Enniskillen base for Circuit

 

When the Circuit of Ireland was cancelled this year there was an outcry, the loudest complaints coming from those who had criticised the event and said it lacked character since the halcyon era when the traditional Easter weekend's rallying was based in Killarney. Now, the long-distance road routes between stages belong to the past and the compact newlook event to be based in Enniskillen next Easter is the way to go if there is to be any future for the Circuit.

The 2001 event, run as usual by the Ulster Automobile Club, will take place on April 14th-16th. Rally HQ will be the Manor House Hotel at Killadeas, a few miles outside Enniskillen. The Easter Saturday stages will feature a mix of `spectator' stages and traditional closed road stages, six in total in Fermanagh and West Tyrone.

An early start on Sunday will take the rally into counties Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim for 10 stages. The final day's eight stages will be in the Clogher Valley area, with the finish in Enniskillen from 5pm. Much of the 180 miles of stages will be within 45 miles of Enniskillen, in a total route of 400 miles.

"It is fitting that the first round of the Irish Rally Championship heralds the return of the Circuit," said Terry Harryman, UAC chairman, "and provides us with the opportunity of introducing significant changes to the event which mirror the development of rallying on a wider scale."

Dublin & District Motor Cycle Club has raised £373,500 for the Wireless for The Blind and Audio Visual Technology Fund at the annual St Stephen's Day fancy dress motorcycle trial, since 1951. This year's fun and games will again be held at The Slade, Crooksling (off the Tallaght-Blessington Road). There are just a few small club events over the holiday period, with the mudpluggers competing in the Le Fanu Cup Sporting Trial at Kilruddery, Bray, on December 30th and a Rallysprint scheduled for Mondello Park on New Year's Eve to bring the motorsport year to a close.

After two tragic years, which saw the death of too many racers including the legendary Joey Dunlop, the safety aspect of motorcycle road racing will be under close scrutiny next year.

2001 motor-cycle road-racing dates: April 28th - Cookstown, Co Tyrone; May 5th - Tandragee, Co Armagh; May 19th - North-West 200, Portstewart; June 16th - Dundrod 150; June 23rd/24th - Glaslough, Co Monaghan; June 30th/July 1st - Darver, near Dundalk; July 6th/7th - Skerries, Co Dublin; July 14th/15th - Walderstown, near Athlone; July 21st/22nd - Crossakiel, near Kells, Co Meath; August 4th - Mid-Antrim 150, Clough; August 18th - Ulster Grand Prix, Dundrod; September 1st - Carrowdore, Co Down; September 8th/9th - Killalane, Sherries. Racing dates at the revised Mondello Park are: March 25th, April 22nd, May 13th, July 8th, July 29th, August 26th, September 22nd/23rd, October 7th.

Fixtures: St Stephen's Day - Dublin & District MCC Fancy Dress Trial, The Slade, Crooksling, Co Dublin, 12.0.