TROA move on West Cork Rally awaited

Frank Kelly: A main contender in the ALMC Rally Modified section.

A decision on the inclusion of the Quality Hotel West Cork Rally as a counting round of the Irish Tarmac Championship is still awaited.

The TROA (Tarmac Rally Organisers Association), organisers of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship, are mulling over a response from the Cork Motor Club, who run the Clonakilty event. It appears the cost of the entry fee remains the key issue involved.

The entry for a two-day event in the Tarmac series is around €800 while this year’s West Cork Rally was €599. The TROA are keen to retain a uniform entry fee but I understand the Cork club have suggested a fee of €699 for their event.

Last March the West Cork Rally was part of the Modified section of the Tarmac series, now it’s a case of all or nothing for 2015, with the TROA due to make the next move.

Meanwhile, the addition of the Midland Rally (Roscommon) and a recall for the ALMC Rally has allowed the organisers of the Dunlop National Rally Championship formulate a new rota for the series based on a biennial template for next season. It will have eight different rounds each season approved by the Rallies Committee after extensive discussion by the Dunlop National Rally Championship sub committee following a meeting of all the clubs earlier this year.

The Midland event will make its debut in next year’s campaign with ALMC Rally, who had to drop out in 1999 due to a change in their format returning in 2016. The main aim was to provide a more balanced geographical representation with four rounds in both the northern and southern half of the country.

“We have tried to keep changes to a minimum but the constant freshening of the series is of paramount importance,” said chairman of the National Rally Championship sub committee Richard Talbot.

“The addition of the Midland Rally and the return of the ALMC Rally is an added dimension to the series and the respective clubs, like the present 14 clubs, will bring their own particular flavour to the championship and will also play a crucial role under the national umbrella. It is our opinion that the new format will further increase the popularity of the series and make it more attractive to competitors from all over the country.”

The 2015 rounds are 1: Birr, February 22 (South); 2: Midland, March 29 (North); 3: Monaghan, April 26th (North); 4: Circuit of Munster, May 31 (South); 5: Raven’s Rock (Carrick on Suir), June 28 (South); 6: Sligo, July 12 (North); 7. Galway, August 30 (North) & 8: Fastnet Rally (Bantry), October 25 (South). The rounds of the 2016 series are: 1: Mayo, March 13 (North); 2: Kerry, April 3 (South); 3: Carlow, May 8 (South); 4: Cavan, May 29th (North); 5: ALMC, July 3 (North); 6: Tipperary Stonethrowers (Clonmel), August 7 (South); 7: Clare, September 18 (South) and 8: Donegal Harvest, October 8 (North).

The biennial rota system will apply until 2018 with the 2017 season the same as 2015 and 2018 campaign the same as 2016.

Sunday’s Trim based ALMC Rally has a strong mix of British and Irish drivers with the former focussing on points for the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship where 11 of the top 15 drivers in the series are in action in this fourth round.

Steve Simpson (Subaru WRC) is the top seed followed by defending REIS champion Damian Cole (Ford Focus WRC).

Tarmac champion Garry Jennings and former national champion Niall Maguire, both in Subaru WRC’s, will spearhead the twin Irish challenge.

The top ten also includes Hugh Hunter (Subaru WRC) and outgoing forest champion London based Cork driver Michael O’Brien (Ford Focus WRC).

The Escorts of Frank Kelly and Ed O’Callaghan are the main contenders in the Modified section. Killarney’s Rob Duggan (Mitsubishi Evo IX) is set to make his debut in Group N.

First car away is at 9.10am for triple run over a three stage loop.

The event is based at the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim.

The Cork Motor Club’s Summer Test Trial that counts towards the Premier Auto Parts Munster Autotest Championship takes place at the Corrin Marts complex near Fermoy at 5.30 tomorrow evening.


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