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Billy Coleman Award

Posted: December 14, 2005 5:53 PM - 7997 Hits

  • Kelleher takes runner up position in 2005 Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award
  • Gareth MacHale Wins 2005 Billy Coleman Award For Young Rally Driver of the Year
    Kevin Kelleher finishes 2nd and Ian Barret 3rd
  • Profiles of the Top 3

Posted: December 14, 2005 5:53 PM


Kelleher takes runner up position in 2005 Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award

Motorsport Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Sports Council announced the award winners in the fifth annual Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the year award.

27 year old Clonakilty driver Kevin Kelleher was announced as runner up to overall award winner Gareth Mac Hale. Kevin who rallies in both a Mitsubishi Evo 8.5 Group N car and a Ford Escort MK2 will receive a cheque for €8,000 and the assistance and guidance of Motorsport Ireland over the 2006 rally season.

After the announcement Kevin commented, "it's a great honour to be recognised in such an important award, the award carries a great name with the Coleman title and I hope to use the funds and help of Motorsport Ireland to assist me in achieving success in 2006 "

AMF Motorsport are currently building a new Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9 over the winter months for Kevin and he hopes to debut the car on the Galway international Rally in the New Year.

Kevin Kelleher is supported by THE BIG FELLA Clonakilty, Monterra Properties, Clona Dairies Clonakilty, SWS Property Services and XLR8 Motorsport PR.


Gareth MacHale Wins 2005 Billy Coleman Award For Young Rally Driver of the Year
Congratulations to 25 year old Gareth MacHale from Rathcoole, Co.Dublin who has been selected as the fifth winner of the Billy Coleman Award. The announcement was made today at a media reception held at Motorsport Ireland’s Headquarters in Dublin.

Along with the title of “Young Rally Driver of the Year”, Gareth will also collect a cheque for €32,000 courtesy of the Irish Sports Council, Motorsport Ireland and its affiliated Rally Clubs.

The final three selected out of fourteen qualifiers were Gareth, 27 year old Kevin Kelleher from Clonakilty, Co.Cork and 24 year old Ian Barrett from Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Kevin receives a cheque for €8,000 as runner up with Ian receiving a cheque for €4,000.

During the year, Gareth achieved outstanding success on the Irish scene in his Toyota Corolla World Rally Car, winning six events outright and finishing 3rd Overall in the inaugural Rally Ireland event in October. Gareth’s performance this season also gained him the 2005 McCauleys National Forest Rally Championship.

The aim of the Award is to encourage Ireland’s young rally drivers to follow in the footsteps of Billy Coleman, who is one of Ireland’s most famous rally drivers to attain International success.

At the reception, John Naylor, Chairman of Motorsport Ireland said “With the profile of Irish Rallying never higher, it is wonderful to see so many young talented drivers coming to the fore and we will be following their careers with great interest”.

The formal presentation of awards will take place at Motorsport Ireland’s Champions Lunch on 24th January 2006 in Dublin.

Driver Profile
    Gareth MacHale
    Date of Birth: 12.8.80 (age 25)
    Nationality: Irish
    Home Town: Rathcoole, Co.Dublin
    Occupation: Civil Engineer
    Hobbies and Interests: GAA, Cycling, Gym and general Motor Sport.

    Performance during 2005 Season:
  • 1st Overall National Forest Rally Championship
    Outright wins at:
  • Carrick-on-Suir
  • Tipperary
  • Wicklow
  • Monaghan
  • Birr
  • Killarney
  • 3rd Overall Rally Ireland

    Plans for 2006 Season:
    During the forthcoming year, I hope to take part in more International events and selected World Championship Rallies based in Europe. I am also considering the Junior World Rally Championship as a precursor to entering the World Rally Championship.
    World Rallying is a very physically demanding sport and while I consider myself fit, I believe I have more work to do in this area.
-o-O-o-

Driver Profile
    Kevin Kelleher
    Date of Birth: 20.06.78 (age 27)
    Nationality: Irish
    Home Town: Clonakilty, Co.Cork
    Occupation: Builder
    Hobbies and Interests: Fixing up rally cars, helping out on club events, and Golf.

    Performance during 2005 Season:
  • Winner Group N West Cork Rally
  • Winner Group N Circuit of Munster
  • 2nd Overall Kerry Mini Stages Rally
  • 2nd Overall GSMC Mini Stages Rally
  • 2nd Overall Southern 4 Championship
  • 10th Overall Killarney International Rally of the Lakes

    Plans for 2006 Season:
    Presently, our Mitsubishi Lancer is being upgraded to Evo IX. We plan to start in both the Dunlop National and Pirelli International Tarmac Championships and depending on how well we are doing, decide which one to focus on.
-o-O-o- Driver Profile
    Ian Barrett
    Date of Birth: 11.12.81 (age 24)
    Nationality: Irish
    Home Town: Maynooth, Co.Kildare
    Occupation: Mechanical Engineer
    Hobbies and Interests:
    Karting, Circuit Racing, Running and attending the gym.
    Performance during 2005 Season:
  • 1st Class 4 Border Championship
  • 2nd Class 4 and 7th Overall Sligo Stages Rally
  • 1st Class 4 Newry & Mourne Stages
  • 4th Group N Lurgan Park
  • 3rd Group N Donegal Harvest

    Plans for 2006 Season:
    My 2006 goal is to compete in the entire Dunlop National Championship in Class 4 and also selected rounds in the Pirelli International series.

PRE-EVENT NEWS
  • Kelleher lines up in Coleman Award final 3
  • Motorsport Ireland Announce Top Three
  • Winner of the Award will be announced at a Media Reception at Motorsport Ireland on Tuesday 13th December.

11/12/05
Kelleher lines up in Coleman Award final 3
Kevin Kelleher an accomplished 27 year old rally driver from Clonakilty Co Cork has rounded of the 2005 season with yet another satisfying achievement. Kevin has been shorlisted by Motorsport Ireland in a list of 3 finalists for its young Rally driver award. The finalists were chosen from a group of 14 of Ireland's most promising young drivers. The overall winner from the final 3 will be announced by Motorsport Ireland on Tuesday 13th December next.

The prestigious award carries with it not just the title of Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Award winner, but also a prize fund of over €32,000 with assistance and support from Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Sports Council so that the winner can best develop their potential in the following year of rallying.

Kevin has been rallying for 6 years now, all the time ably assisted by his brother Martin as his Co Driver, their rallying has been very much a family affair with support from their father as they moved up the results and into various cars. Kevin first began rallying in 1999 with a Toyota Corolla "twin cam" rear wheel drive before moving in 2000 to a 1600cc MK2 Ford Escort. It was in this car that success for the Kelleher brothers was to begin. Various class wins and notable results followed over the next 2 years until 2004 and the Kelleher brothers put together a budget to contest the national championship.

2004 was to be a very satisfying year with Kevin securing the championship in class 11 after only 7 rounds. With that goal achieved he moved up to a Mitsubishi Evo 6, it was a steep learning curve as it was not only a new car, but 4 wheel drive and Left hand drive. Kevin took to the challenge in his stride and finished out 2004 on selected events to learn the new car and 4wd.

In 2005 the Kelleher brothers began their biggest season yet by buying a brand new Mitsubishi Evo 8.5 MR, the latest spec of Group N Evo. The first event was a dream debut. Despite starting the rally in a car that had only 4 miles on the clock (none of which were in Kevin's hands) the crew went on to satisfyingly win Group N on their home event.

Killarney Rally of the Lakes followed with a promising result of 3rd in Grp N amongst the tarmac regulars with notable fast times including one fastest Grp N time on the famous Molls Gap.

The results success continued with a strong Grp N win in Limerick , and then a puncture in Ravens Rock hampered the progress badly, but a string of fastest times on the way to recovery impressed greatly.

A difficulty arose for Kevin after sending the car back to the UK for a routine rebuild as the team took until after the Ulster rally to complete the work and return the car, this meant the Kelleher's were unable to start a number of rallies including Ulster.

However the return to Cork 20 with Co Dublin team AMF Motorsport preparing the car was a positive result. After struggling badly for grip on Saturday stages a switch to different Kumho tyres saw a resurgence in pace on Sunday stages to take 4 th Grp N home.

Skibbereen saw Kevin take 2nd in Grp N to Mike Curran who had sealed the Grp N National Championship on the event. With the national Championship over Kevin completed the year in the Evo with two fine 2 nd overalls on consecutive weekends on the Banna Beach Rally in Kerry and the G.S.M.C event in Baltinglass.

Kevin is not however restricted to success in his 4wd Car, he secured an overall win in the esteemed Carlow MK2 Challenge after securing a deal to drive a C Bradley hire car on the day before the start ramp.

Then the Kelleher's finished off the year in Killarney Historic with Kevin's own 2 litre MK2. Initial disappointment came when the clutch failed twice on the car and a decision was nearly made to retire after taking into account the time lost and the harm done to the gearbox etc, however the lads soldiered on with no clutch and starting each time control and stage on the key hoping the starter would last, amazingly despite all this hardship Kevin finished only 30seconds behind event winner Dessie Keenan in the class 18 MK2. A very satisfying result even if it was a case of what might have been.

On the back of that successful year Kevin Kelleher now has the bonus of being chosen from 14 of his peers to go into the final assessment for the winner of the 2005 Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Award.

The Motorsport Ireland "Billy Coleman Award" is supported by the Irish Sports Council and Motorsport Ireland's affiliated rally organising Motor Clubs. Overall winner receives over €32,000 in the format of €25,000 cash and €6,350 used in a driver development programme. Second and Third placed competitors are each awarded €8,000 and €4,000 respectively.

The announcement of the winner of the Award will be made at a Media Reception at Motorsport Ireland on Tuesday 13th December.

Kevin Kelleher is supported by THE BIG FELLA Clonakilty, Monterra Properties, Clona Dairies Clonakilty, SWS Property Services and XLR8 Motorsport PR.


06/12/05
Motorsport Ireland Announce Top Three
Ireland’s ambitious young rally drivers have been competing against each other all year in an effort to claim the prestigious Motorsport Ireland “Billy Coleman Award” for 2005.  The award carries with it a coveted first prize of €32,000 to help further the winning driver’s motor sport career.  Fourteen qualifiers put forward their cases for winning the award during an interview process on 23rd November, when their performance during the past season and their plans for 2006 were reviewed.

The finalists who made it through to the top three were (alphabetically): 
  • 23 year old Ian Barrett from Maynooth, Co.Kildare,
  • 27 year old Kevin Kelleher from Clonakilty, Co.Cork and
  • 25 year old Gareth MacHale from Rathcoole, Co.Dublin.  
These three talented young Irish drivers have already attained highly impressive results and the aim of the Billy Coleman Award is to help them to achieve International success in the future.  

The Motorsport Ireland “Billy Coleman Award” is supported by the Irish Sports Council and Motorsport Ireland’s affiliated rally organising Motor Clubs.  Second and Third placed competitors are each awarded €8,000 and €4,000 respectively.

The announcement of the winner of the Award will be made at a Media Reception at Motorsport Ireland on Tuesday 13th December.


21/11/05
Billy Coleman Award Qualifiers in Alphabetical Order

Brian O' Mahony
Colin O' Toole
Colin Flanagan
Gareth MacHale
Gordon Coleman
Graham Quinn
Ian Barrett
Keith Power
Keith McElhinney
Kenneth McHale
Kevin James Kelleher
Matt Shinnors
Mick Quinn
Peter Wilson
Seamus O'Grady






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