SAFETY. As is the case every year, safety is the key word for organisers of the Todds Leap Ulster Rally and following the tragic accident at the Jim Clark Rally in May, it has become even more significant.
Motorsport is dangerous, that’s part of its appeal, but it’s also why organisers of events such as the Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which takes place on August 15th and 16th, recruit hundreds of volunteers to ensure that everyone who attends makes it home to their loved ones at its conclusion.
And this year again, organisers of the Ulster Rally have recruited an experienced, well trained and professional group of marshals, who will be on every stage to help spectators get a good, and safe, view of the action.
Event clerk of the course, Lewis Boyd, said: “Safety again plays a major part of our planning and organisation and we would ask all spectators and media to observe the safety rules and not to put themselves in obvious danger.”
The Seskinore man, who is in his third year in charge of the event, was keen to pay tribute to the marshals and their fellow volunteers, who give up their time freely so the event can take place.
He added: “I have to thank all the marshals and officials, who plan and help out on the rally and thank all the house owners and businesses who permit the closure of their roads so this event can happen.
“Tyrone people are very much at the fore of this award winning international event, with senior officials Louise Hannan, Gary Milligan, Chris Caldwell, Ian Duff, Plunket Boyle, Ronnie McAleer, Brian Wilson, Kevin Lynam, Barry Kelly, Angela Jordon and Simon McCrory all playing a key role in its success.
“And many of the international crews have commented how hospitable the Tyrone and Fermanagh people are.”
Looking ahead to the rally, Mr Boyd, who has put in countless hours of his spare time to ensure another successful event, which has been named best rally in the British Rally Championship in four of the last five years, is delighted by the quality of the entry list.
“I’m delighted to once again be clerk of the course of the 2014 Todds Leap Ulster Rally and I’m delighted with the fantastic entry covering the main British, Irish, British Historic and Northern Ireland Rally championships.
“I’d also like to thank event sponsors, Benny O’Hanlon from Todds Leap, Fintona Autospares, Pedro Dog Food and McKelvey Asbestos, as well as Fermanagh District Council, the Fisher Foundation and NI Tourist Board, without whom the event would not be so successful.”
And while safety is paramount to the organisers, fun and enjoyment are equally important and Mr Boyd was keen to point out that there would be plenty for everyone at the Lakeland Tyres Spectator Special Stage at St Angelo Airfield. The airfield will be open for spectators at 4pm on Friday, August 15 and 9.30am on the Saturday, August 16, 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.