TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY
The Kerry rally community is in shock following the sudden passing of Johnny Hickey.
A stalwart of the Killarney and District Motor Club and an accomplished co-driver.
He leaves a wife Jennifer, two young daughters Alyson and Laura and a son Conor behind.
There was a sense of numbness in the air on Saturday morning when the news started to filter through.
Johnny, and indeed the entire Hickey family are essential parts of Killarney and District Motor Club.
The work that Johnny put in to the club is unmeasurable. Over the last 20 years nearly every official programme for the Rally of the Lakes and the Killarney Historic Rally had Johnny’s fingerprints on them.
But that was the visible work, there were countless hours behind the scenes that only people like Johnny Hickey would do – but work that had to be done to get an event off the ground.
He acted as the club’s press officer for many years, he managed the list of trophies and prepared event regulations and much, much more.
Best known for co-driving for his father Charlie, he was an accomplished and champion navigator, and the many highlights include the father and son team winning the Southern 4 Rally Championship outright in 2016
Johnny’s first local event was the 2002 Circuit of Kerry Rally alongside Ken O’Neill in a Vauxhall Nova.
A few week’s later he was alongside Charlie for the first time in the Rally of the Lakes and the pair have contested almost every single Rally of the Lakes together since. There was one exception when Johnny partnered Barry Meade for the 2010 running of the local international rally. Later the Kanturk man was groomsman on Johnny’s wedding day.
Indeed, in recent years its fair to say Charlie would not be rallying only for Johnny’s efforts. He would take charge of everything from the entry process, the loading of the service van, to organising tyre supplies. Charlie was essentially on an arrive-and -drive package thanks to his eldest son’s work.
Johnny co-drove for several other local drivers too, Ed Murphy, Ken O’Neill and Kevin O’Donoghue for example.
He was also a keen mountain biker and owned a collection of rare 1980s Raleigh Burner BMX bikes.
He worked for Con Duggan, father of rallying family Rob, Andrew and Tara, so rallying was never far from Johnny’s mind.
A classic car enthusiast, his recently restored Vauxhall Nova had just hit the roads to join his Ford Escort Mk1.
He also travelled abroad to watch World Rally Championship events and was a member of the large Kerry contingent that attended Rally Monte Carlo in 2018.
He will be sorely missed as a family man, friend, work colleague, club member and rally enthusiast.
He was also my friend