Just over 40 years after the Circuit of Ireland Rally last visited the Kingdom a Kerry man has finally got his hands on one of the most coveted trophies in Irish rallying.
Noel O’Sullivan Jr guided Calum Devine to a start-to-finish victory on Saturday’s Circuit of Ireland – Easter Stages Rally in County Tyrone.
Despite the status of the event diminishing over the years the Circuit of Ireland Rally remains the most famous rally in the country.
In the past, it took five days and 54 stages to circumnavigate the entire island of Ireland.
The last time the true Circuit of Ireland visited Kerry was between April 1 and 3 in 1983. The rally overnighted in Killarney on Easter Saturday ahead of a loop of stages in the Beara Peninsula and Mid Kerry regions before departing via Knockacullig on Easter Monday morning.
It never returned and after a few years in Waterford, the rule for international rallying changed forever and now the rally is confined to just one day and is run entirely in County Tyrone.
It remains a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and while its prestige as a long event is gone, its place on the Irish rally calendar remains relevant and important.
Devine and O’Sullivan resumed their Circuit of Kerry Rally battle with Tralee winner Josh Moffett who was co-driven by Andy Hayes this time out.
Indeed Devine stated at the end of the day’s eight stages that lessons learned in Kerry the week previous helped him and O’Sullivan claim their second international rally victory together following their success on the Rally of the Lakes last season.
“It is fantastic to get our name on the Circuit of Ireland trophy,” said Devine. “
“It will be good to push on from this and it is nice to be going into Killarney next where we went well last year. Of course, Donegal will be after that – two big events that we want to be pushing for the win on.
“The momentum from the Circuit of Kerry definitely helped us be quick from the very first stage. Thankfully both rallies were dry, so we were able to pick up from where we left off last week.”
Ger Conway guided Gareth MacHale to an eighth-place finish in a similar Volkswagen Polo to that of Devine.
Dublin-based Currow co-driver John McCarthy was on co-driving duty for John Devlin and the Ford Escort crew finished 30th overall and fifth in their class.
Just as newspapers and magazines are paid for, digital editorial content will also have to be paid for.
Please subscribe and help us keep this machine running!
It’s only €50 per year – subscribe now
Subscribe to get access
Read more of this content when you subscribe today.