Monaghan's Free Newspaper
Circuit of Ireland Ards Stage Recreates Past TT Glory
2014 Circuit of Ireland organisers along with Ards Borough Council will hark back to the heady days
of the 1930s TT Races with the introduction of a new Ards TT Town Centre Special Stage on Friday,
April taking in Conway Square and surrounding urban and rural roads in the Newtownards
Top European motorsport stars such as Lebegue, Caracciola and Nuvolari who in the 1930’s were as
high profile as today’s F1 heroes, Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso, all took part in the world famous Ards
TT Races from 1928 until 1936.
Circuit of Ireland organisers aim to recreate the atmosphere of those glory days when up to half
a million spectators from the island of Ireland and beyond converged to watch Alfa-Romeos,
Talbots and Mercedes cars take on the celebrated Tourist Trophy roads challenge. This year on
Good Friday morning, Conway Square in the heart of the market town will once again echo to the
sounds of world class machinery when over 100 competitors will pass through a Time Control in the
Town Square on their way out to the first competitive stages of the day. Drivers will then return to
Newtownards on Friday evening for a closed road ‘Special Stage’ through the streets of the town.
The 2014 Circuit of Ireland has been billed by ERC organisers Eurosport Events as one of
three ‘legendary’ events alongside the Acropolis and Corisca rallies. It takes place on 17-19 April and
will be the first fully asphalt race of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Helping to launch the Ards TT Town Centre stage was Ards Mayor, Cllr Stephen McIlveen along with
Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis. Linking the past to present day rallying and making
a special ‘show’ appearance at the Ards stage will be the classic 1930s green Talbot 105 (pictured)
owned by local motorsport enthusiast Nick Ward.
Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis said, “A Talbot 105 car entered the inaugural Circuit
of Ireland event in 1931 and we’re delighted to profile such a fantastic classic car for the Ards TT
Special Stage - this is an area hugely synonymous with motorsport glory.
“In terms of the Circuit, this is a first for the Ards area and I’d like to pay tribute to Mayor McIlveen
and the Council’s vision and foresight in bringing such a high profile motorsport event to the region.
In addition to Newtownards, the event will help showcase ‘Destination Strangford’ and the beauty of
the lough itself.
“Town Centre stages are incredibly popular with fans and the general public and we look forward
to welcoming visitors to Ards town centre on Good Friday. It’s a huge undertaking in terms of
infrastructure and safety equipment, but plans are well underway and I believe it will be a fantastic
and exciting event for Ards and the surrounding region.”
Mr Willis added, “An important factor of our programme will be our road safety message ‘Keep the
Race in its Place’ and alongside the Council we will be highlighting road safety and its importance for
Mayor of Ards, Councillor Stephen McIlveen, who originally proposed that Ards Borough Council
support the new stage of the rally, said: “The Circuit of Ireland is a prestigious motorsport event and
to have a stage of the rally introduced here in Ards is a real coup. It adds yet another reason to visit
and enjoy this area’s attractions and brings a boost to the local economy, as well as our growing
reputation as a venue for high quality events.
“Ards Borough Council is delighted to be backing this part of the rally and, as someone who worked
both behind and in front of the scenes to bring the event to Ards, I personally am very pleased
that we will be welcoming the cars, the drivers and the spectators to what is sure to be a truly
For up to date information on the 2014 Circuit of Ireland visit http://www.circuitofireland.net/
Follow on Facebook .com/circuitofireland or twitter @CircuitIreland.