The weekend of the 5th & 6th of April sees the much-anticipated return of the 2008 Abbey Hotel Roscommon Moto-Stages Rally in association with Casey’s Auto Group. This is the fourth time that the event has been held in county Roscommon. The popularity of rallying in Ireland has grown exponentially over the last fifteen years due to the quality of cars, competitors and stages. Midland Motor Club ran its first Motorsport event back in 1976. The ‘Moto ’76 Rally’ ran out of Longford. The official programme cost just 10p! This year’s rally is the sixteenth annual Midland Motor Club rally. The rally first ran under the guise of a ‘Single Stage Rally’ in 1992 based in Granard, Co. Longford. 2003 saw Midland Motor Club running a relatively new format of rally, which was known as a mini-stage rally. The club was in fact the first motor club in Ireland to run such an event. This means that instead of the one rally stage ran three times the new format allowed the club to run two rally stages twice. This format was to provide a stepping-stone to Motor Clubs between Single Stage and Multi Stage rallies. Since 2005 the Midland Motor Club has run what is known as a multi-stage rally, which means a total of 8 special stages. This provides the competitor with better value for money and provides the spectator with more opportunities to catch a glimpse of their rally heroes. Because the event consists of four competitive stages repeated twice meaning the club can start 171 competing cars along with both historic and junior classes. The event always proves itself to be a popular one attracting a top class entry, some even from across the water. Last year saw Midland Motor Club running an additional single stage rally in Ballymahon, which showed the wealth of experience, knowledge and manpower within the club and also the high regard Midland Motor Club is held within Motorsport Ireland. On Saturday morning the 5th April 171 crews along with their service teams will converge on the town of Roscommon. They’re first task is to familiarize themselves with the stages. This is known as a ‘recce run’. When they have completed their recce they have to present their cars at mechanical scrutiny. This is where the cars are tested both for safety and legality. This also provides an opportunity for the spectators to get the first glimpse of the competitor’s machinery. Scrutiny takes place in Roscommon Fire Station, beside Casey’s and commences at two o’clock.