It would seem that Derek McGarrity could be on course for a seventh MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The Glengormley driver steered his Ford Fiesta WRC to a 21.8 second win over his only challenger, the Fiesta R5 of Brendan Cumiskey, on July’s Tyrone Stages Rally.
After the Ulster Rally last month Camillus Bradley is 11 points behind McGarrity with just the gravel of the Bushwacker and the tarmac of the Down Rally to come. Bradley needs to score well on the closed-road Down to have any chance as he is not a gravel driver! Alastair Cochrane who goes well on any surface is third, 9 behind Camillus. Strangely though, McGarrity didn’t start the Ulster.
The Cookstown Motor Club’s Tyrone Stages event, which was based in Limavady and finished on Benone beach, was the last rally I assisted on as for most of August I was on holiday. We were providing timekeepers and radio cover for the 12-stage tarmac rally. The three-mile tests were completely new to motorsport. There were two stages run three times in the morning. In the afternoon the tests were reversed. Some showers made the morning loop tricky but it would dry up later. 43 crews started while 34 finished. Emma McKinstry was out in the family Subaru S14 WRC and finished an excellent third while Camillus Bradley was fourth and best 2-wheel drive in his Escort.
Well done to Elfyn Evans on his Ulster Rally win with his Fiesta R5. Hard to believe its been 27 years since I was on hand at the finish of the final stage to see his Dad Gwyndaf win the 1989 Ulster in the pink Sierra. Gwyndaf also won the rally in 1998 driving a SEAT Ibiza.
Elfyn also clinched the British Rally Championship with that Ulster win. Exactly as his Dad had done 20 years ago!
Not a round of the Northern Ireland Championship this year but round 5 of the 2016 Irish Forest Rally Championship. 73 entries have been received by organisers Enniskillen MC as I write. We have been asked for Radio cover, Rescue and possibly Timekeepers. There will be 8 gravel stages in and around Derrygonnelly and Belcoo with a Start/Finish at Grosvenor Barracks, Coleshill Road Enniskillen. The event is sponsored by TuffMac Trailers.
The penultimate round of the 2016 MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship. This gravel event will be using the usual West Tyrone stages. Based at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh and organised by Omagh Motor Club we normally provide Timekeepers, Radio cover, Rescue and marshals.
Circuit of Ireland Rally Event Director, Bobby Willis, has announced that the Rally will not be taking place in 2017. The decision has been made as a result of funding uncertainty.
Bobby Willis explains, “I have had the privilege of managing the Circuit of Ireland Rally since 2009. In that time the event has grown significantly and now hosts the prestigious European, British, Irish and Northern Ireland Championships. Last year we had in excess of 40 million television viewers worldwide, with similar numbers expected this year. Another hundred thousand viewers, in 130 countries followed the event via live streaming in what we believe to be a first for this scale of rally. Year on year the event has brought increasing social and economic dividends for Northern Ireland and, in particular, the tourism and hospitality sector. But the growing success and size of the event necessitates precise long term project planning, additional resources and inevitably more financial investment.”
“To date we have had fantastic support from Councils across Northern Ireland, Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, private sponsorship and the NI Executive. I believe we have delivered an excellent return on investment for all our partners, with the substantial growth achieved in the last seven years. We have been working hard with all our funders to plan ahead for 2017 but regrettably at this point in time the financial resources required to deliver the event are still not in place. To run the Rally next year, in the current format, without the right resources and necessary planning period would be to do the Rally a gross disservice. I believe we cannot risk proceeding with the 2017 event at this point without financial certainty.”
“The decision not to run the Rally next year has been the most difficult one I have ever had to make and will be extremely disappointing for a wide range of people including the hundreds of volunteers who have contributed so much. The Circuit of Ireland Rally has reached a level of success unimaginable only a few years ago, attracting an enviable international entry list and with opportunities for even more growth within our grasp. For those reasons it is vital that the ‘Circuit of Ireland’ brand is protected for future generations. Whilst other options for a small, local rally may be considered for next year, my plan is to take the time to work closely with our partners to secure the necessary resources and plan for the Circuit of Ireland Rally to return in 2018 with an even better event.
Circuit of Ireland Rally
Following the recent national ballot for the position of Chair of the British Motorsport Marshals Club.
After 523 electronic and postal votes were cast, the ballot proved in favour of Nadine Lewis.
We wish Nadine all the best in her forthcoming role and extend our commiserations to Gordon Mellis.
On behalf of the BMMC National Council.
A campaign Rally4Wales has been launched to fight against a significantly increase in the charges for forest rallying in Wales and with it a petition to the Welsh Government has been undertaken urging that costs are kept at a fair level and in line with costs in England and Scotland.
That petition has now gone live on the Welsh Assembly website and we desperately need everyone involved in motorsport to sign it to show the strength of opposition to these unreasonable proposals. It may be Wales at the moment but there are grave concerns that such level of charges could move to England and Scotland forests.
The link to the e-petition is https://www.assembly.wales/en/gethome/e-petitions/Pages/petitiondetail.aspx?PetitionID=943 It only takes a few minutes to sign and you don’t have to live in Wales to sign it.