The Rentokil-Initial Killarney Historic Rally was officially launched at Scott’s Hotel Killarney recently.
By Johnny Hickey
Killarney and District Motor Club announced details of this year’s Killarney Historic Rally. Ireland’s only event to cater solely for historic rally cars and night stage rallying is set to run on Saturday the 5th Dec.
The rally will count as the opening round of the 2016 Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Historic Rally Championship and the final round of the Plasticbags.ie Southern Four Rally Championship.
The Race of Champions
It is fair to say that the “Race of Champions” is on in Killarney this December. Among the leading entries in the Historic section is Steve Perez British Rally Champion 2010 and also British Historic Rally Champion 2014, he will be driving his extremely popular Lancia Stratos rally car.
Rally Legend Jimmy McRae returns to Killarney, the five-time British Rally Champion and seven-time winner of The Circuit of Ireland is looking forward to the event driving his Vauxhall Firenza Can-Am. We are also delighted to announce that David Bogie makes his Killarney debut, the five-time Scottish Rally champion and also British Rally Champion should be a massive crowd attraction on the event in his newly built 2.5Litre Escort.
Irish Historic Rally Champions of 2014 and 2015 James O’Mahoney and Ernie Graham have both entered in their Ford Escort RS1800s.
Both Irish Tarmac Rally Champions of the International and National series Donagh Kelly and Declan Gallagher are entered in the Modified section. Some other top names of British Historic rallying include Darren Moon, Dessie Nutt, John Keatley, Phil Collins, Stanley Orr, Melvyn Evans, Gareth Lioyd and Owen Murphy.
Top Local Historic competitors include Mark Falvey from Rathmore in his Ford Escort Rs1600 who goes head to head against his father Connor Falvey in a Porsche 911. The experienced Pat Looney, Aidan Buckley and along with Southern 4 championship winner Donal O’Connor of Rathmore will all be pushing hard for top local honour in their Ford Escorts. Killarney’s Aidan Kennedy and Glenbeigh’s Jack O’Shea also head the Mini Cooper line up.
Leading local crews in the Modified category include Eddie Murphy, Fergus O’Meara, Tadhg O’Sullivan, Denis Hickey, Con Lucey, Noel O’ Sullivan, Cyril Warton, Vincent O’Shea and The Hickey Brothers of Charlie and John Hickey who will all field Ford Escorts.
The rally will be backed by Rentokil Initial Ireland as main title sponsor for the third consecutive year. Rentokil Initial managing director Michael O’Mahoney said: “On behalf of Rentokil Initial I am once again delighted to be associated with this year’s Killarney Historic Rally. The event has grown from strength to strength and is a phenomenal success. Our desire to support the local community and businesses that have supported Rentokil Initial, so loyally over the many years is the reason why we are once again involved.
The event, which provides a welcome end of season boost to Ireland’s tourism capital and is worth millions to the local economy, will once again be hosted at the Gleneagle Hotel as Rally Headquarters, along with supplying some great rally accommodation packages throughout the weekend.
In conjunction with Greg Crozier of the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival we have a fantastic prize on offer to the winner of our Historic section of the rally. The prize includes an all expenses paid trip to contest the Barbados event, free entry to both motor sport events during the Carnival, two return flights from London to Barbados, free return shipping for one car from Portsmouth dock to Barbados and accommodation for 12 nights.
Event clerk of the course Kevin Flannery and his crew have specifically built this year’s rally around the competitor and in doing so has selected a route of classic stages based around Killarney Town, offering the competitor 110Km of competitive stages, followed by short road Km’s allowing for an easy recce, Centralised service area at the event HQ and the popular feature of the final stage to be run in the darkness.
The rally starts on Friday evening with a Ceremonial start in main street Killarney at 7.30pm. The real action gets underway on Saturday morning with the iconic “Molls Gap”, often rated by rally drivers as being the best and one of the most-challenging stages in the world.“Coolick” the Kilcummin village stage is always a favourite, just north of Killarney town, the stage runs straight through the village offering a great spectacle for the many fans to view.
“Anablatha” is a newly designed stage in the Gneeveguilla area, sections of which have been used in the past by the Rally of the Lakes, it’s a fast flowing stage with great surface and many junctions. “Gortnagane” which runs parallel to the main Rathmore/ Killarney road, is highly regarded as one of the most technical, narrow, and demanding stages of Killarney rallying. The second run over Gortnagane, will be run under the cover of darkness.