Last weekend, Motorsport Ireland broke new ground by exhibiting at Autosport International, Europe’s biggest motorsport trade fair.
The Irish governing body’s attendance at the show was made possible by support from a number of motor clubs across the country including Killarney and District Motor Club.
Over the four days, MI and KDMC officials met with 1000s of visitors as they promoted Irish events to international drivers and fans.
The late Russel Brookes was the last overseas driver to win the Rally of the Lakes. He won the 1989 event, the same year he became the last foreign driver to win the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship title. This is a statistic that Irish organisers are keen to address.
“We came here not knowing what the reaction would be,” said outgoing Rally of the Lakes clerk of the course Dermot Healy. “The reaction has been overwhelming and we have met people from all over Europe. In my opinion, this should become an annual event. We learned a lot.”
Visitors to the Motorsport Ireland stand over the four days included rally legend and 1981 World Champion Ari Vatanen and 1964 Monte Carlo Rally winner Paddy Hopkirk who revealed that he has a holiday home in South Kerry and often visited the county.
Killarney-based World Rally Championship co-driver Paul Nagle attended on Friday.
London Irish Motor Club secretary John F O’Mahony from Killarney visited on Saturday while his Kerry Motor Club counterpart Stephen O’Connell attended the show on both Friday and Saturday.
This article was originally published The Kerryman newspaper on January 15, Kerry Motorsport News is the motorsport content provider for The Kerryman