North Armagh club forced to cancel Lurgan Park rally

Lurgan Park organisers have cited 'a number of obstacles' behind the decision to cancel this year's meeting.

Garry Jennings and Michael Moran will have to wait at least another year to defend the Lurgan Park rally title. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

North Armagh Motor Club officials have confirmed the decision to clear the 2017 calendar “with regret”.

“It is with regret that the organisers of the Lurgan Park Rally have decided not to run the rally in 2017,” said a rally spokesman. “The directors of the North Armagh Motor Club have made this decision because of a number of obstacles which have proved too difficult to overcome.

Sign up to our daily NorthernIrelandWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The very first Lurgan Park Rally in 1980 was won by the late Bertie Fisher and the event - which has hosted such top international drivers as Ari Vatanen, Pentti Airikkala, Tony Pond and Mikael Sundstrom - has become a rallying byword for excellence over the intervening years.

“In addition, the event was one of motorsport’s social highlights of the season.”

William Fullerton, the North Armagh Motor Club director, also described planning issues as a key reason.

“Lurgan Park is not available to us this year on our planned date so we had to opt for May 20,” he said. “We face an ever-increasing cost of meeting Health and Safety standards.

“Because of this, combined with the potential bill for repairing the grounds of this lovely park should it happen to be a wet event, we feel is too big a risk for the club.

“The earlier planned date also has a number of event clashes, as a result of which we have been unable to attract a suitable sponsor.

“The Motor club will attempt to run an alternative ‘Clubman event’ at a different venue on May 20 and will re-double their efforts to bring back the popular Lurgan Park Rally in 2018.”