The Price is Wright!

Stephen Wright and Keith Rainey have won the Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages Rally, round one of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship!
After what was a drama-filled day, Wright powered his Ford Fiesta R5 to the finish line 6.2 seconds ahead of the Skoda Fabia R5 belonging to Darren and Nathan Gass while Derek and Mark McGeehan were third in their Mini WRC.
The event started with Derek McGarrity and Kieron Graffin setting the pace in their ex-Martin Cairns Ford Fiesta WRC. The crew simply annihilated the field on the opening stage when they emerged more than eight seconds clear of nearest rival Wright.
McGarrity continued to set the pace over the ensuing tests while others haemorrhaged time. Wright dropped down the order with a couple of spins while Darren Gass incurred a 10-second penalty for cutting a corner.
“We went on the inside of a tractor tyre to get past another car on the second stage,” Gass explained. “We had probably already lost 10 seconds being stuck behind them!”
However, it all changed when the heavens opened just before the start of stage four. As the crews started to line up for the start, a deluge of rain at the Kirkistown Race Circuit venue transformed the conditions.
Many of the front-runners were caught out on the wrong tyres, including rally leader McGarrity, who caught another car and seemingly dropped 25 seconds to the fastest time set by Wright.
“Our time for that stage is 30 seconds slower than it should be,” McGarrity said at the time. “OK, we’re still leading but that’s not the point. I don’t know if it’s going to be corrected or not.”
The erroneous time dropped him into the clutches of Stephen Wright. He had set fastest time on the test and jumped from seventh overall into second position, just 4.4 seconds behind McGarrity.
However, the suspect time was to be the least of his worries. He was back on form through stage five and set another fastest time – his fourth of the day – to lead the event by 5.4 seconds with one stage remaining. Then disaster struck.
After the finish of the stage and as he returned to his service bay, flames were spotted under the bonnet of his Fiesta WRC. His crew grabbed the fire extinguishers and extinguished the fire but his Fiesta was going no further.
“The car became too hot and melted a pipe,” one of his mechanics explained. “It was a plastic pipe so we couldn’t fix it for the final stage.”
McGarrity’s exit put Stephen Wright in prime position for the rally win. He entered the final test with 4.8 seconds in hand over Darren and Nathan Gass. Another solid run ensured that the Newbliss man secured victory as well as maximum points in the McGrady Insurance N.I. Rally Championship!
“We made life difficult for ourselves!” Wright admitted, referring to his two spins. “We dropped quite a lot of time on stages two and three but then we got a lucky break with a good tyre choice on stage four. We were a bit fortunate in that our seeding was quite far back so we had a bit more foresight (when it came to the weather conditions and tyre choice) than the rest of our competitors.”
“I’m very happy with the day out and it was great to have Keith navigating for me. He’s always on the spanners and always keeping this car in absolutely top shape. It was great to have him alongside and he was able to tweak things through the day to help get us here.”

He added: “We didn’t set out this year with any particular championship in mind…but this win certainly makes it more tempting to do the Northern Ireland Championship!”
Coming home in second position, Darren and Nathan Gass were left rueing that 10-second penalty but the crew were gracious in defeat as they congratulated the rally winners.
“We caught other competitors on almost every stage,” a resigned Gass said, “but what can you do? It’s the nature of these events.”
In third overall, Derek and Mark McGeehan echoed Gass’ thoughts.
“Catching cars is always an issue,” Derek said. “We had it four times in a row but we still had a good day.”
The Mini WRC crew were pleased with the result, especially after the opening stage when they couldn’t understand how they were so much slower than early leader McGarrity. However, they picked up the pace to rise from a low point of seventh overall to finish in the top three.
Former N.I. champion, Kenny McKinstry, didn’t escape unscathed in the difficult conditions as he was another driver who lost time with a spin. He kept his head together and eventually finish fourth overall ahead of Alan Carmichael and Samuel Hamill who enjoyed a day of testing their Hyundai R5.
“We had some big drifts and the car handles brilliantly,” a delighted Carmichael said. “It does everything well. It’s so nimble compared to everything else. I came out for a good test and that’s what we had so I’m happy.”
Joe McQuillan and Charlotte McDowall were equally delighted with their sixth overall finish. They lost a few seconds with a misfire but ultimately it didn’t cost them a position at the finish.
It was McQuillan’s second event in his Impreza WRC and he also emerged victorious in his much-hyped battle with friend and rival, Brian Watson, who lost time on the opening stage with power-steering trouble.
Sean Devine made a successful return to the N.I. Championship after a long layoff. Navigated by Sean Ferris, they spent the day learning their new mount in preparation for the long season ahead.
“It was my first day out in the car and I’ve got a lot to learn but I enjoyed it,” Devine revealed. “I’m looking forward to doing the full Northern Ireland Championship.”
Two-Wheel Drive
In the two-wheel drive battle, it looked as though Keith White and Paul Mulholland were going to edge away with the category win until rain struck on that fourth stage. The crew were caught out on the wrong tyres and dropped like a stone behind their main rivals.
“We were never going to catch James Kennedy after that fourth stage,” White said. “So I just slid the car about on the last stage and enjoyed it.”
Instead, it was the reigning two-wheel drive champions, James and Heather Kennedy, who claimed the category victory. They had trailed White until the wet stage four gave them an opportunity to move in front.
Running a bit further down the order, Kennedy had the opportunity to fit some wet tyres to his Escort and powered into the lead. That proved to be the turning point of the event and he stayed in front to claim the category win as well as eighth overall.
“I wasn’t looking forward to the wet at all but we had a really good run,” Kennedy said. “We had a small overshoot in the morning and I thought the power in Keith’s Escort was helping him to edge ahead in the dry conditions but then it all changed.”
White eventually finished second in the category, just outside the top 10 overall, while John Devlin and John McCarthy were third ahead of Fintan and Cormac McGrady.
Gareth and Jonathan Nevin were fifth in class and 19th overall, just a couple of seconds ahead of Drew Stewart and David White who lost third and fourth gear midway through the day. Luckily, they had a spare gearbox with them and their service crew swapped the ‘box during service, keeping them in the rally.
Unfortunately for Kyle White and Alan Purdy, they weren’t as lucky. They lost all drive towards the end of stage three and although they managed to finish the test, a damaged ignition coil put them out of the rally.
“It’s only a £15 part,” explained his father, Gary White. “We walked around to try and find a petrol road car that could donate the part to keep him in the rally but we couldn’t find a suitable car.”
And The Rest…
Richard Tannahill used the event to bed himself back into the groove after his last rally resulted in an accident. He and navigator Cheryl Tannahill climbed four places on the final stage to seal ninth overall from the Impreza belonging to James Leckey and Jordan Murphy.
With Keith White in 11th and Brian Watson in 12th, Liam McFall and Matthew McKenna enjoyed their debut drive with the ex-Niall Henry Evo X to take 13th ahead of the Fiesta WRC belonging to Dominic McNeill and Tommy Speers.
Interestingly, this year marks Speers’ 51st year competing in motorsport!
Others worth mentioning include Jonny and Simon Morrow in their stunning Mitsubishi Mirage RS. They lost a bit of time with a misfire but claimed 16th overall from the Mini WRC belonging to Nigel Feeney and Nikki Addison, who enjoyed their first visit to the Kirkistown venue.

Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages Rally 2019 – Final Instructions No 1, Scrutiny Schedule, Competitor Stage Maps and Seeded Entry List!

Final Instructions No 1, Scrutiny Schedule, Competitor Stage Maps and Seeded Entry List now available to download below;

Final Instructions No 1

Scrutiny Schedule

Competitor Stage Maps 1 & 2
3 & 4
5 & 6

Seeded Entry List

Competitors Gear Up for Kirkistown’s Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages!

Championship sponsor Fintan McGrady takes invited media out for a spin around Kirkistown Race Track. Image: Graham Curry
The 2019 McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK N.I. Stage Rally Championship gets underway this Saturday (23 February) with the Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages at Kirkistown!

An entry of more than 70 crews has been received for the popular County Down venue with a host of high-powered machinery that includes a handful of World Rally Cars and state-of-the-art R5 rally cars ready to battle for the spoils.

Reigning champion, Derek McGarrity, is expected to lead the field off the start line. The Glengormley driver has confirmed his intent to bid for a record-making ninth N.I. Rally Championship title and although he had initially planned to use his freshly rebuilt Focus WRC, the car has since been sold. Instead, he intends to drive a Fiesta WRC.

His main opposition includes a host of Mini WRC pilots. Draperstown’s Derek McGeehan is a former winner at the Kirkistown venue’s New Year Stages and he also won last year’s non-championship May Day Rally. He plans to use his Mini WRC, as does Scottish visitor Nigel Feeney.

Feeney has campaigned his Mini WRC for a couple of seasons but this will be his first foray into the N.I. Rally Championship scene. He has won a handful of events over the years and could be one to watch once he finds his bearings at the venue.

“I’m planning on doing the championship,” Feeney revealed, “but I may have to miss one or two rounds depending on work commitments.”

Meanwhile, Alan Carmichael should be up to speed after contesting last weekend’s British Rally Championship opener. The Ballymoney man has switched his Mini WRC for a Hyundai i20 R5 which he used to finish second overall at last year’s non-championship Turkey Run Rally in

Sean Devine will be among the front-runners as he makes a return to the series in a Fiesta R5. He narrowly missed out on lifting the N.I. Championship title around 10 years ago and he hasn’t had many outings since the 2009 season as he struggled with a back injury. 

Also returning to action is Brian McCloskey who, like Devine, hasn’t had many outings in recent years. In fact, it was McCloskey’s son, Connor, who denied Sean Devine the title back in 2008!

McCloskey will contest the event in a Fiesta and so too will Mark Massey. He started last year’s N.I. Championship season with a fourth overall finish at Bishopscourt and will be vying to get his 2019 campaign off to an equally good start.

Other notable entries include Dominic McNeill in a Fiesta WRC, Jonny Morrow in his beautiful Mitsubishi Mirage RS while Liam McFall intends to make his debut in the ex-Niall Henry Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.

In the two-wheel drive category, all of last year’s main contenders are in the mix including champion James Kennedy, his main 2018 rival John Devlin, plus Damian Toner and championship sponsor, Fintan McGrady.

They are joined by Keith White’s beautiful Ford Escort MkI and Kyle White returns to action in his Peugeot 208 R2 for the first time since his UlsterRally accident.

Where to Watch?

All of the action will take place within the confines of Kirkistown Race Circuit near Portavogie. The North Armagh Motor Club event will feature six stages and spectators are welcome to attend. The entry fee of £15 per person is payable to the Motor Racing Club of Ireland at the gate and includes parking.

More information, including regular updates from the event, will be available from and on the championship’s social media channels.


2019 Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages

February’s Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages Rally will host round one of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship!

Set to take place on Saturday 23 February at County Down’s Kirkistown Race Circuit, the North Armagh Motor Club event will feature six special stages based within the confines of the popular venue and includes the championship’s new Formula 1000 class for cars complying with Junior 1000 technical specifications.

“We are delighted to have again secured the support of Mooney Media and its Pacenotes Rally Magazine,” said Clerk of the Course, Barry Taggart. “We are privileged to be associated with Simon Mooney, a long-standing supporter of motorsport in general and rallying in particular.”

Pacenotes Rally Magazine was first published in 2003 and is the only dedicated rally publication in the UK and Ireland. Available from all good newsagents as well as by subscription, it is regarded as the ‘clubman’s bible’, with reports, photographs, features and interviews covering rallying around the country every month.

“I’m delighted to support North Armagh Motor Club and the opening round of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Championship,” commented Mooney Media Managing Director, Simon Mooney. “There’s always a lot of buzz surrounding the opening round of the championship so it’s great to be a part of it.”

The 2019 McGrady Insurance series is already shaping up to be a thriller. Reigning N.I. Champion, Derek McGarrity, is among those who has confirmed his intentions to contest the series as he targets a record-making ninth N.I. title.

Kenny McKinstry, Kevin Lynch and Mervyn Hill each have three titles apiece but in recent years McGarrity has accelerated into the record books. Five consecutive titles between 2012 and 2016, plus successes in 2002, 2009 and 2018 have placed him head and shoulders above his rivals.

The Glengormley driver intends to use his freshly rebuilt 2007 specification Ford Focus WRC at the opening round but he’s well-known for wheeling out a variety of machinery during the season. Will he use the same car for the entire McGrady Insurance series? Only time will tell!

The Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages returns to the series for the first time since 2017. It’s the traditional season opener and always attracts a strong entry. Volunteers who are interested in marshalling should contact Caroline McGuinness on 07792 037441.

Regulations are available from and entry forms can be submitted online at Additional championship and event information will be revealed in the coming weeks at

Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages Rally 2019 – Regulations and Online Entry Submission!

Regulations and Online Entry Submission are now available for round one of the 2019 McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship, the North Armagh Motor Club Ltd Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages Rally.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 23th February, is sponsored by Pacenotes Rally Magazine, and will feature six stages based within the confines of Co.Down’s Kirkistown Motor Racing Circuit.



Entries for the event should be completed online (including Online payment) at

Please submit your competed online entry form, including the appropriate fees and seeding information promptly in order to allow us as organisers to be able to confirm the running of the event and the availability of all the necessary services and equipment at the earliest date possible.


In order to score points in the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship, competitors MUST register. Registration for the Championship is FREE upon completion of an application via no later than 09:00hrs on the date of the first event they wish to count as a scoring round. Only those competitors who are members of North Armagh Motor Club Ltd will be eligible to score points towards the NAMC Club Championship.

Entries Secretary;

Lindsay Burke
Mobile: 07960 840182 (No Calls after 9pm Please)

Ballylisk Car Sales Targa Road Rally – Final Instructions No 1 & Entry List!

Final Instructions No 1 and Entry List for this Saturday’s Ballylisk Car Sales Targa Road Rally…



Ballylisk Car Sales Targa Road Rally – Regulations and Online Entry Submission!


Regulations are now available for the Ballylisk Car Sales Targa Road Rally. The event takes place on 13 October and will be based in Loughgall Country Park. Entries close on 06 October.



CROZIER Motorsport Engineering Clubman Rally Time Trial – Cancellation Announcement

NORTH ARMAGH MOTOR CLUB Cancellation Announcement

CROZIER Motorsport Engineering Clubman Rally Time Trial 11 August 2018

North Armagh Motor Club have reluctantly decided to cancel their forthcoming CROZIER Motorsport Engineering sponsored Rally Time Trial due to be held on Saturday 11 August 2018 at the Bluestone Motorsport centre, Craigavon.

We believe that this new Rally Special Stage venue and event format would have been well received by and a great motorsport challenge for competitors, so perhaps with this in mind we can run it next year with a full entry!

We regret having to make this decision, however, we feel that with less than 2 weeks to the event and only 5 entries received, it is better to cancel now to avoid wasted expenditure and allow everyone to make alternative arrangements for the date.

We thank Jonny Crozier, Crozier Motorsport Engineering for his support and those marshals and officials who had committed to help on the event and the competitors who did make the effort to submit an entry.

North Armagh Motor Club
31 July 2018

CROZIER Motorsport Engineering Clubman Rally Time Trial – Regulations and Online Entry Submission!

Regulations and Online Entry Submission (including Online payment) are now available for our CROZIER Motorsport Engineering Clubman Rally Time Trial.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 11th August 2018, is sponsored by CROZIER Motorsport Engineering, and will feature Six Special Stages (loose surface) each 1.2 miles long, 3 x two laps in one direction then all repeated in opposite direction. Based at BLUESTONE MOTORSPORT CENTRE, Bluestone, Craigavon, BT65 5HU.

***New Rally Special Stage Venue***

***Max. 50 entries (Dual entries available)***

***No Road Tax required***

***9 Classes including 4 Wheel Drive Cars***

***Entry Fee £100.00 or 120.00 euros***


Entries for the event should be completed online (including Online payment) at


Entries received

The entries secretary is detailed below;
Keith Somerville
63 Markethill Road, Armagh, BT60 1NX
Tel: 07745 959141

Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally – Final Instructions No 1, Scrutiny Schedule & Seeded Entry List

Final Instructions No 1, Scrutiny Schedule and Seeded Entry List for this Saturday’s Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally…






Last year’s rally winner, Armagh’s Damian Toner in his 2.5 litre MK2 Escort with navigator Joe Comerford also from Armagh, is set to headline the entry list of 65 cars, received by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd for this weekend’s Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally.

This year the list includes a number of four wheel drive entries in this highly popular Clubman event, now in its 20th year amongst which is Paul McCann from Oldcastle in his Skoda Fabia and Chris McGurk from Ballymena in the Mitsubishi Evo.

Among the regular top two wheel drive entries are Keith White(Nutts Corner), Camillus Bradley(Draperstown), David Armstrong(Markethill), John Bradley(Draperstown), James Kennedy (Antrim), Shane Cullen( Dungannon ) and John Devlin(Banbridge). We welcome back to Loughgall Cavan man Mervyn Wedlock in his Ford Escort.

Martin Hamill, Director of Rainbow Communications, Northern Ireland’s largest independent business telecoms provider said: “We are delighted to help lend our support to an event which has now become a very popular fixture not only in Armagh but the wider Northern Ireland rally calendar. On behalf of Rainbow Communications I’d like to wish all competitors the very best of luck and we look forward to welcoming rally fans old and new to this unique motor sport event.”

William Fullerton Clerk of Course said:”North Armagh Motor Club Ltd. are most grateful to Rainbow Communications for their continued generous support, also to Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, DAERA and AFBI Government Departments and NI Forest Service for the use of Loughgall Country Park, the perfect venue for this event. We look forward to another fine and safe event this year in what is expected to be excellent weather conditions.”

Rally action begins at 9.30am and will include six Special Stages using 100% tarmac roads and will conclude at 5.00pm.

Admission to the event is £10 adults which includes programme while accompanied children under the age of 16 are admitted free. Spectators can also enjoy the Historic, Classic and rally car displays in the central arena adjacent to the service area.

A few entries may still be available, contact David Bingham on 07543 890871.

Anyone available to Marshall, please contact Caroline McGuinness on 07792 037441.

Full seeded entry list will be available on Wednesday evening at

For further information please contact William Fullerton at North Armagh Motor Club Ltd on 07703 219742 or Barry Taggart on 07771 892423

Photo included of last year’s winner Damien Toner 2.5 litre MK2 Escort (credit

RAINBOW Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally – Entry Update!

RAINBOW Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally

Saturday 07 July 2018


The entry is very nearly full to the maximum of 60 competitors plus reserves and closes finally on Monday 02 July 2017. Entries only available via the RallyScore entry system on-line;
Patterson Pacenotes Safety Notes will be available from them online Orders for posting from Monday 02 July or for collection at event signing-on.

Entries received

North Armagh Motor Club Ltd.

Burkes of Cornascriebe May Targa Rally – Final Instructions No 1 and Seeded Entry List

Final Instruction No 1 and Seeded Entry List now available for this Saturday’s Burkes of Cornascriebe May Targa Rally.



Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally – Regulations and Online Entry Submission!



Regulations and Online Entry Submission (including Online payment) are now available for our Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally (The Loughgall Stages Rally 2018).

This year will be the second time we are allowing 4 wheel drive Cars to enter giving everyone the chance to compete on these Stages!!!

The event, which takes place on Saturday 7th July, is sponsored by Rainbow Communications, and will feature six stages (100% tarmac surfaces) based within the confines of Loughgall Country Park Co Armagh.


Entries for the event should be completed online (including Online payment) at


The entries secretary is detailed below;
10 Irwin Gardens, Lurgan, Co Armagh, BT66 7DP.
Tel: 07543 890871
(between 7.00pm and 10.00pm weekdays & 1.00pm and 6.00pm weekends ONLY).
As David works shifts he may not always be able to pick up calls during these times so please leave a message and he will get back to you at the earliest opportunity.