2019 Northern Ireland Rally Championship

Posted: December 12, 2019 11:10 AM - 2683 Hits

McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship 2019

Monaghan's Stephen Wright Confirmed as 2019 N.I. Rally Champion!

Posted: November 26, 2019 6:09 AM

After claiming two rally victories during the 2019 season, as well as a handful of podium finishes, he secured the trophy after finishing the year on equal points with the outgoing champion, Derek McGarrity.

But it was Wright who got the nod on the tie-break, courtesy of his higher number of second-placed finishes, and the County Monaghan man is the first driver from the Republic of Ireland to have secured Northern Ireland's most prestigious rally accolade.

"Taking on any championship was not on my radar at the start of the year but the competitor friendly format and variety that each event offered in the Northern Ireland Championship kept bringing me back," a delighted Wright said.

The 2019 series was brought to a premature end when Mid Antrim Motor Club was forced to cancel November's final round of the series due to a lack of entries. That left Wright, who won at Kirkistown in February and at the Down Rally in July, as the new N.I. Champion.

Glengormley's Derek McGarrity had to settle for the runner-up position on this occasion after coming close to a record ninth title, with Derek McGeehan - who led the series for much of the year - in third.

However, Draperstown's McGeehan can take some consolation from the results given that his son, Mark, has secured the Navigators' Championship title. It was 17-year-old Mark's maiden season reading pace notes and he helped to keep his father on the straight and narrow throughout all seven events, handing him the prestigious trophy at the end of the year.

In the battle for the two-wheel-drive championship, Banbridge's John Devlin managed to snatch the trophy from James Kennedy's grasp by four points after a tit-for-tat battle between the two drivers.

Meanwhile, in Group N, Beragh's Adam Vance secured the award in his maiden season while Belfast's Kyle White picked up the Junior title and Saintfield's Drew Wylie sealed the Historic trophy.

Other class winners include:

    Class 1: Adam Vance (Beragh) / David Vance (Beragh)
    Class 2: Colm McFall (Ballycastle) / Ronnie Craig (Ballycastle)
    Class 3: Mark Faulkner (Ballygowan) / Steven McCrossan (Omagh)
    Class 4: Kyle White (Belfast) / Sean Topping (Banbridge)
    Class 5: Marc Johnston (Enniskillen) / Olivia Coulter (Crumlin)
    Class 6: John Devlin (Banbridge) / John McCarthy (Dublin)
    Class 7: Niall Carey (Cushendall) / Ciaran Carey (Magheralin)
    Class 8: Mark Massey (Belfast)
    Class 9: Derek McGarrity (Glengormley) / Mark McGeehan (Draperstown)
    Class 10: Drew Wylie (Saintfield) / Noel Watt (Ballymoney)
Final championship standings have now been confirmed and are available for download below.

Award winners will be presented with their prizes at the Association of Northern Ireland Car Club's awards ceremony on Saturday 18 January in Armagh City Hotel.

Points after Final Round

Posted: November 26, 2019 6:08 AM

Launch Photo

Posted: November 26, 2019 6:06 AM

Gavin Campbell (Chairman of N.I. Rallies Committee) with competitor Hamilton Bell
in the Mitsubishi Mirage RS rally car as well as Fintan McGrady and Aidan Hughes of McGrady Insurance.
Photo: Jonathan MacDonald

2019 N.I. Rally Championship Roars Into Action at Stormont!

Posted: February 12, 2019 1:34 PM

A fire-breathing rally car roared into Belfast's Stormont Estate today where details regarding the 2019 McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK N.I. Rally Championship were revealed!

Located outside the iconic Parliament Buildings, organisers and competitors unveiled the 2019 event calendar along with some new developments for the hotly contested series.

"This is the sixth year for McGrady Insurance as the title sponsor," said the company's Managing Director, Fintan McGrady. "I've been competing in motorsport for a long time so I like to support rallying as the rally fraternity are very loyal and have always supported McGrady Insurance."

This year's championship will feature a total of eight events located across the length and breadth of the province. Competitors will start their season at County Down's Kirkistown and Bishopscourt race circuit venues in February and March before going on to tackle closed road events and all-gravel forestry rallies across the country in a bid to secure the prestigious N.I. Rally Championship title.

"I'm really looking forward to another year in the Northern Ireland Rally Championship," said reigning class eight champion, Jonny Morrow, who brought his stunning Mitsubishi Mirage rally car to the launch. "I've made some changes to the car over the winter period and I'm especially looking forward to the Down Rally in July. It has brilliant stages, a compact route and there are excellent facilities at the Eikon Exhibition Centre which is half a mile from my house!"

Morrow is among a host of competitors who have already confirmed their intentions to battle for the N.I. crown. They include reigning champion, Derek McGarrity, who has vowed to bid for a record-making ninth title with his potent Ford Focus World Rally Car.

Technical Changes

Championship organisers have made some changes for the 2019 series. In addition to introducing an extra rally to the calendar, which has increased the number of events from seven to eight, the points scoring system has changed too.

"The top 27 registered competitors who finish events will all score points," explained Championship Co-ordinator, Bob McKeown. "In previous years, only the top 10 were awarded points but more competitors will be recognised for their efforts with the new scoring structure."

"Competitors will be awarded 28 points for finishing first, 26 for second, 25 for third and so on," he added. "There's also an additional point for starting an event and an additional point for finishing."

There are some changes to the championship's class structures too. Class nine is now regarded as an 'open' class for most four-wheel drive vehicles - with the exception of those eligible for Group N, the historic category as well as class eight's R5 and S2000 crews - while a new Formula 1000 class has been introduced to provide an outlet for cars complying with the sport's Junior 1000 specifications.

Let's Go!

The season gets underway on Saturday 23 February at Kirkistown Race Circuit with the Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages Rally. The North Armagh Motor Club event is the traditional season-opener and will feature six special stages based within the confines of the popular venue.

Then crews will head to Bishopscourt Race Circuit in March before venturing into other parts of the country between now and the season-closing Glens of Antrim Rally in November.

All of the latest championship news, including reports and other important updates, will be posted online during each round of the championship and throughout the year at nirallychampionship.com. Fans will also be able to follow the series through various social media channels including Facebook and Twitter.

On Line Registration / Championship Rounds (Revised)

Posted: January 12, 2019 1:52 PM

  1. NAMC Kirkistown Stages - (Sat) 23 Feb 19
  2. Bishopscourt Stages - (Sat) 9 Mar 19
  3. Maiden City Stages - (Sat) 6 Apr 19
  4. Down Rally - (Sat) 20 Jul 19
  5. Lakeland Stages - (Sat) 7 Sep 19
  6. Bushwhacker Rally - (Sat) 21 Sep 19
  7. Tyrone Stages Rally - (Sat) 19 Oct 19
  8. Glens of Antrim Rally - (Sat) 9 Nov 19

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