Kerry Motor Club launches 2022 Banna Winter Rally – South African driver confirmed for October 30 event

Kerry Motor Club launches 2022 Banna Winter Rally – South African driver confirmed for October 30 event

Kerry Motor Club has announced several new key details on its forthcoming Banna Beach Resort Kerry Winter Rally.

The October 30 event was launched at the rally’s headquarters – the Banna Beach Resort – on Sunday.

Ahead of the launch ceremony club members and their invited guests observed a minute’s silence in respect of the tragedy in Cresslough, County Donegal on Friday.

“The Kerry Winter Rally, like all rallies, relies on the support of local communities. The Donegal Harvest rally was supposed to run on Saturday in the area affected by the tragedy, but the Donegal Motor Club postponed their event to allow the emergency services to do their jobs and as a mark of respect to the local community. We understand the support that all motor clubs get within rural communities and offer our sincere condolences to the people of North Donegal,” explained Kerry Motor Club’s press officer Sean Moriarty ahead of the launch.

Clerk of the course Sean Hegarty thanked his hard-working committee and both Kerry County Council and Tralee Chamber Alliance for their work in getting the event off the ground.

“A huge thanks to everyone who made this event happen,” he told the large crowd in attendance.

New for this year includes the move to the October Bank Holiday weekend, the moving of the event’s service park to the Brandon Car Park and into the heart of Tralee and inclusion in ‘An Turas Mór – Homecoming Kerry’ festival which is well underway across the county.

As a result of An Turas Mór the club has attracted a large overseas entry, including several London Irish Motor Club members and Welsh crews.

However, the exciting news, announced on the day, came from South Africa.

A surprise entry from Cape Town was announced at the launch of the event on Sunday.

Ashley Haigh-Smith, a driver with a wealth of international rally experience, will make his Irish rally debut in Kerry in three weeks, subject to both Motorsport Ireland and South African Federation approval.

He will drive a Peugeot 208 R2 prepared by Donegal firm Power Tune Motorsport His appearance in Kerry is a prelude to a full season of Irish rallying in 2023 and is made possible by motorsport management firm ProVision Motorport, the same team that masterminded the late Manus Kelly’s great run of success in 2017 and 2018.

“Aside from our overseas entries, we have a full house with almost every county in Ireland represented on the 140-strong entry list. As a result, accommodation is at a premium in the Ardfert, Balllyheigue and Tralee areas bringing a welcome off-season tourism boost to North Kerry,” added the press officer.

The rally is a round of three different championships, Richard Talbot represented the Top Part West Coast Rally Championship, Mike Moriarty was on hand to discuss the Moriarty’s Centra Kingdom of Kerry Championship and new for 2022 is the event’s inclusion in the IPS Southern 4 Rally Championship and John Buttimer represented this exciting new addition.

Garda Damian Shannon of Tralee Garda Station spoke on the importance of road safety, not just on rally weekend but at all times.

The next milestone date ahead of the rally is the announcement of the seeded entry list and which will be published either next Sunday, October 16 or Monday, October 17 once it has been approved by Motorsport Ireland and the championships officials.

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