R2: McGrady Insurance Stages
The Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship returns to action this weekend with the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally!
Based just outside Downpatrick at Bishopscourt Race Circuit, this year’s event, which takes place on Saturday 17 March, marks the sixth consecutive year that local business, McGrady Insurance, has sponsored the rally.
The company provides business, personal and leisure insurance to thousands of customers throughout the country, and Managing Director, Fintan McGrady, is a regular competitor in his potent Mark 2 Escort.
He will be one of the leading two-wheel-drive contenders this weekend, but topping the entry list is a host of powerful four-wheel-drive machinery.
Heading the entry is current Carryduff Forklift N.I. Championship leaders, Derek McGarrity and James McKee. They won the opening round of the series at Kirkistown in February, and as former Bishopscourt winners, the crew are favourites for adding more winning trophies to their cabinets.
McGarrity will face opposition from English visitors, Ray Brammer and Jody Wilson. The crowd favourite Mini WRC also returns with Derek McGeehan and Laurie Smyth, and they are followed by another two World Rally Car Imprezas, with James Gillen and John McGaffin.
In the Group N category, Trevor Ferguson and David McElroy are hoping to add to their Kirkistown Group N win. Other contenders will include Alan Carmichael, Kieron Graffin and Jason Curran.
There is also a healthy contingent of two-wheel-drive crews. They are headed by event sponsor, Fintan McGrady. He starts the event with number 12 on his doors, followed by James Kennedy, Simon Woodside, Keith White and David Armstrong.
The event also hosts the second round of the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. Seven young drivers between the ages of 14-16 will contest four stages. Ben Crealey was the runaway winner at round one, and is the hot favourite to take another win in his Nissan Micra.
The action gets underway shortly after 9am on Saturday morning. Competitors in the main event will tackle six stages, with the champagne finish due to take place at approximately 5pm. Spectators are welcome with the spectacular jump sure to keep them entertained. More details can be found online at www.nirally.com.
McGrady Insurance Stages – Top 15 Entries
1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC)
2 Ray Brammer/Jody Wilson (Impreza WRC)
3 Derek McGeehan/Laurie Smyth (MINI WRC)
4 James Gillen/Ken Sproule (Impreza WRC)
5 John McGaffin/Lesley McGaffin (Impreza WRC)
6 Trevor Ferguson/David McElroy (Impreza)
7 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Lancer Evo 9)
8 Kieron Graffin/Neil Doherty (Lancer Evo 9)
9 Sean Cassidy/Damian McCann (Ford Fiesta)
10 Dominic McNeill/Tommy Speers (Lancer WRC)
11 Kyle Orr/TBA (Impreza WRC)
12 Fintan McGrady/Mark Hanna (Mark 2 Escort)
14 James Kennedy/Heather Kennedy (Mark 2 Escort)
15 Simon Woodside/Steven Dowds (BMW M3)