News 2019-07-15 Competitors Rev Up for the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally!

Derek & Mark McGeehan currently leading the NI Rally Championship!It has been more than three months since competitors in the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship were in action but now they're revving up to compete in round four of the series at this weekend's Carryduff Forklift Down Rally!

Headquartered at the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Balmoral Park, near Lisburn, a capacity entry of 130 high-powered rally cars from across the UK and Ireland are set to tackle stages on closed roads in County Down as well as two spectator tests in the grounds of the exhibition centre.

The event has one of the strongest entries seen in Northern Ireland rallying this year and spectators are in for a real treat as the N.I. Championship crews lock horns with the Protyre Asphalt Championship competitors.

The entry list reads like a who's who of UK and Irish rallying with many of the leading lights featuring on the list...

Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick won last year's Down Rally so they have the coveted 'number one' on the doors of their Ford Fiesta R5. The former Northern Ireland champions will lead the field off the start ramp on Saturday morning before tacking 11 stages in the County Down area.

The crew will face stiff opposition from a host of World Rally Car and state-of-the-art R5 machinery with the likes of Welshman Melvyn Evans (Fabia R5), Thomas Preston (Fiesta WRC), current N.I. Championship leader Derek McGeehan (Mini WRC) and reigning N.I. champion Derek McGarrity (Fiesta WRC) all more than capable of stealing Greer's thunder.

Others that will be in the mix include Daniel Harper in his Mini WRC as well as Jon Armstrong who will be one to watch on what will be his first outing with a World Rally Car specification Mini.

Stephen Wright, who won the opening round of this year's McGrady Insurance N.I. Championship, is back in action after missing round three. He completes the top 10 seeds in his Fiesta R5 but there are plenty more who will be eyeing the silverware...

Meirion Evans is back after finishing fifth overall last year and now that he has gained some local knowledge, he will be aiming to power his Fabia R5 back into the top positions once again. Others worth watching include Wayne Sisson in his Evo X as well as Steve Wood and John Stone who are both in Fiesta WRCs.

Stephen Simpson is another Fiesta R5 mounted pilot while another former N.I. Champion, Stuart Biggerstaff, has made the switch to a Fiesta R5. Meanwhile, multiple N.I. Champion Kenny McKinstry intends to drive his Impreza WRC and there's a host of powerful two-wheel drive entertainers too...

They include Camillus Bradley, James Ford, Darren Atkinson, Damian Toner, Wesley Patterson and championship sponsor Fintan McGrady - to name just a few - all in a variety of powerful rear-wheel drive Escorts.

Outline Itinerary

The rally starts on Saturday morning with a loop of three stages, including a stage at the Eikon Centre where crews will stay to service their cars ahead of loop two. The second loop is the longest of the event with five stages, including the popular Hamilton's Folly test, before competitors return to service once again.

They will tackle another three stages in mid-afternoon and the rally winners will be crowned back at the Eikon Centre shortly after 5pm. Full details including an itinerary and stage maps can be found in the official event programme which is available from stockists throughout counties Down and Antrim.

A full entry list can be found online at bit.ly/downrallyentry. Event news and updates will be provided during the event at www.nirallychampionship.com and fb.com/nirallying.

ENDS.

Published on  August 14th, 2019