Michael Healy Rae makes rally debut in Limerick
Kerry politician Michael Healy-Rae made his motorsport debut at the Thomond Rallysprint in Limerick on Sunday.
The Limerick Racecourse event was jointly organised by Cork and Limerick Motor Clubs.
The charity event raised money for several worthy causes including the Motorsport Ireland Benevolent Fund, Limerick Suicide Watch, An Garda Siochana’s Little Blue Heroes and Limerick Animal Welfare Sanctuary.
Several celebrities were invited to compete in the event, and they acted as co-drivers for some of Ireland’s top drivers.
They included former The Saturdays singer Una Healy who was on pacenote duty for Keith Lyons in a Ford Fiesta Rally 2 and Limerick TD Richard O’Donoghue who was paired with former Irish national rally champion Niall Maguire in a Subaru Impreza World Rally Car.
Healy-Rae was in the hot seat with his Kilgarvan neighbour Thomas Randles who is also chairman of Killarney and District Motor Club.
The whole thing started out as a joke, last February the independent TD attended the launch of the Killarney Forestry Rally where he revealed that Randles has been spending years trying to convince him to take up rally co-driving.
The Limerick Rallysprint organisers latched on to the idea and after weeks of negotiations were able to make the dream a reality.
Healy-Rae took part in three of the four timed runs, a personal engagement on Valentia Island meant he had to leave early, but they still finished 11th overall out of 41 finishers.
“I am no Paul Nagle,” said Healy-Rae, “I have nothing but admiration for Paul and drivers like Tommy, who do this every Sunday.”
Tralee co-driver Richard Talbot was 13th alongside Christy Carey in a Mitsubishi Lancer E9.
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