It’s almost time for the ALMC Stages Rally 2014.
June 25, 2014 by Leo Nulty
The excitement is really starting to build as we approach the weekend of July 5th & 6th and the annual ALMC Stages Rally. This year ALMC Motor Club has moved the rally centre to Trim, Co. Meath and in doing so are delighted to announce that the Cusack Hotel Groups’ Castle Arch Hotel will be the new Rally Headquarters. The move to Trim is also hugely beneficial in that the stages available to the team are of an exceptional, challenging standard and all 3 stages, run 3 times, are in close proximity to the town. An expected strong attraction for competitors is that the road sections have been cut dramatically from previous years and the facilities in the historic town cater well for visiting crews, spectators, service needs as well as parc ferme & scrutiny requirements. To top it all off Trim Castle provides a beautiful back drop to the planned ceremonial start on Saturday 5th July at 8pm.
A very strong entry of the top UK and Irish crews and 120 km’s of challenging stages will no doubt ensure that all aspiring winners will have no choice but to battle from start to finish to be in with a chance of taking home the ALMC Stages Rally honours. Also with Trim Castle imposing itself on the busy river Boyne settlement, and as the backdrop to the ceremonial start, it might even be fitting that this battle will commence at the location of the infamous Battle of York in the blockbuster movie “BraveHeart”.
ALMC Motor Club last year celebrated its 50th year in existence and in May the club successfully ran its first Forest Rally in Co. Wicklow, a round of the national forest rally championship. Even with such close timing to the July Stages Rally the enthusiasm and work rate of the rally team is unquestionable and the organisers are really excited about the stages they have picked for this year. Clerk of the Course, John Carroll, noted at the rally press launch, that he is “delighted to be able to use roads that were part of previous Circuit of Ireland Rally’s and the stages this year are more technical and challenging than in some more recent years and that’s with reduced road sections.” John went on to say he is delighted that so many international, national and in particular local entries have been received with almost two weeks to the rally itself.
At the same event Brian Byrne, ALMC Chief Marshal, noted that “a great draw to the ALMC Stages Rally for volunteer marshals and spectators is the sheer quality of the cars and crews in action. In particular it’s a real meeting of UK WRC teams, who are registered in the REIS MSA Championship, with top WRC crews from this island. Where else would you see these teams go toe-to-toe like this.”
Current point’s leader in the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, Steve Simpson with Patrick Walsh on the notes, will be coming to keep up the championship pressure on point’s front runners and nearest rivals John Stone, Darren Atkinson and Damien Cole, last year’s championship winner. Last year’s ALMC Stages Rally winner Paul Bird is unable to attend the rally so the door is now firmly open to a new name on the ALMC trophy. Top entries received to date include Simpson, Cole, Stone, Atkinson as well as Donegal’s Donagh Kelly, Graham Coffey, Alex Laffey, Hugh Hunter, Michael O’Brien and Meirion Evans, son of 2012 winner Melvyn Evans.
Some top national and local entries include Michael Carbin from Monaghan, Locals PA Bellew and Michael Curran, Carlow’s George and David Condell as well as Galway’s Dean Raftery just to mention a few.
We can also expect to see some great battles between contenders for class and championship honours on the day with what is already promising to be a really entertaining mix of top rally machinery.
Entries are still very welcome by the club, for entries visit the club website, www.almc.ie or rally site www.almcstagesrally.com where you will find the entry form or on results.shannonsportsit.ie for an online entry, our sites will continue to be updated with all the latest information on the rally and details required by competitors. Also the club Facebook page (ALMC Motor Club) and Twitter (@almcmotorclub) will carry regular updates and rally news. Rally programmes will be available in shops in the Trim area and around the County on Wednesday July 2nd, at Rally H.Q and also in the service area in the town. Seeding of entries will take place on Wednesday night before the rally and will be published shortly thereafter.
ALMC Motor Club and the Cusack Hotel Group look forward to welcoming competitors and spectators alike to the historic town of Trim, Co. Meath.
ALMC Stages Rally is a counting round of the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship and the Loughran Signs Midlands East Rally Championship.