Literary Flourish for Circuit’s Banbridge Stage


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Banbridge’s Bronte Homeland has given its name to a special stage of this year’s Circuit of Ireland Rally taking place on Easter Saturday, 19 April.
The ‘Bronte Homeland’ stage  is the longest competitive stage during the two day European Rally Championship event which will take in nearly 30 Km of picturesque roads  between Banbridge and Rathfriland.  Competitors will cover the special stage twice and as well as that, shoppers will be able to get alongside all the action in Banbridge town centre on the Saturday afternoon, when the cars will be assembled in ‘The Cut’ during a Rally Regroup.
The closed road special stage will include many of the Bronte heritage locations which celebrate Banbridge’s connection to the famous Bronte sisters through their rector father Patrick Bronte. Patrick was born and brought up in the region before studying at Cambridge University and finally settling in Yorkshire where his literary daughters Emily, Charlotte and Anne lived and wrote their world famous novels Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Helping to launch the Bronte Homeland stage of the Circuit of Ireland is Chairman of Banbridge District Council, Cllr Olive Mercer and Rally Event Director, Bobby Willis with Bronte period models – Stuart Allister and Joanne Magennis.
Local star Kenny McKinstry is particularly pleased that the Banbridge area will have so much of the action, “It’s wonderful to hear the organisers are running a stage so close to Banbridge. The roads in this area are incredible and always popular with the drivers. A special stage of this length will be a real test of man and machine.
“To also have a ‘regroup control’ in the centre of Banbridge will be fantastic and a real opportunity for shoppers and rally fans to get up close and personal with the competitors.”
Welcoming the Circuit of Ireland, Banbridge District Chairman, Cllr Olive Mercer said:
“We are delighted to have an international spotlight shone upon one of the jewels in the crown of the Banbridge region.  We are immensely proud of our Bronte connections and view the Circuit of Ireland Rally and the resulting Eurosport television coverage and interest as a great opportunity to promote our literary heritage set in a spectacular rural landscape.”
During the Rally Regroup period, Banbridge District Council has planned a three hour festival of family fun activities on Easter Saturday afternoon. Adding a carnival atmosphere and entertaining shoppers and visitors in Newry Street and Bridge Street will be stilt walkers, jugglers, samba dancers and Rally themed performers.
Thanking Banbridge District Council for their support, Circuit of Ireland Event Director, Bobby Willis said:
“Banbridge’s link to the Bronte family is in itself a story worth telling. It has been our intention throughout the planning of the Circuit of Ireland Rally to tell these stories – some high profile and others less known – of Northern Ireland, so the world can witness our rich heritage and beautiful scenery, as a stunning backdrop to the iconic Circuit of Ireland Rally.”
The 2014 Circuit of Ireland has been billed by ERC organisers Eurosport Events as one of three ‘legendary’ events alongside the Acropolis and Corsica rallies. It takes place on 17-19 April and will be the first fully asphalt race of the European Rally Championship.
For up to date information on the 2014 Circuit of Ireland visit
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