ITRC: Countdown begins for Tarmac Championship opener

Details of the first round of this year's Toshiba Computers Tarmac Championship, the Buy and Sell Circuit of Ireland Rally, were announced today in Enniskillen by the organisers, the Ulster Automobile Club Ltd. Terry Harryman, UAC Chairman, ...

Details of the first round of this year's Toshiba Computers Tarmac Championship, the Buy and Sell Circuit of Ireland Rally, were announced today in Enniskillen by the organisers, the Ulster Automobile Club Ltd.

Terry Harryman, UAC Chairman, speaking at today's launch said:
"After the disappointment of 2001 with so much of the motorsport calendar being cancelled due to the foot and mouth restrictions in Ireland, the Club has a real opportunity at Easter to ensure that the 2002 Toshiba Computers Tarmac Championship gets off to cracking start with a revamped three day event based in Enniskillen. It will be a new style Circuit which should generate high interest but some traditional values will be maintained with three days continuing to represent a vigorous test of man and machine. More generally everyone in the sport is looking forward to what should be an outstanding rally series with quality events and world-class machinery on view.

We are very pleased that Buy and Sell, who joined us last year, have decided to renew their support for the rally and we are indebted also to Fermanagh District Council. The generous support of both is very much appreciated and will, I believe, contribute significantly to an exciting holiday weekend in this area of outstanding natural beauty".

John Whelan, Managing Director of Buy and Sell added:
"Buy and Sell is delighted to be Title Sponsor of the Circuit, and I would like to thank the UAC for their hard work in making it happen this year. The Circuit has evolved to match the developments in the new breed of World Rally Cars; the emphasis has changed from endurance to speed which will make it a thrilling and exciting event, but no less tough than the five day marathons which helped to sustain its name over such a long period. Buy and Sell have come on board to help develop the new format and to help open a brand new chapter in the rally's illustrious history. From the publicity viewpoint our company can enhance the Circuit's appeal to the public and raise awareness through our readership throughout Northern and Southern Ireland.

For all these reasons, Buy and Sell looks forward to Easter and to an event which really will ensure that the top rally championship in Ireland is back with interest"

Robin Martin, Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, who was also present, said:
"Its been over 25 years since the Circuit was last in Enniskillen and we are delighted that, despite the difficulties of last year and the tragedy which befell the Fisher family, the rally is returning to Fermanagh. The entire Council is delighted to be associated with this prestigious event and looks forward to developing a mutually beneficial relationship with the UAC. I have no doubt that all the people of Fermanagh are looking forward to Easter and the enjoyment of having a true sporting spectacle on their own doorstep".

The event details were announced as follows:

Rally Dates
The Circuit will take place over the weekend of Saturday 30 March, Sunday 31 March and Monday 1st April. The event will be based for all three nights in the Manor House Hotel, Killadeas, a few miles outside Enniskillen.

As well as being the first round of the Toshiba Computers Tarmac Championship, the Circuit will count towards the Irish Historic Championship. The Northern Ireland Rally Championship competitors will have their own one-day rally, which will follow the Circuit crews on all the Easter Monday special stages.

Vehicle scrutiny and documentation for crews will commence on Good Friday afternoon, 29 March in the Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen. Families and enthusiasts alike will be permitted free access to view the cars and drivers at close quarters.

The rally will finish in Enniskillen on Easter Monday afternoon and will be followed by a Gala Dinner and Prizegiving in the Killyhevlin Hotel that evening.

The Saturday stages will feature a spectator special at St Angelo airport as part of a family orientated day out together with some more traditional closed public road special stages. Present plans are for a maximum of seven special stages located in Fermanagh and West Tyrone. Centralised servicing and looped stages will be used.

Easter Sunday morning will see the crews moving towards County Donegal, Cavan and Leitrim for the majority of the day's action. A maximum of twelve special stages are planned again with centralised servicing and looped stages. Those who survive a fast and furious day will return to Enniskillen that evening.

On Easter Monday a further eight looped special stages, in and around the Clogher Valley, combined with more centralised servicing will see the rally return to Enniskillen by 5.00pm

Subject to any last minute route changes, it is intended that much of the special stage action will occur within 45 miles of the rally's Enniskillen base. Overall stage mileage will be in the region of 180 miles. Total route mileage is anticipated to be 380 miles.

Regulations. Entry Forms and Fees
Entry fees are £350 for the main event and £270 for the Historic Circuit. Crews entering the Northern Ireland Rally Championship round on Easter Monday will pay a fee of £200. As with other championship rounds safety notes will not be provided by the organisers. However, other packs can be ordered from the organisers in advance as usual.

Fermanagh Accommodation
Enniskillen and the surrounding area attracts a considerable number of visitors during major holiday weekends such as Easter. The advice from Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism and the Ulster Automobile Club Ltd is to book early when you are considering entering any of the three rallies on offer. All bookings for accommodation should be made through Lakeland Country Breaks, Tourist Information Centre, Wellington Road, Enniskillen, BT74 7EF.

Rally gear etc
This year a full range of clothing, fleeces, polo shirts etc, marking Buy and Sell's association with the 2002 Circuit will be available for sale to the general public in Enniskillen and the surrounding area. Further details, including styles and prices can be obtained from the Ulster Automobile Club Ltd at the above numbers.


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Series Other rally
Drivers John Whelan