With all the restrictions in place during the early months of this year it has been difficult getting our Marshal of the Year Award to this year’s recipient. However, with the help of many club members we have eventually been successful.
Congratulations and well-done Andrew.
This award is to recognize the British Rally Marshals Club's Rally Marshal of the Year. It will be presented annually to a marshal whose contribution was above and beyond the normal duties expected of a marshal.
Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick in their first outing in a Citroen C3 R5 won the first stage rally to be held in NI since lockdown restrictions were eased. The McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages took place minus spectators last month. Round one of the 2021 Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship had attracted a maximum entry of 100 cars to the Co.Down race circuit. Ballynahinch and District MC were the organisers and they put on a very successful return to rallying. The event ran without a hitch.
There were six sealed surface stages all within the confines of the track and its link roads. Marshals from our club were present to assist with timing and other duties. A total of 500 competitors, service crew and officials were allowed to attend.
Eight times NI Rally Champion Derek McGarrity was the pre event favourite. He last won the title in 2018, but has been victorious at this particular venue an incredible 13 times. In fact the Glengormley man remained unbeaten over the Bishopscourt stages for the past nine years. This year would be different!
Driving an ex-Marcus Gronholm 2007 Ford Focus WRC McGarrity won stage one by eight-tenths of a second from Greer but ultimately lost out to the more nimble newer C3 of the 2017 Champion over the course of the event. In fact Jonny Greer was fastest on all the remaining five stages to dominate the rally, winning by 33.3 seconds.
Third place went to the Fiesta R5 of 2019 Champion Stephen Wright while Phillip Allen was fourth in his Hyundai i20 R5. Top 2-wheel-drive finisher was Barry Morris in a Darrian T90. A total of 99 cars actually started stage one and 70 of them finished the rally.
Competitors can now look forward to round two of the NI Championship next month at Ballykelly. Three more rounds are then scheduled to follow the Dogleap in this 100% tarmac series between August and November. Let’s just hope they will all be as successful as Bishopscourt.
Round 2 : 2021 McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship
Organisers : Maiden City Motor Club
Venue : Shackleton Airfield, Ballykelly, Co.Derry
Details : Maximum 120 entries received within 30 minutes of opening. 100% sealed surface event,
six special stages (three repeated tests)
Marshals/Officials/Competitors/Service Crew : limited as per coronavirous restrictions to a maximum of 500 people.
NO SPECTATORS PERMITTED. Contact organisers for further information.
Round 3 : Northern Ireland Rally Championship
Organisers : North Armagh Motor Club
Venue : Loughgall Country Park, Co.Armagh
Details : 100% Sealed surface event. Stages to be held within the above venue plus a closed-road test nearby. Full details next month.
Organisers : Enniskillen Motor Club
Venue : Rally HQ in Enniskillen. Stages in the Derrygonnelly area of Co.Fermanagh
Details : 100% gravel stages. More details to follow next month.
Organisers : Omagh Motor Club
Venue : Rally HQ in Omagh. Stages in the West Tyrone forests of Killeter, Carrickaholten and Lough Braden
Details : 90% gravel stages. More details to follow next month.
Rallying as a discipline was given the green light earlier this month, and now Motorsport UK has created a guidance video to help everyone understand the changes we have to undertake. Here is a link to the video:- ReturnToTheStages
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