Round 2 of the 2018 Irish Rally Tarmac Championship, the UAC Easter Stages Rally finished in dramatic style on Saturday afternoon at the Ecos Centre in Ballymena after 12 stages spread across the scenic beauty of County Antrim.
The Moffett Brothers, Josh and Sam from Monaghan, both driving identical Ford Fiesta R5’s, dodged and weaved their way across Co. Antrim exhibiting superb car control despite the horrendous weather conditions on Friday. Josh held onto his lead from Sam despite his very strong challenge over the last loop of 3 stages on Saturday afternoon; the final margin being a mere 4.6 seconds on the National A two-day event. The two brothers set the fastest times on five out of the six stages on Saturday. This win puts Josh at the top of the IRTC leader board after his second place finish in West Cork last month and moves Sam to second place in the Championship.
Brothers Steal Show
Maghera driver Marty McCormack in his Skoda Fabia who had set the fastest time on stage 2, Lyles Hill, near Templepatrick with an average speed of 63 mph, kept up with the two Fiestas to finish in third place at the podium.
Eight of the top drivers in the IRTC joined the other 50 competitors to start the event from the Sixmile leisure centre in Ballyclare on a very wet Friday afternoon. The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill, braved the elements to meet drivers and flag them away to the first stage just outside Antrim. The remaining top 5 IRTC drivers finished in the top 10 with Carryduff driver Jonny Greer in the Citroen Ds3 R5 finishing fifth behind the Ford Fiesta R5 of Robert Barrable. Winners of the four separate rallies held over the weekend were presented with their awards at the finish by the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Paul Reid.
The blistering pace was set early on the event by Glengormley driver, Derek Mc Garrity in his Subaru S14 WRC, averaging over 67 mph over the rain soaked tarmac as he held the rally lead into the overnight halt in Antrim after the first six stages. Unfortunately, disaster struck on Saturday morning when Derek tried to remove his car from Parc Ferme and the clutch wouldn’t engage, a very sad end to a fantastic start.
UAC Easter Stages
The two-day UAC Easter Stages National B Rally saw Ballymena crew of Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont in their Mini WRC take the podium almost 2 minutes ahead of the Pettigo team of Kevin Eves and Chris Melley in their Toyota Corolla. The second place crew had a great battle with Alan Smyth and Mac Kierans in their Mitsibushi Evo X with only 7.4 seconds separating them at the end of the 12 stages.
The one-day UAC Saturday Stages National B Rally, held over the final six stages on Saturday was won by Gary Rodgers and Geoff Patterson in their Mitsibushi Evo 9. The Murray Motorsport Irish Tarmac Junior Rally Championship event, also held over the six Saturday stages, was won by Gary Mc Namee and Brian Brady, their first event in Northern Ireland.
Team GB Announce First Ever Skateboarders to Compete at the Olympic Games
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today announced the two skateboarders set to compete for Team GB at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Sky Brown and Bombette Martin will both compete for Team GB in the skateboard park discipline in Tokyo, after qualifying in third and eighteenth position respectively during the World Skate qualification season.
Brown will become Team GB’s youngest ever summer Olympian at the age of 13 years and 11 days, surpassing Margery Hinton who was 13 years and 44 days when she competed at Amsterdam 1928 in swimming. In her last international event, Brown produced her best ever competition run, to win a silver medal at the Dew Tour, USA and took third place in the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro the season before, cementing her ranking as third best in the world.
Martin, 14, has had a succession of good competition results in the last two years. In April she won the Skateboard GB x Habito National Championships and more recently finished in the top 20 at the Dew Tour, USA. Martin is the daughter of John ‘Bomber’ Martin, an ex-amateur boxer from Birmingham.
Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo and sees male and female competitors compete in both street and park disciplines.
Team GB Chef de Mission for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mark England, said: “It is incredibly exciting to announce Sky and Bombette to Team GB for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Not only will they both make history as Team GB’s first ever skateboarders, but Sky will also make history of her own as she becomes our youngest ever summer Olympian.
“Competing at the heart of the Games at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, I am sure the skateboarding park competition will capture the imagination of the Team GB fans, just like freestyle snow sports did when they were introduced to the Olympic Programme. I couldn’t think of two better athletes to act as ambassadors for Team GB in this exciting new Olympic sport and we wish Sky and Bombette the very best of luck in their final preparations.”
James Hope-Gill, CEO at Skateboard GB said: “We are so excited to see two GB skateboarders qualify for the Games. Both girls have such amazing talent and are an inspiration to other skateboarders out there, showing people that anything is possible, no matter your age.
“Over the last two years we have worked with Sky and Bombette to help them with their preparations and today’s announcement shows how their hard work has paid-off. We wish them the best of luck”.
Mayor Welcomes New Stand at Greenisland Football Club
Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston along with Deputy Mayor, Cllr Andrew Wilson and Cllr Bobby Hadden visited Greenisland Football Club to see the commencement of the works to provide a new 128-seater spectator stand and turnstiles, which will bring the grounds up to meet Intermediate League status requirements.
Mid and East Antrim Council in partnership with Greenisland Football Club have been working together to deliver this new stand. Through working in partnership, the club have been able to secure £45,000 of external funding and along with a contribution from the club Council are contributing £35,000 to deliver the £90,000 spectator stand.
Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston said: Once again, I would like to pay tribute to Greenisland Football Club and in particular the time and commitment that the club members put into progressing this project.
“As a Council, we have been delighted to help fund a portion of this work and to enable the vision and objectives of the club to be met.
“Greenisland Football Club are a fantastic club and it is no surprise that they have recently been recognised from UEFA as one of the top grass roots football clubs in Europe.”
Mervyn Montgomery, Greenisland Football Club said: “We are indebted to the on-going support of our External Funders and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, to enable us to build upon the existing facilities at Greenisland and to develop further our Community Sports Programs and Longer Terms Plans for the Club.”
This new stand will further enhance the major investment Mid and East Antrim Council made in 2018 through the delivery of a new 3G facility on the back of £100,000 of funding the club secured from SportNI.
The Club and Council had also secured external funding to upgrade the grass pitches, which are owned by the Council, in 2018 at a cost of £50,000.
Mid and East Antrim Council are committed to working with all groups within the borough to ensure that our ratepayers and residents have top class facilities which will improve their quality of life and their health and well-being.