The 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, August 23 and 24, promises plenty of excitement, with new stages and a new setting in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
Clerk of the Course, Lewis Boyd, who was born in Fermanagh, but who now lives in Tyrone, believes he has the right balance of stages to give both the competitors and the spectators plenty to look forward to and enjoy over the weekend.
The special stages selected all offer something different. From the tight ‘Widow Magee’ outside Omagh, the exciting ‘Topped Mountain’ near Enniskillen, ‘Sloughan Glen’, which was used for WRC event Rally Ireland, the spectacular ‘Mallabeny Hill’, ‘Carren Bridge’ and ‘Fardross’; there will be a lot of tarmac tackled and spectacular action seen.
And on both days, there is the Modern Tyres Spectator Special Stage and Service Park at St Angelo Airfield, just outside Enniskillen, which will allow the fans to get up close and personal with the action. The Spectator Special Stage opens at 4pm on the Friday and 9.30am on the Saturday, with preferential disabled parking on offer. Admission is £5 or 6 Euros for adults, while under-12s go free if accompanied by a fee-paying adult.
The spectator areas locations on each of the road stages will be published on www.ulsterrally.com but full stage details, maps, entry lists and championship news will be detailed in the official programme which can be pre-ordered from the website also. The deadline for online orders for the programme, to ensure delivery prior to the event, is Monday, August 19.
“It took several months to decide on the stages, which involved a lot of driving,” explained the Clerk of the Course. “We found loads of suitable roads, but it’s about being able to string them together to make proper, flowing stages, so it takes a while to get a good result.
“We feel we have a good balance between the stages and we’re really looking forward to seeing how the drivers manage them,” he concluded.
As well as the sporting action, Fermanagh District Council are running a competition in the build-up to the event which involves spotting rally car models in 20 shop windows in Enniskillen. The prize is a fuel-filled family half-day ticket for two adults and two children at the amazing Todds Leap Activity Centre. The winner will be drawn on the finish ramp.
The ceremonial start to the rally will take place at Enniskillen Town Hall from 1pm, with an autograph session involving the top competitors beforehand. The finish will be in the same location from 4pm on Saturday.
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.
The Fisher Foundation was established by Fisher Engineering as a permanent memorial to the lives of Mark, Emma and Bertie Fisher, who died following an air accident in 2001. Its aim is to commemorate Bertie and Mark’s interest in rallying, as well as Emma’s commitment to Christian service overseas, by supporting those involved in these areas today. This year’s Ulster Rally will benefit from significant support from the Foundation. Safety in rallying was always of paramount importance to four times Ulster Rally winner Bertie Fisher and to this end the Fisher Foundation will assist with the provision of Rally Safety Units and Competitor Tracking during the event.
The Foundation also assists in a number of other initiatives. It helps young people via a bursary award towards carrying out voluntary work overseas, and provides financial support towards the work of the Leprosy Mission, Trocaire and the Church Missionary Society.
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 on Twitter