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North Armagh Motor Club Ltd was originally known as North Armagh Motorcycle and Car Club Ltd, and more specifically the “car section”, which was formally constituted in 1969.

Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally

Last year’s winner Darren Gass in his Subaru World Rally Car heads a strong invited entry for this Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally. Darren will have his sister Kerrie co-drivng this time, on what will be her first rally, reflecting the great family day out spirit of North Armagh Motor Club’s Lurgan Park showcase event.

Armagh man Darren, a former British Junior Rally Champion, will still be taking the rally seriously. He will be driving his recently acquired Solo Petroleum backed Subaru, which he took to victory on the ALMC Stages. Darren commented on the run-in to the event. “I’m going to try my best to win. It won’t be easy, especially with Kenny McKinstry and some of the other top drivers in the entry.”

Fresh from the thronged rally launch at the Rushmere Shopping Centre, where he performed “demonstration runs” in his Subaru, 11 times Lurgan Park winner Kenny McKinstry was in upbeat mood about the event. As he enjoyed lunch in Craigavon Civic Centre hosted by the Mayor, Councillor Alan Carson, Kenny declared his intention to give the rally everything. He hopes to not only round up his number of wins to a dozen, but also to capture the lion’s share of the re-introduced £2500 prize fund.

Third in the list of fifty invited drivers is multiple Circuit of Ireland winner Derek McGarrity in his Subaru. Derek missed out on winning last year’s event by a whisker and he is out to redress the balance this time. But then all the drivers in the various classes will be out to prove a point. The exciting Escort Challenge contenders will be no exception, and are headed by Wesley Patterson, Adrian Hetherington and Mickey Conlon in their respective ‘Mk2’s’.

A big point of interest on the rally will be the appearance of seven times Circuit of Ireland winner Jimmy McRae, driving a stunning 5 litre, 380hp Chevrolet Camaro engined Firenza. XS Racing will run the Firenza, and they will also launch a new F1000 Rally Championship in the Park, featuring the new Chevrolet Spark and young F1000 Junior Champion driver Cameron Davies.

In addition there will be an historic section on the rally, an appearance by the iconic rally cars of the ‘Slowly Sideways Club’, and a huge display of Rally Sport clothing by Event Sponsor, Orchard Motorsport.

Although there are several female co-drivers in the event, there is just one driver listed, Emma McKinstry. Banbridge based Emma will drive one her father Kenny’s Subaru Impreza WRC’s. Former works Peugeot driver Garry Jennings from Kesh is the top GpN seed in his Lancer, with Irish Forestry Champion Pat O’Connell from Cashel in Tipperary the 2nd GpN seed and he rounds off the top ten. Gilford’s Mark Doyle has Bobby Campbell co-driving in his Celica GT4. Bobby co-drove the late Bertie Law to victory in 1984.

As well as backing from Brian Stinson’s Armagh based company, Orchard Motorsport, the rally enjoys the support of Craigavon Borough Council, and that includes the use of the beautiful Lurgan Park. Once again the central paddock area in the Park will provide a social focal point as well as the scene of some frantic activity as the cars are refettled between the 8 special stages. This will be the 32nd running of the rally in Lurgan Park.

Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Top 10
1. Darren Gass/Kerrie Gass – Subaru Impreza WRC
2. Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr – Subaru Impreza WRC
3. Derek McGarrity/James McKee – Subaru Impreza WRC
4. Derek McGeehan/Lawrie Smith – Toyota Corolla WRC
5. Garry Jennings/Kerry McCarter – Mitsubishi Lancer
6. Denis Biggerstaff/Stuart Biggerstaff – Subaru Impreza WRC
7. Mark Doyle/Bobby Campbell – Toyota Celica GT4
8. Gary White/Alan Purdy – Subaru Impreza
9. John McGaffin/Lesley McGaffin – Subaru Impreza WRC
10. Pat O’Connell/Matt Wylie – Mitsubishi Lancer

More details are available from

Festival of Motorsport Entry List Revealed

The seeded entry list for this weekend’s Burkes of Cornascriebe Loughgall Festival of Motorsport has been revealed!

DOWNLOAD NOW to find out who will be in action this Saturday!

North Armagh Motor Club Ltd Statement

The first round of the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship, held at Kirkistown Race Circuit on Saturday 19 February 2011, was abandoned.

Plumbridge businessman, Cyril Doherty (competitor no. 20), suffered a suspected fatal heart attack whilst competing in his Subaru on special stage four of the rally.

The car came to a halt against the tyre barrier and medical and emergency services were with Mr. Doherty within two minutes. The medical team then travelled with Mr Doherty to the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, where very sadly he was pronounced dead.

The rally was immediately abandoned and final results declared as at the finish of Special Stage 3.

All members and officials of North Armagh Motor Club Ltd. wish to pass on their sincere condolences to Cyril Doherty’s family, friends and rally team.


North Armagh Motor Club Ltd.

Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally

This Saturday (31st July) some of the best rally drivers and cars in the country will compete through the lanes of the beautiful Lurgan Park. The rally, which first took place in 1980 and was won by the late Bertie Fisher, is a real showcase event featuring both exciting competition and a unique social atmosphere radiating from the central service paddock.

Banbridge man Kenny McKinstry has rightly been dubbed ‘King of the Park’. He drives one of his own Subaru World Rally Cars. Kenny will be doing his utmost to make it his 12th Lurgan Park win this weekend. He has maintained over the years, that to win in Lurgan Park, “you have to get the first stage just right, as well as the final one, plus all the stages in between, as the slightest slip can cost victory.”

Kenny will however face strong opposition. Ironically, if Kenny doesn’t win, he could well be beaten by one of his own cars. He has hired Subarus to Darren Gass and Garry Jennings and also prepares Dubliner Kevin Barrett’s Triton Showers backed Impreza.

Derek McGarrity, this year’s Circuit of Ireland winner and former multiple Tarmac Champion, could perhaps be McKinstry’s chief stumbling block for that 12th win. McGarrity has come close to winning Lurgan Park several times, but it has always slipped from the Glengormley man’s grasp.

As ever, Lurgan Park has a select and very interesting entry. There are a couple of Metro 6R4’s to provide a contrast to the Subarus and there is a terrific line-up of Escorts, which should provide plenty of all sideways exciting motoring. Several drivers are making quite a trip to compete on the event. Callum Duffy and James MacGillivray are bringing their respective Escorts from the Isle of Mull. Ray Brammer is travelling from Kings Lynn in Norfolk to compete in his Subaru Impreza WRC.

Just over forty cars will tackle the 8 special stages and an added bonus this year will be a high quality selection of rally cars from the GpB era – a full house Audi Quattro, a Peugeot 205T16, a Ford RS200 and several more equally exciting cars. The start ramp will be in the park beside the paddock. The first car goes over the ramp at 10.15, with the first stage commencing at 10.30. The champagne finish should take place at 5pm.

The Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Top Ten
1 Kenny McKinstry/Emma McKinstry (Impreza WRC)
2 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC)
3 Darren Gass/Andrew Cullen (Impreza WRC)
4 Kevin Barrett/Paul Barrett (Impreza WRC)
5 Garry Jennings/Damien McPartland (Impreza WRC)
6 Mark Doyle/Cormac Doyle (Toyota Celica)
7 Gary White/Alan Purdy (Impreza WRC)
8 Denis Biggerstaff/Graeme Stewart (Metro 6R4)
9 Brian O’Mahony/John Higgins (Metro 6R4)
10 John McGaffin/Lesley McGaffin (Impreza WRC)

At a reception in Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre on Monday to launch this year’s rally, the Worshipful the Mayor of Craigavon, Alderman Stephen Moutray MLA, emphasised on behalf of Craigavon Borough Council how welcome the event is in Craigavon. Orchard Motorsport’s Brian Stinson commented, “This is my 2nd year to sponsor the rally and it is great that in these difficult times it is shaping up so well. The rally has a great history and I’m more than happy to play my part in keeping that going.”

Clerk of the Course Barry Taggart and Event Director William Fullerton represented the organisers, The North Armagh Motor Club. William Fullerton commented. “The event has reached such a state of sophistication over the years that without the help of many organisations and individuals the rally wouldn’t be able to take place, and on behalf of the organisers we express our sincere thanks.”

Issued by: Brian & Liz Patterson:
Patterson Agencies Ltd.
Tel: 02890 844111: Email:

Thousands raised for charity at Festival of Motorsport!

Historic Results l Modified Results l Autotest Results

(Image: William Neill) Thousands of pounds have been raised for Cancer Research UK (Northern Ireland) and other Lions charities after Saturday’s Burkes of Cornascriebe New Holland Agriculture Loughgall Festival of Motorsport!

The event, which was based in Loughgall Country Park and jointly organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd and Armagh Lions Club, attracted thousands of spectators to the venue for the motorsport extravaganza.

Featuring the Historic Rally Car Challenge, Apple Blossom Autotest, static classic and historic car displays, as well as an autojumble, the event provided plenty of entertainment for spectators who flocked to the beautiful venue.

“It was fantastic to see so many people in Loughgall Country Park helping to raise funds for some very worthwhile charities,” said Malcolm Dawson of the Armagh Lions Club organising committee. “Everyone who attended played their part in raising money, at the same time as enjoying a great day out for all the family. Thank you to everyone who helped and we’re already looking forward to another successful Festival in 2011.”

Mayor of Armagh City and District Council, Councillor Jim Speers, flagged the Historic Rally Car Challenge competitors away from the start ramp. More than 60 crews tackled eight stages through the Loughgall Country Park lanes, which remained dry throughout the course of the day.

In the historic category, it was Tommy O’Connell who headed crews home in his Ford Escort RS1800. Navigated by Sean Magee, the result marked an early 21st birthday present for the Dungiven driver, in what was his maiden rally victory.

“I’m over the moon!” O’Connell said afterwards. “It was very close between myself and Keith McIvor. Thankfully it stayed dry, or I reckon it would have been even closer!”

Two stages from home, less than seven seconds separated O’Connell and McIvor. Sadly for challenger McIvor, his Porsche 911 broke its differential during the penultimate stage, slamming the brakes on his rally.

Just 12 months earlier, it was O’Connell’s father, Seamus, who won the event. But this year it was O’Connell junior who was overjoyed when he lifted the winning trophy. He finished ahead of the Mini Cooper S belonging to Colin McDowell and Ian Evans, with Paul Cartmill and Adrian Park third in their Sunbeam.

In the modified category, Wesley Patterson and Martin McGarrity again proved to be unbeatable in their Mark 2 Escort. The crew have dominated the event in recent years so there were few surprises when they emerged victorious once again.

Patterson arrived home almost 36 seconds clear of second placed Mervyn Wedlock and Damien McCabe, with Michael Conlon and Aaron McQuaid third. Such was the domination of the Escort crews the only one competitor inside the top 15 overall was not driving an Escort!

The Festival also featured the Apple Blossom Autotest, which was organised in conjunction with MG Car Club Ltd (Ulster). A number of leading autotesters displayed their skills, with Robert Dickson emerging as the winner in his Mini Special.

Dickson performed some inch perfect driving manoeuvres to take the victory from Mark King’s Vauxhall Nova, while Noel Cochrane was third in his Ford Special.

“Thanks to everyone who attended to make it another successful day for the charities,” said Historic Rally Car Challenge Clerk of the Course, William Fullerton. “Thanks must also go to Burkes of Cornascriebe New Holland Agriculture who were title sponsors for the second year, as well as many other associate sponsors.”

There were numerous rally winners and autotest winners, but the real Festival of Motorsport victors were Cancer Research UK (Northern Ireland) and other charities. Monies are still being counted but it is expected that a substantial amount has been raised once again.

With another successful event behind them, Armagh Lions Club and North Armagh Motor Club Ltd are already making plans for 2011. More details will be announced in due course on


Historic Rally Car Challenge – top 5 overall

1 Tommy O’Connell/Sean Magee (Ford Escort RS1800) 34m15.8s
2 Colin McDowell/Ian Evans (Mini Cooper S) 36m23.1s
3 Paul Cartmill/Adrian Park (Talbot Sunbeam Ti) 37m00.8s
4 John Hughes/Mark Daly (Ford Escort Mk I) 37m06.0s
5 John Byrne/Keith Byrne (Talbot Sunbeam GLS) 37m11.8s

Modified category – top 5 overall

1 Wesley Patterson/Martin McGarrity (Ford Escort Mk II RS) 31m32.2s
2 Mervyn Wedlock/Damien McCabe (Ford Escort) 32m08.1s
3 Michael Conlon/Aaron McQuaid (Ford Escort) 32m09.2s
4 Martin Teggart/Russell Harold (Ford Escort) 32m29.5s
5 James Kennedy/Rodney Torrington (Ford Escort Mk II) 32m43.1s

Apple Blossom Autotest – top 5 overall

1 Robert Dickson (Mini Special) 542.5
2 Mark King (Vauxhall Nova) 594.9
3 Noel Cochrane (Ford Special) 612.1
4 Richard Allen (Vauxhall Corsa) 616.5
5 Gareth Dillon (Sylva Stryker) 618.7

Historic Results l Modified Results l Autotest Results

Burkes of Cornascriebe New Holland Agriculture Festival of Motorsport leading entries announced!

DOWNLOAD: Full entry list
DOWNLOAD: Final Instructions

The leading entries for this Saturday’s Burkes of Cornascriebe New Holland Agriculture Loughgall Festival of Motorsport, which is jointly organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd and Armagh Lions Club, have been announced at Armagh Council Offices.

The event, which is in aid of Cancer Research UK (Northern Ireland) and other Lions charities, has received another stunning entry for the Historic Rally Car Challenge and Apple Blossom Autotest. The Festival will also feature a large array of static historic and classic car displays, as well as an autojumble.

Armagh Lions Club member, Malcolm Dawson, said: “The Club is very grateful to all of the event sponsors but in particular North Armagh Motor Club. Without their support and expertise over the years, we would not have been able to support the many good causes that we have.”

Based within the beautiful surroundings of Loughgall Country Park this Saturday 3 July, a wide range of machinery has entered the Historic Rally Car Challenge. From Porsches to Escorts, as well as Sunbeams, Minis, Kadetts and Anglias, this weekend’s spectacular will provide a real blast to the past!

“I’m delighted to once again be involved with this year’s event,” said event sponsor Harry Burke, director of Burkes of Cornascriebe. “The classic car show, Apple Blossom autotest and high speed historic rally cars from years gone by will be a fantastic spectacle.”

Entries in the Historic Rally Car Challenge include Keith McIvor in his Porsche 911. He will lead the field away from the start ramp, while Alan Jardine, who briefly led the 2009 event, starts with number two on his doors.

John Keatley, another competitor in a Porsche 911, is next in line ahead of Tommy O’Connell. O’Connell finished third last year behind his father, Seamus, and second placed Dessie McCartney. Neither of two drivers have entered the 2010 event, leaving O’Connell, who only started rallying in 2009, with high hopes of an even better finish.

The modified category has an equally impressive line-up with last year’s winner, Wesley Patterson, topping the entry in his Mark 2 Escort ahead of Mervyn Wedlock. They will face stiff opposition from the likes of James Kennedy, Martin Teggart and Michael Conlon.

Almost 20 entries have been received for the Apple Blossom Autotest, which is being assisted by MG Car Club Ltd (Ulster). Competitors include Robert Dickson in his Mini Special, Trevor Faulkner (Caterham S3), David Jenkins (Beach Buggy) as well as Adam and Wallace McKee in their Chevette.

“It’s great to have the support from an enthusiastic Armagh City and District Council as well as Burkes of Cornascriebe and New Holland Agriculture,” Clerk of the Course William Fullerton said. “Working with Armagh Lions Club for the fourth year in a row has been a pleasure, and we’re looking forward to a safe and enjoyable day.”

Gates open at 8.30am and the admission fee of £10 includes free car parking and use of the park and ride system, while accompanied under-12s can enter free of charge. The Historic Rally Car Challenge will start at 9.50am and all proceedings will be finished by 5.30pm, when prizegiving will take place in the centre arena. More details can be found online at


Historic Rally Car Challenge – top 10 seeds

1 Keith McIvor/TBA (Porsche 911)
2 Alan Jardine/Jim McSherry (Ford Escort Mk1)
3 John Keatley/TBA (Porsche 911)
4 Tommy O’Connell/Sean Magee (Ford Escort RS1800)
5 Gary Owens/Ciaran Donnelly (Ford Escort)
6 Philip McDowell/Thomas Purdy (Ford Escort Mk1)
7 John Byrne/Keith Byrne (Talbot Sunbeam GLS)
8 Colin McDowell/Ian Evans (Mini Cooper S)
9 Rory Tougher/Harold Armour (Morris Mini Cooper S)
10 Malcolm Pedlow/Billy Regan (BMW 2002)

Modified category – top 5 seeds

22 Wesley Patterson/Martin McGarrity (Ford Escort Mk2 RS)
23 Mervyn Wedlock/Damien McCabe (Ford Escort)
24 James Kennedy/TBA (Ford Escort Mk2)
25 Martin Teggart/Terence Teggart (Ford Escort)
26 Michael Conlon/TBA (Ford Escort)

DOWNLOAD: Full entry list
DOWNLOAD: Final Instructions

Regs and entry form – Burkes of Cornascriebe New Holland Agriculture Loughgall Festival of Motorsport

Regulations and entry forms are now available for download – CLICK HERE.

For more information about the event, contact entries secretary, Keith Somerville, on 07745 959 141.

All Systems Go For Loughgall’s Charity Motorsport Festival!


Plans are already well advanced for the 2010 Loughgall Festival of Motorsport, which will be held in aid of charity on Saturday 3 July.

This year’s festival, which will be located within the confines of the beautiful Loughgall Country Park, will again be sponsored by Burkes of Cornascriebe New Holland Agriculture, and supported by Armagh City and District Council.

“I’m delighted to once again be involved with this year’s event,” said Harry Burke, director of Burkes of Cornascriebe. “Last year’s Festival was a massive success and I’m pleased to be able to support such a high profile event once more.”

The Festival, which is jointly organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd and Armagh Lions Club, will feature a Historic Rally Car Challenge, Apple Blossom Autotest, static displays of vintage and classic cars, as well as an autojumble.

Now in its fifth year, the festivities will again be a huge hit with spectators, and it is all in aid of Action Cancer UK (Northern Ireland) and other Lions charities.

Armagh Lions Club member Malcolm Dawson said: “The Club is very grateful to all of the event sponsors but in particular North Armagh Motor Club. Without their support and expertise over the years, we would not have been able to support the many good causes that we have. Indeed, thanks to the success of last year’s event, we were able to donate £10,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support.”

There will be four main themes to this year’s festival, with the Historic Rally Car Challenge, Apple Blossom Autotest, static displays and autojumble.

The rally will consist of eight all tarmac special stages, and there will be the added bonus of a cavalcade run through the stage by special historic rally cars and classic vintage vehicles during the midday break.

Meanwhile, the Apple Blossom Autotest, which is being organised in conjunction with MG Car Club Ltd (Ulster), will run independently of the rally. It will feature mostly classic cars and will involve some spectacular precision driving.

Clerk of the Course, William Fullerton, said: “Every year, the success of the Festival of Motorsport depends upon the co-operation between a large number of volunteers and organisations.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank Armagh City and District Council, as well as the Department of Agriculture, for the use of Loughgall Manor Estate and Loughgall Country Park,” Fullerton continued. “Without their continual support through providing such a wonderful venue, an event of this calibre would simply not be possible.”

The event provides a perfect opportunity for a family outing, with entertainment for all ages guaranteed. Free car parking will be in operation during the day.

An admission fee of £10 will be payable at the entrance gates, which open at 8.30am on Saturday 3 July.

The Historic Rally Car Challenge will start at 9.30am and all proceedings will be completed by 5.30pm, when the prize-giving will take place in the centre arena.


Orchard Lurgan Park Blossoms

(Image: Jonathan MacDonald) Plans are well advanced for the showcase 31st July Lurgan Park Rally.

Armagh man Brian Stinson, through his Orchard Motorsport Company, is again lending his support as title sponsor.

Over the years Lurgan Park has built up a superb high profile reputation, not just for the quality of rallying competition, but also as a great family friendly day out around the central paddock of this beautiful parkland. It is fitting then that Craigavon Borough Council is again lending their support.

Last year Kenny McKinstry won the rally for an astonishing 11th time and the driver who finished 3rd, Derek McGarrity, seems pretty determined to stop McKinstry making it a dozen wins!

 Speaking from his Glengormley base, McGarrity, who is the current NI Rally Champion and who has won a string of events this year, including the Circuit of Ireland, said, “I feel I should have won Lurgan Park a couple of times over the years, but circumstances intervened. It is my intention to win this time. I’m certainly going to try my utmost and will have my Subaru specially set up for it.”

The rally will have 8 special stages with a dedicated category for the ‘Mk2 Escort Challenge’, plus a special class for the exciting Metro 6R4’s. There will be a collection of exciting GpB Rally cars running between the stages.

In addition Orchard Motorsport will be introducing several innovations which will be designed to raise the profile and appeal of this very popular day out.

The North Armagh Motor Club is again organising the event, as it has done since the first Lurgan Park Rally in 1980. William Fullerton is the Event Director once again and Barry Taggart is the Clerk of the Course.

Rainbow Telecom Loughgall Stages 2010 results

Wesley Patterson and Martin McGarrity returned to winning ways at last weekend’s Rainbow Telecom Loughgall Stages Rally. Driving their Mark 2 Escort, they headed home Mervyn Wedlock and Damien McCabe by 9.5 seconds.

John and Jordan Waring were next in line, followed by Adrian Hetherington and Gary Nolan, with Martin Teggart and Paul Tumilty completing the top five.

The top eight places were all held by Escort drivers.


Rainbow Telecom Loughgall Stages – finals and entry list

Seeded Loughgall Stages Entry List 2010 – DOWNLOAD

Finals Instructions (1) – DOWNLOAD

Rainbow Telecom Loughgall Stages Rally

North Armagh Motor Club are running a Single Venue Stage Rally on Saturday 22nd May 2010 at Loughgall Country Park Co Armagh.

The Event will be decided over 6 Special Stages on 100% Tarmac roads within the grounds of the Country Park and will contain two wheel drive Rally Cars, mostly Ford Escort MK 2!

We are most grateful to Rainbow Telecom for their Sponsorship, and Armagh Council for the great venue.

Admission is by programme only at a cost of £10.00, (children under 16 free), action starts at 9.30am.

DOWNLOADS: Regulations and Entry Form

A Night to Remember!

North Armagh Motor Club Ltd is hosting a retro film show, featuring a look back at early Club events, at 8pm on Friday 12 March 2010 at Tandragee Golf Club, Co. Armagh. 

Early film footage of both Club and other Motorsport events from the 1970s, as recorded in Cine Super 8 by past club committee member, Peter Morrow. The film has been digitized and will be shown as a professional AV presentation on large screen (unfortunately no soundtrack). 

We hope that past and present committee and club members (limited to about 50 places), some of whom may be seen on the footage, will be there to share their memories, enjoy the informal chat and meet with old friends.

Events featured include:

Nutts Corner Rallysprint
Burmah Special Stage rally
Circuit of Ireland
Other events if time permits

We want to encourage discussion and comment throughout the evening at regular intervals during the film show to create the missing soundtrack so to speak.

 Cost £5.00 per person to cover hot buffet supper during interval.

 Please make an effort to come along for what should be a good night’s craic! Respond ASAP to William Fullerton, tel. 07703 219742

Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity is Kirkistown King!

Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity, the reigning Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Champion, opened his 2010 account with victory at the opening round of this year’s series.

Organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd, the Pedro Pet Foods Rally featured six stages, all held within the confines of County Down’s Kirkistown Race Circuit on Saturday 27 February.

And it was McGarrity, together with navigator James McKee, who immediately made his intentions clear. Fastest time over the opening stage by an impressive 16.9 seconds left the crew’s rivals trailing in their dust.

That set the scene for the day as the Glengormley driver went on to secure a full complement of fastest stage times, winning the opening Hankook N.I. Championship round by almost 90 seconds.

While McGarrity raced ahead towards the overall rally spoils, a number of crews tussled for the runner-up positions. Unfortunately for number two seeds, Gary White and Dominic Carson, their challenge failed to materialise. Wheel studs sheered on their rally car at the start-line of stage one, causing a wheel to fall off!

Instead, Gary and Keith McEvoy were the surprised early second placed holders with their older specification Mitsubishi Lancer. The crew finished the opening stage 2.1 seconds clear of George Robinson and Tommy Speers, while Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer topped the Group N category and held fourth.

The McEvoy brothers lost some time on stage two, dropping behind both Robinson and Johnston, while a sleep deprived 21-year-old Stuart Biggerstaff also moved in front. The young Dromara man, who claimed second overall on his debut stage rally at the same venue just a few weeks earlier, was second only to event leader McGarrity over stage two.

“I didn’t get much sleep the night before the rally,” Biggerstaff admitted. “I was up late getting the car ready for the event but that’s all part of the fun!”

Second placed George Robinson was back up to speed on stage three, and he attempted to consolidate his second placed position over the ensuing tests. While young Biggerstaff moved ahead of Raymond Johnston to take third, it looked as though Robinson held a near certain second overall.

But in rallying, nothing is ever certain. Going into the final stage, Robinson was almost 24 seconds clear of Biggerstaff when mechanical problems hit the building contractor’s Subaru. He limped through the final miles but Biggerstaff pounced at the last gasp, snatching second overall from Robinson by less than five seconds!

While Robinson completed a top three of Subaru drivers, fourth overall for the Mitsubishi Lancer belonging to Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer was enough to seal the Sunoco Fuels Group N spoils.

Johnston fended off a challenge from Kieron Graffin and Neil Doherty, forcing the chasing crew to settle for fifth overall and second in Group N. Meanwhile, Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont completed the top six and finished third in Group N.

Unfortunately, none of these drivers registered for the Hankook Group N prize drive, which gives an opportunity for crews to win an expenses paid drive on an Intercontinental Rally Challenge event in 2011. The highest placed registered driver was Mark Donnelly, with Martin Collins second ahead of Stephen Wright.

In the Hankook two-wheel-drive category, Drew Stewart and Steven Park clung on to the top spot to seal the win, as well as seventh overall.

In the Montgomery Motorsport historic category, Philip Hunter and Michael Faloon sealed maximum points as well as 24th overall. They finished ahead of Andy Johnston and Philip Mills, while Harry Brown and Martin McGrath were third.

The Superdrive MSA N.I. Junior Rally Championship sees Stuart Biggerstaff take an early lead from Stephen Wright. Wright also finished the event as the leading Fiesta driver, taking the M-Sport Bonus Parts scheme prize.

Gary McEvoy heads the Group A Cup, and finally, Samantha Thom heads the Ladies Championship from Amanda Gaffney and Roisin Boyd.

Round two of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship will take competitors to Bishopscourt on 13 March. Based a few miles outside Downpatrick, the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally will feature six stages and more than 40 stage miles. More details can be found online at


Pedro Pet Foods Rally top 10 results

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 27m32.5s
2 Stuart Biggerstaff/Kenny Hull (Impreza WRC) 28m55.8s
3 George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Impreza WRC) 29m00.6s
4 Raymond Johnston/Fabian McAleer (Lancer Evo 9) 29m07.0s
5 Kieron Graffin/Neil Doherty (Lancer Evo) 29m16.1s
6 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Lancer Evo 9) 29m21.0s
7 Drew Stewart/Steven Park (Escort Mk2) 29m21.1s
8 Terry McGonigle/Damian Caldwell (Lancer Evo 9) 29m25.9s
9 Gary McEvoy/Keith McEvoy (Lancer Evo) 29m35.1s
10 Alan Burrows/Gavin Burrows (Lancer Evo 9) 29m35.4s

North Armagh Motor Club hosts round one of N.I. rally series

It’s time to blow off those winter cobwebs for Northern Ireland’s leading rally talent as round one of the 2010 Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship, Kirkistown’s Pedro Pet Foods Stages, kicks into action this Saturday!

Organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd, the County Down venue has attracted more than 100 crews to this weekend’s event. The popular season opener, which is held on a mixture of loose and sealed surfaces, will feature six stages within the confines of the Kirkistown Race Circuit.

“We’re very pleased to have secured support from Alan Atcheson of Pedro Pet Foods,” said Clerk of the Course, Eric McCombe. “The event would simply not be possible without his support and assistance.”

Reigning champions, Derek McGarrity and James McKee, are at the top of the entry list in their S12B specification Subaru Impreza WRC. McGarrity has a busy weekend ahead, as he intends to contest the opening round of the Irish National Championship which takes place on Sunday.

Gary White and Dominic Carson start the event at number two in their Subaru Impreza, with George Robinson and Tommy Speers also in a Subaru at number three. Young Dromara driver Stuart Biggerstaff completes a quartet of Subarus at number four with Kenny Hull calling the notes.

Biggerstaff was the sensation of the New Year Stages Rally, which was held at the same venue. He finished second overall at what was his first stage rally, enjoying a dream debut behind the wheel. Biggerstaff starts ahead of the Escort WRC belonging to Dominic McNeill and Martin Carey.

In the Sunoco Fuels Group N category, Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer start the event as the top seeds. They will be joined by Mark Massey and former Northern Ireland Rally Champion, Connor McCloskey.

“I’m going to start the season in a (Mitsubishi Lancer) Evo,” McCloskey said, “but I may switch to a world rally car for one or two events. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs this year thanks to Hankook so I’m really looking forward to it!”

The two-wheel-drive category has also received a strong entry which is headed by Gareth and Jonathan Nevin. They start the event at number 20, with the likes of David Armstrong, Ricky McAlonen, Terrence Teggart, Drew Stewart and Fintan McGrady all chasing the laurels.

There are a number of fantastic prizes on offer during the 2010 season. The highest placed Group N driver at the end of the year will have their entry fee, tyres and ferry costs paid to give them an opportunity to take part in a European round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

There is also a Junior Prize Drive on offer which is open to competitors who are under 26 years old. An all expenses paid drive in an overseas International event with a works specification car is up for grabs. Junior competitors will be assessed by a panel of judges who will monitor all competitors on a variety of aspects during the season.

Superdrive Motorsports Centre is also supporting the Junior category with dedicated training and cash vouchers, while Sunoco Fuels is also supporting the Group N category with a drum of fuel up for grabs after each event.

Montgomery Motorsport has again pledged support for the Historic category, while is sponsoring a new Group A cup. M-Sport, the company behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, is also supporting the series through the launch of a new bonus parts scheme.

The Pedro Pet Foods Stages will get underway at approximately 9am this Saturday 27 February. Competitors will tackle six stages before the winning is crowned as the champagne finish in Kirkistown Race Circuit. More details, including a full entry list, can be found online at


Pedro Pet Foods Stages – top 10 entries

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza S12B)
2 Gary White/Dominic Carson (Impreza)
3 George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Impreza WRC)
4 Stuart Biggerstaff/Kenny Hull (Impreza WRC)
5 Dominic McNeill/Martin Carey (Escort WRC)
6 Raymond Johnston/Fabian McAleer (Lancer Evo 9)
7 Mark Massey/TBA (Lancer Evo)
8 Connor McCloskey/Francis Regan (Lancer Evo 9)
9 Brendan O’Hagan/Paul Hone (Impreza WRC)
10 Gary McEvoy/Keith McEvoy (Lancer Evo)