CLERK of the course for last year’s Johny Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally, Gary Milligan said the switch to the Derry and Strabane area was key to the huge success of the event.
At Saturday evening’s ANICC awards night, the Ulster Rally was selected by the sport’s governing body, the MSA, as the best round of the 2016 British Rally Championship.
Milligan said taking “the rally to the people”was a major factor in winning the reward.
“I have no doubt the move to Derry and Strabane had a lot to do with it,” said the Omagh Motor Club stalwart.
“It was based in Ebrington Square, right in the heart of the city. It was taking the rally to the public and that was a major plus point for us.
“Ebrington was the ideal setting and late on Friday evening with the lights of the city and the Peace Bridge it all added to the atmosphere.
“The British Championship was revamped this year and it’s nice to get the recognition.
“Of course it’s not a one-man operation. There are a lot of volunteers and the award recognised the commitment of many people.
“Obviously the stages around the Sperrins went down well with the drivers as well, especially for those who had driven them 10-15 years ago.
“Those special stages no doubt got us a lot of kudos.”
The 2017 Ulster Rally, which takes place on August 18 and 19, is set for a return to the Derry and Strabane district.
“We are just awaiting the final go ahead,” continued Milligan, who is stepping down after two three-year stints as COC.
“The plan is to have a lot more hapening around Strabane with a regroup in the town centre. Hopefully that will add to the razzamatazz of the event.”