Make this happen! Why UB40’s rally car needs to come to Killarney this year!

The light at the end of the tunnel does not get much brighter than this one.

Imagine one of the world’s biggest reggae bands – a band that loves rallying – playing in Killarney a few days before the Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic Rally?

Now all of this is very hypothetical of course and no one can predict the future and how Ireland will be coping with vaccines and pandemics by the end of November.

But let us just hope and pray that our government gets one thing right and we are back to normal by November 21.

Take a week off work. We promise it will be worth it.

From Sunday night November 21 to Saturday night November 28, locals and visitors alike will be in for a musical and motorsport treat and very few people will know the connection.

UB40, masters of such hits as ‘Red, Red, Wine’ and ‘I Got You Babe’, have announced details of a UK and Ireland tour – all things being equal in nine months’ time.

They will play in the INEC Arena on November 21. This is one week before the Killarney Historic Rally (assuming it can go ahead and that it does so on its traditional last weekend in November date).

In their heyday the Birmingham-based Reggae band were one of the greatest supporters of UK rallying.

In fact, they sponsored a rally car for the late James Prochowski. And it was no ordinary rally car. It was a Nissan 240RS , the Japanese firm’s answer to the rear-wheel drive Group B frontrunners: Opel’s Manta and Ascona.

Between 1984 and 1986 Prochowski entered some of the biggest rallies in Europe with the big Nissan which carried UB40 livery.

The car is still around and Kerry Motorsport News is indebted to the organisers of the Eiffel Rally Festival in Germany for the following information.

“Back in 1984, James Prochowski, the owner of a small tuning garage in Birmingham, bought a Nissan 240RS from “Blydenstein Racing Ltd”, Nissan’s semi-works team and exclusive importer of the 240RS in Europe. At that time, the 240RS was an affordable and on national level pretty competitive Group B rally car which was popular with private owners thanks to its robust and simple design.

“James grew up in the same working-class district of the industrial city of Birmingham as the brothers Ali and Robin Campbell, frontmen of the reggae band UB40 which was popular world-wide in the 1980s.

“The three men had been friends from the cradle. The band chose its name after a form for unemployment aid (Unemployment Benefit – Form No. 40) of the employment bureau of Birmingham and conquered the charts with their reggae sounds. Therefore, they were financially well off and able to support their childhood friend’s passion for rallying. This is why the car had always been wearing the logos and covers of successful UB40 albums on its body. But the band also profited from Prochowski’s rally endeavours and published numerous PR pictures showing the car and the band.”

UB40 and their Nissan 240 RS

Prochowski, who sadly passed way in 2006 from Leukaemia , aged just 53, competed in Killarney on one occasion.

Back in 1987 he entered a Group N Ford Sierra RS Cosworth in the Carling Rally of the Lakes.

His Nissan 240 RS still exists.

Could someone from Killarney and District Motor Club make contact and invite the owners to compete on this year’s Historic Rally?

Or arrange for some celebrity driver to steer it in Killarney?

Donegal legend James Cullen drove this very car on the Goodwood Festival of Speed in recent years…

He also drove a sister 240RS during the 1986 season and the last time he drove it was in the Rally of the Lakes all of 35 years ago, when he finished second overall.

Someone make it happen….

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