2024 R4: Preview

All ‘Go’ for Tour of the Sperrins!

‘GO’ Tour of the Sperrins – the penultimate round of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship – has a 100-strong entry headed by Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy, writes William Neill.

Organisers, Magherafelt and District Motor Club, have scheduled three stages, each repeated twice with Drumshee Hill opening the action at 11.30am. Corratry Hill follows as the longest stage of the day at 7.6 miles and a visit to Forgetown finishes the opening half before mid-event service at 1.35pm. A repeat of the loop, a winner will be expected at the Magherafelt service area and finish ramp by 5pm.

Desi Henry returns following a win at the Eakin Bros Maiden City Stages last month in car two but it will be Jonny Greer heading the McGrady Insurance-backed championship runners at three with his trusty DGM-run Citroen C3 Rally2.

Fresh from a second in WRC2 at Rally de Portugal, Josh McErlean is on home turf with James Fulton and a Volkswagen Polo R5. “It has always been a small dream of mine to compete here (Sperrins), “said the Kilrea driver. “It is a local event I grew up watching, hanging over many ditches and at stage ends and now finally we have the opportunity to go for it.”

Jason Dickson (Ford Fiesta R5) has had a good season so far, sitting third on the championship table. The Drumquin man starts with five on the door.

Jason Mitchell is ahead of the returning Peadar Hurson, who missed round three and it is Frank Wray before another Volkswagen Polo R5 driven by current championship chaser (nine points behind Greer) Aaron McLaughlin. A good result could see the Donegal man make moves towards a championship crown.

Scotland’s David Bogie regularly appears at the Sperrins with a Ford Escort Mk2 and heads two-wheel-drive with the likes of Camillus Bradley and Barry Morris listed. Colin Price is also entered, currently an impressive fourth overall in the championship standings and in command of the category.

A full entry list can be viewed at www.rallyscore.net and more information on the event build up on the Magherafelt and District Motor Club Facebook page. Roads start to close from 9.25am.

Event programmes are now available for £8 at O’Kane Cars, Castledawson, Maghera Centra and Straw Service Station in Magherafelt. More locations will be added on the build up to the start.

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

McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship 2024 Calendar remaining rounds:

May 18 – GO Tour of the Sperrins (closed road) – Magherafelt & District Motor Club

July 20 – Tyrone Stages (closed road) – Cookstown Motor Club

November 16 – Reserve date (may be used in the event of a cancelled round)

Follow YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/@NIRally

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Bookmark website – https://www.nirallychampionship.com/

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