather Kennedy. Gary Price and Matthew McKenna were third among the two-wheel-drive crews.

Philip Hunter and Tommy O'Connell claimed a narrow Montgomery Motorsport Historic category victory after a huge tussle with Andy Johnson and Jim Young. It was Johnson who headed the category going into the final stage, but in a last gasp effort, Hunter moved in front to take the win by little more than one second.

Meanwhile, in the historic class 10, Brian Carson and Lloyd Cochrane were the sole entrants, so there were no surprises when they claimed the award.

Finally, Jonny Leonard and Jackie Donaldson claimed the M-Sport Bonus Parts Scheme prize as the leading Fiesta crew. They also won class one and finished just outside the top 30 overall.

With two circuit based events now completed, the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship now turns to the first closed road event of the year. The UTV Drive Circuit of Ireland National Rally, which takes place over 03/04 April, marks the third round of the Championship. More details can be found online at www.nirally.com.

McGarrity the Bishopscourt Master Once Again!

Posted: March 26, 2010 9:34 AM

The McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages Rally, round two of the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship was won in convincing fashion by Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity on Saturday. With a margin of 1 minute 14 seconds after the 6 special stages, over second placed George Robinson, it was a convincing victory for Derek and co-driver James McKee in their S12 Subaru. Derek having won the event and the Summer Stages at Bishopscourt last year did not disappoint. Another great drive came from third placed Stuart Biggerstaff, the 21 year old in the S9 Subrau impressing yet again with third place, whilst Gary White took a fine fourth in his older 555 Subaru.

Cool but dry conditions greeted the crews for the Ballynahinch and District Motor Club event, which ran like clockwork. Clerk of the course Paul Conlon was delighted with the day. “I think the event ran well, and the competitors enjoyed the stages. A couple of new sections proved popular with the competitors, and we also resurfaced the jump, which seemed to encourage even more air! It was a good day and thanks to all the marshals involved.” The battles on the stages were intense amongst the 94 starters, and the Group N Production battle was one of the closest fought, with Kieron Graffin taking the spoils, ahead of Alan Carmichael, Raymond Johnston and surprise newcomer Graham Ballantine, all in Evo 9 Mitsubishi’s. Just behind them Drew Stewart took the honours in the two wheel drive race and class 7 by just 2.9 seconds ahead of James Kennedy, James having been up late the night before fitting a new engine to his MK2 Escort. Event sponsor Fintan McGrady, was a fine 14th overall, with young Jonny Greer sampling the co-driver’s seat of the MK2 Escort.

Other class winners included, Jonny Leonard- Fiesta, class 1, Gareth Sayers- Nova, class 3, Brian Quigley- Peugeot 205, class 4, Andrew Wilson- Toyota Starlet, class 5, Oran Donnelly- Ford Escort, class 6, and John Waring- Ford Escort, class 8. In the Historic class Phillip Hunter in his sideways MK2 BDA Escort edged out Andy Johnson’s rare HSR Chevette by just 1.3 seconds in what was a closely fought day.

Full Results

Posted: March 26, 2010 9:18 AM

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 37m11.9s
2 George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Subaru Impreza WRC) 38m26.0s
3 Stuart Biggerstaff/Damien McCann (Subaru Impreza WRC) 38m43.7s
4 Gary White/Dominic Carson (Subaru Impreza) 39m22.7s
5 Kieron Graffin/Neil Doherty (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) 39m29.2s
6 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) 39m42.8s
7 Raymond Johnston/Fabian McAleer (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) 39m50.1s
8 Graham Ballantine/Donnacha O'Callaghan (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) 39m51.9s
9 Drew Stewart/Steven Park (Ford Escort Mk2) 39m56.1s
10 James Kennedy/eather Kennedy (Ford Escort Mk2) 39m59.0s

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

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

Posted: March 12, 2010 12:21 PM

Clerk of the Course Paul Conlon (left) receives the sponsorship cheque from Fintan McGrady

Superb Entry for 2010 McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages

Posted: March 8, 2010 9:04 PM

This Saturday 13th March 2010 the McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages Rally, round two of the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship takes place. Despite the current economic climate, an extensive entry has been received for the event, run by the Ballynahinch and District Motor Club.

The entry is lead by last year’s winner, reigning Northern Ireland Champion, Derek McGarrity who recorded a win on the first round of this year’s Hankook series at Kirkistown. At number two, former NI Champion George Robinson is fresh from a third place finish at Kirkistown and he like Derek McGarrity will be Subaru mounted, albeit an older P2000 model. At 3, Belfast garage owner Gary White in his 555 Subaru is hoping for better luck than Kirkistown when the car sheared its wheel studs on the start line of the first stage! 21 year old Stuart Biggerstaff is at number 4, in an S9 Impreza, the rally rookie fresh from a fantastic second place finish at Kirkistown. Raymond Johnston leads the Group N chargers in his Mitsubishi Evo 9, Raymond the Group N winner at Kirkistown, and rally car trader Kieron Graffin is next up having finished a close second to Raymond at Kirkistown. John McGlaughlin and Alan Carmichael are in similar Evo 9’s at 7 and 8, whilst top two wheel drive seed is Drew Stewart, fresh from finishing 6th overall at Kirkistown in his MK2 Escort. On his tail is event sponsor Fintan McGrady in his 2 litre MK2 Escort. Fintan had a great run on this event last year.

Champion Derek McGarrity eyes up McGrady Insurance Stages hat-trick!

Posted: March 8, 2010 8:58 PM

Round two of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship brings competitors to Bishopscourt Race Circuit this weekend for the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally!

The event has attracted almost 100 crews to the venue, which is based a few miles outside Downpatrick. And topping the entry is round one winner and reigning champion, Derek McGarrity.

The Glengormley car and helicopter dealer will wheel out his S12B specification Subaru Impreza World Rally Car in a bid to maintain his winning streak at Bishopscourt. McGarrity has won the McGrady Insurance sponsored event for the last two years running, so another success in 2010 will complete a hat-trick of victories.

Number two seeds, George Robinson and Tommy Speers, will be aiming to stop the champion in his tracks. Robinson was on course for finishing second overall at the season's opening event until he was forced to complete the final miles in two-wheel-drive.

The incident dropped Robinson to third but at least he completed the rally, unlike number three seeds for this weekend, Gary White and Dominic Carson. The crew retired from round one after they lost a wheel when their Impreza sheared wheel studs at the start of stage one.

Stuart Biggerstaff is hoping to continue his run of great form at this Saturday's event. The 21-year-old has made a scintillating start to his stage rally career, having finished second overall on each of his debut events. Biggerstaff, who will be navigated by Damian McCann, is hopeful of securing another solid points finish in what will be his third stage rally.

Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer will start the McGrady Insurance Stages at number five in their Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. The crew are the leading Sunoco Fuels Group N entrants, and they will face stiff opposition from Kieron Graffin, John McGlaughlin and Alan Carmichael.

Drew Stewart, who dominated the two-wheel-drive category at round one, will start Bishopscourt with number nine on his door. Piloting his Mark 2 Escort, he will be aiming for another category victory, although event sponsor, Fintan McGrady, will have other ideas!

This Saturday's rally will also play host to a number of titanic battles throughout the field. The Montgomery Motorsport Historic category, Superdrive Junior category and Autofashion.ie Group A Cup have all received entries from a number of leading competitors.

The action kicks off on Saturday morning at approximately 9am. Competitors will face six stages, all based within the confines of Bishopscourt Race Circuit.

Seeded Entry List available

Posted: March 8, 2010 8:57 PM

Entries to Date:

Posted: February 22, 2010 11:11 PM

McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages Gears Up for March Spectacular

Posted: February 15, 2010 2:44 PM

Saturday 13th March 2010 is the date for this year’s McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages Rally, round two of the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship. Six special stages over 40 miles will be laid out around the confines of the Bishopscourt venue, by the enthusiastic members of the Ballynahinch and District Motor Club. Using areas of the tarmac racing circuit, the concrete infield section and even the famous jump, it provides an exciting days sport for the competitor.

Once again Fintan McGrady of McGrady Insurance has stepped in to sponsor the event, and Fintan will compete for top two wheel drive honours in his immaculate 2 litre MK2 Escort.
“It’s our fourth year being involved with the event, and the motor club do a great job of staging the rally. It’s a fantastic day out, especially for spectators, as they can see so much of the action from one vantage point. As a local company based in Downpatrick, McGrady Insurance sees the rally as an important event for the area.” Fintan is certainly looking forward to the rally, having finished 15th overall and 2nd in class on last year’s event. “The main thing is to enjoy the event, and there is always plenty of driving in Bishopscourt so it will be enjoyable for sure. I’d also like to wish new Clerk of the Course Paul Conlon, the best of luck with the event.”

Indeed the new Clerk of the Course is Paul Conlon, who successfully ran the Bishopscourt Summer Stages last year, and he is very much looking forward to the new challenge. “We are working away at the moment finalising everything. I don’t expect it to be too much different than the rally last July, but there is no doubt there is a bit more pressure with it being an NI Championship round. There a few wee changes to the layout this year, but I hope for safe and successful days motorsport, enjoyed by competitors and spectators alike.” So far 15 entries have already been received including that of reigning Northern Ireland Champion Derek McGarrity, who dominated last year’s Bishopscourt event. For more information on the event and to download a copy of the official regulations log on to

Regulations / Details

Posted: January 1, 2010 12:01 AM

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