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A walk in the park for Alister and Jimmy McRae?
Aug 07, 2006

The McRae father and son duo, Jimmy and Alister, will be heading for Northern Ireland this weekend to take part in the legendary Lurgan Park Rally outside Belfast. Both Alister and Jimmy will drive Mk2 Ford Escorts and will take part in the Mk2 Escort Challenge category of the event.

Alister has competed at Lurgan Park before, during the 1990s in the Formula 2 era. However, he has fond memories of the event, which mixes motorsport and socialising in equal measure; “Lurgan is a great event,” he says. “The atmosphere is fantastic and it’s always fun to take part in. Dad and I were invited to take part by the organisers in the Mk2 Challenge and we couldn’t say no.”

Alister will compete in a car loaned to him by local Lanark businessman Graham Holmes, since his own Mk2 Escort is waiting on parts for an engine rebuild. Holmes’ car is powered by a 2.5-litre Millington engine, while Jimmy’s car is an Irish version, with a BDA engine.

Despite the beauty of the venue, succeeding at Lurgan is no easy task, as Alister explains; “While it’s a great event, it’s also pretty tricky. The stages run in the park and there are some fairly large oak trees right by the side of the roads. It’s tarmac but there’s a lot of corner-cutting, so the roads get pretty muddy. You have to be serious about it, because it’s easy to make a mistake.”

The last time Alister and Jimmy went head to head was in similar machinery, albeit their own respective cars, on last year’s Scottish National Rally, when Alister edged out Jimmy by just 11 seconds at the end of the event.

The Lurgan Park Rally starts in the centre of the town and the first cars starts stage one at 11am on Saturday 12 August. The first crew is expected to arrive at the finish ramp, within Lurgan Park itself at 4pm.

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