The Banna Beach Resort Kerry Winter Rally’s inclusion in ‘An Turas Mór –Homecoming Kerry Diaspora Festival went way beyond expectations set by organisers Kerry Motor Club.
Over 40 events took place throughout the month of October in a festival promoted by Fáilte Ireland and Kerry County Council
The idea was to get Kerry people living all over the world to come for a range of sporting, cultural and business events.
Kerry Motor Club received funding from the tourism department of Kerry County Council. The club also received organisational support from Tralee Chamber Alliance.
Club officials set about promoting the October 30 rally overseas – their target was a number of Kerry rally drivers living abroad and members of London Irish Motor Club.
The London-based motor club did send over three cars for the 140- car event. They included Wembley-based Galwayman Sean Walsh who drive a Ford Fiesta and the Hillard family from Listowel who are now based north of London. Father Ray drove his ford Escort Mk1 on the event while his son and nephew Ross and Joey shared a Honda Civic. Their chief mechanic for the weekend was London-based Clare native Gerry Moroney.
There was massive Welsh entry in the rally too. Sebastien Ling and Aled Ress were the highest placed overseas crew, and they also won the historic section of the rally in their Ford Escort. Wayne Evans and his Cork co-driver Anthony O’Sullivan were second in the same category.
Evans is a son of former double Circuit of Kerry winner Gwyndaf who was also in Tralee over the weekend supporting his son.
Ian Davies and Gwynfor Jones finished second in their class in a BMW M3.
Galwegian Martin Brady works for a race car firm in Indianapolis in the USA, He was home to co-drive alongside Ross Forde in another Escort.
Limerickman Ian Roche runs a construction firm in Nigeria. He came home especially for the event and finished tenth overall in his Subaru Impreza WRC.
Two Namibian rally fans attended the rally too.
Father and son Dippies and Wilro Dippenaar are in Kerry as guests of Kevin and Colin O’Donoghue and Jack Kelleher. The Killarney-based O’Donoghue family were competing in the event.
Wilro competes in rallies in both his home country and on South African events in a Ford Fiesta S2000. This is their first trip to Ireland for any reason, not to mind to a rally.
“We are used to seeing rally cars but not this many in one event,” said dad Dippies.
“The hospitality has been fantastic too. This is our first trip to Ireland.”
Aside from the overseas interest in the event, the rally attracted entries from almost every county in Ireland.
The rally brought a welcome off-season boost to Tralee and North Kerry with most hotels in the area full for the weekend. The event was won by Monaghan’s Richard Moffett and his Kerry co-driver Ger Conway.
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