Circuit of Ireland Ards Stage Recreates Past TT Glory

Fintan Gallagher ~ Wednesday 26th February, 2014

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

everyday drivers.” 

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 

memorable occasion.” 

For up to date information on the 2014 Circuit of Ireland visit

Follow on Facebook .com/circuitofireland or twitter @CircuitIreland.