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Kirkistown Stages - (Sat) 18 Feb 12

Posted: February 21, 2012 5:26 PM - 11283 Hits

Magic Bullet Stages
Round 1 - 2012 Northern Ireland Rally Championship
Round 1 - 2012 Junior 1000 Rally Challenge (Northern) Ireland

Photo: Graham Curry

Ben Crealey becomes inagural Irish junior series winner

Posted: February 21, 2012 5:16 PM

14-year old Ben Crealey made history on Saturday, when he became the first ever winner of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland in round one of this brand new series for 14 – 16 year olds - the Magic Bullet Stages - which took place at Kirkistown Racing Circuit. Kyle White and Rhys Bunting finished second and third respectively, with all seven of the youngsters successfully completing their first ever stage rally.

Even before the action began, at the pre-start drivers briefing series organisers announced that the end-of-season winner would will given a tour of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team premises and have the chance to ride in one of the team’s Fiesta WRC cars alongside either Jari-Matti Latvala or Petter Solberg. As none of the youngsters were previously aware of this, the smiles on their faces confirmed that this news went down well and that it is a prize worth winning.

The Junior section of the event comprised four of the main event’s six stages and, following a storm earlier that morning, the surface of the track and the surrounding asphalt roads were drying quickly in the strong wind. First off the line was Adam Bustard and his co-driver Jason Harron in their Chevrolet Spark.

But as soon as they started knew something wasn’t right and, following a frantic night’s work changing their car’s engine, the throttle cable had come loose. Although frustrated to have lost time, they were pleased to still have been fourth fastest through the stage.

Fastest out of the blocks was Crealey. In his Nissan Micra he and co-driver Liam Regan set a time that was an impressive 21.6 seconds ahead of their closets rivals.

White and Alan Purdy in their Peugeot 107 were second fastest – a great effort considering the OK board had fallen from its location on the roof and caused White to be distracted for a few seconds. This made it close, as they were only 1.3 seconds ahead of third-placed Bunting in his Citroen C1, who had Andy Bushe next to him calling the corners - and in a loud voice when the intercom failed during SS1.

With Bustard/Harron fourth, Connor Woods and Niall McGrath were fifth, but all was not well with their Nissan Micra and, although their crew tried to improve things, the 14-year old from Derrygonnelly would have to save his best for the next round. In sixth and seventh after the first stage was Eoghan Bogue/Andrew Richie and James Partridge/Phil Cherry – both in Nissan Micras – and both admitting to be taking things cautiously to begin with.

As it turned-out, the performances on the first stage set the scene for the rest of the day and Crealey went on to win the next two stages, albeit by a much-reduced margin. But on the fourth stage it was White who set the pace and stopped the clocks 7.3 seconds ahead of anyone else.

However, Crealey had done enough to take a well-deserved victory and, after a calculated drive through the final stage with no mistakes, he and Regan booked into the last control 33.2 seconds ahead of White, with Bunting third a further 20.9 seconds back. Bustard had done well to overcome the irregular delivery of power throughout the day to finish fourth, whilst one of the most impressive performances came from Bogue, who had never driven a car until a few weeks ago until he became involved with the Junior 1000 series and was therefore pleased to finish fifth.

Woods was frustrated that, due to his car issues, he could not show his true potential and ended his day in sixth, whilst Partridge was pleased to have made it to the finish after clipping a few tyres and straw bales – as did most of the drivers at some point during the day.

At the finish an absolutely delighted Ben Crealey said:
“I can’t believe I’ve just won. I’ll be on cloud nine for weeks now. I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the next round.”

Co-driver Liam Regan said:
“Ben drove brilliantly all day and never put a wheel wrong. He certainly deserves his victory.”

The second round of the series takes place at Bishopscourt on 17th March and, as it’s St Patrick’s day, whoever wins on this occasion is likely to be celebrating more than ever – but only with soft drinks of course!

The 2012 McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland is supported by Yokohama tyres and SuperDrive Motorsports Centre

McGarrity/McKee Win Carryduff Forklift N.I. Rally Series Opener!

Posted: February 21, 2012 5:07 PM

Derek McGarrity and navigator James McKee claimed victory at the opening round of the 2012 Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship on Saturday.

The Glengormley rally car and helicopter dealer was in dominating form at the Magic Bullet Stages Rally, held at County Down's Kirkistown Race Circuit.

Driving his Subaru Impreza WRC S14, McGarrity led the event from start to finish, eventually claiming the win by 38.3 seconds from Kevin Barrett and Declan Tumilty.

The event winner was on the top of his game from the start. While others struggled in the early morning slippery conditions, McGarrity emerged from stage one with an impressive 15.4 second lead.

Those in trouble included reigning N.I. champion, Kenny McKinstry. The Banbridge pilot spun and stalled his Subaru during the opening test, losing a mammoth 50 seconds.

Former champion Connor McCloskey was another in trouble after a wrong tyre choice left him slipping and sliding around the track. Both McKinstry and McCloskey found themselves outside the top 30, and their hopes of challenging for victory were ruined.

Event leader McGarrity already had a healthy cushion between himself and his rivals, but he continued to set the pace throughout the day. He went on to set fastest times on all but one stage, leaving him with another Kirkistown victory under his belt.

Kevin Barrett and Declan Tumilty were the image of consistency throughout the event. They held second overall from start to finish, gradually increased the gap between themselves and the remainder of the pack as the day progressed.

In the tussle for third, Ray Brammer and Derek McGeehan locked horns. McGeehan took first blood, moving his Mini WRC into the top three after stage one. But Brammer fought back, and two stages later, it was the Impreza WRC pilot that occupied third overall.

McGeehan and navigator Laurie Smyth were to have the last word though. They picked up their pace through the final two tests to retake the position and claim third overall. Brammer and navigator Jody Wilson finished less than five seconds adrift in fourth.

Reigning champion Kenny McKinstry, who had Martin Cairns calling the notes, enjoyed a superb recovery drive after his stage one problems to take fifth overall. But unfortunately for former champion Connor McCloskey, car troubles forced him out of the rally after stage four.

In the battle among the production category crews, Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy secured the award from Neil and Tanya McCance, while top two-wheel-drive honours were sealed by Drew Stewart and David White. They finished 25 seconds ahead of Simon Woodside and Steven Dowds.

Junior 1000
The event also hosted the opening round of the inaugural McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. The series is open to 14-16 year old drivers in 1000cc cars, and there were seven young hopefuls at Kirkistown.

They each contested four stages during the day, and it was one of the youngest drivers entered that went on to win the event. 14-year-old Portadown teenager Ben Crealey, with Liam Regan navigating, secured the win by more than half a minute from Kyle White and Alan Purdy, with Rhys Bunting and Andrew Bushe third.


Posted: February 21, 2012 5:05 PM


Posted: February 21, 2012 4:54 PM

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 25m13.4
2 Kevin Barrett/Declan Tumilty (Subaru Impreza WRC) +38.3s
3 Derek McGeehan/Laurie Smyth (MINI John Cooper Works WRC) +1m02.6s
4 Ray Brammer/Jody Wilson (Subaru Impreza WRC) +1m07.2s
5 Kenny McKinstry/Martin Cairns (Subaru Impreza WRC) +1m11.7s
6 James Gillen/Ken Sproule (Subaru Impreza WRC) +1m18.9s
7 John McGaffin/Lesley McGaffin (Subaru Impreza WRC) +1m20.3s
8 Drew Stewart/David White (Ford Escort MkII) +1m48.0s
9 Kieron Graffin/Mark Massey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) +1m50.0s
10 Trevor Ferguson/David McElroy (Subaru Impreza N11) +2m00.3s

1 Ben Crealey/Liam Regan (Nissan Micra) 22m15.6s
2 Kyle White/Alan Purdy (Peugeot 107) +33.2s
3 Rhys Bunting/Andrew Bushe (Citroen C1) +54.1s
4 Adam Bustard/Jason Hanon (Chevrolet Spark) +56.2s
5 Eoghan Bogue/Andrew Ritchie (Nissan Micra) +1m01.6s
6 Connor Woods/Niall McGrath (Nissan Micra) +1m29.6s
7 James Partridge/Phil Cherry (Nissan Micra) +3m21.8s

Junior Rallying in Ireland gets set to enter a new era

Posted: February 17, 2012 3:31 PM

A new era of rallying in Ireland is about to start. This weekend at Kirkistown Circuit in County Down seven youngsters will make history when they become the first competitors to take part in a brand new six-round series for 14, 5 and 16-year olds: the Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. Organisers are also delighted to announce that the series has recently secured title sponsorship for its inaugural season from McGrady Insurance.

This new initiative to encourage and develop young driving talent is the first ever properly structured series to have been organised in Ireland and already, it has attracted a great deal of interest and attention. Based on the proven and highly successful format of the Junior 1000 Rally Championship currently running in England, Scotland and Wales, the all-Ireland series will follow the same technical regulations and feature cars of no more than 1000cc that are modified for safety and not performance.

To get to this point, the seven youngsters have each had to go through a training and assessment programme, which has included classroom briefings, driving tuition and three Autotests, in order to gain their junior competition licences. This schedule of preparation has now reached its final phase, with a test held at SuperDrive on Saturday and another at Kirkistown itself on Wednesday, when drivers had the chance to shake-down their cars before the big day.

“This weekend sees the conclusion of weeks of hard work and the start of something that many of us in the sport feel passionately about - and that’s to give the youngsters an opportunity to compete in a managed environment in order to develop their skills and talent”, said series founder and owner of SuperDrive Motorsports Centre Brendan Crealey. “All of the lads have done extremely well so far and we are very excited – as they are too - about seeing them compete in a rally car for the very first time. It’s a big moment for them and for everyone involved.”

The first round of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland takes place on Saturday as part of the Magic Bullet Stages Rally organised by the NAMC, with the Junior element comprising four timed special stages running in between the six stages of the main event. All of the competitive sections will be held on the Kirkistown Racing Circuit, part of the kart track and some of the surrounding perimeter and access roads.

The 2012 McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge is supported by Yokohama tyres and SuperDrive Motorsports Centre.


Posted: February 16, 2012 12:36 PM

The Northern Ireland Rally Championship kicks off this weekend, and over the winter months has undergone a number of changes.
The biggest change is the announcement of a new Championship sponsor, Carryduff Forklift. A three year deal has been agreed which will see the Company owned by rallying stalwart David Greer headlining the series for the first time. Carryduff Forklift is a long established business, specialising in materials handling solutions, sales & service.

Another new element to this year’s Championship is the introduction of the Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland for drivers aged 14 to 17 years, this series takes place across seven events during the year. This new Junior Challenge is being sponsored by regular rally competitor Fintan McGrady, through his company McGrady Insurance. The Downpatrick based Company is one of Northern Ireland’s leading insurance services providers, and Managing Director Fintan is planning to contest this year’s Carryduff Forklift Championship.

The first round of both the Carryduff Forklift NI Championship and the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Challenge takes place this Saturday with the Magic Bullet Stages Rally at Kirkistown Race Circuit and boasts an entry of over 80 cars, the top seed being current Northern Ireland Champion Kenny McKinstry, followed by former Champions Derek McGarrity and Connor McCloskey, all in Subaru World Rally Cars.

Looking further ahead, there are a number of changes to the events which make up the 10 Round Series in 2012, the Glens of Antrim Rally is no longer on the schedule as it didn’t run for the past two years, and a new event in this year’s Championship is the Ulster Rally. The Down Rally which normally runs on loose forest roads will this year be an all-tarmac closed road event, and switches from its usual October date to 7th of July.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: February 14, 2012 10:05 AM

Final Instructions available at:

McKinstry Heads Kirkistown Rally Spectacular!

Posted: February 13, 2012 3:25 PM

Next weekend's Magic Bullet Stages Rally, held at Kirkistown Race Circuit, hosts the opening round of the 2012 DGM/Carryduff Forklift Northern Ireland Rally Championship.

More than 75 entries have been received for the North Armagh Motor Club Ltd rally spectacular, which will take place within the confines of the County Down venue on Saturday 18 February.

Reigning N.I. champion Kenny McKinstry heads the entry list in his Impreza WRC. The Banbridge rally ace was pronounced winner of the 2011 event after it was sadly cut short when fellow competitor, Cyril Doherty, took ill and later passed away.

Organisers intend to observe one minute's silence in memory of Cyril before the action gets underway on Saturday.

Seeded first, McKinstry will have number one on his doors but will have a tough job on his hands to stay in that position. As the event sponsor suggests, he will need to leave the start line like a "magic bullet" if he is to claim another victory!

Stiff competition will be provided by New Year Stages winner Derek McGarrity, who has entered with his S14 Impreza WRC, as well as Kevin Barrett and John McGaffin, also in Impreza World Rally Cars.

The crowd-pulling favourite MINI John Cooper Works WRC is set to make a return to the venue, this time with Laurie Smyth behind the wheel. Sean Cassidy will be mixing it with the big guns in his unique four-wheel-drive Fiesta, while James Gillen won't be holding back in his Impreza.

A strong contingent of Group N and two-wheel-drive entries has been received. There is a plethora of crowd pleasing rear-wheel-drive cars, with the likes of James Kennedy, Fintan McGrady and Drew Stewart sure to keep the spectators entertained!

The event also acts as the opening round of the inaugural McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. This exciting new series is open to 14-16 year old drivers in 1000cc unmodified cars. A number of young guns have signed up, and they will contest four of Saturday's six stages.

The event gets underway shortly after 9am on Saturday morning, while the winners will spray the champagne at approximately 5pm. For more details, including stage maps, log on to

Entries Received / Stage Maps

Posted: February 7, 2012 12:43 PM

Available at:


Posted: January 3, 2012 10:21 PM


Posted: January 3, 2012 10:16 PM

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