Six of Kerry’s most experienced co-drivers are set to tackle the opening round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship on Sunday.
The Triton Showers-backed Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship kicks off this weekend with the Ardmore Air Conditioning Corporation/Longford Arms Hotel Midland Moto Rally.
The Longford town-based rally has attracted a start-studded entry list of 150 crews from all over Ireland and beyond including the six Kerry co-drivers, five of whom are past event winners.
Leading the local challenge is Muckross co-driver Noel O’Sullivan Jr. He has teamed up with Derry’s Callum Devine and they will steer the same Volkswagen Polo GTi that they used to win last year’s Rally of the Lakes.
Ger Conway got his 2023 season off to a winning start with a start-to-finish victory in the eurocables Kirkistown Rally in County Down last month.
The Milltown man was on co-driving duty for Monaghan’s Stephen Wright in a Ford Fiesta RC2.
Conway and Wright are the eighth seeds for Sunday’s rally.
The Kerry/Monaghan crew are taking it one rally at a time and while they say they are not committing to the National Championship, round two is the Tralee-based Circuit of Kerry so a good result in Longford could change that stance.
“We are not committing to any championships, just picking and choosing at the moment, we’ll see how the Midlands goes,” said Conway.
Shane Buckley, a former winner of the Kerry Winter Rally, got a late call-up to co-driver for Waterford’s Andrew Purcell. They will start at 11 in another Fiesta RC2.
Event sponsor Paul Rowley of New York-based Ardmore Air Conditioning has employed Killarney co-driver Brian Doherty to geode him around the Longford lanes in another Ford Fiesta. The crew have won rallies together in the past – most notably the Sandblast Rally in America back in 2016.
Cavan’s Peter Wilson is another driver to employ a Kerry navigator. Dublin-based Currow man John McCarthy is on pace note duty in their Class 13 Ford Escort.
Damien Fleming, another former winner of the Kerry Winter Rally, is on co-driving duty for Monaghan’s Michael Conlon. The Ford Escort driver finished second in the two-wheel-drive section in the recent Killarney Forestry Rally.
Meanwhile, Keith O’Connor and Aaron Oconnor are the fifth seeds in the junior rally in a Honda Civic EK4.
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