Belfast Telegraph

Circuit of Ireland: Clash of rally dates ... just blame it on the moon

By Sammy Hamill

Two of Ireland’s biggest rallies take place within a week of each other — and it is all the fault of the moon.

The unfortunate clash means a hit for the entry lists for the Circuit of Ireland this weekend and the Killarney-based Rally of the Lakes, starting just six days later.

Remarkably, both have attracted upwards of 100 starters for rounds two and three of the premier Irish Tarmac championship but inevitably there are drivers who, for reasons of time and logistics, will miss out on one or the other. And even those like Derek McGarrity, Kevin Barrett and Aaron MacHale, who are planning to do both, can’t be sure they’ll make it to Killarney.

Naturally, the Circuit of Ireland is a priority for McGarrity who will be chasing a fifth victory but he is keen to go to Killarney too.

“It is one of my favourite rallies and I would like to repeat my 2004 win,” said the former Tarmac champion.

“But it all depends on how the car comes out of the Circuit. The date clash is unfortunate but luckily it doesn’t happen very often.”

Only every decade or so. The reason is the traditional holiday dates of the two events, the Circuit at Easter and the Rally of the Lakes on May Bank Holiday. And the full moon.

Easter can fall anytime between March 22 and April 25 and is always the weekend after the first full moon of Spring equinox. This year it is late, April 22/23, just a week before the May holiday.

“We did look at the possibility of moving away from our Easter date but it wasn’t practical, and it was equally difficult for the organisers of the Rally of the Lakes who are also tied to a holiday weekend,” said Donnelly Group Circuit director Bobby Willis.

Road closures for Circuit of Ireland Special Stages 8 & 9 (Banbridge North): Saturday 23rd April 2011 from 17:45 to 23:00: Killysorrell Rd (Route CO355) from its junction with Blackskull Rd (CO354) to its junction with O'Roory Hill Rd (U4028); Mullafernaghan Rd (CO349) from its junction with Killysorrell Rd (CO355) to its junction with Skeltons Cut (U4069); Skeltons Cut from its junction with Mullafernaghan Rd to its junction with Glen Rd (U4069); Glen Rd from its junction with Skeltons Cut to its junction with Ballycross Rad (U4070); Ballycross Rd from its junction with Glen Rd to its junction with Steens Hill (U4071); Steens Hill from its junction with Ballymoney Rd (U4072) to its juntion with Seapatrick Rd (CO353); Seapatrick Rd from its junction with Steens Hill to its junction with Drumnavaddy Rd (U4092); Drumnavaddy Rd from its junction with Seapatrick Rd to its junction with Moorestown Rd (U4093); Moorestown Rd from its junction with Drumnavaddy Rd to its junction with Blackskull Rd (CO354).

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