Fresh format for this weekend’s Race & Rally Stages

Ballynahinch and District Motor Club have put together a single lap stage for the 85 drivers following extensive work carried-out in the concrete section at the sidelines of the main circuit.

First to sample the new mileage will be last year’s winners, Jonny Greer and Niall Burns, who head to the County Down event leading the McGrady Insurance-backed championship thanks to a win at last month’s Echlinville Distillery Stage Rally.

Following the Citroen C3 Rally2 will be the R5-spec Ford Fiesta of Stuart Biggerstaff and Anthony Nestor. The Dromore man is well-placed for another good result, with individual Bishopscourt stage wins to his name.

Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson start at three in a Skoda Fabia R5, and Peadar Hurson/Damien Connolly return for round two in a ROK Motorsport converted right-hand-drive Volkswagen Polo R5.

The list of varied manufacturers continues with rally preparation expert Derek McGeehan making his first appearance of 2024 with his trusty Mini John Cooper Works WRC ahead of customer Philip Allen. Mark O’Connor and Dale Furniss are both on the notes.

Finishing fifth at Kirkistown, Drumquin’s Jason Dickson is a contender this season and Kyle White continues his British Rally Championship preparation in car eight – this time looking for a finish in the Hyundai i20 R5.

First of the cross-border drivers is Cal McCarthy from Clonakilty. Mark Massey may round out the top ten but the list of R5 and Rally2 cars continues with the likes of two-time Loughgall Rally winner Aaron McLaughlin and Castlederg’s Darren McKelvey. No fewer than 24 entries make up the two front-running classes.

It has been quite some time from the name Nesbitt and O’Brien were on an entry list together. Andrew Nesbitt’s son, Graeme, is joined by his father’s former co-driver James O’Brien in a Mitsubishi Lancer E10. Junior leader Ben McFall will start behind in a slightly earlier version of the popular Japanese option.

Usually dominated by Ford Escorts there are four Toyota Starlets at the head of the two-wheel-drive entry list in what is sure to be a spectacular race. Husband and wife duo Jason and Hannah Black join the series and start ahead of last time out winners Colin Price and Bill Regan. Jason’s brother, Gareth Black and Jamie Grant both follow.

The Micra Challenge has been boosted with Philip White and Jordan Hone – both successful young drivers.

The six-stage rally, all held within the circuit, is due to start at 9am with a winner decided before 5pm. Adult spectator admission is £10 with accompanied under 16s free. A full entry list can be viewed on the Ballynahinch and District Motor Club Facebook page.

The rally can be followed on the day via the McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship Facebook page, a rally report and YouTube highlights package will follow while live results will be provided by

McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship 2024 points

Full points are available from

McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship 2024 Calendar remaining rounds

  • March 9 – Race & Rally Stages (Bishopscourt Race Circuit) – Ballynahinch & District Motor Club
  • April 27 – Maiden City Stages (closed road) – Maiden City Motor Club
  • May 18 – GO Tour of the Sperrins (closed road) – Magherafelt & District Motor Club
  • July 20 – Tyrone Stages (closed road) – Cookstown Motor Club
  • November 16 – Reserve date (may be used in the event of a cancelled round)

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