Top names set to thrill crowds during Ulster Rally stages

Frank Kelly and Garry Jennings
Frank Kelly and Garry Jennings

Spectators are in for a treat as the Todds Leap Ulster Rally roars back into Co Fermanagh tomorrow with a terrific entry list.

The tw0-day event, backed by title sponsor Todds Leap, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and a number of local businesses, is a counting round to both the Clonakilty Irish Tarmac and the McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Championships.

When the British Rally Championship returns next year it will be one of the key rounds.

The popular Irish Tarmac Rally Championship will be well represented with current Championship leading driver, Donagh Kelly and Donegal Rally winner Garry Jennings, Declan Boyle, Derek McGarrity and a multitude of other WRC cars.

Jennings will be more than keen to snatch victory as for the Kesh driver this is very much his home event and after his brilliant drive in Donegal where he won for the second time, at the wheel of his Subaru WRC he is very much the man to beat.

Other drivers to look out for, Sam Moffett (Ford Focus WRC), Josh Moffett and Stephen Wright both will drive Ford Focus R5s and Jonny Greer in a Citroen DS3.

Among the leading drivers contesting the Historic section, Dessie Nutt (Porsche 911) and Ford Escorts in the hands of Gareth Lloyd, Ernie Graham, Will Onions and Raymond Johnston.

Returning to Ireland from his base at Laguna Beach in the USA John Coyne and he will drive an iconic Sunbeam Lotus.

Clearly there will be huge interest in this section of the rally with the combination of well known drivers and cars with a great motorsport history.

Hugely competitive and very entertaining in Irish rallying the Ford Escort Mk II and on the Ulster Rally expect close battles with the likes of Frank Kelly, Damian Campbell, David Armstrong, Mervyn Wilson and Enda McNulty.

In addition to this year’s Ulster Rally entry a new Junior category which will be incorporated into the Saturday afternoon stages.

The young Irish rally talent will get the opportunity to compete alongside some of their motor sporting heroes as they fight it out for the honour of top Junior over six classic Ulster stages.

Junior competitors will be able to score points in the hotly contested Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Junior Championship.

“This year’s event has a great line up promising plenty of action but those in the know will also be keeping a very close eye on the race between the three young drivers at the tail end of the top 20.

Rob Duggan, Callum Devine and Jon Armstrong have put in some amazing performances in their 1600cc cars so far this season and the trio are expected to set the stages alight again as they battle for R2 glory.

Historic Rally fans will have plenty to watch out for with a list of classic cars sure to put a smile on the faces of car fans, with Porsche’s, Hillman’s, Sunbeam’s, BMW’s, Mini’s and the always popular Escorts,” commented Gary Milligan Clerk of Course.

The Ulster Rally encompasses 110 competitive miles over 12 stages in the Fermanagh and Tyrone regions.

The event selects gear with a family friendly ceremonial start in Castle Coole tomorrow afternoon and the finish is back at the event’s Central Service Park at St Angelo Airport on Saturday from 5pm.

Rally HQ will be based at the Belmore Court & Motel in Enniskillen.