Todds Leap Ulster Rally Launch

July 11, 2012 by  
Filed under R 6: Ulster Rally

Top motorsport extravaganza, the Todds Leap Ulster Rally – which hosts round seven of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship – will this summer celebrate the debut of its first ever female Clerk of Course, Louise Hannon who will move into the driving seat of the Ulster National Rally, one of five races set to feature at the two day event on 17th and 18th August at Junction One Outlet Shopping Centre, Antrim.

Omagh lady Louise joined a top line-up of ‘Rally Girls’ at Junction One to officially launch the 2012 Todds Leap Ulster Rally. Alongside Louise were competitors Amy Cox and Wendy Blackledge as well as a number of senior officials who will manage stages and the Service Park at the Junction one based rally.

Backed by Antrim Borough Council, Junction One, title sponsor Todds Leap and NITB, the award winning two day event offers a five race line-up featuring events from National B status right up to full International standard. Events include the popular Ulster Historic Rally, a counting roundof the Kololi Beach Club MSA British Historic Rally Championship. Also on the programme is the International event – Todds Leap Rally NI, the National A status Ulster Rally and National B events the Ulster Challenge
and the Ulster National Rally.

In 2012 the Todds Leap Rally NI will see the worldwide competition debut of the Peugeot 208 R2. Entries are set to open on Monday 2nd July and organisers, Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd anticipate a top line up of local and international competitors including Welshman Elfyn Evans and Tom Cave from England, currently joint leaders of the MSA British Rally Championship, Omagh man
Mark Donnelly winner of the opening round of the BRC and currently in 4th place, Carryduff’s Jonny Greer, Antrim’s Desi Henry and Magherafelt’s Marty McCormick.

Also likely to compete this year is 2011 Rally NI winner Gary Jennings fresh from his Donegal Rally win, George Robinson from Ballymena, Newry’s Darren Gass and Fermanagh men Alastair Fisher and Matthew Cathcart . The Todds Leap Ulster Rally encompasses122 competitive miles, 310 road miles and 14 stages in the Antrim and Mid-Ulster regions. Set to kick off at lunchtime on Friday 17th August with a ceremonial start at Junction One Outlet Shopping Centre, the rally finishes at Junction One on Saturday 18th August.

Originally held in the Antrim area in 1976 when the inaugural Ulster Rally took place, the international event returns to the region for a fourth time. Rally HQ will be based at the Holiday Inn Express at Junction One and the event’s Central Service Park will be located in a section of the outlet shopping complex’s extensive car parks. Organisers expect 300 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 150 rally cars over the two day period.

2012 NITB award winner, Todds Leap, the activity, conference and training centre is once again backing the race as title sponsor and managing director Benny O’Hanlon said, “Todds Leap is pleased to be sponsoring the Ulster Rally for the fifth consecutive year. As Northern Ireland’s number one activity centre we are totally dedicated and committed to supporting regional events which support the tourist trade and the local economy. The Todds Leap Ulster Rally attracts thousands of spectators to Northern Ireland each year and reaches a wider global audiences show casing the region at its sporting best. Todds Leap is looking forward to another successful rally and we wish the organisers, participants and supporters all the best for what will be a thrilling event.”

Leona Barr, Centre Manager at Junction One who hosted today’s launch said, “During rally week-end last year Junction One was absolutely buzzing and it was fabulous to attract new audiences to the Junction One retail experience. Junction One is an integral part of Antrim’s tourism offer and we were delighted to support the rally by providing the start/finish facilities, central service parks and Rally HQ at Holiday Inn Express.”

The 2012 Todds Leap Ulster Rally is a counting round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the Kololi Beach Club MSA British Historic Rally Championship, the Tuthill Porsche Challenge, Citroen Racing Trophy UK & Ireland, the Ford Fiesta Sport Trophy UK & Ireland, Twingo Renaultsport Trophies UK and the BRC Challenge including the Fiesta Sport Challenge.

The 2012 Todds Leap Ulster National Rally also welcomes the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship for the first time.

Each year the event has attracted nearly 27,000 spectators, visitors, officials, and competitors from Ireland, the UK and further afield and generated over £2 million for the local economy in 2010. It’s also set to be broadcast on local TV, nationally and on global networks reaching an estimated audience of 30,000 on Rally Week-end. Clerk of Course Lewis Boyd paid tribute to key sponsor Todds Leap and partner Antrim Borough Council saying, “It’s wonderful to be back in Antrim again this year. The course will undoubtedly challenge both old hands and newcomers to the race. This is the fifth year that Todds Leap has been the main sponsor of the Ulster Rally – their passion for the event is awesome and we are delighted to have them on board again.

“In addition to cash funding, Antrim Borough Council have provided support and facilities in kind including their excellent Vanguard depot. We’re very pleased today to welcome and thank representatives of our many sponsors whose support is especially appreciated in today’s challenging economic conditions. We’re also grateful to Junction One for hosting today’s launch event and of course for enabling us to create a Central Service Park in the shopping centre’s large car park.”

Deputy Mayor of Antrim, Councillor Roderick Swann commented, “We are delighted that the Ulster Rally is returning to Antrim again this summer. This is a fantastic event for our Borough, with last year’s rally attracting over 20,000 people and generating £1million to the local economy. Antrim Borough Council is proud to support this prestigious event and look forward to welcoming competitors and spectators from across the world as we showcase the excellent facilities and services that are available on our doorstep.”

Go Motorsport

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