The roar of engines, the crowd's anticipation, and the skill of the drivers – these are the elements that made this year's McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Forest Rally Challenge unforgettable. As proud sponsors of this exceptional racing season, we at McGrady Insurance are thrilled with the display of talent, tenacity, and passion seen throughout the series, culminating in the riveting final round - the McKelvey Asbestos Bushwhacker Rally.
Held in the dense, beautiful forests of County Tyrone, the final round boasted unique features like night-time stages and tarmac link sections, which posed a real driving challenge for competitors.
The rally, organised by the Omagh Motor Club, saw Darragh Cairns, guided by his co-driver Mark Preston, navigate through the treacherous tracks in his Skoda Fabia R5 to seize the title.
Whilst Cairns' decision to transition from a Class 8 Subaru Impreza to the Class 10 Skoda Fabia in the final rounds was a masterstroke, it's the unwavering spirit of competition and camaraderie among all participants that made this season truly memorable.
However, the Forest stage was not just about four-wheel drives. The two-wheel drive section had its own set of heroes, with gravel expert Andy Magee demonstrating unmatched prowess, closely followed by Sam Stewart and Paddy McToal. We also witnessed the culmination of the new Micra Challenge, where Stephen Whitford and Jonny Hart displayed resilience in the face of adversity to clinch the title, despite their mechanical issues!
Aidan Hughes, Managing Director of McGrady Insurance, said: "It's been an exhilarating journey sponsoring the championship again this year. Watching such talent on the tracks, backed by the sheer commitment and passion of the fans, has been a source of immense pride for us at McGrady Insurance. As everyone knows we are not just sponsors but fans at heart (and often participants!), and we eagerly look forward to what the next season brings!"