2024 R2: Preview

Fresh format for this weekend’s Race & Rally

Round two of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship
will see a new challenge this Saturday at a familiar venue – Bishopscourt
Race Circuit for the Race & Rally Stages, writes William Neill.

Ballynahinch and District Motor Club have put together a single lap stage
for the 85 drivers following extensive work carried out in the concrete
section at the side lines of the main circuit.

First to sample the new mileage will be last year’s winners Jonny Greer and
Niall Burns who head to the County Down event leading the McGrady
Insurance-backed championship thanks to a win at last month’s Echlinville
Distillery Stage Rally.

Following the Citroen C3 Rally2 will be the R5-spec Ford Fiesta of Stuart
Biggerstaff and Anthony Nestor. The Dromore man is well-placed for
another good result with individual Bishopscourt stage wins to his name.

Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson start at three in a Skoda Fabia R5 and
Peadar Hurson/Damien Connolly return for round two in a ROK Motorsport
converted right-hand-drive Volkswagen Polo R5.
The list of varied manufacturers continues with rally preparation expert
Derek McGeehan making his first appearance of 2024 with his trusty Mini
John Cooper Works WRC ahead of customer Philip Allen. Mark O’Connor
and Dale Furniss are both on the notes.
Finishing fifth at Kirkistown, Drumquin’s Jason Dickson is a contender this
season and Kyle White continues his British Rally Championship
preparation in car eight – this time looking for a finish in the Hyundai i20 R5.
First of the cross-border drivers is Cal McCarthy from Clonakilty. Mark
Massey may round out the top ten but the list of R5 and Rally2 cars
continues with the likes of two-time Loughgall Rally winner Aaron
McLaughlin and Castlederg’s Darren McKelvey. No fewer than 24 entries
make up the two front-running classes.
It has been quite some time from the name Nesbitt and O’Brien were on an
entry list together. Andrew Nesbitt’s son, Graeme, is joined by his father’s
former co-driver James O’Brien in a Mitsubishi Lancer E10. Junior leader
Ben McFall will start behind in a slightly earlier version of the popular
Japanese option.
Usually dominated by Ford Escorts there are four Toyota Starlets at the
head of the two-wheel-drive entry list in what is sure to be a spectacular
race. Husband and wife duo Jason and Hannah Black join the series and
start ahead of last time out winners Colin Price and Bill Regan. Jason’s
brother, Gareth Black and Jamie Grant both follow.
The Micra Challenge has been boosted with Philip White and Jordan Hone
– both successful young drivers.
The six-stage rally, all held within the circuit, is due to start at 9am with a
winner decided before 5pm. Adult spectator admission is £10 with
accompanied under 16s free. A full entry list can be viewed on the
Ballynahinch and District Motor Club Facebook page.

The rally can be followed on the day via the McGrady Insurance NI Rally
Championship Facebook page, a rally report and YouTube highlights
package will follow while live results will be provided by www.rallyscore.net.

McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship 2024 points
Full points are available from www.nirallychampionship.com

McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship 2024 Calendar remaining rounds:
March 9 – Race & Rally Stages (Bishopscourt Race Circuit) – Ballynahinch &
District Motor Club
April 27 – Maiden City Stages (closed road) – Maiden City Motor Club
May 18 – GO Tour of the Sperrins (closed road) – Magherafelt & District Motor
July 20 – Tyrone Stages – Cookstown Motor Club
November 16 – Reserve date (may be used in the event of a cancelled round)

Follow YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/@NIRally
Follow Facebook page – www.facebook.com/nirallying and
Bookmark website – www.nirallychampionship.com

EDITOR NOTE: Photography may be used for publication free of charge
providing credit is given to the photographer.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login