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Ulster Rally - (Sat) 17 Aug 19

Posted: August 16, 2019 5:11 PM - 8749 Hits

Round 6 - 2019 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2019 British Rally Championship

Live Results (Ulster 2019) | Results by: RallyScore.Net
Facebook Live Reports from Onthepacenote.com
Event Website: Ulster Rally
SS1 08:30

BHRC title contest heads for Ulster

Posted: August 16, 2019 4:42 PM

The high-profile Ulster Rally is the next destination for contenders in the FUCHS LUBRICANTS Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship for round six (Saturday 17 August) as the title race builds towards a dramatic conclusion.

The Ulster Rally event marks the second asphalt rally of the championship season before the action returns to gravel for the final round in Yorkshire in late September. Historic cars spanning the 1960s and 1970s will tackle 94 miles of challenging closed road special stages, running three loops of three stages. The rally starts at 8.15am from Newry with the first car due back at the finish from around 6pm.

As well as being the penultimate BHRC round, the Ulster Rally is also the sixth round of BHRC2 supported by Sherwood Engines, which puts the emphasis on the Category 1 (pre-1968) and up to 1600cc cars in the championship.

Alongside an on-going TV package, the championship will make extensive use of social media channels with a particular focus on Facebook and YouTube. All edits will be published through the championship and Special Stage Facebook pages. In addition, the championship will feature regularly on Special Stage Weekly, the TV programme available on Front Runner, Sky Channel 468 and Freesat Channel 250.

Five of the six crews in contention for the title are making the trip to Ulster, with only Steve Bennett electing to use this event as one of his two dropped scores for the season. Currently, just nine points cover the top three drivers while the dropped scores situation brings three more crews into the contest. Competitors count their best five scores from the seven rounds.

Championship leaders after the recent Harry Flatters are Simon Webster and Jez Rogers and they top the six-strong Ford Escort pack before Ulster. None of the six contenders have won the title before and some of them are new to the Ulster Rally, including Webster.

Webster also has the best position when dropped scores are considered, while Rudi Lancaster/Guy Weaver will be the only crew dropping a score this weekend if they finish well as they have scored strongly on all five rounds to date. Meanwhile, Northern Irish contenders Orr (the only driver in a Mk1 Escort) and Hetherington are on home ground, while Joe Price will be tackling the event for the first time. Price had a late scare with major gearbox dramas the weekend before the event and has borrowed the gearbox from Alan Walker’s car in order to be ready for Ulster.

Current BHRC top scorers:
Simon Webster 101 (drop 0 then 9)
Rudi Lancaster 99 (drop 12 then 14)
Steve Bennett 92 (drop 0 then 14)
Stanley Orr 87 (drop 0 then 16)
Joe Price 85 (drop 0 then 0)
Adrian Hetherington 73 (drop 0 then 0)

Away from the title race, Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons will be strong contenders after placing a late entry, while Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance, Pau Street/Ian Jones and Lee Ashberry/Terry Mallin all add depth of quality to the BHRC field. In BHRC2 are brothers Malcolm and Ron Mounsey in their Talbot Sunbeam.

Download FREE Rally Programme / Spectator Guide

Posted: August 16, 2019 11:07 AM

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Seeded Entry List

Posted: August 16, 2019 11:07 AM

1 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 R5) [Int A1]
2 Matt Edwards/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
3 Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
4 Callum Devine/Brian Hoy (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
5 Tom Cave/Dale Bowen (Hyundai i20 R5) [Int A1]
6 Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
7 Sam Moffett/James Fulton (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
8 Desi Henry/TBA (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A6]
9 Jonathan Greer/Kirsty Riddick (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
10 Martin McCormack/Barney Mitchell (Skoda Fabia R5) [Int A1]
11 Alex Laffey/Stuart Loudon (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
12 Daniel Cronin/JJ Cremin (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
14 Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson (Skoda Fabia R5) [Int A1]
15 James Wilson/Arthur Kierans (Hyundai i20 R5) [Int A1]
16 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Hyundai i20 R5) [Nat B10]
17 Stuart Biggerstaff/Anthony Nestor (Ford Fiesta R5) [Nat B8]
18 Camillus Bradley/Crawford Henderson (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
19 Damian Toner/Michael Coady (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
20 Frank Kelly/TBA (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
21 Niall Henry/Damien Duffin (Citroen DS3 R5) [Nat B10]
22 Andy Davies/Michael Gilbey (Subaru Impreza N12B) [Int A1]
23 Paul Rowley/Darragh Mullen (Ford Fiesta R5) [Int A1]
24 William Mavitty/TBA (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [Int A4]
25 Josh McErlean/Keaton Williams (Peugeot 208 R2) [Int A4]
26 William Creighton/Liam Regan (Peugeot 208 R2) [Int A4]
27 James Williams/Tom Woodburn (Ford Fiesta R2T) [Int A4]
28 Marty Gallagher/Dean Osullivan (Ford Fiesta R2T19) [Int A4]
29 Jordan Hone/Aileen Kelly (Opel Adam R2) [Int A4]
30 Ruairi Bell/Darren Garrod (Ford Fiesta R2T) [Int A4]
31 Finlay Retson/Richard Crozier (Ford Fiesta R2T) [Int A4]
32 Johnnie Mulholland/Charles Gallagher (Ford Fiesta R2T) [Int A4]
33 Eamonn Kelly/Conor Mohan (Ford Fiesta R2T) [Int A4]
34 John O’Sullivan/John McCay (Opel Adam R2) [Int A4]
35 Rupert Flynn/Peredur Davies (Ford Fiesta) [Nat B4]
36 Alan Atcheson/Keith Curley (Ford Fiesta) [Nat B8]
37 John Morrison/Peter Carstairs (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [Nat B8]
38 Simon Chapman/Peter Foy (Proton Satria S2500 Millington) [Nat B8]
39 Liam Egan/Patrick Brides (Ford Fiesta R5) [Nat B10]
40 John Devlin/John McCarthy (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B6]
41 James Kennedy/Heather Kennedy (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B6]
42 Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O'Neill (Ford Escort RS1800) [Nat H3]
43 Stanley Orr/Graham Henderson (Ford Escort RS 1600) [Nat H2]
44 Ray Cunningham/Jared Gill (Morris Mini Cooper S) [Nat H1]
45 Simon Webster/Jez Rogers (Ford Escort RS1800) [Nat H3]
46 Rudi Lancaster/Guy Weaver (Ford Escort RS1800) [Nat H5A]
47 Joe Price/Chris Brooks (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat H3]
48 Rikki Proffitt/Graham Wild (Porsche 911) [Nat H1]
49 Paul Smith/TBA (BMW M3) [Nat H5B]
50 David Armstrong/Ashley Trimble (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat H3]
51 John Coyne/Stephen Joyce (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) [Int A2]
52 Fintan McGrady/Cormac McGrady (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
53 David Condell/Paul Kelly (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
54 Barry Morris/Denver Rafferty (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
55 John Gordon/Thomas Wedlock (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
56 Bryan Jardine/Declan McKenna (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
57 Christian Cochrane/Martin Lynch (Ford Escort) [Nat B6]
58 Oran Donnelly/Mo Downey (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B6]
59 Ashley Dickson/TBA (Ford Escort) [Nat B6]
60 Alexander Cochrane/Chrissy Johnston (Ford Escort) [Nat B6]
61 William Armstrong/Paul Mulholland (Ford Escort) [Nat B5]
62 Marty Toner/Sharon Clarke (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B6]
63 Gerard McQuaid/Gary Quinlan (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B6]
64 Gareth Black/Connor Dunlop (Toyota Starlet) [Nat B6]
65 Seamus Branniff/Darren Curran (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [Nat B2]
66 Robert McKelvey/Declan Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [Nat B2]
67 Matthew McGaffin/Ben Taggart (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [Nat B2]
68 Chris McGurk/Liam McIntyre (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) [Nat B2]
69 Norman Savage/Robert Williamson (Subaru Impreza 555) [Nat B9]
70 Craig MacWilliam/Trevor Hamilton (Ford Escort RS1600) [Nat H2]
71 Adrian Kermode/Paula Swinscoe (Porsche 911) [Nat H5A]
72 Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance (Ford Escort RS1800) [Nat H3]
73 John Adams/Noel Watt (Ford Escort) [Nat H3]
74 Duncan Williams/Llion Williams (Ford Escort RS1800) [Nat H3]
75 Robert Erwin/Jimmy Graham (Toyota Corolla) [Nat B4]
76 Niall Branniff/Declan Casey (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B5]
77 Steven Armstrong/TBA (Ford Escort) [Nat B5]
78 Gerry McPolin/Rory McPolin (Ford Escort) [Nat B5]
79 James Wylie/Tommy Speers (Ford Escort) [Nat B5]
80 Quentin Park/TBA (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B5]
81 Phill Greenlee/Domhnall Lennon (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B6]
82 Michael McGarrity/Damien Garvey (Ford Fiesta R2) [Nat B4]
83 Richard Moore/John McCabe (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B7]
84 Dean McDowell/Dessie Wilson (Vauxhall Nova) [Nat B4]
85 Keelan Maguire/Tony McGovern (Honda Civic) [Nat B4]
86 John Joe Williams/Meg Brady (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat J2]
87 Des Moore/TBA (Ford Escort RS1600T) [Nat B7]
88 Eamon Doherty/Damian McAuley (Ford Escort) [Nat B7]
89 Gavin Devlin/TBA (Talbot Sunbeam) [Nat B3]
90 Eamonn McGuigan/Jane Collins (Ford Escort) [Nat B5]
91 William McClurkin/Damian McCann (Ford Escort) [Nat B5]
92 Alistair Haw/Stephen McTiernan (Peugeot 205 GTI) [Nat B6]
93 Cian Walsh/Derry Long (Toyota Corolla RWD) [Nat J2]
94 Simon Gordon/John Henderson (Vauxhall Astra) [Nat B6]
95 Oliver Benton/TBA (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B4]
96 Nicky Caughey/Graeme Stewart (Citroen DS3 R3) [Nat B6]
97 Philip Hamilton/Damian Kelly (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat B5]
98 Richard Somerville/John Nicholl (Ford Escort) [Nat B6]
99 Steve Benton/TBA (Ford Escort) [Nat B6]
100 Jason Dickson/Martin Brady (Ford Fiesta R2) [Nat J2]
101 Ben Friend/TBA (Ford Escort Mk2) [Nat H3]
102 Paul Street/Ian Jones (Ford Escort) [Nat H3]
103 Peter Heatherington/Chris Heatherington (Talbot Sunbeam Lotus) [Nat H3]
104 Malcolm Pedlow/Billy Regan (BMW 2002 Tii) [Nat H2]
105 Paul Mankin/Peter Scott (Lotus Elan) [Nat H1]
106 Malcolm Mounsey/Ron Mounsey (Talbot Sunbeam TI) [Nat H3]
107 Lee Ashberry/Terry Mallin (Ford Escort) [Nat H3]
108 Allan Mackay/TBA (Ford Anglia) [Nat B5]
109 John Paterson/Scott Paterson (Vauxhall Corsa) [Nat B4]
110 Malcolm Johnston/Sam Magill (Skoda Felicia) [Nat B3]
111 Niall Creighton/Gregory Roberts (Ford Cortina Lotus MK1) [Nat H1]
112 Martin Taylor/Peter Gallagher (Proton Satria) [Nat B4]

Irish Tarmac Rally Championship Round 6 Preview

Posted: August 16, 2019 10:11 AM

The Today’s Ulster Rally which takes place on Saturday August 17th is the penultimate round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship which is still very much up grabs. Championship leader Craig Breen wasn’t eligible for points on the last round due to driving a World Rally Car, the tragically curtailed Donegal International Rally, but is still odds on to take the title. Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle will appear in Newry in a Melvyn Evans prepared Hyundai i20 R5 as they bid to wrap up the series with another strong result. Lying six points behind is Fermanagh driver Alastair Fisher in a Ford Fiesta R5who will be hoping for a Breen slip up to keep the championship challenge going until the last round in Cork. Fisher has been Breen’s closest rival all year but is still waiting for his first outright rally win in the Tarmac Championship, while if Breen wins in Ulster he will take the title.

Callum Devine has been one of the revelations of the year, taking top points in Donegal and getting progressively quicker with each passing round. Could he finally take an overall Tarmac championship round win on the Ulster Rally? It certainly won’t be for the want of trying and he has the talent to do it. Mathematically Callum still has a chance of the title but will need a slip up from his rivals in order to head to the final round with a fighting chance. There are others too that are capable of good result, with Josh Moffett the 2018 champion likely to be challenging after a very mixed year by his standards. Jonny Greer will be very much on home territory and can be relied on to put in a strong performance while Desi Henry is back out in a Fiesta R5 and Meirion Evans and Daniel Cronin are two others that can mix it with the best. With the BRC also in town, Tom Cave can take points for both series having finished third overall in West Cork.

Willie Mavitty & Andy Davies are locked in battle for Group N honours with Mavitty holding a three point lead. Mavitty has taken top points twice in the category this season and Davies once, but both drivers have a string of runner up points as well, and this will go down to the wire in Cork. William Creighton and Johnnie Mulholland tie for the lead in ITRC 3 with Eamonn Kelly getting quicker on each round and currently in third place.

Tarmac Championship Overall Points After Round 6

    1 – Craig Breen 68
    2 – Alastair Fisher 62
    3 – Callum Devine 47
    4 – Josh Moffett 38
    5 – Desi Henry 32
Damian Toner leads the Modified Championship from David Condell and will be looking to use the proximity to home to his advantage on this round. Condell has been impressive this season on rounds that he hadn’t done before such as Donegal and West Cork. Damien Tourish, Conor McCrossan and Gerard McQuaid complete the top five places with only 1.5 points separating those three drivers.

The Historic Championship sees Duncan Williams lead on 58 points but Craig MacWilliam is only 2.5 points behind. Ray Cunningham in third place is only five points off the lead but has missed two of the last three rounds. Adrian Kermode lies in fourth place on 38 points, nine ahead of Luke McCarthy who in turn is three ahead of Andy Johnson who completes to top six.

The Junior Championship is being led by Cian Walsh on 31 points with John Joe Williams in second place just five points behind. Aaron Browne and Shane Norris are tied for third place with Mick Lonergan in fifth place and still in with a chance of the title.

McCormack ‘confident’ of Ulster Rally chances

Posted: August 16, 2019 10:09 AM

Draperstown rally driver Marty McCormack is hoping his return to the British Rally Championship this weekend will be a rewarding one, as the TigerRisk Skoda Fabia R5 ace contests his “home” event, the Today’s Ulster Rally (17th August).

McCormack has shown an impressive turn of pace during his staggered 2019 campaign in the Skoda, swapping times with some of the best drivers in Europe. However, he has not managed to convert his pace into the results to match, bagging just one podium in the BRC this season.

But the popular driver is aiming for a change in fortune as the series makes the trip to Newry for the penultimate round of the series on the closed-public roads of Northern Ireland.

Along with co-driver Barney Mitchell, McCormack has enjoyed a busy season behind the wheel, mixing outings in his Historic specification Ford Escort Mk2 with a BRC assault. Whilst his rear-wheel-drive outings have seen category wins, the top step of the podium has eluded him in the R5 with a run of bad luck and unforced errors keeping it at arm's length.

Third place, and his only podium of the season at the opening round - the Cambrian Rally was followed by fourth at the West Cork Rally. Due to work commitments, he was forced to sit out the Pirelli Rally but was determined to bag a good result at the following Ypres Rally in June.

As the series made its annual guest visit to Belgium, McCormack tackled Rally van Wervik ahead of the event to settle back into the groove after almost three months away from the car, taking sixth overall in the process.

That form continued at the Ypres Rally, going fourth fastest overall across the opening stage of the rally on Friday afternoon and leading the BRC contingent.

A handful of overshoots during the weekend hampered progress up the leader board and the hard work would be undone when broken suspension forced McCormack out of the event on the second day after tussling for the top BRC spot.

Whilst any hopes of taking the BRC title have evaporated, McCormack is looking forward to contesting stages just a few miles from home.

“Competing against some of the best drivers in the business in Europe and being able to hold your own is pretty special,” says McCormack, “but there is something really nice about being able to come home and compete just down the road”.

“The Ulster Rally is iconic and is steeped in history with some very famous names on the trophy. I've managed a podium once, and although I’d really like to be out front after 100 miles of driving on Saturday night, there will be dozens of others thinking just the same. But look, I`m really looking forward to this one, it’s been too long since I’ve sat in the Skoda competitively.”

McCormack is hoping his approach to his driving, which he believes has been more relaxed in 2019 will help.

“I do have a very different attitude towards my driving this year and its really helping me to enjoy my rallying again.

I work hard and like many others use the sport as a release but at the pace, we are all competing nowadays you still need to be one hundred per cent committed every step of the way. I’ll certainly be looking to enjoy the weekend, but I`d be lying if I said I wasn't going there to win, and so would anyone else in the top ten be if they said that too. I'm feeling confident, but hopefully I can turn that into a result”.

The Today’s Ulster Rally is the penultimate round of the British Rally Championship and takes in over 100 miles of competitive action surrounding the rally base of Newry.

Marty is sponsored by Tiger Risk Partners, P McCormack and Sons Ltd, Ears.ie, Millers Oils, IMF Fabrications, Pirelli and MTec Graphics.

British Rally Championship tied ahead of Ulster Rally

Posted: August 16, 2019 10:08 AM

The dramatic British Rally Championship will take another exciting turn this weekend as the Today’s Ulster Rally hosts the penultimate round of the closely-fought series. The narrow, bumpy lanes of Northern Ireland have always played a crucial part in the BRC title race and 2019 will be no different, as Matt Edwards and Tom Cave come to Newry, tied on 68 points.

After a Ceremonial Start in the Albert Basin on Friday evening, nine stages will provide the gauntlet for the penultimate round of the series on Saturday. Despite the summer August calendar date, the changeable weather conditions provide the biggest challenge for the crews as the first half of the stage could be bone dry, while the final section could be covered with lashing rain – making tyre choices and driving style, all so important.

2018 Ulster Rally winner and reigning British Champion Matt Edwards will travel across the Irish Sea in high hopes after his 2018 success and recent BRC win on the Ypres Rally. Along with co-driver Patrick Walsh, the M-Sport pairing will be looking to put their Pirelli-backed Ford Fiesta R5 on the top step to back up their two wins to date so far this season.

Fellow countryman Tom Cave last visited the Ulster Rally in 2016 and will be giving it everything to go toe-to-toe with Edwards on the iconic tarmac. The Hyundai i20 R5 star is putting together a strong campaign this season with navigator Dale Bowen. Cave has Irish Tarmac form this already as the Michelin-supported driver clinched the BRC win on the West Cork Rally back in March. The title race couldn’t be closer, and those keen rally fans will be in for a monumental fight between the two title protagonists.

While the BRC title fight this year looks set to be between two drivers, a whole host of local stars who will be eager to put the cat amongst the pigeons in order to stamp their own mark on the 2019 Ulster Rally.

Draperstown man Marty McCormack and co-driver Barney Mitchell know the Northern Ireland lanes well and will want to return to the BRC podium in their Skoda Fabia R5. The pair have yet to win a round of the championship, despite coming close on several occasions, and they lead the Irish charge for a home win – something the passionate local fans would dearly love to see this weekend.

Reigning Irish Tarmac Champion Josh Moffett (Monaghan) last won a BRC round back in 2016 and could be a dark horse for honours this weekend. Along with Keith Moriarty, the duo have already clinched a podium in West Cork but on their local BRC round, the pair will be pushing for the outright win this weekend in their Ford Fiesta R5.

The Scottish crew of Alex Laffey and Stuart Loudon secured a breakthrough sealed-surface podium in Ypres on the last round, and the M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 crew will be keen to back that up on the Irish Tarmac. Laffey joins McCormack and Moffett in a three-way scrap for the final spot in the overall championship standings as the season starts to come to an exciting conclusion.

Belfast-based driver Jonny Greer with Scottish co-driver Kirsty Riddick are Ulster specialists and with the Ford Fiesta R5 will be ones to watch on Saturday. Greer finished second behind Elfyn Evans in 2016 and pushed for the lead last year before a rare off put paid to his chances. With no title to think about, the Ulsterman will be hungry for his first BRC win – especially on an event less than an hour from his front door.

Billy Coleman Award winner James Wilson from Armagh will be hoping his home round will stop his run of bad luck in Britain’s premier rallying series. Since his win on the opening round with co-driver Arthur Kierans in the Junior BRC, the Irish crew have had a torrid season. With it being Wilson’s home round, he will be stepping into a Hyundai i20 R5 to challenge himself against the BRC top flight.

Local ace Alan Carmichael returns to the BRC after a small break and will be vying for overall points and the National Rally Cup win in his right-hand-drive Hyundai i20 R5. John Morrison and Peter Carstairs currently lead that category in their Kumho-shod Mitsubishi Evo 9 and the Scottish crew will look to take a haul of points from the Ulster to their home round – the Galloway Hills – the final round of the BRC in September.

Local stars McErlean and Creighton ready for Junior fight

Josh McErlean (Kilrea) and William Creighton (Lisburn) are separated by eight points coming into their home round of the Junior BRC – the Today’s Ulster Rally.

McErlean with British co-driver Keaton Williams have had a strong season to date with two fourths and two wins mid-season – putting them in the pound seats for the Ulster bout. William Creighton and Liam Regan are the most consistent pairing in the BRC this season with the Peugeot 208 crew having never been off the podium. The top step may have eluded them so far this season, but the Irish team won the Junior section on the Ulster in 2017 and be will throwing everything at the event to reduce the deficit to McErlean ahead of the season finale.

McErlean and Creighton will be vying for a £4,000 prize pot from Peugeot UK and TOTAL – making the fight for the win that little bit more interesting.

Welshman James Williams and co-driver Tom Woodburn dominated the previous event to take their first win of the season and one of the biggest wins for the Ford Fiesta R2T. Despite not scoring on two rounds, the young pairing sit third in the overall standings and are ready to take the fight to the locals this weekend.

Claudy driver Jordan Hone with Aileen Kelly sat alongside may be in the lone Opel ADAM R2, but that won’t stop them from fighting at the sharp-end. We have yet to see the full potential from Hone this season, but don’t discount him from the top of the timesheets this time out as the young-gun beat the BRC regulars last year on the Ulster on his way to top two-wheel-drive crew.

Ruairi Bell and Darren Garrod lead the Ford Fiesta R2T runners in the championship standings coming into the Ulster. Garrod won the event overall with Matt Edwards last year and will be hoping he can guide Bell to success 12 months on. Bell recorded his first podium last time out in Ypres and has his eyes fully focused on the €60,000 Junior WRC prize from M-Sport and Pirelli for the highest placed Fiesta in the series. Finlay Retson and Richard Crozier suffered a sizeable off in Ypres and face a race against time to get their Fiesta rebuilt. Retson won the Cadet Cup category in Northern Ireland 12 months ago and he believes he has the pedigree to overhaul the three-point deficit to Bell ahead of them.

Letterkenny ace Marty Gallagher and navigator Dean O’Sullivan switched mid-season from a Peugeot to a Ford Fiesta R2T. In Ypres, the Irishman learnt the turbo-charged machine and set some respectable times, which would have seen him on the podium had it not been for a mechanical failure. On home soil, Gallagher will be let off the leash as he looks to put the Fiesta on top of the podium and record his first BRC win since Rally Isle of Man 2017.

The Today’s Ulster Rally will start with a Ceremonial Start at The Albert Basin on Friday evening (16th) before nine stages on the Northern Ireland Tarmac on Saturday (17th) with the winners spraying the champagne at Newry High School early evening. For more information, head to ulsterrally.com

EDSL Sport to field strong Junior British Rally Championship team in Ulster

Posted: August 16, 2019 10:00 AM

EDSL Sport will head to the penultimate round of the Junior British Rally Championship this weekend with one of its strongest teams yet, as Marty Gallagher, James Williams and Rupert Flynn will pilot the firm’s Ford Fiesta’s at the Today’s Ulster Rally (17th August).

After a strong showing at the previous round in Belgium which saw Welshman James Williams take the JBRC victory by over eight minutes and dominating the RC4 class, the rapid pilot will return to an EDSL Sport 2019 Ford Fiesta RT2 Mk8 for the blast across the Northern Ireland roads. Joining him will be Irishman Marty Gallagher who showed an impressive pace in Europe, handing EDSL Sport a one-two for much of the opening day and will be hoping to make up for a non-finish at the event.

Both Williams and Gallagher will be aiming to shake up the scoreboards as they vie for a 60,000 Euro prize fund towards a season in the Junior World Rally Championship in 2020, offered by M-Sport Poland and Pirelli.

Heading into the British Rally Championship for the first time is rookie driver Rupert Flynn who will field one of the firm’s first-generation Ford Fiesta R2’s in the Cadet Cup, the category designed for newcomers. Flynn will be contesting only his third ever event and despite his lack of experience, has his eyes on the Cadet Cup title.

Hampshire based EDSL Sport has grown from strength to strength since their launch towards the end of last season. The acquisition of two brand new Fiesta R2T’s from M-Sport and their impressive business model led them to become official M-Sport re-sellers for the popular Fiesta in the UK. They are the go-to firm for motorsport hire, maintenance and service as well as fielding an impressive line-up for the forthcoming Newry based event.

Marty Gallagher and co-driver Dean O’ Sullivan had endured a torrid year in their Peugeot 208 and joined the EDSL Sport stage for the first time in Belgium. Sadly, a heavy landing led to a damaged radiator, and the subsequent overheating issue meant a non-finish for the Irish duo.

But Gallagher is eager to perform a little closer to home in the Fiesta.

“Of course, I’m looking forward to getting back out in the Fiesta, it’s been way too long since Ypres,” he says.

“It will be great to compete in Ulster, but it has to be better than last year. In 2018 we lost the brakes on the first stage and it went downhill from there; literally, with a small detour into a bog. But look, we are on home soil now, and that means proper roads again. Just a few months ago at West Cork, we were leading the Juniors (BRC) until a rather sudden meeting with a 100-year-old tree which put us out. If we have the same pace this weekend again, I don't think we will be far away."

Gallagher thinks the Fiesta will be the perfect tool for the tight and twisty Northern Ireland roads.

“For sure, the Fiesta appears to be a good car and it worked really well in Belgium. Let's see how it can perform on the narrow roads here”.

James Williams has drafted in Dai Roberts to the co-driver’s seat and Rupert Flynn will be partnered by JBRC regular Peredur Wyn Davies. Team Principle Alex Waterman believes that he has one of the strongest teams in the series heading to Ulster.

“We have been working very hard behind the scenes for almost 12 months on EDSL Sport and I think it’s fair to say that the team we will be taking to Ulster is one of the best yet for the business,” he says.

“Each crew has its own merits and individual strengths and if you put that all together, then without sounding too confident, I think we have a really good chance of taking another JBRC win to add to the Ypres result. James’s (Williams) pace in Belgium was unrivalled and Marty (Gallagher) valso showed he could compete at the front so bringing them back a little closer to home will certainly help. Rupert (Flynn) will have a lot of learning to do in the older specification Fiesta but there is no doubt from his performances so far that he has a very impressive pace.”

After shakedown and the ceremonial start on Friday 16th, the Today’s Ulster Rally packs over 93 miles of competitive driving into nine stages on Saturday 17th, with three loops of three forming the route before the finish celebrations in Newry town at around 6 pm on Saturday.

Tom gets set for pivotal BRC battle in Ulster

Posted: August 16, 2019 9:32 AM

Ahead of this Saturday's (17th August) Ulster Rally - sponsored by Northern Ireland-based convenience store chain Today's - Aberdovey driver Tom Cave prepares what could be the most significant event of the season.

Tom currently shares the British Rally Championship lead with fellow Welshman Matt Edwards, both of them level-pegging on 68 points and with two wins, a second place and a DNF apiece, the penultimate event in the six-round season is shaping up to be a pivotal point in the chase for the title. Therefore, with the nine timed special stages providing 93 miles of competition over the fast and technically demanding Ulster asphalt, the tension is building for an epic encounter between the two title aspirants.

"It really is a case of who dares wins this weekend", explains Tom. "Both Matt and I are at the top of our game and we've been very evenly matched so far this year, so there's no room for error and neither of us can afford to relax."

Tom will drive the PCRS supplied and prepared Hyundai i20 R5 that he has campaigned in all this year's previous four rounds and took to victory on the West Cork Rally in March and the Pirelli International Rally in April. Once again, the 27-year old will be co driven by Dale Bowen from Hirwaun.

The Welsh pair will head across to Northern Ireland on Thursday to carry out a pre-event test in the Hyundai on roads that will replicate those that will confront them two days later. Friday will see the crews perform their recce runs through the stages, with the event's ceremonial start from Albert Basin in Newry taking place from 8.45 that evening.

Competition will begin at 8.30 on Saturday morning with a loop of three stages tackled before the first service halt of the day in Newry. The same trio of stages are repeated before second service halt and again afterwards, with the finish scheduled for 17.30 at Newry High School.

"We are in a great position to challenge for the win on Saturday, so Dale and I are extremely focused on what we need to do. Having finished runner up twice before in 2012 and 2016, I would really like to get the British title under my belt - not only for Dale, the team and I, but for Hyundai and all our sponsors - so rest assured, we'll be giving it everything we've got."

Tom's 2019 season is supported by: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Michelin Motorsport, Ponsse UK, H.N. Nuttall Foodservice, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino, Atech Racing, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and Shukers Hyundai of Aberystwyth."

Breen/Nagle enter Ulster in Hyundai i20 R5

Posted: August 8, 2019 8:04 AM


Posted: July 3, 2019 10:15 AM

The countdown is officially on to the 2019 Today’s Ulster Rally following the opening of entries on Tuesday 25th June. Now in its 43rd season, the event is relocating to a new base in the city, with special stages in County Down.

Saturday, August 17th is the competitive element of this year’s meeting, with a shakedown stage running the day before. This will allow crews to make any last-minute adjustments to their cars, and give the thousands of spectators an early glimpse of their favourite drivers.

With backing from Newry based S&W Wholesale who operate the Today’s franchise throughout Ireland, and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Newry High School on the Ashgrove Road will be the venue for the event’s bustling Service Park. The finish will also be here, with the neighbouring Albert Basin Park the backdrop for the ceremonial start. Meanwhile, Banbridge will host three separate town centre regroups.

Ulster Rally Event Director, Richard Swanston, said he is confident the route that has been drawn up for August’s new-look rally will prove popular with competitors and contribute to a capacity entry. There will be nine stages in total, all of which are new to the Ulster Rally.

“The Ulster Rally has a tradition of moving around and we are pleased to make Newry our base for the first time,” said Richard. “The stages are a mix of previous classics with some new sections; they will provide a great challenge for competitors. In addition to the main field, we are introducing the ‘Ulster Cup Rally’ this year. It will run over two of the three legs on Saturday, August 17th, and is open to all competitors, including Junior drivers.

“I would encourage spectators to come and see the cars up close and meet the crews at the ceremonial start. This takes place at 8.45pm on Friday, August 16th in the Albert Basin in Newry and throughout Saturday at the regroups in Banbridge town centre.”

Once again, the Northern Ireland Motor Club event will be a counting round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the British Rally Championship and the European Rally Trophy - Celtic Cup. Entry numbers will be strengthened further as crews from both the FUCHS Lubricants Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship and the FUCHS Lubricants Historic Asphalt Rally Championship will be eligible to score points.

The Managing Director of S&W Wholesale, Dessie Boyce, and the business’s Marketing Director, Julie Burden, said they are “exited and delighted” to be joining forces with the Ulster Rally. “As we are based in Newry, we are really pleased to be supporting the Ulster Rally as this year, for the first time in its history, the event will be based in the city of Newry,” they said.

Stena Line’s agreement to help Ulster Rally competitors by providing them with reduced fares on the Scotland to Northern Ireland ferry crossing enters its forty first year in 2019. The deal is open to any team that wishes to make the trip over from the UK mainland, with further information available from the Today’s Ulster Rally Entries Secretary.

Entries open (Tue) 25 Jun 19 @ 09:00

Posted: June 24, 2019 5:54 PM


Posted: June 18, 2019 7:18 AM

Leading local convenience store, Today’s, has been announced as the headline sponsor of the 2019 Ulster Rally, which will be taking place on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th of August.

Today’s is operated by local wholesaler Savage and Whitten (S&W) and is based at Carnbane Business Park in Newry – the new host city of the 2019 Today’s Ulster International Rally. The Managing Director of Today’s, Dessie Boyce, and the business’s Marketing Director, Julie Burden, said they are “delighted” to be joining forces with the closed-roads meeting.

“The Ulster Rally has a proud history and reputation for exciting competition,” they said. “We are especially pleased to support the event as it will, for the first time in its history, be based in the city of Newry against the backdrop of the beautiful Mourne Mountains and receive support from Newry Mourne and Down District Council,” added Dessie and Julie.

S&W Wholesale’s history dates to 1916 with the establishment of Newry Cash and Carry and again to 1920 when J&E Whitten was formed. Both firms merged in 2000 to become S&W – one of the largest independent wholesalers in Northern Ireland and distributor for Today’s.

Today’s currently has 135 shops and local convenience stores throughout Ireland. At the heart of Today’s ethos is providing customers with the best prices and offering an excellent choice of everyday products that have been sourced locally. This is achieved through regular promotional cycles so that Today’s customers are offered non-stop deals all year round. The leading retailer gives customers attractive deals that are unmatched by any of their rivals.

Welcoming Today’s as the headline sponsor of the event, Event Director, Richard Swanston, said: “This will be an exciting year of new beginnings for the Ulster Rally, with the move to Newry and now a new title sponsor. Planning by our experienced team of volunteers has been underway now for several months and after much hard work the arrangements for the 2019 event are now well advanced. The event will take place on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th of August. Full details of the route will be announced at the rally launch on Tuesday, June 25th.”

Once again, the Northern Ireland Motor Club organised competition will be a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the British Rally Championship and the FIA European Rally Trophy. The FUCHS Lubricants Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship and the FUCHS Lubricants Historic Asphalt Rally Championship will also be represented at the new-look Today’s Ulster Rally.

Rally Guide 1 Available

Posted: May 30, 2019 7:19 AM

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