Entries are now open for the Ulster Triple-M Tour (the "Tour") which takes place from Tuesday 7th June to Sunday 12th June. The online entry form can be accessed by clicking the link at the end of this page and please note that the last date for entries is 29th February. First, however, the 'official' bit: the Tour is being organised by the Triple-M Register of the M.G. Car Club Ltd. as a 'Touring Assembly' for which permit number 93197 has been issued by the RAC Motor Sports Association. As such there will be no competitive driving element at any time during the Tour either on public roads or on private property. Entry is restricted to Triple-M cars, but the organisers reserve the right to exercise their discretion on this if circumstances require it.
OK, that just about covers all the rules that apply so now for the interesting bits.
For those travelling from Great Britain or beyond, we have arranged a 15% discount with Stena Line on all their Irish sea routes and the discount code will be provided to you once your entry has been received. For anyone planning to bring their car on a trailer, one option might be to leave the tow car and trailer at the docks and just bring the M.G. on the ferry. There are inexpensive car parks at Cairnryan, Holyhead and Fishguard ports and Stena Line have told me that they will try and provide parking space for a limited number of tow cars and trailers at Birkenhead/Liverpool docks. If you would like to have parking at Birkenhead/Liverpool docks, make sure to request this when making your entry but it's up to you to make your own arrangements at the other ports.
We will be providing a road book giving the route instructions for each day using 'tulip' diagrams with interval and total mileage. We will also be providing a map for each day's route in case you get lost (!) or just want to know where you are. The road book will also contain tourist information on the areas we're driving through and information on local M.G. drivers of the 1930s and their cars as well as on the local circuits and hill climbs, many of which we will visit on our travels.
The final programme is shaping up as follows:
Tuesday 7th June
Arrival and registration: normal check in time is 15.00 hrs but the hotel say that they'll try and have rooms available as early as possible for those coming off the overnight ferries. In the evening we'll have our welcome dinner and we hope to have the Curator of the Transport Museum, the President of the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club and the Chairman of the Ulster Centre of the MGCC as our guests.
Wednesday 8th June
The first day's touring itinerary will take in the Ballyclare circuit before heading via Red Brae hill climb to Billy Andy's near Gleno for morning coffee. From there we head via Cairncastle hill climb to the Causeway Coast and lunch at the Londonderry Arms Hotel, Carnlough. Then via Garron Point hill climb, Glenariff, Cushendall and Cushendun to Glencorp and Glenballyeamon and back to the hotel.
Dinner at the hotel.
Thursday 9th June
In the morning, we head to Craigantlet hill climb and the Ards TT circuit. The cars will assemble in Conway Square in Newtownards and morning coffee will be hosted in the Old Town Hall on Conway Square by the Mayor of Ards and North Down.
After completing our lap of the TT circuit we're off to the Carriage Rooms at Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch for lunch. After lunch we head to Hillsborough for a tour, as guests of Lisburn and Castlereagh Council, of Hillsborough Castle, the Queen's official residence in Northern Ireland, followed by afternoon tea in the Throne Room. A detour to take in Ballybannon hill climb will be an option after lunch and for those who wish to do so they can also take in a lap of the Dundrod circuit on the way back to the hotel from Hillsborough Castle.
Dinner at the hotel.
Friday 10th June
To the Giant's Causeway via the Dark Hedges, stopping at Drumadoon House for morning coffee. Lunch will be at The Causeway Hotel beside the Giant's Causeway with the afternoon free for people to choose which sights to visit. Bushmills Distillery is close by and we have been given concessionary rates for anyone wanting to do a tour of the distillery. The return route takes in more of the Antrim Glens.
Final group dinner (barbecue if weather permits) at the hotel as we would expect many people to head home on Saturday evening after Cultra Hill Climb rather than stay another night.
Saturday 11th June
We have joined with the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club of Northern Ireland to have a Triple-M M.G. theme at Cultra Hill Climb. Admission tickets to the Hill Climb will be provided for cars, drivers and passengers and we have been asked to provide a display of cars throughout the day with the possibility of a demonstration parade up the hill. Those intending to enter the hill climb itself must make their own arrangements to do so and details will be provided nearer the time.
To facilitate those wanting to head to the ferries straight after the hill climb, free parking for tow cars and trailers will be available at the Transport Museum for those who need it.
No organised dinner at the hotel (but see comments above and we'll arrange dinner if numbers warrant it).
Sunday 12th June
Departure for those who stayed over on Saturday night.
Total mileage each day will be around 100-120 miles broken up into 25-30 mile sections with coffee/tea/comfort call/lunch halts in between. Apart from the visit to Hillsborough Castle on Thursday 9th June, we have opted not to organise afternoon stops as by this stage in the day some may prefer just to head back to the hotel and others may wish to explore the tourist attractions en route. We have, however, identified suitable places to stop should people wish to do so.
The level of interest in the Tour has been encouragingly high and we've received expressions of interest not just from the UK but also from Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and even Australia. We're optimistic that we'll have three or four genuine TT M.G.s joining us as well as four or five cars that competed at Craigantlet and elsewhere in Ulster in the 1930s, plus hopefully another couple of K3s that haven't actually been to Ulster before. This could result in the most K3s seen in Ulster in over sixty years!
We are delighted to say that as well as the Triple-M Register providing financial support to the organisation of the Tour, all of the District Councils through whose areas we will be touring are also supporting the Tour either financially or by providing hospitality for us, i.e. morning coffee in Conway Square hosted by the Mayor, and the guided tour of Hillsborough Castle. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board are also supporting us financially so we do hope that if you are staying on after the Tour you will take the opportunity to explore some of the delights that Northern Ireland has to offer.
With this financial support we have therefore been able to set the entry fee at £60 per car and driver plus £50 per passenger. This includes the road book, rally plate, rally bag, name badges, etc., plus morning coffee and lunch on each of the three days of touring, the guided tour of Hillsborough Castle followed by afternoon tea in the Throne Room, and admission to the Cultra Hill Climb for drivers and passengers on the Saturday.
Once your entry has been received you will receive an invoice by email for the appropriate entry fee together with your hotel booking code (if requested) and the Stena Line booking code. Payment of the entry fee can be made by PayPal (for a small extra supplement), bank transfer or good ol' fashioned cheque drawn on a UK bank. Full details will be on the invoice.
Clearly it will be up to each individual to be responsible for their own hotel and ferry bookings - we can give you the information but after that it's up to you!