Group B rallying royalty will be on show at Cultra Hillclimb in Northern Ireland this weekend as the event coincides with The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Taking place on 2 June and organised by the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club (NI), the hillclimb will welcome MG Metro 6R4 No1 being driven by 2010 NI Rally Champion Stuart Biggerstaff.
The 6R4 was acquired in 1988 by Stuart’s father Denis, with records showing that the upgraded chassis 00184, registration A658 NJO, was the first 6R4 built.
It was driven by Tony Pond and David Llewllyn in Group B’s heyday and was later taken to British, Northern Irish and Irish Rallycross Championship title wins and NI Hillclimb and Sprint Championships by Denis Biggerstaff. The car still holds the outright record for the Spelga Hillclimb in the Mournes and more recently the car won two NI Rally Championships.
Cultra will this year follow two themes. Firstly, celebrating 50 years of the MGB in collaboration with local MG car clubs, who will have around 40 cars on prominent display. And secondly, the 4WD work and legacy of two of Ulster’s greatest engineers, Harry Ferguson and Rex McCandless. In support of this, the TSCC has secured the appearance of the Ferguson P99 4WD Formula 1 car, which will be returning to Northern Ireland for the first time in 50 years. This car is still the only 4WD car ever to win an F1 race, when Stirling Moss drove it to success in the 1961 Gold Cup at Oulton Park.
In addition to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum showcasing it’s 4WD McCandless race car and McCandless 'Mule' 4WD Military prototype, the event will be graced by the presence of the museum’s own Ferguson aeroplane, which will take pride of place outside the manor house. 4x4 production cars get a nod through the presence of the first non all-terrain production car equipped with 4WD, the Jensen FF. Only 320 were made between 1966 and 1971, with the event having one example on static display and another being driven on the hill.
Bolstering the theme and making a rare public appearance will be the only 4WD 1293cc Mini Clubman built by the BMC Competitions Department and, subject to final confirmation, the Clubman will be joined by the very latest competition 4x4 Mini, Derek McGarrity’s JCW WRC MINI giving visitors a unique photo opportunity.
Also on show will be rare and modern agricultural machinery with civilian and military 4WD vehicles. Sporting Trials demonstrations will be held during the day with an Autotest demo being held on the hill for the first time. One of the event's staunchest supporters, Andy Cooper, will again return to entertain the crowds, showcasing his car-control skills in the 420bhp Nissan S14a RMS Drift Car. Also hoping to make an impact will be two Bowler off-roaders and an MX-5 Modsports track-day car.