Armagh’s James Wilson, 24, and Belfast’s Charlie Eastwood, 23, scooped the major honours at the Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards yesterday.
Wilson netted the coveted Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award and Belfast born Eastwood, a runner-up last year, was named Young Racing Driver of the Year award at a ceremony in the Dublin’s Mansion House that also honoured several motorsport champions.
In addition, both drivers will receive €50,000 in funding and support for the development of their careers during the 2019 season.
The International Driver of the Year award went to Jordan Dempsey from Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
Wilson had a fine season that culminated with an impressive victory in the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Junior Rally Championship. He also secured a podium finish in the Junior British Rally Championship on the Ypres Rally in Belgium.
Derry’s Jordan Hone and Armagh’s Jason Black were the runners-up.
Having previously won World Karting and Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship titles, Eastwood, who also received the Sexton Trophy at the ceremony, enjoyed a good season in the GTE Am class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Manley Memorial Trophy winner for International Driver of the Year, as chosen by the media, went to Mullingar’s Jordan Dempsey, who won the FIA F4 Chinese Championship in his debut year. Despite missing the opening round, he had the series wrapped up with a race to spare.
The Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy was awarded to Karl O’Brien, 13, from Robertstown, Co Kildare, for his success in the Motorsport Ireland National Junior Karting Championship where he won four races and finished second on three other occasions to win the Iame X30 Junior title.
Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes were presented with the FIA Celtic Trophy — Moffett’s older brother Sam won the award last year. The Ivan Webb Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport was presented to Ennis man Gerry O’Brien and the JC Millard Memorial Award for Clubman of the Year went to Maynooth’s Kevin Barrett.
Motorsport Ireland president John Naylor said: “Congratulations are due to all the winners. The standards that they and the other nominees set during the course of this year show that the future of motorsport in Ireland is very bright indeed.
The depth of talent among our young drivers is continuously growing and alongside our partners in Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland is committed to supporting and developing drivers and providing them with every opportunity to succeed at the highest level.
Champions across several disciplines were also honoured including Tarmac Championship winners Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes, Triton national champions Declan Boyle and James O’Reilly, national navigation champions Derek Mackarel and his navigator Muireann Hayes, and Iame x30 Senior kart champion Gary Edwards.
The late Martin Birrane was inducted into the Motorsport Ireland Hall of Fame.