Northern Ireland is gearing up for National Motorsport Week, which runs from 30 June to 8 July.
Established by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) and the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), this high-profile period for motorsport includes the popular Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Santander British Grand Prix, as well as many other motorsport events located around the UK.
“We want everyone involved in motor sport to get right behind this initiative,” said Colin Hilton, Chief Executive of the MSA, governing body of UK motor sport. “At a National level it allows us to celebrate our past and present successes and last year we set the ball rolling when the UK-based F1 teams opened their doors to the public. However, it also gives us a great opportunity to attract new people to get involved for the first time.”
In Northern Ireland, a host of high-octane events are set to form part of National Motorsport Week. From rallying to static displays and even a treasure hunt, everybody is welcome to come along to spectate or maybe even take part!
The local activities kick off on Saturday 30 June with the Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally. On Sunday 1 July, the River Hotel Lough Neagh Stages Rally will take place just outside Toome, County Antrim. Meanwhile, County Down’s Kirkistown Race Circuit will play host to two sprint events on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July.
A few days later, the Ulster Automobile Club has organised a Treasure Hunt which will begin in Holywood, County Down. And on the same day, the Triumph Sports Six Car Club will have a static car display at the Nortel Social Club in Newtownabbey.
Northern Ireland’s National Motorsport Week activities culminate with the Hankook Down Rally on Saturday 7 July. The event is a counting round of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship and will be based in Castlewellan, County Down.
Additional information regarding National Motorsport Week can be found online at www.nationalmotorsportweek.co.uk.
NI EVENT DETAILS
Saturday 30 June (Loughgall, Co. Armagh)
The Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally takes place on Saturday 30 June. This will be a stage rally based within the confines of the picturesque Loughgall Country Park.
Open to two-wheel-drive rally cars, the event will feature six stages during the day, with the first car leaving the start line at approximately 9.30am. Admission is by programme at the cost of £10. Under 16s are free. Free parking is available on site.
Marshals are still required. If anybody fancies getting a bit closer to the action while maintaining the highest levels of safety, contact Trevor Purdy on 07710 806549.
Sunday 1 July (Toome, County Antrim)
The River Hotel Lough Neagh Stages Rally takes place on Sunday 1 July. This is a stage rally based within the confines of Moneyglass Demesne, just off the Roguery Road, outside Toome, County Antrim.
This event is open to all forms of rally cars, and entries have been received from the likes of Derek McGeehan (MINI WRC) and George Robinson (Evo 9), not to mention a host of other quick pilots in their super-quick cars!
The Lough Neagh Car and Tarmac Rally Marshals’ Club has put a lot of effort into making this a very family friendly event, with easy spectator access as well as car parking on site, outside catering and something for all the kids, including a bouncy castle.
Crews will tackle 10 stages within the grounds of Moneyglass Demesne, with the first car due to leave the start line at approximately 10am. There will be a small charge for spectators to cover the cost of the rally pack. Car parking is available on site. For more information, contact Andrea on 07776 252628.
Wednesday 4 July (Holywood/Newtownards, Co. Down)
Ulster Automobile Club is organising a treasure hunt that will take place on Wednesday 4 July. Setting off from Holywood, County Down, at approximately 7pm, ‘treasure hunters’ will use their standard road cars to travel along a fun-filled route in which they will follow clues and solve puzzles, not to mention get some surprises...and a few prizes too!
This event takes place on open roads and is a non-speed event. More competitors are welcome, with each team made up of between two and five people in a car. It costs £10 per team to enter, with all of the proceeds being donated to a charity which will be decided by team vote on the night.
The event starts from the seafront car park at Seapark, Holywood, and will culminate at Scrabo Garden Centre, just outside Newtownards. Teams can sign on between 5.30pm and 7.15pm. The 20-mile route should take approximately two hours to complete, and an optional American themed barbeque will be available afterwards.
This is definitely an event that all the family can take part in. No special licences, memberships, navigating or driving skills are required! So if you fancy giving it a go, contact Carol Kennedy on 07711 105363 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More details can also be found on the club’s Facebook event page.
Wednesday 4 July (Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim)
A static display organised by the Triumph Sports Six Club will be held at the Nortel Social Club, Newtownabbey, on Wednesday 4 July from 8-10pm.
Club members’ competition cars, largely consisting of road going speed event cars, will be on display together with their drivers who will all be more than happy to talk to interested spectators.
Details on how to get started in motorsport will be available, and there will also be Scalextric racing as well as a display of racing car models.
For more information, contact Paul Robinson on 07952 663786.
Saturday 7 July (Castlewellan, Co. Down)
The Hankook Down Rally, round six of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship, takes place on Saturday 7 July.
With headquarters based at the Kings Inn, Castlewellan, rally cars will tackle eight stages totalling 70 competitive miles on the closed roads in the South Down area.
The first car will leave the Kings Inn at approximately 8.45am and will start the first stage shortly after 9am. Service area will be based at St. Malachy’s High School while the champagne spraying finish will also take place at the Kings Inn, Castlewellan, at approximately 6pm.
Spectators are welcome and rally programmes, which are free of charge, will be available in Castlewellan and surrounding areas. For more details, contact Andy Gilmore on 07876 562003 or visit www.rathfrilandmotorclub.com.