The Killarney and District Motor Club have welcomed this week’s court decision to disqualify 12 drivers, each for a period of two years, following anti-social behavior during the Rally of the Lakes last May.
The popular event, a counting round of the Irish Tarmac Championship, has along with the Donegal International Rally, been blighted by so-called “boy racers” who caused serious disruption. Indeed, it is estimated that the Killarney club has invested in excess of €100,000 over a decade to assist gardaí in trying to rid the rally of this unwelcome and totally unacceptable behavior.
“Our investment in policing our event against the activities of these few sends a clear message our event will not tolerate this behaviour,” said clerk of the course Dermot Healy, who added,
“We must not lose sight of the genuine motorsport fan, who will always receive a warm Killarney welcome.”
This year’s rally attracted over 140 crews and included an appearance of Hollywood star and local hero Michael Fassbender, who is well known for his love of motorsport. Gardaí launched a major undercover operation at this year’s rally that resulted in the convictions.
Meanwhile, the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship reaches a crucial juncture with tomorrow’s Omagh based McKelvey Asbestos Bushwhacker Rally, a popular event even outside of its championship status.
In terms of the championship Derry’s Derek McGeehan (Mini WRC), Monaghan’s Stephen Wright (Fiesta R5) and Antrim pair Derek McGarrity and Desi Henry, both in Fiesta WRC’s, are all in the title equation. A series of consistent finishes in the previous five rounds has seen McGeehan top the leaderboard but entering a phase where dropped scores come into play he will need to secure a maximum score to bolster his bid. Despite having missed a few rounds Wright, co-driven by Cork’s Liam Moynihan, can put pressure on McGeehan but he also needs to score strong points. Reigning champion Derek McGarrity, who retired from the Lakeland Rally, has a tough battle to regain lost ground. All three will have to watch the late challenge of Henry, who will be right in the mix if he attains a third win tomorrow.
The entry also includes former NI champions Connor McCloskey and Robin Phillips and former Scottish champion Jock Armstrong all in Subaru WRC’s. In the two-wheel drive category Shane McGirr (Toyota Starlet) is likely to be the pacesetter with his principal opposition provided by Adrian Hetherington (Ford Escort), with James Kennedy (Ford Escort) keeping an eye on his championship ambitions.