Festival of Speed returns to Lisburn

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The Northern Ireland Festival of Speed is set to return to Lisburn on Saturday 30 and Sunday August 31 for what will be two days of adrenaline-fueled motorsport action.

After successfully running in 2012, thousands of spectators are expected to return to Balmoral Park, Maze Long Kesh, Lisburn for an all-new, two-day format that will feature a variety of attractions to keep spectators of all ages entertained.

There will be rallying on an all-new, all-access Rally Spectator Stage, together with an array of exotic machinery, off road driving action, Auto-testing, Drifting, Helicopter rides, Segway experience as well as a family carnival and music stage.

The event will also feature Northern Ireland’s ‘Go Motorsport Live’ event, where spectators will have the opportunity to enjoy passenger rides in the Autosolo cars. A host of local motor clubs will also be on site, ready to provide spectators with details on how they can get involved in motorsport through their local club, either as a marshal, organiser or competitor.

Indeed this is an all-new format for 2014, with considerable changes to the course, and the layout of the entire festival.

“It’s much more compact this year for the spectators,” commented Festival organiser Ronnie Mitchell. “The new rally track offers much better viewing, with an almost total view of the course, and all the other activities are also enclosed within Balmoral Park, Maze Long Kesh, Lisburn, which was used so successfully for the Balmoral Show. It’s definitely an exciting year ahead for us, and it promises to be an even more entertaining two days.”

At the heart of the Festival is the rally stage, and the organisers are working hard to secure the best entry possible. With the rally being run as a demonstration, it’s hoped to attract more exotic machinery, including the Group B Supercars of the 1980’s. Already an awesome Ford RS200 has been confirmed, and more cars are to be announced soon.

With Group 4 Escort’s, Chevette’s and Group A cars such as Subaru Impreza’s, and the more modern WRC versions, as well as a selection of Historic and Modified machinery being invited, it promises to be a rallying spectacular. The new course has plenty of room, and some fine loose surfaces mixed with tarmac for the driver’s to broad-slide their cars for the crowds. Instead of paying an entry fee the rally crews will be making a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support, a very worthy cause, and one very close to the organiser’s hearts.

But the rallying is far from the only thing, as the Bowler Wildcat Off-Road event, will demonstrate how diverse these machines, as they tackle seemingly impossible challenges.

Live music will also be a feature this year, along with a wide variety of entertainment to keep every member of the family entertained. The impressive live music line- up includes Queen tribute - Flash Harry, Ronnie Greer Blues Band, Acoustocratz, Jordan O’Keefe, Brian Giffen & The Untouchables, Partners in Crime and Niamh Kavanagh and the Illegals.

It’s not just about spectating but participating too, as you could experience a high speed, sideways ride in one of the Autosolo cars, as they drift and tweak their hand-brake around our new course. The Drifting guys too will be in action, and no doubt burning plenty of rubber around the same arena, and the handbrake kings of Auto-testing will be going back-wards, forwards and round and round, so the Maze will come alive with the sights, sounds and smells of superb motorsport action.

The festival will also be joined by NI racing legend Colin Turkington who will be taking a trip around the course, signing autographs and posing for photos.

Admission fees have been kept as low as possible, at £10 per adult if pre-booked on the website, £12.50 at the gate on the day, with under 12’s going free. Parking is also just £5 per day per car.

The festival is proudly supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Lisburn City Council, and Ulster Automobile Club. Make sure you don’t miss out on all the action – Saturday 30 and Sunday August 31.

Keep up to speed at www.festivalofspeedni.com or on Facebook to keep up with the latest news on this motorsport spectacular.