Competitors are revving up for this weekend’s Bishopscourt Stages Rally, round two of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The event has attracted more than 60 crews in their high-powered rally cars. They will tackle six stages around County Down’s Bishopscourt Race Circuit venue, including multiple runs over the spectator favourite jump.
Stephen Wright is the reigning champion and current championship leader after his victory at Kirkistown last month but he has been forced to miss the Bishopscourt event due to work commitments.
Instead, former champions Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson will lead the field away on what has always been a strong event for the Skoda Fabia R5 crew.
Derek and Mark McGeehan are still in the hunt for their maiden N.I. Championship victory and they are among the main contenders for the spoils in their Mini WRC.
A host of Fiesta R5 rally car pilots won’t be far behind with Gareth Sayers, Kieron Graffin and Chris McGurk all behind the wheel of their Fords.
Another sprinkling of World Rally Car machinery follows with Co. Donegal’s PJ McDermott ready for an attack in his Subaru Impreza WRC while Cork’s Kevin Kelleher is making the long journey to the race track to blow off the cobwebs in his Impreza WRC.
Emma McKinstry and Kenny Hull impressed at round one and are back for another challenge this weekend in their Fiesta R5 while Liam McFall and Matthew McKenna are seeded at nine in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X with Joe McQuillan and Scotland’s Shannon Turnbull at 10 in their Evo 9.
Just outside the top 10, George Robinson is another former N.I. Champion and is seeded at 12 in his Fiesta.
There’s a host of potent two-wheel-drive machinery with the Ford Escorts of James Kennedy, Alastair Cochrane and Drew Steward set to battle with the Toyota Starlet of Jamie Grant and Niall Carey’s BMW.
Press release courtesy of N.I. Rally Championship’s Press Officer – Jonathan MacDonald
Photo by William Neill