Easter Stages Rally called off because of the bad weather

Derek McGarrity and co-driver James McKee in action during the Power Stage in Lisburn City Centre
Derek McGarrity and co-driver James McKee in action during the Power Stage in Lisburn City Centre

The Easter Stages Rally scheduled to take place in counties Antrim and Down on Saturday has been called off because of the current bad weather.

A statement from the organisers said that the decision had been taken "in light of the hardship being faced by residents in the area".

The rally was to use a number of roads in the Dromara Hills which are buried under snowdrifts of up to 12 feet.

The event was scheduled to start in Lisburn and finish in Ballynahinch.

Organisers are exploring the possibility of re-staging the event at some stage later this year.

The one-day event was set to be a replacement over the Easter date for the Circuit of Ireland which was postponed in December because of funding difficulties.

The Easter Stages event was set to be round two of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship as well as counting towards the Northern Ireland Championship.

"We are all disappointed and for sure the competitors will be too," said event spokesman Bobby Willis.

"But we must remember that this is a sport, and right now there are more pressing issues in the area.

"The farmers and residents are having a terrible time and we should definitely be thinking of them.

"Our sights are now firmly set on the Circuit of Ireland 2014 and returning the European Rally Championship to Northern Ireland."

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