Killarney’s Rob Duggan (22) and Jake Byrne (21) from Blackwood, near Naas scooped the top awards at the Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Awards ceremony in Dublin yesterday.
Duggan netted the Billy Coleman Award for the Young Rally Driver of the Year edging out fellow finalists Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (who also made the final three last year and in 2013) and Omagh’s Patrick O’Brien.
A bi-monthly nominee for his performances May and June when he won the Junior category in the Killarney and Donegal Internationals, Duggan also won a prize drive in Wales Rally GB, and was fourth overall in the National part of the Circuit of Ireland.
Armed with €50,000 worth of support from the award, Duggan plans to tackle the Fiesta Trophy series within the 2016 World Rally Championship. “I am thrilled to have won, having narrowly missed out twice before. I have worked hard to achieve the goals I set myself at the start of 2015 and this award is the culmination of my efforts and those of the team that support me.”
Meanwhile, the Dunlop Sexton Trophy for Young Racing Driver of the Year was presented to Jake Byrne. He dominated the Formula Ford class at Kirkistown, winning eight races on his way to taking the Northern Ireland Formula Ford title. James Roe and Jordan Dempsey were runners-up.
The Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year went to Jonny McMullan, from Newtownabbey, Antrim. Last year’s Young Racing Driver of the Year award winner took victories in the British National Formula Ford 1600 and BRSCC Triple Crown Championships and also in the prestigious Vivion Daly Trophy.
Motorsport Ireland honoured all their national champions at the ceremony as well as individuals that contributed to the sport throughout the year. The Ivan Webb Memorial Award for “Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport” went to Frank O’Donoghue, Dublin and the JC Millard Memorial Award for Clubman of the Year went to Frank Nuttall, from Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow for his sportsmanship.
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