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Bishopscourt Stages - (Sat) 17 Mar 12

Posted: March 22, 2012 11:15 AM - 11232 Hits

McGrady Insurance Stages (St. Patrick's Day) - 17th March 2012
Round 2 - 2012 Northern Ireland Rally Championship
Round 2 - 2012 Junior 1000 Rally Challenge (Northern) Ireland

Photo: Roy Dempster

McGarrity & McKee's MINI Bishopscourt Victory!

Posted: March 22, 2012 11:15 AM

Derek McGarrity and James McKee secured their second consecutive Carryduff Forklift MSA N.I. Rally Championship victory last weekend to extend their championship lead. They secured a dominant win at the McGrady Insurance Stages, held at Bishopscourt Race Circuit. With a newly acquired MINI John Cooper Works WRC, the Glengormley driver led the event from start to finish, eventually securing the win by 51 seconds.

Coming home in second position, Kieron Graffin and Neil Doherty were pleased with the result in their ex-Petter Solberg Impreza WRC. Despite it being Graffin's first event in a World Rally Car since late 2010, he quickly became accustomed to WRC power.

Graffin initially trailed the MINI WRC belonging to Derek McGeehan and Laurie Smyth. McGeehan held second overall from the outset, but dropped some precious seconds to the hard charging Graffin during the fifth stage.

That left Graffin holding second going into the final test. Although McGeehan clawed back a few seconds, it was Graffin who sealed the runner-up position ahead of McGeehan, while John and Lesley McGaffin secured fourth in their Impreza WRC.

In the production category, David Graham and James McDermott impressed in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. Seeded at 34, Graham immediately took the category lead, leaving his rivals struggling to keep up. Graham went on to win the category and finish fifth overall.

Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy held second in Group N from the outset with their Impreza. They could have had a tough job holding off Jason Curran and Barbara Love, only the Evo 8 crew hit trouble near the start.

Curran received a 20 second penalty which dampened his charge. The crew dropped down the leaderboard, but fought back to eventually finish 12th overall and third in class, 21.6 seconds behind ninth placed Ferguson.

In the two-wheel-drive category, Rodney White and Sam McMullan were quickest out of the blocks. It was White's first event in the Sunbeam since a big accident towards the end of last year sidelined the car, but the Sunbeam was obviously back to full health with joint fifth fastest time (overall) on the opening stage.

Unfortunately for White, he later clipped a tyre which bent his steering. Combined with back troubles, he retired before the end of the rally.

Gary Price and Sharon McCarter were another crew in with a shout of victory but they also retired. Instead, James and Heather Kennedy powered through to take the spoils ahead of David Armstrong and Corin Giles, while event sponsor Fintan McGrady and Mark Hanna completed the top three two-wheel-drive crews.

The event also hosted the second round of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. 14-year-old Ben Crealey secured another convincing win aboard his Nissan Micra, with Kyle White second ahead of Rhys Bunting.

Attention now turns towards the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally, which hosts round three of the Carryduff Forklift N.I. series. With a Superspecial stage set in Belfast's Titanic Quarter, as well as closed road stages elsewhere in the country, this year's event, which takes place over 6-7 April, will be a thriller. More details can be found online at www.nirally.com.

Irish Junior Rally Challenge Report

Posted: March 22, 2012 11:09 AM

Saturday’s round two of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, which took place at Bishopscourt Racing Circuit near Downpatrick, saw Ben Crealey record his second victory of the season. As he did in round one, the 14-year old from Portadown led from the first of the day’s four stages, this time winning by a margin of 20.3 seconds.

Second and third places were also a repeat of those from round one, with 15-year old Kyle White and 16-year old Rhys Bunting ending the day 17.9 seconds apart. Once again, all seven of the junior drivers finished the event, all of them reporting they had learned a great deal and really enjoyed their second ever rally.

A pre-event test day was held on Thursday at Kirkistown – the venue for round one – where five of the seven youngsters (the other two having to be at school) were given instruction and assessed by Kris Meeke and Alastair Fisher. Both WRC drivers sat alongside each of the juniors and afterwards, drove their 1000cc cars. They then offered their advice and technical feedback.

Both Kris and Alastair said they were impressed by the standard of the youngsters and commented that the standard of car preparation was also very good. Then, to round off the day, Drew Wyle (Kris’ Manager) talked about the importance of fitness, media communication, sponsorship and presentation.

As well as the second round of the Irish Junior series, the Bishopscourt Stages also hosted round two of the Carryduff Forklifts MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship – which is sponsored by McGrady Insurance as well. The event featured six stages held on the asphalt of the racetrack and surrounding perimeter roads, with four of them used for the junior element of the event.

Once again, it was Ben who was fastest out of the blocks and crossed the flying finish of stage one putting his Nissan Micra 7.5 seconds ahead of Kyle’s Peugeot 107. Having replaced the gearbox in his Nissan Micra and made it lighter since the opening round, Connor Woods was just 0.9 seconds behind, the 14-year old much happier with his performance this time round - so far.

Although a sunny day, the temperature at Bishopscourt was quite cold, which meant it took a few miles before there was any heat in the tyres. This saw all of the top-three make brief excursions onto the grass, the incidents sending a warning the following drivers who then adopted a more cautious approach.

After his team had to replace his Chevrolet Spark’s radiator before the start, when the jack slipped and damaged the original, Adam Bustard’s day didn't get off to the best start – and it didn't get any better on SS1, when a tyre punctured following a heavy landing. Although the 15-year old made it to the end of the stage, he lost two-and-a-half minutes in the process.

Making up for lost time, Adam upped his game on SS2 and went third fastest, with Kyle second - who was this time only six seconds off the pace of Ben who had posted another stage win. Connor lost time on this stage with a spin at the hairpin, whilst 14-year old Eoghan Bogue was now beginning to gather pace in his Nissan Micra.

Ben did it again on SS3, but this time Kyle was closer and just 1.5 seconds slower, with Rhys setting third-fastest time after Connor felt his car was losing grip. Behind them 14-year old James Partridge’s ever-increasing pace saw his clip a kerb and bend his recently acquired Nissan Micra’s rear beam. However, due to the camaraderie of all the teams taking part, once in the service area everyone pitched in to get James’ car repaired in time for SS4.

The final stage saw Ben score a perfect four fastest times and, in doing so, he collected his second Irish junior series victory. Kyle was second again through the stage and consolidated himself as runner up for the second time running - whilst Rhys did likewise in third place.

Connor finished his day a close fourth and still felt there’s more to come, as did Eoghan who ended his day in fifth. A spirited drive on the final stage by James meant he was able to claim sixth, whist Adam did all he could to make up for the delay caused by his earlier puncture and showed that, without problems, he could easily be on course for a podium finish.

Needless to say, as the rally took place on St Patrick’s Day, the customary post-rally celebrations went on for a little longer than usual!

The third round of the junior series takes place on 7th May at St Angelo near Eniskillen, where there is a possibility that the seven current drivers may be joined by at least one newcomer.

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

Pos. Driver Age Home town Co-driver Car Time
1 Ben Crealey 14 Portadown Liam Regan Nissan Micra 26:25.1
2 Kyle White 15 Belfast Alan Purdy Peugeot 107 26:45.4
3 Rhys Bunting 16 Lurgan Andrew Bushe Citroen C1 27:03.3
4 Conor Woods 14 Derrygonnelly Kris Farrell Nissan Micra 27:06.3
5 Eoghan Bogue 14 Newry Andrew Ritchie Nissan Micra 27:45.8
6 James Partridge 14 Moira Phil Cherry Nissan Micra 28:40.5
7 Adam Bustard 15 Castlederg TBA Chevrolet Spark 29:27.1

In Car

Posted: March 19, 2012 11:43 AM

Derek McGeehan & Alan McGeehan (John Cooper Works Mini WRC) SS6

Kyle White & Alan Purdy (Peugeot 107) SS3

Steve Smith & Paul Finlay (Honda Civic) SS1

Video Clips

Posted: March 19, 2012 11:41 AM

Full Results

Posted: March 19, 2012 11:16 AM

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (John Copper Works MINI WRC) 32m49.5s
2 Kieron Graffin/Neil Doherty (Subaru Impreza WRC) 33m40.5s
3 Derek McGeehan/Laurie Smyth (John Copper Works MINI WRC) 33m42.2s
4 John McGaffin/Lesley McGaffin (Subaru Impreza WRC) 33m56.6s
5 David Graham/James McDermott (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 34m36.7s
6 James Kennedy/Heather Kennedy (Ford Escort MkII) 34m49.3s
7 Dominic McNeill/Tommy Speers (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo WRC) 34m55.7s
8 David Armstrong/Corin Giles (Ford Escort MkII) 35m01.1s
9 Trevor Ferguson/David McElroy (Subaru Impreza N12B) 35m07.8s
10 Fintan McGrady/Mark Hanna (Ford Escort Mk2) 35m13.5s

Irish Junior Rally Challenge Preview

Posted: March 14, 2012 2:01 PM

Following last month’s opening round of the inaugural McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, the seven registered youngsters who all successfully completed their first ever stage rally will be back in action again for this weekend’s round two, the Bishopscourt Stages Rally, which is also supported by McGrady Insurance - the Junior series’ title sponsor.

Round one of the series for 14-16 year-olds at Kirkistown was won convincingly by Ben Crealey. However, the 14-year old from Portadown is not one to take his early-season success for granted and has been doing all he can to ensure he remains focused and ready to defend his two-point lead. Ben’s main rival last time out was 15-year old Kyle White from Belfast who, once familiar with his Peugeot 107, just got faster-and-faster as the day went on.

Third in round one was Lurgan’s Rhys Bunting. At 16 he is the oldest of the junior competitors and made a good account of himself at Kirkistown with his Citroen C1. He held off a charging Adam Bustard, who was only 2.1 seconds behind by the finish and did well to claim fourth after the 15-year old’s Chevrolet Spark kept losing power during the day.

The fifth, sixth and seventh placed drivers – all of them 14 and in Nissan Micras - will undoubtedly be the ones to watch this weekend as they aim to mix it with the front-runners this time around. Considering he hadn’t ever driven a car until a few weeks before the first event, Eoghan Bogue from Newry showed great promise with a fine fifth place, just 5.4 seconds away from claiming fourth.

In contrast, Derrygonnelly’s Conor Woods admitted he was disappointed with sixth and knows there’s more to come. Therefore, to help him get on the pace, Conor’s team has fitted a new gearbox to his Micra, whilst seventh-placed James Partridge from Moira has adopted even more drastic measures to increase performance by changing his whole car!

As a prelude to this weekend’s event, on Thursday (15th March) junior series’ organisers have arranged a test day for all drivers at Kirkistown and invited works Mini WRC driver Kris Meeke and WRC Academy front-runner Alastair Fisher to come along and give the youngsters the benefit of their experience at the sport’s top level. The day will also provide the junior competitors with an opportunity to shake down their cars and to remind them of what’s in store two days later.

Taking place at Bishopscourt Circuit on Saturday (17th March), the rally also represents the second round of the Carryduff Forklifts MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The competition will take place on the racetrack and the venue’s surrounding perimeter roads, with the Junior event comprising four of the main rally’s six stages, which provide seven youngsters with a total competitive distance of 30-miles.

This year sees Ballynahinch & District Motor Club proud to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of running this event – and delighted to have enjoyed seven years of sponsorship from one of Northern Ireland’s most prevalent motorsport supporters; McGrady Insurance. It’s also worth noting that this year’s event is being run over the St Patrick’s day weekend – in fact St. Patrick’s grave in nearby Downpatrick can be seen from Bishopscourt Circuit – which means that, whatever this weekend’s result, a post-rally party is well and truly on the cards.

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

Seeded Entry List (Updated)

Posted: March 14, 2012 1:58 PM

McGarrity/McKee Top Entry for McGrady Insurance Stages!

Posted: March 13, 2012 10:52 AM

The Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship returns to action this weekend with the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally!

Based just outside Downpatrick at Bishopscourt Race Circuit, this year's event, which takes place on Saturday 17 March, marks the sixth consecutive year that local business, McGrady Insurance, has sponsored the rally.

The company provides business, personal and leisure insurance to thousands of customers throughout the country, and Managing Director, Fintan McGrady, is a regular competitor in his potent Mark 2 Escort.

He will be one of the leading two-wheel-drive contenders this weekend, but topping the entry list is a host of powerful four-wheel-drive machinery.

Heading the entry is current Carryduff Forklift N.I. Championship leaders, Derek McGarrity and James McKee. They won the opening round of the series at Kirkistown in February, and as former Bishopscourt winners, the crew are favourites for adding more winning trophies to their cabinets.

McGarrity will face opposition from English visitors, Ray Brammer and Jody Wilson. The crowd favourite Mini WRC also returns with Derek McGeehan and Laurie Smyth, and they are followed by another two World Rally Car Imprezas, with James Gillen and John McGaffin.

In the Group N category, Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy are hoping to add to their Kirkistown Group N win. Other contenders will include Alan Carmichael, Kieron Graffin and Jason Curran.

There is also a healthy contingent of two-wheel-drive crews. They are headed by event sponsor, Fintan McGrady. He starts the event with number 12 on his doors, followed by James Kennedy, Simon Woodside, Keith White and David Armstrong.

The event also hosts the second round of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. Seven young drivers between the ages of 14-16 will contest four stages. Ben Crealey was the runaway winner at round one, and is the hot favourite to take another win in his Nissan Micra.

The action gets underway shortly after 9am on Saturday morning. Competitors in the main event will tackle six stages, with the champagne finish due to take place at approximately 5pm. Spectators are welcome with the spectacular jump sure to keep them entertained. More details can be found online at www.nirally.com.

Final Instructions

Posted: March 12, 2012 11:02 AM

Final Instructions available at:

Entries Received

Posted: March 7, 2012 9:48 PM

Available at:

Countdown to the McGrady Insurance Stages

Posted: March 7, 2012 9:45 PM

The action gets underway early on Saturday 17th March, when Ballynahinch And District Motor Club host the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally, second round of the DGM/Carryduff Forklifts NI Rally Championship at Bishopscourt Racing Circuit!! Spectators are certainly in for a treat. Previous winner Derek McGarrity said 'this is a great event, I always enjoy it. This year I'll use the same car I'll be driving on the Circuit of Ireland, probably a Skoda or Citroen, we'll have to wait and see'. The McGeehan Motorsport Mini World Rally Car is also on the entrylist and set to make its third Irish appearance at Bishopscourt on the 17th March. This beautiful little car is certainly proving a sight not to be missed!!

The event will also run as a counting round of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, allowing drivers as young as 14 to compete on the stages. These confident Juniors are already attracting a great deal of attention and with 14 year old Ben Crealey from Portadown leading after the first round, the pressure is definately on.

Whether you prefer the fast straights or tight hairpins, our famous jump or just a stroll round service with the family, this event has it all. Entry on the day is just £10 (under 16's free) so our advice is to get there early and enjoy all the thrills and spills of a great days motorsport.

Preview Video

Posted: February 24, 2012 12:23 PM

Press Release 1

Posted: February 17, 2012 3:26 PM

Ballynahinch And District Motor Club celebrate 20 very successful years (1992-2012) in motor sport and as the Northern Ireland Rally Championship gets fired up to a roaring start, the itch has yet again kicked in and BADMC are thrilled to be hosting the second round of the 2012 DGM/Carryduff Forklift NI Rally Championship at Bishopscourt Racing Circuit.

Saturday 17th March is a date to mark in your diary, for all motor sport fans, as the fields of Bishopscourt come alive to the familiar growl of the world class machinery taking to the stages……….. so get set for some FANTASTIC action

Club member Fintan McGrady of McGrady Insurance, is once again the events title sponsor, and this year McGrady Insurance will also provide financial support to the exciting fresh blooded Junior 1000 Rally Challenge. This will see up and coming drivers as young 14 years of age compete on the same stages as the main rally, letting the old regulars get a glimpse of the talent they will be battling against in the future!

Last year saw us with an impressive 86 entries and this year with the interest so far its looking like we are in for another successful year for this popular event. Clerk of Course Paul Conlon has guaranteed this year will be even bigger and better than last and while there will be some of the ever popular scenes such as the famous jump, the circuit will have some subtle changes so that last year’s crews don't have any significant advantage, leaving it a challenging and interesting event for all competitors.

Mechanical scrutiny & documentation will again take place on Friday evening (16th) at Modern Tyre Service, Boucher Crescent, Belfast between 17.30-21:00hrs. Last years competitors will remember our survey on Friday night scrutiny; this was to gauge the opinions of the people who matter. The club have taken the competitors views into account and as Friday night was the choice of the vast majority, scrutiny arrangements have remained as in previous years.

Entries are now open for the event and will close on the 10th March, with the number of entries restricted to 120 competing cars. The entry fee is £220 for the main 6 stage event, and £145 for the Junior competitors who will compete on 4 stages.
The final entry list will be posted from Monday 12th March and the action-packed St Patrick’s Day will kick off with the cars taking to the 1st stage at 9.00am. Regulations for this event can be downloaded below.

Website / Details

Posted: February 16, 2012 1:50 PM

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