Double-digit growth in new karting cegories

The Tillotson T4 Series will be showcased at the Motorsport Ireland National Karting Championships in Whiteriver Karting Complex in Louth on Sunday. The concept behind the category is to offer affordable competitive kart racing to motorsport enthusiasts from 15 years of age and upwards.

In the past decade karting was one of the “best-kept secrets” in Irish motorsport and that description led to a study of the sport and how it could be repopulated. Although there is still work to be done in terms of publicity, entries have shot up from 50 last year to over 100.

The new T4 category (grid ready at €2,750 +VAT) has attracted interest with karters eager to compete in the Monobrand Series where all karts and engines are identical. The T4-C1 chassis and Tillotson 225RS engine provide a platform where talent and ability are prioritised over the cost of competing.

For Sunday’s launch event Tillotson Racing (a Tralee based company) have invited several National and International guest drivers to take part and put the category through its paces. Amongst the guest drivers are Meath’s Niall Quinn, one of Ireland’s most decorated karters, who won national titles in Cadet, JICA and Formula A.

Quinn went on to single seater racing and was part of the Junior Red Bull team (2006) and of the Ireland A1GP team in 2008/2009 season. Dubliner Cheryl Murphy, who raced at Cadet, Junior and Senior levels for many years, makes her return to the grid while representing the Formula Female Project under the guidance of Irish Hockey star Nicci Daly.

Brazilian Felipe Braga, Finland’s Mikko Laine and Frenchman Paul David will also be at Whiteriver. Racing begins at 11am and admission to the general public is free. Meanwhile, Sunday’s Hotel Kilmore Cavan Rally has attracted a star-studded entry even though it is not part of the Triton series due to the rotation format.

Location and preparation for next month’s Joule Donegal International Rally are the primary reasons for the high quality with the first of the two-wheel drive competitors - Chris Armstrong (Ford Escort) seeded down at No 14.

Irish national champion Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta) heads the list with Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) and former Tarmac champion Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings (Subaru WRC) next off the start line.

There are Ford Fiesta WRC debuts for Antrim’s Desi Henry and Donegal’s Joe McGonigle. National forest rally contender Tyrone’s Cathan McCourt will campaign his recently acquired Subaru WRC S14.

The rest of the top ten includes Stephen McCann (Ford Fiesta R5), Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi EvoIX), Frank Wray (Subaru WRC) and Declan McCrory (Subaru WRC). A round of the Sligo Pallets Border Championship, the first stage begins at 10.44am.

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