Easter Stages Rally (COI) - CANCELLED

Posted: May 2, 2013 1:00 PM - 20837 Hits

Easter Stages Rally (COI) - 30 Mar 13
This event replaces the 2013 Circuit of Ireland
Round 2 - 2013 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2013 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

Triton Showers Easter Stages Rally - Unable to be rescheduled

Posted: May 2, 2013 12:10 PM

Despite strenuous efforts by the event management, the Triton Showers Easter Stages Rally is unable to be rescheduled to later in the year, organisers have today announced.

The rally management had lodged an application with the Department of Regional Development, who issue the permit under the Road Races Order, in an effort to reschedule the event to the Autumn. This week the DRD have informed the organisers they are unable to grant the necessary amendment to the closure order.

The Easter Stages Rally was due to take place on Saturday, March 30th, but was cancelled due to heavy snow affecting the Slieve Croob area of County Down. Just days before the event, people in the area, particularly farmers, were facing critical issues, including the loss and death of livestock. The rally management team decided unanimously that it would be inappropriate for the rally to continue in light of the hardship they were facing.

“We tried everything we could to make it possible,” said spokesman for the rally, Bobby Willis. “It’s such a shame and a loss for motorsport, to lose an event such as this, which has run almost every year since 1931, with very few exceptions. It also means the two Championships that we were part of, will now lose one of their higher profile events too.”

The one-day rally was due to replace the Circuit of Ireland Rally for 2013, which was postponed due to insufficient funding. 

A huge number of entries had been received for the Easter Stages, which was to feature as Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship and Round 2 of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The rally was to start in Lisburn and finish in Ballynahinch, taking in twelve stages over a lengthy 100 competitive miles within the counties of Down and Antrim.

Bobby Willis added,
“I would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to the competitors - many of whom have been incredibly generous in their support. The event officials have also been absolutely wonderful, in all aspects - they have stuck with us through the most testing of issues. Also to Lisburn City and Down District Councils, as well as Northern Ireland Tourist Board, who have all been so helpful and encouraging throughout all elements of the event.

“I’d like to thank Triton Showers whose support of the event enabled us to help the competitors so much. Finally, a personal note of appreciation to the army of spectators and supporters, who have written and called in with their support – it just shows how popular this rally is!

He added,
“Our sights are now firmly set on the Circuit of Ireland Rally next year, and hopefully bringing the European Rally Championship to Northern Ireland. This will now be our focus.”  

Easter Stages Rally Cancelled

Posted: March 26, 2013 3:33 PM

The management of the Easter Stages Rally, due to take place this weekend across Counties Down and Antrim, have been forced to cancel the event. The decision has been made in light of the hardship being faced by residents in the area, and the heavy snow.

The rally was to use a number of roads in the Dromara Hills, around Slieve Croob, which are buried under snowdrifts of up to 12 feet. Clearing efforts are expected to make some progress by the weekend, but the forecast of continued low temperatures - in the midst of the ongoing difficulties being experienced by residents and farmers of the area - have caused organisers to take the decision.

Bobby Willis, spokesman for the event, said:
“People in the area, particularly farmers, are facing critical issues at the moment, including the loss and death of livestock. Therefore, the management team has decided unanimously that it is inappropriate for the rally to continue.

“As well as conveying sensitivity to people in the area at this time of hardship, our fear is also that the road closures that are necessary for the rally to run, may further hamper what has become crucial access in the area. The rally could also put additional pressure on emergency services, which are already stretched.”

He added: “We are currently exploring alternatives to run the rally at a later date but, whilst we have had a huge setback, our sights are now firmly set on the Circuit of Ireland 2014 and returning the European Rally Championship to Northern Ireland.”

The one-day Triton Easter Stages Rally was set to replace the Circuit of Ireland Rally in 2013, which was postponed due to insufficient funding. The event was scheduled to start this Saturday in Lisburn and finish in Ballynahinch on Saturday evening.

A huge number of entries have been received for the event, which was to feature as Round 2 of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

“We are all disappointed and for sure the competitors will be too,” said Bobby, “but we must remember that this is a sport, and right now there are more pressing issues in the area. The farmers and residents are having a terrible time and we should definitely be thinking of them.

“We would like to thank everyone who has assisted and supported the rally to date. Over the next week we will have a clearer vision of where we go from here and we will let everyone know.”

Minister for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster, was due to attend a press event at the Millbrook Lodge, Ballynahinch, on Thursday 28th March for the unveiling of the studio from which the rally’s innovative internet channel, Circuitofireland.tv, was to broadcast. This has also been cancelled.

All rally competitors, staff, marshals, sponsors, and event partners are now being contacted, and a full announcement of our future plans will be made in due course.

Former NI Champ Robin Phillips Set For Comeback!

Posted: March 21, 2013 11:34 AM

Robin Phillips, the 2000 Northern Ireland Rally Champion, is set to make a surprise return to the stages this Easter!

The Saintfield driver has entered the Triton Showers Easter Stages Rally in a DGM hired Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and will be navigated by his 19-year-old daughter Laura.

It was almost 13 years ago that Robin clinched the N.I. title aboard a Toyota Celica after a year long battle with Denis Biggerstaff’s Metro 6R4. That was to be the pinnacle of Phillips’ rally success, although he later competed in selected events with a Toyota Corolla WRC.

His last competitive outing was at the 2004 Tour of the Sperrins but any hopes of quashing the rally ‘bug’ have been dashed by his “motorsport mad” daughter.

“I have a 19-year-old daughter who is mad about motorsport,” Phillips told RallyForums.com. “We did sweeper at the Mourne Rally last year in a Citroen DS3 and she loved it. So I promised her we’d do a rally together.”

“The Easter Stages is close by so it suits fairly well. I’m hiring a car from Davy Greer but I’m dreading to see the speed the guys go nowadays. When you stand and watch Group N cars it doesn’t look like they’re going that quick but it’s a different story inside the car!”

As for future events, Robin doesn’t have any solid plans, commenting: “I don’t really know…I’m just taking it one step at a time.”

We get the feeling his daughter might have something to say about that!

Seeded Entry List

Posted: March 19, 2013 9:24 AM

Triton Showers to Sponsor Easter Stages Rally

Posted: March 1, 2013 11:22 AM

Triton Showers has been announced as the official sponsor of the Easter Stages Rally!

Investment from the leading UK bathroom specialist has been channeled directly into the competition to enable entry fees to be reduced and, as a result, the Easter Stages now has one of the lowest entry fees for a full day’s rallying, anywhere in Ireland!

The rally is taking the place of the traditional Circuit of Ireland International Rally this year, which was postponed, due to lack of funding.

“We are delighted to come on board as title sponsors,” said Kevin Barratt, Managing Director of Triton Showers Ireland.
“Easter is always a fantastic weekend for motorsport and we want to make sure this continues.
“We’re especially delighted that our sponsorship money will be used to keep the entry fee as low as possible. As a competitor myself I know how hard it is in the current financial climate to continue rallying.”

Kevin continued: “We are hoping that having one of the lowest entry fees per mile, for a full day’s rallying anywhere in Ireland, will attract plenty of competitors, thereby making the Triton Showers Easter Stages Rally a great success.

“We are really looking forward to working with the organising team and we would like to wish them a safe and successful rally.“

He added, “We would urge all spectators to remember that safety is a priority and to KEEP THE RACE IN ITS PLACE.”

The Triton Showers Easter Rally, which takes place on Saturday March 30 th, will feature as Round 2 of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

The event starts in Lisburn's Bow Street, with all the razzmatazz of recent years, and competitors will then blast their way through a loop of four stages before arriving at theMillbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch for service. Two more loops of stages including another visit to service will be completed before the drivers steer their world-class machinery towards the finish ramp in Ballynahinch that evening.

Over 100 national and international competitors are expected to take part.

Competitors can now download supplemented regulations and entry forms at www.easterstages.net. The entry fee is £340.

Clerk of the Course Gordon Noble commented,
“It's a very compact route for competitors and spectators alike. The stages are very accessible and spectators are sure to have a great day’s entertainment.”

He added: “The organising team have worked hard to pull this event together at short notice but we think you’ll agree, it will be a fantastic event.”

Overview Map

Posted: February 25, 2013 11:04 AM

T.R.O.A Press Release Re:Easter Stages Rally Round 2 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship 2013

Posted: February 22, 2013 1:45 PM

The Tarmac Rally Organiser’s Association (T.R.O.A),Organisers of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship are delighted to advise intending competing Crew’s that Event Regulation’s and Entry Forms are now available for the second round of the championship, The Easter Stages Rally. Details are now published ,and may be downloaded from, The Event website www.easterstages.net

The event, will take place on Saturday 30th March, and will consist of 12 special stages, including almost 100miles/160kms of competitive stage mileage. Gordon Noble will be Clerk Of The Course ,for the fourth consecutive year. With this year’s Event using a more compact one day format, as well as an entry fee of Just £340,it is hoped that a maximum entry of 120 cars will be attained.

Rally Headquarters will be based in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch, Co. Down, where the Service Park will also be Based. The Ceremonial Start will take place in Lisburn and the Finish will be in Ballynahinch Market Square. Reconnaissance will be available on one of two days before the event.

Registrations will be taken for the Irish Tarmac Championship during competitors signing on and also at Scrutineering.

Regulations / On Line Entry

Posted: February 18, 2013 10:13 PM

Available at:

Marshal registration is now available

Posted: February 14, 2013 2:06 PM

Marshal registration is now available for anyone able to lend a hand on Easter Saturday! Check out the webpage for more info!

Easter Rally Plans Announced

Posted: February 8, 2013 2:15 PM

Chairman of Lisburn City Council’s Economic Development Committee Alderman Jim Dillon, rally fan Caroline Speers, and Councilor Mickey Coogan, Chairperson of Down District Council, pictured in Ballynahinch to celebrate the launch of the Easter Stages Rally which takes place on Saturday, 30th March.

The Ulster Automobile Club (UAC) has announced plans for an Easter rally, which will feature as Round 2 of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

Lisburn and Ballynahinch will be the anchor towns for the one-day event, which will cover twelve stages over a lengthy 100 competitive miles within the counties of Down and Antrim on Easter Saturday, 30th March 2013.

Over 100 national and international competitors are expected to take part in the event, which will delight rally fans throughout Ireland who turn out in their thousands each Easter to enjoy a rally spectacle.

  The rally will start in Lisburn City Centre at 9.30am with the ‘ceremonial start’ that will see cars leaving Bow Street at regular intervals until around 11.30am.

  “I am delighted that Lisburn has continued its links with the organisers of the Easter Stages Rally,” said Alderman Jim Dillon, Chairman of Lisburn City Council’s Economic Development Committee.

“We would hope that visitors and residents will come and witness over 100 race teams starting the rally in Market Square, Lisburn City Centre, and anticipate a busy morning for the City Centre shops with large crowds expected to line Bow Street.”  

The rally will conclude in Ballynahinch that evening with cars expected to arrive from 5.45pm onwards.

The finish podium and customary spraying of champagne by the winners, will take place in the town centre at Market Square.

Chairperson of Down District Council, Councilor Mickey Coogan said:
“We look forward to welcoming the Easter Stages Rally to Ballynahinch and are delighted to be supporting this exciting event.  

“This provides a unique opportunity for the thousands of spectators to witness the fantastic spectacle on our own doorsteps and enjoy the national and international rally drivers demonstrate their skills and abilities as they navigate through our beautiful countryside and finishing up at Market Square in Ballynahinch.  

“This too will provide a boost to the local economy which hopefully will continue with our extensive festival and events programme throughout the district,” he said.

Ballynahinch will also host the rally service area where competing teams will be based throughout the day, at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel.

Chairman of the Ulster Automobile Club (UAC), Nigel Hughes said:
“It was a huge disappointment when we realised the European Rally Championship would not be visiting our shores this Easter. However, we are delighted that the Easter Stages national rally will run on the traditional date for the Circuit of Ireland. The Galway Rally last weekend, was a resounding success, with a huge entry. I think rally fans are in for a real treat this Easter Saturday.”

Easter Stage Website

Posted: February 8, 2013 2:11 PM

Easter Stages Rally

Posted: January 23, 2013 11:50 AM

The 2013 Easter Stages Rally will run as a national rally in place of the 2013 Circuit of Ireland rally
More Details closer to the event.

Message from UAC - Circuit of Ireland National Rally will Run

Posted: December 14, 2012 2:02 PM

In relation to today's press release regarding the International Circuit of Ireland not running in 2013, the UAC would like to stress that this decision only affects the International section of the rally.

THE CIRCUIT OF IRELAND WILL RUN, as it has for many years in conjunction with the International Rally, as a National rally and we will deliver the same high standard of event that has been seen in recent years.

We thank our organising team for their continued support, and look forward to a safe and successful Easter weekend.


Posted: December 14, 2012 10:13 AM

The world renowned Circuit of Ireland International Rally, run annually over the Easter weekend, will not take place in 2013.

The news follows the incredible success of last year’s event and its inclusion in the International Rally Challenge (IRC) series which delivered a global audience of nearly 9 million via Eurosport.

The event had also been provisionally named in 2013 FIA European Rally Championship calendar.

Rally Director, Bobby Willis who had made significant headway in rejuvenating the Irish sporting institution since taking the reins three years ago, took the difficult decision.

He said:
“This is an extremely painful judgement for me to make and one that I do not enter into lightly.

“I had publicly expressed concern in October over funding for the 2013 Rally.

“We have received significant backing from Government but we were falling short of our full funding requirements and given the delay this has imposed it is now impossible to organise an international sporting event in less than 3 months.

In a decision sure to disappoint thousands of rally fans, Willis said:
“Over the last three years I have invested my own money and resources into getting the rally up and running in the hope that funding would materialise before the event.

“I am no longer willing to play Russian roulette with my own finances in order to safeguard a rally that has worldwide appeal, even though it is so close to my heart.”

“This is not the end for the Circuit of Ireland Rally and I, along with 700 volunteers which it takes to run the rally, will regroup and begin planning now for 2014.”

Willis had masterminded the re-birth of the Easter run Circuit of Ireland over recent years and was credited with reawakening the sleeping sporting giant by realising his vision of “bringing rallying to the people” through popular city centre stages in Lisburn and Titanic Quarter.

Willis continued:
“I’d like to thank our principal sponsor the Donnelly Motor Group and public sector bodies such NITB and some of our local councils who bought into my vision for the Rally with their support. Most of all I’d like to thank the volunteers and spectators who made the Rally so special in recent years.

“Given the geographical spread of the Rally and the many stakeholders it interfaces with, it is a huge logistical challenge but one with incredible tourism potential and rewards, as last year proved with picture perfect postcard images of Northern Ireland broadcast around the globe.

“While the team is hugely disappointed I can assure fans that we will re-group and make every effort to come back stronger in 2014.”

Above press release refers to the International Section of the rally. We wait on an update regarding the status of the National Section.

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