Belfast Telegraph

MP bids to protect rally's future after motorsport event is axed this year

By Lisa Smyth

A DUP MP has stepped in to try and secure the future of a major motorsport event that has been cancelled this year.

Organisers of the Lurgan Park Rally announced on Friday that it will not take place this year because of "a number of obstacles too difficult to overcome".

Lurgan Park was not available this year for the North Armagh Motor Club's traditional mid-summer date and plans were being made to switch to May 20. But rising costs and the danger of bad weather in spring forced the cancellation.

The club's director William Fullerton said: "We face an ever-increasing cost of meeting health and safety standards. 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."

He said the club is now hoping to run an alternative clubman event at a different event on May 20 and will redouble its efforts to bring back the popular Lurgan Park Rally next year.

Upper Bann MP David Simpson has contacted the organisers and pledged his support for the event, which has been running since 1980. "It is regrettable that the organisers of Lurgan Park Rally have had no other option but to cancel the event this year," he said.

"This type of event takes major organisation and significant funding.

"The club is run by volunteers and their commitment and passion must be commended.

"This event hosts some of the biggest names in motorsport and along with thousands of others I have been a faithful annual visitor.

"It is a year on year date in the diary for many people across Northern Ireland and I know that the motorsport fraternity and spectators will come together in supporting the club.

"It is more than just a rally, it is a day of entertainment for all the family.

"It cannot be overlooked that this event receives international support and visitors to Lurgan and I have contacted Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council in a bid to increase funding and support for the event."

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