Crews Gear Up For Bishopscourt!

Round two of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship is set to attract some of the country’s leading competitors to Bishopscourt Race Circuit this Saturday for the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally.

Ballynahinch and District Motor Club has revamped the popular event which for the first time will feature a total of 14 stages within the confines of the County Down venue. The new format has proved popular with competitors and almost 70 crews have entered in a variety of machinery.

Reigning champion Derek McGarrity will head the field off the start line in his potent Subaru Impreza WRC. Navigated by Neil Doherty, McGarrity won the opening round of the series at Kirkistown and is also a former winner at Bishopscourt. He won the 2012 event behind the wheel of a MINI WRC and is hot favourite to add yet another trophy to his cabinet.

Chasing him down will be Kevin Barrett and Sean Mullally, also in an Impreza WRC. The Triton Showers MD is still in the hunt for his maiden Northern Ireland Championship victory but his lack of familiarity with the venue may make his job that little bit more difficult.

Derek McGeehan has also entered his MINI WRC. Having finished third at the opening round of the Carryduff Forklift backed series, the Draperstown driver is out to build on his success.

Peadar Hurson and Damien Connolly join the World Rally Car crews with their hired Escort WRC. It was just last month that Hurson returned to the sport after almost four years but he acquitted himself well at the opening round of the series to finish fifth overall.

Former champion George Robinson completes the top five seeds aboard his Mitsubishi Lancer, while James Laverty and Francis Regan are the top seeds in the production category. They enjoyed at stunning drive at Kirkistown which netted them sixth overall in their Impreza.

Keith Cheshire and Adrian Murdoch will be ones to watch having upgraded their Evo 4 Lancer for an Evo 7. They start the event with number seven on their doors ahead of Kieron Graffin and Paddy Robinson, with Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy at nine ahead of Paul Barrett and Declan Tumilty.

The event has also received a host of entries from top quality two-wheel-drive machinery, and heading the 2WD crews is event sponsor Fintan McGrady. Navigated by Mark Hanna, McGrady will be ‘flat out’ in his Mark 2 Escort in a bid to fend off some face stiff opposition from the likes of Keith White, David Armstrong and David Crossen.

The event also hosts round three of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, a series that allows drivers as young as 14 to get behind the wheel. A total of seven young guns will take to the Bishopscourt stages, with Kyle White heading the field in his Peugeot 107 from Adam Bustard’s Chevrolet Spark.

The action is due to start shortly after 10am on Saturday at Bishopscourt Race Circuit. Located just a few miles outside Downpatrick, spectators will be treated to some high-octane action, including the famous Bishopscourt jump!

Top Ten Seeds

1 Derek McGarrity/Neil Doherty (Impreza WRC)
2 Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC)
3 Derek McGeehan/TBA (MINI WRC)
4 Peadar Hurson/Damien Connolly (Escort WRC)
5 George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Mitsubishi WRC)
6 James Laverty/Francis Regan (Impreza)
7 Keith Cheshire/Adrian Murdoch (Lancer Evo 7)
8 Kieron Graffin/Paddy Robinson (Lancer Evo 9)
9 Trevor Ferguson/David McElroy (Impreza)
10 Paul Barrett/Declan Tumilty (Lancer Evo 6)

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