A host of Rally stars joined organisers and special guests in the stately grandeur of the Castle Coole Estate to launch the 2015 Todds Leap Ulster Rally. The event, which will return to Fermanagh for a third year will again play host to all the best drivers and cars from Ireland and beyond, and an action packed extravaganza is expected by race fans on 14th and 15th August.
Backed by title sponsor Todds Leap, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and a number of local businesses, the award winning two day event offers a race line-up to cater for all types of rally car from the latest ‘state of the art’ right through to the iconic Historic rally cars which add such variety to both the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac and the McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championships.
Ulster Rally Clerk of Course Gary Milligan paid tribute to the local competitors and key event partners saying,
“It is an honour to be at such a prestigious venue as Castle Coole to launch the 2015 Ulster Rally. We have a wealth of local talent with us here today including British Rally Champion, Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna, Fermanagh’s Alistair Fisher who won the WRC3 category in the French and British rounds of the World Rally Championship, Kesh’s Garry Jennings who won the recent Donegal International Rally and Stephen Wright and Jon Armstrong who have been displaying their skills on the European stages.”.
“We are very grateful for the continued support of Benny O’Hanlon and his Todds Leap team, the assistance from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and the time given by all the volunteer officials. Without their help it would not be possible for us run an event to International standards. I look forward to seeing you all in Enniskillen on the 14th and 15th of August.”
2012 NITB award winner, Todds Leap, the activity, conference and training centre is once again backing the race as title sponsor and Managing Director Benny O’Hanlon said,
“Todds Leap is pleased to be sponsoring the Ulster Rally for the eighth consecutive year. As Northern Ireland’s number one activity centre we are totally dedicated and committed to backing regional events which support the tourist trade and the local economy. The Todds Leap Ulster Rally attracts thousands of spectators to Northern Ireland each year and reaches a wider global audience, show casing the region at its sporting best. Todds Leap is looking forward to a successful rally and we wish the organisers, participants and supporters all the best for what will be a thrilling event.”
Welcoming the return of the event to Enniskillen, Chairman of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, commented;
“Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is delighted to be associated once again with this superbly organised event which over the past three years has welcomed thousands of visitors to Fermanagh. With an expected influx of some 20,000 spectators together with hundreds of service crew personnel, there is an obvious benefit to hosting the rally in Enniskillen in that it is great for accommodation providers and also for the local economy in general and enhances our tourism product. I would like to wish everyone associated with the 2015 Todds Leap Ulster Rally every success with the event.”
Entries for the event are just about to open and the organisers, Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd anticipate a top line up of local and International competitors and a host of Irish and Northern Ireland Rally Championship frontrunners.
The Irish Tarmac Championship will be well represented with current Championship leading driver, Donagh Kelly and recent Donegal Rally winner Garry Jennings, Declan Boyle, Derek McGarrity and a multitude of other WRC cars expected to return to do battle. Also included in this year’s Ulster Rally programme is the popular Historic section and a newly introduced Junior category which will be incorporated into the Saturday afternoon stages.
The Enniskillen area has enjoyed a prominent place in the history of the Ulster Rally, having hosted the traditional Saturday morning breakfast halt in Ballinamallard during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and the organisers are delighted to be returning to the Fermanagh Lakelands again in 2015
The Todds Leap Ulster Rally encompasses 110 competitive miles over 12 stages in the Fermanagh and Tyrone regions. Set to kick off on the afternoon of Friday 14th August with the family friendly ceremonial start in Castle Coole, the rally finishes back at the event’s Central Service Park at St Angelo Airport on Saturday 15th August from 5pm.
Rally HQ will be based at the Belmore Court & Motel and the organisers expect 300 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 150 rally cars over the two day period.
Each year the event has attracted around 20,000 spectators, visitors, officials, and competitors from Ireland, the UK and further afield and generates about £1 million for the local economy. It’s also set to be broadcast on TV, both locally and nationally and will be followed by millions throughout the world through TV programmes, media reports, social media and the Ulster Rally website and Facebook reports.