Six champions line up for Magic Bullet Stages!
Reigning Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Champion Stuart Biggerstaff heads the entry for this Saturday’s Magic Bullet Stages Rally, which will be held at County Down’s Kirkistown Race Circuit. The event marks the opening round of the 2011 Northern Ireland series, and Hankook is back on board at title sponsor for the 10-round championship.
The series kicks off at Kirkistown this Saturday, where more than 80 crews will contest six stages at the County Down venue. The event, which is organised by North Armagh Motor Club Ltd, will feature a mixture of loose and sealed surfaces, providing competitors with plenty of challenges.
2010 champion Biggerstaff and navigator Damien McCann will lead the field away in an S9 specification Subaru Impreza WRC. The 22-year-old Kinallen driver, who is the youngest ever winner of the series, will drive the same car which he used to clinch last year’s title, albeit with a new graphics scheme.
Starting at number two is former champion, Kenny McKinstry. The Banbridge driver will be in the hunt for victory on this occasion, having lost out to Derek McGarrity and Connor McCloskey in 2009.
McGarrity, who is another former champion, is also returning to the venue with his production category Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, and could be one to watch with his Group N mount.
He starts at number three ahead of former champion George Robinson, while Connor McCloskey, the 2008 champion, returns to the series with an Impreza WRC. Gary White, John McGaffin and Sean Haveron – who is another former champion – complete the top eight seeds.
In the Hankook two-wheel-drive category, Wesley Patterson and Martin McGarrity start the event at number 10 in their Escort. They have numerous victories under their belt at the Kirkistown venue, and will be aiming to add more trophies to their cabinets on Saturday.
They will face some stiff opposition from Fintan McGrady and Denise Hanna, as well as Robert Dennis, Drew Stewart and David Armstrong.
The Montgomery Motorsport historic category will again provide plenty of thrills, and the Sunoco Fuels Group N category has also received a strong entry.
Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont will start at number 12 in their Group N Mitsubishi Lancer. They will be followed by Neil McCance and James Crozier, while Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan will be aiming to give them a run for their money.
The Magic Bullet Stages will get underway at approximately 9am on Saturday (19 March). Competitors will tackle six stages before the winner is crowned at the champagne finish in Kirkistown Race Circuit.