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SHAUN GALLAGHER WINS BILLY COLEMAN AWARD

Posted: December 3, 2002 10:05 AM - 17245 Hits


AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN IRISH MOTORSPORT PRESENTED IN DUBLIN

  • EURO32k Awards for Top Young Drivers
  • Donegal's Shaun Gallagher is Young Rally Driver of the Year
  • Michael Devaney is Young Racing Driver of the Year / Dunlop Sexton Trophy
    Winner for Second Year in Succession
  • Awards scheme to be Extended as Irish Sports Council Increase Funding
  • Andrew Nesbitt is International Driver of the Year
  • Hall of Fame Award for Michael Roe
Irish Motorsport honoured its top performers of 2002 at a celebration lunch held in Dublin earlier today Monday 2nd December 2002. The "Awards for Excellence in Irish Motorsport" event which brought together the leading performers from all disciplines of Irish Motorsport was created by the sport's governing body Motorsport Ireland and sponsored by Alfa Romeo.

Posted: December 3, 2002 10:05 AM

In all, seven awards were presented to reflect outstanding achievement in karting, motor racing and rallying both at home and abroad during 2002.

The two major awards on the day went to the Young Rally Driver of the Year and the Young Racing Driver of the Year both of whom received support packages of EURO 32,000, each made up of expert training and finance.

22-year old Donegal born Shaun Gallagher became the third winner of the Billy Coleman Award when taking the "Young Rally Driver of the Year" title.

Dubliner Michael Devaney, who turned eighteen last week (29th November) won the Dunlop Sexton Trophy and the title of "Young Racing Driver of the Year" for the second year in succession. It was his third year to win an award as he also was Junior Kart Champion in 2000 the inaugural year of the Alfa Romeo sponsored "Awards for Excellence".

At the luncheon Cecil Sparks, Chairman of Motorsport Ireland announced that the Irish Sports Council has agreed to increase its funding for both awards. Motorsport Ireland will match the increase which will also apply to this year's scheme. In effect this will mean all three drivers shortlisted for both the Billy Coleman Award and the Young Racing Driver of the Year will receive support. Details of the form this support will take have still to be finalised. The added value to the awards is in the region of EURO 25,000.

The full list of awards presented at the Alfa Romeo / Motorsport Ireland Awards for Excellence in Irish Motorsport were as follows;-
  • Richard Tannahill Junior Kart Champion
  • Jeffrey Collier Irish Kart Champion
  • Niall Maguire and Paul McLaughlin Dunlop National Rally Champions
  • Michael Devaney Dunlop Sexton Trophy (Young Racing Driver of the Year)
  • Shaun Gallagher Billy Coleman Award (Young Rally Driver of the Year)
  • Andrew Nesbitt International Driver of the Year
  • Michael Roe Hall of Fame Award
The Billy Coleman Award which consists of a support package of EURO 32,000 is supported by the Irish Sports Council and Rally Clubs all over the country. The winner of this years award Shaun Gallagher had a superb season winning in France, the UK and Ireland. He was narrowly beaten into second place in the prestigious Peugeot 206 Championship in the UK.

This is the second year for the Young Racing Driver of the Year to carry a support package of EURO 32,000. This package was made possible by support from the Irish Sports Council and Irish Dunlop. Michael Devaney who took the award for the second year in succession spent 2002 racing in the Formula BMW Championship in Germany where eventually he finished fifth, another superb achievement.

The award for International Driver of the Year went to Andrew Nesbitt who, along with his co-driver James O'Brien has been virtually unbeatable in Irish rallying since 1999. This year they completed six international rallies, amounting to a total of 118 special stages and set the fastest time in a remarkable 79 of those stages.

Michael Roe, whose driving both in the UK and the US in the 1970's and 1980's set new records received the Hall of Fame Award for a remarkable career that culminated in him becoming Can Am Champion in 1984.

Niall Maguire and Paul McLaughlin were presented with the Dunlop National Rally Championship Award after a fantastic season that saw them take seven wins and two second places.

The other awards on the day were the presentation of season championship awards to karting drivers Richard Tannahill (Junior Kart Champion) and Jeffrey Collier (Irish Kart Champion).

Speaking at the Awards luncheon Cecil Sparks, Chairman of Motorsport Ireland thanked Alfa Romeo for their continuing support of an occasion that has become an important part of the Irish Motorsport calendar.

He congratulated all of the winners particularly noting the achievements of Shaun Gallagher and Michael Devaney the winners of the Young Rally Driver of the Year and Young Racing Driver of the Year awards.

He noted the impact that both young men had made on International Motorsport during 2002. He said that he hoped that the awards would act as a further incentive to both to realise their full potential during 2003.






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