Kerryman competes on very Irish rally in New York.
The Irish rally community in New York have come together to create a new(ish) rally of their own.
This weekend marks the first running of The New York Forest Rally.
Based in the Monticello area of upstate New York, the event uses similar roads to the now defunct Rally New York and Empire State Rally that were organised in the early parts of this century.
The sport in America is all but dominated by Irish drivers and co-drivers.
Barry McKenna and Leon Jordan were crowned American Rally Association champions at last weekend’s Show Me Rally and this weekend’s Lake Superior Performance Rally should have been the final round of the curtailed series.
However, when that event was called off the Irish rally community in New York came together and organised a new rally in less than six weeks.
The officials’ list reads like a who is who of Irish rally enthusiasts in America. Event chairman is Galway man Martin Brady, Dermot Treanor is clerk of the course, Eddie Fries his deputy and Jordan is looking after the equipment.
The rally’s main sponsor is McKenna Motorsport which is also running several cars in the event – basically Barry has encouraged all his customers to enter.
“Many events have been postponed and cancelled this year, but we have also seen some run very successfully with restrictions in place. On these events that ran, we saw that it is still possible to run a safe rally and enjoying the sport even with necessary restrictions,” said the rally’s PR manager Sean Hassett.
“The event has been borne out of an idea and the drive of well-known local team McKenna Motorsport, due to the difficult year in all walks of life many rallies have seen unavoidable cancellations, so the team assembled a group from the area who had the goal to create an event that would be possible to achieve in the current climate and in just a few short days and with the cooperation and assistance of the American Rally Association the planning for the event has gone from zero to a fully formed eight-stage event with some of the best stage conditions imaginable.”
Associate sponsors include companies like Eire Concrete, McCormack Contracting, Admore Air Conditioning, all Big Apple-based companies run by Irish rally men and women.
Mallow-based EARS has also come on board as thank you for the amount of export business David Moynihan gets stateside.
The team has put together an eight-stage rally, based at the Monticello Motor Club’s racetrack in Sullivan County.
The entry list is peppered with Irish names including, McKenna, Seamus Burke, Enda McCormick, Paddy Brennan, Martin Donnelly and Joseph Burke, all accomplished Irish rally drivers in America.
Among them is Camp native Kenneth Quirke who made his American rally debut earlier this year. He has teamed up with Bantry man Con O’Sullivan for this weekend’s rally to add to his Southern Ohio Rally, the Ojibew Forests Rally in Minnesota and the Raven Rock Rallysprint in Kentucky to his growing US experience.
“This is a new event but it has an experienced group of current competitors planning the route with the assistance of seasoned rally officials and there is a strong motivation to provide an event that is competitor friendly with excellent stages and facilities while still respecting all the necessary procedures our sport must put in place to prevent the risks of COVID,” added Hassett.
The rally gets underway at 8am local time (1pm Irish time) on Saturday.