The 2023 Circuit of Kerry Rally has been officially launched in a formal night at the Rally HQ and title sponsor The Rose Hotel, Tralee.
Guests of honour at the launch were Mayor of Tralee Cllr Mikey Sheehy, President of Tralee Chamber Alliance Nathan McDonnell and Cllr Terry O’Brien whose brother Tom was a founding member of Kerry Motor Club 51 years ago.
Entries have been of a huge standard and some of the top crews in the country have signed up to take part in this year’s event, which is Round 2 of the Triton National Rally Championship as well as counting rounds for the Top Part West Coast Championship and the Moriarty Central Car Sales Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship.
Senan Raggett represented the Top Part Championship and Mike Moriarty was on hand to answer questions about The Kingdom of Kerry championship.
A huge crowd representing Kerry Motor Club and members of neighbouring clubs like Killarney and District Motor Club and Cork Motor Club were also present.
Among the top crews committed to the trip to Kerry are the championship leaders Callum Devine and Kerry Motor Club Co-Driver Noel O’Sullivan. Having won the opening round of the National Championship just a couple of weeks ago, the Derry/Kerry crew will be one of the pre-event favourites.
But they will have their work cut out to leave Tralee with a win, as the winners of last weekend’s West Cork Rally and defending National champions Josh Moffett and Keith Moriarty also committing to the rally in their Hyundai i20 R5.
Multiple former winners of the Rose Hotel Circuit of Kerry rally will also make a return to the event next week. The winner of the last time the rally took place in 2019 Darragh O’ Riordan will attempt to defend his crown in a Ford Fiesta.
Kerry driver and 2015 overall winner Alan Ring will drive his BMW M3 in the Historic class. Declan Boyle, who won the event in 2014 returns in his Volkswagen Polo Rally 2, as does Darren Gass, the 2011 winner returns in a Citroen C3 Rally 2.
Niall Maguire and Ken Lyons will also try to roll back the years and take silverware home from Tralee on Sunday week.
There is also a huge overseas interest in the Circuit of Kerry Rally. Multiple Scottish Champion David Bogie will be on the start list in his Ford Escort Mark II, as will Hugh Hunter, the Welshman finished runner-up in 2015 and returns in his Fiesta. John Stone is also making the trip from England in his VW Polo R2.
Billy McCarthy and Amy Burke are both home from Australia for the event and will compete in a Nissan Micra and Ford Fiesta respectively. While Tomas Davis, winner of the London Irish Motor Club shield in 2019 returns after finishing on the podium in 2019.
Leader in the modified section of the National Championship Gary Kiernan will look to extend his lead of the championship. Kiernan took the top step of the West Cork podium last weekend. The runner-up Frank Kelly has also entered the rally. Winner of the Banna Beach Resort Kerry Winter Stages Rally in 2022 Richard Moffett will also come back to the Kingdom in search of further Kerry Motor Club silverware.
Some of the top Kerry Motor Club crews include Mike Quinn in his Escort with his daughter Katie in a Honda Civic. The Motor Clubs’ social media officer Conor Walsh will swap the laptop for a Ford Escort for the day of the event. While John Corrigan of Tralee Quickfit, who is the sponsor of the Rally Town event on Saturday, April 1 will tackle the rally in an Opel Corsa. Niall Mulcahy will be in the co-driver’s seat after travelling home from the Netherlands for the event. Brother and sister crew of Mossie and Megan Costello will drive a Honda Civic in the rally.
Meanwhile, Paul McDevitt of the London Irish Motor Club and the leader of the Triton Showers National Historic Championship will be hoping for another historic class victory.
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