Ulster Rally Moves To Fermanagh.

The Northern Ireland Motor Club has confirmed that County Fermanagh will host the 37th Ulster Rally on August 23rd and 24th, with the Rally being based in and around Enniskillen town. The event will once again be sponsored by the Todds Leap activity centre in Ballygawley.

Confirming the move, Ulster Rally Clerk of the Course Lewis Boyd commented;

“It is fantastic that an event of this magnitude has, with the enthusiastic support of Fermanagh District Council, moved to the home county of the legendary Fisher family who have been, and continue to be at the forefront of international rallying. I am personally delighted that as a native of Co. Fermanagh I have the privilege of being at the forefront of this exciting move to Enniskillen.

“A number of exciting new initiatives have been introduced for this year’s Ulster Rally, including a Town Centre Ceremonial Start and Finish and an accessible Spectator Special Stage on both days of the Rally at St. Angelo Airport. I also welcome our 2013 sponsors Todds Leap Activity Centre and Fermanagh District Council and I look forward, with their help, to the safe running of this event on 23rd and 24th August.”

Fermanagh has enjoyed a prominent place in the history of the Ulster Rally, having hosted the traditional Saturday morning breakfast halt during the 1980’s and 1990’s, but this is the first time that the event has been based in and around the Fermanagh Lakelands.

Left to Right: Alistair Fisher,Lewis Boyd (Clerk of the Course) Alan Elliott (Ulster Rally) and Enniskillen Council Vice Chairman, Councillor Harold Andrews.   Photo by Raymond Humphreys
Left to Right: Alistair Fisher,Lewis Boyd (Clerk of the Course) Alan Elliott (Ulster Rally) and Enniskillen Council Vice Chairman, Councillor Harold Andrews.
Photo by Raymond Humphreys

Welcoming the event’s arrival the Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, commented;

“Fermanagh District Council is delighted to support the 2013 Ulster Rally. County Fermanagh is internationally renowned for its motorsport heritage and we look forward to welcoming rally drivers, crews, officials and spectators from across Europe to the Fermanagh Lakelands in August. We wish everyone involved a safe and enjoyable rally.”

The 2013 Ulster Rally will again host all of the premier Rally Championships from both the UK and Ireland including the British Rally Championship and the British Historic Championship as well as the Irish Tarmac and the Northern Ireland Stage Rally series.

 

Willie Loughman Memorial Rally – Sample Video

The sunny southeast stood up to its name this week when we made the Patterson Pacenotes for the forthcoming Willie Loughman Memorial Rally. Despite the dreadful snow that was bringing the north of the country to a standstill, the Waterford based stages have escaped the bad weather and we had a very nice day in which to get our recce done. Some light snow showers came and went during the day but they were only passing through.

COC Andrew Purcell has really put a superhuman effort into his route. New stages are hard to find but the former national champion co-driver has done just that. Without divulging too much information, we thought the new stages are great. We will give a more in-depth assessment next week in Irish Notes but for now we have put together a small sample video for your enjoyment. Watch in 480p for the best results.

Triton Showers Easter Stages – Cancelled

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.

For updates, please see www.easterstages.net, www.facebook.com/easterstages, and Twitter @EasterStages

Circuit/Easter Stages Sunday Recce Scrapped. Adverse Weather.

The Easter Stages has taken the decision to abandon their first Recce period for the Easter Stages. Weather condition s in Co Down have failed to improve and most of the stages remain close to impassable. They have released a comprehensive final instruction that includes the revised recce details and signing on arrangements. Below are the first couple of paragraphs from the instruction.

Due to the exceptional snowfall some stages are impassable.
The PSNI has advised that all non essential travel should be avoided, with this in mind we have taken the decision to postpone reconnaissance sign on tomorrow (Sunday 24th) in Ballynahinch.
To Organisers have decided to allow reconnaissance to also take place on any day from Tuesday 25th March between the hours of 09.00 and 18.00hrs. The Reconnaissance Regulations apply and officials will be on the stages during these times.
To assist competitors we are offering reconnaissance sign on and administration checks in The Island Centre, Lisburn on Monday 25th March between 19.30 and 21.00hrs.
Roadbooks can also be collected, by prior arrangement, from Patterson Agency, Unit 1F, McKinney Road, Mallusk, BT36 4PE, Telephone 0044 (0)28 9084 4111.
We can also courier Road Books to you, at a cost of £10, please telephone 0044 (0)28 9080 8808 to arrange this.
We are doing everything we can and we would ask that you check our website www.easterstages.net
A full copy of the FI is available from this link.

CircuitofIreland.tv – Groundbreaking internet TV channel launched.

Minister Stephen Farry joined film students at South Eastern Regional College’s Ballynahinch campus on Thursday to celebrate the launch of the groundbreaking internet television channel Circuitofireland.tv.

The project is the brainchild of Bobby Willis (director of Circuit of Ireland), with the help of Tyndall Productions, and the students of NI Film School who’ve played a pivotal role in the development of the innovative channel. It will stream live footage and programming from the Easter Stages Rally in real time, across the world, on Saturday 30th March.

The concept is a significant development for motorsport and will enable unrestricted opportunities to watch the live rally action as it unfolds, while projecting images of Northern Ireland’s stunning countryside all around the globe.

The channel will be aired for 12 hours from 9am until 9pm on www.circuitofireland.tv from a purpose-built, industry-standard studio at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch. Well known RPM broadcasters Alan Tyndall and Pamela Ballantine will anchor the programme.

Programming will include live-streamed footage from the rally stages including ‘on location’ reportage from the start in Lisburn, and the finish in Ballynahinch; capturing and transmitting all the energy of the event.

An additional six cameras will be located within one of the stages, providing almost one mile of live coverage from a specially selected stretch of road. Viewers will be in for a real treat with the opportunity to see competitors tackle four massive jumps, a tight hairpin, as well as a mixture of other challenges; all set against Northern Ireland’s lush and dramatic landscape.

Rally result updates will also be broadcast every 30 minutes on the channel and it will include interviews and other rally features.

The Easter Stages Rally replaces the Circuit of Ireland International Rally, which was postponed for 2013.

Easter Stages Links: 

www.easterstages.net

www.facebook.com/easterstages

Twitter: @easterstages

McGeehan late entry for Circuit/Easter Stages

The ever-expanding entry list of the Circuit/Easter Stages is filling up even more after Derek McGeehan confirmed that the rally organisers have accepted a late entry from him. On this occasion the Draperstown based McGeehan Motorsport team have entered one of their Mini WRC cars, as opposed to the Toyota Corolla the McGeehan used recently. It has not gone unnoticed over the last couple of seasons that McGeehan has become a serious contender for the NI Championship.

The addition of the Mini WRC is the cream on an already great entry. A few months ago the event looked perilous. Sterling work from Bobby Willis and his team has ensured that the Easter Stages goes ahead. This morning at a press conference in Ballynahinch, the rally announced a ground breaking new Internet based tv concept – circuitofireland.tv of which we will try and bring you more of in the next couple of days. In short, it really is shaping up.

Rally North Wales (aka The Bulldog)…The Notes.

The BRC is looming, at last. It seems like an age since Rally Yorkshire (Trackrod) but things are happening and a good indicator is when we have got the Patterson Pacenotes made. The entries seem to be flooding in and Richard Hinton has been doing a sterling job of keeping us all up to date with regular Twitter and Facebook updates.

We did our reconnaissance yesterday (Tuesday 20th) and at first it looked like the weather could have been against us. Heavy snow was disrupting a lot of the country and there were signs that the forests could be affected. In the end, there was only a small amount of snow on the high ground in Dyfnant.

It was as expected, a pleasure to get back into the classic stages used by the Bulldog. Despite a more compact route this year, it is still using some of the best roads in the area and the stages are in superb condition. A small amount of logging is going on in Dyfi, but by coincidence, we met some Forestry people who were there to assess what repairs were needed before the rally came. Overall the roads are in great shape and should prove hugely challenging but equally very enjoyable for both competitors and spectators.

With the Easter Holidays falling the weekend before the rally, we have tried to get the notes made a couple of days earlier than normal so that they can be posted out a little earlier. We are making every effort to get started as soon as we can.

As is normal, our on-line ordering facility is running as usual and Rally North Wales Notes and DVD can be ordered here

 

Snow today Higgins Rally School - Thurs 21st March.
Snow today Higgins Rally School – Thurs 21st March.

West Cork Rally – Day one – Some images

Martin Walsh – A local man who is also the MI press guy for the Dunlop National Championship. You cant blame him for being proud of his local event, and he has given us a couple of nice shots from today’s rally. We just love it and are pleased to share Martin’s images here.

Owanahicha. Another powerful view on the West Cork coastline. Pic credit. Martin Walsh: local rally guru and photographer.
Owanahicha. Another powerful view on the West Cork coastline. Pic credit. Martin Walsh: local rally guru and photographer.
Fiesta WRC. Irish debut on the West Cork Rally 2013. Photo courtesy of:  Martin Walsh: West Cork based rally guru, journalist  and photographer.
Fiesta WRC. Irish debut on the West Cork Rally 2013. Photo courtesy of: Martin Walsh: West Cork based rally guru, journalist and photographer.
Brian O'Mahony West Cork 2013. The new McKinstry stabled S14.
Brian O’Mahony West Cork 2013. The new McKinstry stabled S14.

Inchydoney Beach – West Cork Rally

With the late start to the rally today, Brian and Liz have had a rare chance to take in some of the stunning scenery close to the rally base at Clonakilty. It’s not all about the rally cars! St Patricks weekend in West Cork at Inchydoney Island Beach. Stunning!

Inchydoney island. Sat 16th March 2013. West Cork Rally pre-start. The little people put things into perspective. Nice view!
Inchydoney island. Sat 16th March 2013. West Cork Rally pre-start. The little people put things into perspective. Nice view!