Rallying Returns to Waterford

Thursday, 07 April 2011 20:18


During the golden ago of rallying in the early 1980's, Waterford City and County would come a live at Easter time, when the most famous event in the Irish Motorsport calendar, the Circuit of Ireland would roll in to town. Crowds of enthusiastic rally fans would line the stages to get a glimpse of drivers like Coleman, Brookes, McRae and MacHale. Now three decades later the Carrick on Suir Motor club are about to bring rallying back to Co. Waterford.

On Sunday October 31st, the Carrick Motor Club will hold the inaugural running of the Halloween Historic Stages Rally. Cars and stars from a bygone age will return to the Co. Waterford countryside as the Carrick on Suir Motor Club introduce a new event to the Irish Motorsport calendar.

The Halloween Historic Stages Rally is the realization of a dream for club member Donagh O'Sullivan. Donagh, who lives just outside the Village of Faugheen, Co.Tipperary and is a Carrick Motor Club member for over twenty five years, takes the helm as clerk of the course. It’s Donagh’s ambition which was the driving force to organise and run an Historic Tarmac Rally of this type for the first time. Now with almost twelve months of preparation work gone in to the organising of the event we are only weeks away from the rally.

The rally will be based in the club's home town of Carrick on Suir, with the Carraig Hotel as headquarters. Eight special stages covering 130 Kms all of which are located in Co. Waterford and are steeped in Circuit of Ireland history from the 1980's. Classes for the event include Historic, Post Historic, Classic and Modified Classic ensuring plenty of sideways action.

Over the last year the event committee (Donagh O'Sullivan, Eamonn Murphy, Connie Delaney, and Barry Duggan) have canvassed support from similar events in Ireland and cross channel. To date the response has been enthusiastic. The rally base in Carrick on Suir and it's prominence to ferry ports in Dublin, Rosslare and Cork, plus the new motorway network from Belfast amount to the perfect location for both Irish, UK and European competitors and spectators.

The committee has also used available networks to entice three former greats of the sport to take part in the event. Billy Coleman, Russell Brookes and Jimmy McRae will take the start line on Sunday morning October 31st and the clocks will be turned back to a bygone era. These drivers all ex Irish and UK rally champions are synonymous with the glorious years of Irish Tarmac Rallying. It's a testament to the commitment of Carrick on Suir Motor Club that they are able to attract these competitors to compete on the same event. The three drivers named are just the tip of the iceberg as many more former greats have expressed an interest and as we get closer to the event news on these entries will be made available. On the event weekend the competitors will carry out there recce of the stages during Saturday the 30th, then that evening there will be a ceremonial start in the main street in Carrick on Suir, culminating with a parade of the cars and interviews with the crews.

On the Saturday night after the ceremonial start, there will be a "Rally Forum". The Rally forum will take place in the Carraig Hotel headquarters and be hosted by Graham Robson. The Forum will give the opportunity to spectators to see the star being interview in an informal setting and will also give rally fans the opportunity to ask questions to their rallying heroes.