Craig Breen, who is lying third in the World Rally Championship will lead a spectacular parade of 150 cars on Déjà vu Tralee on Saturday May 28th.
Craig will be driving his recently rebuilt ex-Frank Meagher Circuit of Ireland winning Ford Sierra Cosworth RS. Frank was one of Craig’s boyhood heroes and this re-build is a tribute to the Tipperary man whose rallying exploits captivated a generation of fans in the 1990s.
You have to come forward a generation and a half to recall number 2 seed Kris Meeke’s first World Rally Championship win with Citroen in Argentina in 2015. The Dungannon driver and his then Killarney co-driver Paul Nagle, who will be in Tralee over the Déjà vu weekend, recorded four more wins with Citroen – Portugal & Finland in 2016 and Mexico & Spain in 2017, before transferring to the Toyota World Rally Team. Kris will be driving his family’s unique Project X four-wheel-drive 2L Opel Corsa and Sydney Meeke, the car’s creator will be alongside his son in this 1996 Kit Car. And the Meeke involvement does not end there as Barry Meeke will be in another of Sydney’s creations the Ford Orion that Bertie Fisher, Stephen Finally and the World Championship boxer Barry McGuiggan drove in 1986.
We go ‘foreign’, as they say, for our number 3 seed, the seven-times Belgium Rally Champion, Dutch Rally Champion, and European Rally Champion Patrick Snijers. Patrick will drive a Lancia, not an 037 Group B car like he drove in 1983 and 1986, but a 1991 Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16v., thanks to its owner Jonathan Radley. The suave multi-generational driver, (who still competes professionally in the Belgium GT3 series), is best remembered in Ireland for his epic battles on the Lurgan Park Rally with Kenny McKinstry in 1996, Gwyndaff Evans in 1997 and when he beat Mark Higgins on the specialist one-venue event in 1998.
FIRING UP THE MEMORIES
Déjà vu – “a feeling of having already experienced the present situation”, will revive memories of machines and drivers when this key event in the Kerry Motor Club’s 50th anniversary year starts at 10am in The Mall before setting out in their 186km route around the Dingle Peninsula. Déjà vu Motorsport is the brainchild of two retired rallying enthusiasts Dr. Beatty Crawford and Alan (Plum) Tyndall. Beatty was a well-known co-driver in the ‘60s winning the Circuit of Ireland with Adrian Boyd in 1971 and ‘Plum’ a former Irish saloon racing champion is best known for his motorsporting commentaries and his RPM tv show that ran on the major Irish TV channels for 23 years. Déjà vu events have raised over €200,000 for charity since their inception and the Tralee event,s chosen charity is Recovery Haven Kerry.
1974 CIRCUIT OF IRELAND
Your thoughts may go back to the 1974 Circuit when you glance into the cockpit of Jerry Bailey‘s Lancia Stratos replica as Cathal Curley the winner of that 5-day classic sealed his victory on Slea Head that year, one of the stages he will be taking this dart shaped supercar over. His battle with Billy Coleman’s Escort had ended on the most westerly rally stage in Europe, as the Millstreet driver made a rare mistake and it was plain sailing for the Derryman after that.
Frank O’Mahony and his partner Hugh McPhillips have been corner stones of the rallying community in the south-west for many years. They have been top three finishers on the Rally of the Lakes; the Cork 20 Rally; and the West Cork Rally on numerous occasions, and they were joint Clerks of the Course for the Cork 20 in 2007 when the works Citroen and Ford teams came to call. The two old pals are in Frank’s Mini Cooper S.
Dennis Biggerstaff, a multiple British Rallycross Champion in an ex-works Subaru Impreza and his son Stuart Biggerstaff a Northern Ireland Rally Champion in a Metro 6R4; David Greer; Conor Falvey in his Porsche 911, and many more rally names and you can see that it will be quite a show.
And the cars! 30 Fords including an RS 200; 16 Porsches; 14 Minis; 11 Subarus; 7 Opels; 6 Toyotas; 5 Lancias, Renaults and Sunbeams; 4 Vauxhalls, BMWs and Audis; 3 Hillmans, Triumphs and VWs; 2 MGs, Jaguars, Fiats, Peugeots and Ferraris – yes a 308 and a fabulous F40; 1 Mitsubishi, Honda, Nissan, Saab and an Aston Martin!
WHERE TO WATCH
10.00 – 11.30 The Mall, Tralee
10.20 – 11.50 Castlemaine
10.40 – 12.10 Inch
11.20 – 12.50 Dingle
12.00 – 13.30 Slea Head
14.00 – 15.30 Conor Pass
15.00 – 16.30 Camp Mountain and Short Mountain
16.00 – 18.00 Rose Hotel Tralee.
There are still a few places available for entries but only five places remaining for the Gala Dinner. These can be booked at https://rpm-motorsport.com/tours/deja-vu-tours/
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