Photo by Mark McCullagh.
Todds Leap Ulster Rally entry full to bursting with quality
WITH an entry list full to bursting with almost 150 top drivers, the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally promises to provide plenty of excitement when it debuts in Fermanagh and South Tyrone on August 23 and 24.
The battle for the Ulster Rally crown is expected to be keenly contested with current Irish Tarmac Championship leader Garry Jennings, Donegal International Rally winner Sam Moffett, his brother Josh, Tour of the Sperrins Rally victor, Donagh Kelly and the always quick Derek McGarrity and Declan Boyle all set to do battle on the testing new stages.
The main runners in the British Rally Championship, including second placed local man Alastair Fisher, Omagh’s Pirelli Star Driver Mark Donnelly, Portglenone’s Desi Henry and Carryduff’s Jonny Greer, have all entered alongside championship leader, Finland’s Jukka Korhonen and Welsh wizards Tom Cave and Osian Pryce, all of whom will aim to take the Rally NI title.
Also keen to display their talents in Rally NI will be flying Fiesta drivers, Kesh teenager Jon Armstrong, Enniskillen’s Timothy Cathcart and Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna.
The Ulster Historic Rally always provides motorsport fans with a feast for the eyes and the ears, with a host of classic vehicles and their drivers rolling back the years. In 2013, the Ford Escorts of Wesley Patterson, Ryan Barrett, Ernie Graham and Drew Wylie are expected to set the pace alongside the likes of Roy Smith in a Porsche 911 and Steve Perez in his Lancia Stratos.
The Ulster National Rally has attracted the largest entry of the five events, which make up the Todds Leap Ulster Rally. And spectators will be in for a treat as fans’ favourite, Moy’s Frank Kelly is back to defend his title in the spectacular Mk II Escort. His anticipated challengers include Draperstown duo Camillus Bradley and Derek McGeehan, Dungannon’s Paddy McVeigh, Fergus O’Meara, Keith White and Trevor Ferguson.
The Ulster Challenge Rally, which is a support event to the British Rally Championship, has also attracted a top list of entries, with defending champion, Richard Sykes, expected to be fiercely challenged by Russ Thompson and Ross Hunter, while Irish youngsters, Dean Raftery and Jonni McDaid, will be keen to make their mark on the event.
Spectators will have the chance to get up close and personal with the drivers, the cars and the action this year as organisers have designed the Modern Tyres Spectator Special Stage at St Angelo Airfield, just outside Enniskillen, which will provide drivers with the chance to impress their fans at close quarters.
Backed by title sponsor Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Fisher Foundation and a number of local businesses, the award winning two day event caters for all the premier British and Irish Rally Championships, including the MSA British Rally Championship and BRC Challenge, the Irish Tarmac, MSA British and Irish Historic and the Northern Ireland Rally Championships, and it is sure to provide a thrilling weekend of rally action when it gets underway with a ceremonial start in Enniskillen on Friday, August 23 at 1pm.
To keep up-to-date with the build-up to the event, visit the newly designed website – www.ulsterrally.com – ‘Like’ the Facebook page (Ulster Rally) and follow it on Twitter.