Sean Moriarty Reports
Clerk of the Course Anthony O Connor
Killarney and District Motor Club unveiled further details of its December 2 and 3 Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic Rally at the Gleneagle Hotel, on Sunday afternoon.
In his address to the large audience, clerk of the course Anthony O’Connor outlined some of the new initiatives for this year’s event.
“A huge effort is going on behind the scenes to organise, what I believe, is the best one-day rally Ireland has to offer,” he said.
“Entries will close in just a few days and, as ever, the rally has received a large number of entries with some of the highest quality machines and drivers already signed up to take on this challenging event.
“In a Killarney Historic Rally first, the iconic Molls Gap stage will be run on three occasions across the day, which has received nothing but positivity since that was announced. A large number of spectators are expected to congregate on the iconic left-hand turn on the main Killarney to Kenmare road. The rally will consist of seven stages in total, with two runs through the scenic Ballaghbeama stage and the technical and twisty sections of Kilgobnet, which is enough to test the best drivers in the world.”
The rally has attracted a star-studded entry list including entries from all corners of Ireland, Britain and the USA.
LEADING LOCAL ENTRIES
Alan Ring leads the very strong Kerry entry in his Subaru Legacy RS. He and co-driver Adrian Deasy finished second overall last year.
Fergus O’Meara will have British Championship runner-up Mikie Glavin in the hot seat in his Ford Escort.
Todd Falvey is also competing in a Ford Escort and all three local drivers are in contention for the historic award in the Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship.
Atlanta-based Donegal man Seamus Burke makes a welcome return to Killarney driving a Ford Escort.
Californian Joe Whyte is a regular visitor to Kerry rallies in his Mini Cooper.
Welshman Sebastien Ling won the historic section of the recent Kerry Winter Rally, and he will be making his Killarney debut in the same Ford Escort.
Leading Welsh driver is long-time visitor Gareth Lloyd who returns in the same BMW M3 E30 that drove to a top ten finish last year
Other Welsh drivers include brothers Adrian and Wayne Evans in their Ford Escorts. ,
Harry Hunt became the youngest British driver, at 27, to take part in the Dakar Rally in 2016. He is making his Killarney debut at the wheel of a Ford Escort Mk2.
Warwickshire’s Les Allfrey has been supporting Killarney and District Motor Club events since the 1980s and makes a welcome return in his Mini.
Donagh Kelly and Rory Kennedy were fourth overall in Killarney last year and they return in the same BMW M3 E30.
Monaghan’s Michael Carbin makes his first foray into historic rallying. He finished fifth in the recent Banna Beach Resort Kerry Winter Rally in a Mitsubishi Lancer, but he will drive a Ford Escort RS1800 in Killarney in just under three weeks.
Racing driver Michael Cullen will compete in a BMW M3 E30. His co-driver Sean Hasset is better known for the behind-the-scenes social media work he does for Craig Breen on the World Rally Championship.
Breen’s father Ray returns with a similar Legacy to Alan Ring’s version.
Michael McDaid and his Cork co-driver Declan Casey spent the summer scoring top results in the Welsh and BTRDA gravel championship events in the UK.
Although predominantly a historic rally, the modified section is always keenly fought and popular with spectators.
Among the leading entries, so far, in this competition is Kevin Eves from Donegal who finished second in this category last season and returns in the same Toyota Corolla.
Jack Newman led the Kerry Winter Rally for a spell but retired after an altercation with a chicane. With his car fully repaired he will be hoping for better luck on his second visit to Kerry in recent weeks.
Leading locals in this category include Connor and Mark Murphy in an Escort and a Starlet. Ray O’Neill, Denis Hickey, Sean Enright (Ford Escorts) and PJ O’Dowd (Talbot Sunbeam) are all potential class winners.