Organisers of the West Cork Rally are anxiously awaiting a decision to see if they will become a full counting round, having made its debut in the Modified section earlier this year, while the Rally Isle of Man, which returns to the British Rally Championship this season, could be added to the ITC ticket for 2015.
The Irish Examiner understands a “clear the air” meeting on aspects relating to the Circuit of Ireland will have a major bearing on next year’s championship itinerary. It is highly unlikely that the West Cork, the Circuit and the “Manx” will all be facilitated. This year’s Circuit of Ireland was a great success but in truth, most, if not all of the promotion was geared towards the European Rally Championship part of the rally. There is a suggestion from within the TROA that the Circuit has actually outgrown the series.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if current sponsors Clonakilty Blackpudding will extend their deal beyond this season. The company are very keen on the inclusion of the West Cork as a full counting round and that decision will have a major bearing on any extension. A television deal, albeit by a single promoter, is another issue that looks likely to get a strong airing on Sunday.
According to the championship manager, Gerard Seaman, the Manx organisers are offering a package – entry and ferry — for €800. In times past only a handful of competitors made the trip and it is difficult to see any radical change. On that basis the TROA will find it hard to justify its inclusion, but, in a series where each club has a vote, anything is possible.
Meanwhile, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett is the second bi-monthly nomination for the 2014 Billy Coleman Award following his victory in the Production class on the Circuit of Ireland International Rally and his performances on the Munster Moonraker Rally and the Monaghan Rally.
Previous event winners Wesley Patterson and Keith White in their 2.5 litre Ford Escorts head the entry for tomorrow’s Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally.
Former Dunlop champion Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) is the leading entry for Sunday’s Hotel Kilmore Cavan Rally. The Monaghan driver is recovering from a foot injury that prevented him from competing in the recent Carlow Rally. Tyrone’s Paddy McVeigh (Subaru WRC) provides the main opposition, along with local ace Rodney Wilton (Ford Escort). Others include Stephen McCann, Trevor Bustard, Pat Kirk, Aaron MacHale and Shane Maguire all in Group N Mitsubishi Evos and the Escort trio of Adrian Hetherington, Michael Curran and Tom Flaherty. Billy Coleman award winner Stephen Wright (Peugeot 208) is also on the 100 plus entry list. The first stage begins at 11.30am.
The Clare Motor Club host the opening rounds of the 5 Star Catering National Loose Surface Autocross Championship and the Waves Munster Autocross Championship at Castlearmstrong, Ballycumber, Offaly on Sunday. Last season’s national champion, Derek Deane (JB Buggy), will defend his title. His brothers, Adrian and Mervyn, are also competing, along with former Munster champion Ballyvourney’s James Lucey (Subaru Special), Derry’s James Cassidy and Donegal’s Paul McDaid and Nenagh’s Whitby Moynan.
Elsewhere, the Bandon Co-Operative complex at Kilbrogan is the venue for the Norman Giles Memorial Autotest double-header tomorrow and Sunday. Organised by the Skibbereen & District Car Club, the event counts towards the Premier Autoparts Munster Autotest series and the Carbery Plastics Skibbereen and District Car Club Championship. In the Munster series, the Mini Specials of Waterford’s Patrick Power and Rathmore’s Peter Falvey head the standings.
Tomorrow’s tests begin at 3pm and there is an 11am start on Sunday. Proceeds from the event are in aid of Marymount Hospice, Cork.