Borough prepares for Circuit of Ireland role

Seasoned rally enthusiast John Mulholland (centre) joined Mayor Billy Ashe (right) and Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis (Left) to announce that the 2016 Circuit of Ireland Rally will begin its competitive stages in Mid and East Antrim Borough on Friday 8th April.Picture: Press Eye.
Seasoned rally enthusiast John Mulholland (centre) joined Mayor Billy Ashe (right) and Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis (Left) to announce that the 2016 Circuit of Ireland Rally will begin its competitive stages in Mid and East Antrim Borough on Friday 8th April.Picture: Press Eye.

Motorsport fans in the Ballymena and Antrim areas are set for a high-octane treat on their own doorsteps this week.

The local area is set to play a key role in this year’s Circuit of Ireland rally.

The action begins in neighbouring Antrim at the majestic setting of the town’s Castle Gardens for the official Qualifying Stage on Thursday 7th April.

It will encompass a closed road free practice session in the morning with European Championship priority cars departing from Antrim’s Loughshore car park and travelling on roads in the Tardree area before regrouping at Antrim Castle Gardens at approximately midday. Following the official Qualifying Start at 12.30pm, cars will leave at one minute intervals from 12.30pm onwards to undertake the competitive qualifying on the roads east of Antrim town then returning to the King’s Hall Belfast Service Park.

On Friday April 8, the first competitive stage of the Circuit will get underway close to Larne, moving to the next stage near Ballymena and then onwards to the North Coast.

Ballymena town centre Showgrounds will host an all-important refuel stop at the Showgrounds venue.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Billy Ashe said, “It is wonderful that the Circuit of Ireland is starting its competitive stages in the Mid and East Antrim Borough.

It will also be a significant boost to the local economy as thousands of spectators flock to the area,” the Mayor added.