Lurgan Park Rally takes centre stage

Kenny McKinstry
Kenny McKinstry

The showpiece event of motorsport in Northern Ireland, the Lurgan Park Rally, takes place on Saturday and it is the norm with this invitation-only event that several of the top drivers in rallying will be in action.

Seeded at number one, fresh from his win on the Donegal International Rally, is Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings who will drive his Subaru WRC.

Kenny McKinstry is widely recognised as the ‘King of Lurgan Park’, the Banbridge driver has won on no less than 11 occasions and earlier this week he named Jennings as the driver to beat.

McKinstry will also drive a Subaru WRC and is seeded at four with Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity at two also Subaru-mounted, while Derek McGeehan - fresh from an event in Eastern Europe - will drive a Mini WRC.

Welsh ace Melvyn Evans is some what of an unknown quantity and while a number of the local drivers have competed against him on other events, he could spring a surprise with his Subaru WRC and he will occupy the number five slot.

Amongst the other top drivers taking part, Denis Biggerstaff and his son Stuart. Senior will wheel out his MG Metro 6R4 while Junior will drive the family Subaru WRC.

Emma McKinstry will take on her father Kenny and will drive a Subaru WRC.

No event in Ireland would be complete without the Ford Escort and there is a fantastic line-up for this event headed by Lisburn’s Wesley Patterson.

He will face stiff competition from five times Scottish Rally Champion David Bogie and Craig Breen, who currently leads the European Rally Championship, will swap his works Peugeot to fight for honours at the wheel of an Escort.

One car that is certain to create a lot of attention is a Tuthill Porsche 911 to be driven by Robert Woodside jnr. He competed on the Circuit of Ireland with the car and states that it could be a handful in Lurgan Park.

The car was in action last weekend in Belgium and Woodside admits that he kept in touch with every single stage hoping that the car would finish in one piece which it certainly did.

To win the Park according to McKinstry there is no room for even a single mistake and those who competed last year will be delighted to know that the stage layout will be the same as in 2014.

Ahead of the drivers eight stages all within the confines of the second largest public park in Ireland and a venue which has proved to be the ideal choice for an event of this type.

For the past 34 years large crowds have turned up to an event which is more than a rally, it is a day of entertainment for all the family.

“For my family it is the one motorsport event that they all look forward to,” said Jennings at the press launch.

The start is at 10.07am in the central paddock/service area and the finish will be in the paddock at 5.15pm.