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2016 Billy Coleman Award

Posted: December 16, 2016 9:58 AM - 4181 Hits

Josh Moffett Wins Billy Coleman Award - Outstanding Motorsport Achievement Awards Announced

Posted: December 15, 2016 7:02 AM

The winners of the International Driver of the Year, The Inaugural FIA Celtic Trophy, Sexton Trophy and the prestigious Billy Coleman Award have been announced at the Motorsport Ireland Awards Ceremony held in Dublin on Tuesday 13th of December.

The Billy Coleman Award for the Young Rally Driver of the Year was won by 24-year-old Josh Moffett, from Monaghan, who narrowly beat runners up Gary McNamee (Oldcastle, Co Meath) and Callum Devine (Claudy Co Derry) to the title.

Josh, from Monaghan, was nominated for the prestigious award on the back of some great results this year. He had some excellent performances in the Irish Tarmac Championship, and secured his first International win at the Cork 20 Rally.

As part of the award, Josh will receive support to the value of Eur50,000 for the 2017 season.

The Sexton Trophy for Young Racing Driver of the Year was awarded to 22 year-old Cian Carey, from Ratoath Co Meath, ahead of two other finalists, 16 year-old Jordan Dempsey (Mullingar Co Westmeath), and 23 year old Andy O'Brien (Templeogue Dublin).

Cian won the Boss Ireland Championship this year despite competing on occasion against far superior race cars. He secured a remarkable five outright wins, three second places and four thirds on his way to being crowned champion. Cian intends to compete in the British Formula 3 Cup next year and has already tested the new car in Silverstone at the Walter Hayes Trophy where he secured a pole position and second place finish in his first outing.

The Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year went to Craig Breen, from Co Waterford, after he became the first driver from the Republic of Ireland to secure a works drive with Citroen in the World Rally Championship.

The winner of this award is selected by the motor sport media and is presented to an Irish competitor from the 32 counties who has not only proven to be a success in competition but also has acted as a positive role model and ambassador for the sport.

Breen, who came to prominence this season for the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team, and his co-driver Scott Martin, have been added to the Citro?n WRC team for 2017. He has driven for Citro?n in a DS 3 in four WRC rounds this year achieving top 10 finishes in each. The season highlights included claiming a maiden podium with third place in Finland and finishing fifth in Corsica.

Craig said:
"The last twelve months have been fantastic in terms of my career to date. Securing a first ever WRC works drive is phenomenal and receiving this award tops my year off completely. I have worked very hard, remained focused and am very driven to achieving my goals. I hope that I have shown the young drivers around the country, that whether they are just starting out or are part of the Motorsport Team Ireland set up that if you can keep focusing on your dream that one day it might just happen.

"This award carries with it a great responsibility and is as big an incentive as I have ever had to continue to strive to win more in the future. It is an honour to be recognised amongst some of the greats of Irish Motorsport and I intend to acknowledge this by continuing to be the best I can. I can't wait for the next season to start and the opportunity to represent my country on the biggest stage of all.

"I would like to thank my family, friends, and management that have given this fantastic chance for a childhood dream to be achieved."

Craig joins a long list of previous winners that includes luminaries in the motorsport world such as Matt Griffin, Austin MacHale, Eddie Irvine and Derek Tohill to name but a few.

Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy goes to Se Og Martin as National Junior Kart Champion. Se og is from Dunloy, Co. Antrim and is just 13 years of age.

The Inaugural FIA Celtic Trophy was won overall by Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin. The competition is spread over five rallies in the UK and Ireland. Cronin, a three-time British Rally Champion, won two of the five rounds and placed high enough to take the trophy ahead of nearest rival Sam Moffett. Group winners also presented on the night were David Guest and Paddy Robinson, who won the Group N title (ERT2), and Callum Devine and Keith Moriarty, who won the two-wheel drive (ERT3) and ERT junior titles.

The Ivan Webb Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport went to Kevin Barrett, from Maynooth, Co Kildare, who has been an integral part of the Irish motorsport community for many years and a huge supporter of the National Rally Championship both as a competitor and sponsor of the championship through the Triton Showers brand.

The JC Millard Memorial Award for Clubman of the Year went to James O'Brien from Co Cork, for his contribution to the sport both as an organiser and competitor.

Speaking at the awards, Motorsport Ireland President Martin McKenna said:
"Every year it becomes harder for the selection panels to choose the winners of the various categories. The pool of very talented and skilled drivers is growing each season and alongside our partners in Sport Ireland, we are excited about the future for the sport.

"This year's recipients have a great opportunity to further their careers, which I hope they can take advantage of. The awards are internationally recognised and many of the previous winners have gone on to compete at the highest level of their chosen discipline abroad. Craig Breen, who won the Billy Coleman in 2009, is now on the WRC circuit as a works driver with Citro?n, while a former Sexton Trophy winner, Niall Murray, went on to break all sorts of records in Formula Ford both in Ireland and the UK this year.

"We launched the Motorsport Team Ireland programme in February of this year to help talented drivers progress in the sport. Judging by the progress they are making and the winners here today, the future of Irish Motorsport is very positive."

2016 Billy Coleman award finalists announced

Posted: November 16, 2016 5:23 AM

World Rally Championship star Craig Breen has told the finalists of Motorsport Ireland's Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award that winning the prestigious prize will put them on the fast-track to international success.

Breen, who this year became the first ever driver from the Republic of Ireland to secure a WRC works seat, said that you can trace his success back to winning the Billy Coleman Award seven years ago.

It comes as Callum Devine (Co Derry), Gary McNamee (Co Meath) and Josh Moffett (Co Monaghan) are officially announced as the finalists for the 2016 Billy Coleman Award.

The three drivers were chosen from a shortlist of eight candidates who were nominated for the award on the merits of their performances during the year. All eight faced a rigorous selection process which included interviews from a panel of five judges comprising members of the media, an official from Sport Ireland (formerly the Irish Sports Council) current driver and a representative of Irish motorsport clubs.

The Billy Coleman Award is internationally-recognised as the most prestigious accolade that any young driver on the island of Ireland can aspire to. It comes with a prize valued at ?50,000 in supports to help the winner boost their career. All three finalists will be included in the Team Ireland development programme run by Motorsport Ireland to nurture and support young drivers.

Past winners have included many drivers who have gone on to compete at the highest level, winning multiple British Rally championships and flying the flag at European and World Rally Championship level. Breen (26), who won the award in 2009, will drive for Citro?n next season in their newly developed C3 WRC car. He spoke about how important winning the award was for his career.

Breen said: "It seems hard to believe that it is now seven years since my trip to Dublin for my Billy Coleman Award interviews. I was nervous, overdressed, but incredibly motivated. I had been given a lot of stick during the year, as I had got my nomination through what was known then as the National Junior Rally Championship, where a lot of my competitors were driving budget cars, where as I was in a far superior R2 car. That didn't bother me though, I had my ticket in the door, and I was going to sell myself as best I could, as this was the next step on the way to my dream.

"I remember the interview well, and we had a very clear and focused plan if we should win the award, and I did everything in my power to prove to the panel that I had what it took to go all the way. I can still remember getting the call, sitting at my desk in work saying that I had won, and that was the day that my career really lifted off the ground.

"This year I got my big break in the WRC with the Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, and of course now a two-year contract with Citroen.

"These past seven years all evolve from that day in Dawson Street in 2009. The plan was always to make it to where we are today, and even if the journey hasn't been how we expected, I am hugely grateful of the opportunity that was given to me by Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Sports Council, I wouldn't be where I am today was it not for their support."

A spokesman for the Motorsport Ireland judging panel said:
"Drivers who win the Billy Coleman Award frequently go on to achieve great things in their careers. With Craig securing a works drive for the 2017 World Rally Championship all our young drivers can see that there is an opportunity to succeed at the top of their sport.

"There is a wealth of driving talent in the country and an incredible standard was set by all the drivers that were interviewed. Every one of them deserved their opportunity but unfortunately only three can be chosen."

The three finalists for the Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year are (listed alphabetically):

    Callum Devine (age 22) Claudy, Co Derry
    Gary McNamee (age 24) Oldcastle, Co Meath
    Josh Moffett (age 24) Clontibret, Co Monaghan
The overall winner of the 2016 award will be announced at the Irish Motorsport awards ceremony which will take place on Tuesday, December 13th. The winner will be expected to represent the sport at home and abroad over the time that they hold the title of Young Rally Driver of the Year. Motorsport Ireland's Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award is presented annually and is supported by Sport Ireland, affiliated motor clubs and Motorsport Ireland.

Eight drivers in the running for Young Rally Driver of the Year Award

Posted: November 9, 2016 10:47 AM

Next Tuesday, 15 November, eight of Ireland's most promising young rally drivers will make their cases to be selected as the Young Rally Driver of the Year and be declared the winner of the prestigious Billy Coleman Award.

Five of these hopefuls were nominated during the year for their performances in rallies between January and October, with three additional names added in the form of the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series, the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection.

The five bi-monthly winners were:

    Callum Devine (Claudy, Co Derry)
    Gary Kiernan (Bailieborough, Co Cavan)
    Chris Armstrong (Virginia, Co Cavan)
    Josh Moffett (Clontibret, Co Monaghan)
    Eric Calnan (Carrigaline, Co Cork)
Joining these five are Gary McNamee (Oldcastle, Co Meath), the Triton Showers National Junior champion in his Honda Civic, and Ford Escort driver Shane Kenneally (Dungarvan, Co Waterford), who is the highest placed eligible Junior in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship.

The final place on the interview list, the wildcard selection, goes to Patrick O?Brien (Omagh, Co Tyrone), who was one of last year?s runners-up.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives ?50,000 worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2017 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Tom Walsh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2017, along with co-ordinator support.

Calnan gains Young Rally Driver of the Year nomination

Posted: November 3, 2016 12:46 PM

Eric Calnan has been nominated for this year?s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in September and October.

The 25 year-old from Carrigaline, Co Cork, drove his Peugeot 106 to victory in the Junior sections of both the Cork 20 International and last weekend's Fastnet Rally, finishing in a tremendous eleventh place overall in the Skibbereen event. Earlier in the year, he took third position in the Junior section of the International Rally of the Lakes, and was runner-up in the Southern 4 Championship for the second year in succession.

Eric began rallying in 2013, and has contested the Southern 4 series from 2014 onwards. He intends to tackle either the Triton Showers National Rally Championship or the Irish Tarmac series in 2017.

Eric is a self-employed mechanical engineer in Novartis, in Ringaskiddy, Cork. His principal sponsor is CBtoolhire.com, with further assistance from Colin Byrne of Midleton, Donal O?Brien Cars, TM Valeting and Shane Fitzgerald Evo Signs, of Cork.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives ?50,000 worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2017 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Tom Walsh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2017, along with co-ordinator support.

Eric joins with the four other bi-monthly winners selected from January-February, through to July-August, along with the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

Moffett gains Young Rally Driver of the Year nomination

Posted: October 25, 2016 12:48 PM

Josh Moffett has been nominated for this year's Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in July and August.

The 24 year-old from Clontibret, Co Monaghan, finished third in the Tipperary Rally and seventh in the Ulster International two weeks later, a round of both the Irish Tarmac Championship and the British series. He has since gone on to score his first International win, driving his Fiesta to a thrilling late victory in the Cork 20.

Josh began rallying in 2010 driving a Peugeot 106, winning a Junior class in his first event, the Galway International, and progressed through a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo in which he won the Production Car class in both the National and Valvoline Forestry series in 2013, going on to take the overall Forestry title last year.

He intends to finish the year with outings in the Glens of Antrim Rally, the final Forestry Championship round, and the Wyedean Rally in England.

Josh is currently a design engineer/production manager in Combilift, who are his principal sponsor. He also has support from IFM Farm Machinery, DSV Transport, Aisle-Master and Gaffney Motor Factors.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives 50,000 Euro worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2017 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Tom Walsh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2017, along with co-ordinator support.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, joined by the highest placed eligible driver from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

Armstrong gains Young Rally Driver of the Year nomination

Posted: August 19, 2016 4:27 AM

Chris Armstrong has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in May and June.

The 26 year-old from Virginia, Co Cavan, drove his Ford Escort to outright victory in the Laois Heartlands Rally, and went on to finish ninth in the ALMC event a couple of weeks later, beaten only by four-wheel-drive Supercars. Earlier in the year, Chris took third place and a class win in the Midland Moto event.

Chris began rallying in 2009, and improved steadily to score his first overall win in the 2013 Midland Rally at Roscommon. He repeated this feat in the 2014 GSMC Rally, and has also won his category in the Killarney Historic Rally.

He is contesting the Ulster Rally, based in Derry City, this weekend, a round of the Irish Tarmac Championship, and intends doing some forestry events before the end of the year, along with the Galway, GSMC and Killarney Historic Rallies.

Chris runs a business hiring barriers and equipment, and his principal sponsors are Wilton Waste Recycling, Leo Forde Water Services, CA Event Hire, Millbrook Motors (Oldcastle), KES Energi (Drumquin), Crozier Motorsport, skellysbandb.com, and Valerie’s Clothes Care.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2017 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Tom Walsh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2017, along with co-ordinator support.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, joined by the winner of the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series, the winner of the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

Kiernan gains Young Rally Driver of the Year nomination

Posted: June 24, 2016 12:31 PM

Gary Kiernan has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in March and April.

The 24 year-old from Bailieborough, Co Cavan, drove his Ford Escort to class wins in both the Mayo and Midland Rallies, and finished in an impressive fifth position overall in the opening Triton Showers National Championship round in Ballina, behind four World Rally Cars.

Gary began rallying in 2011, driving in his first events while still a student, and became a regular competitor two years later, winning the Border Championship outright, and taking his class in the National Rally Championship. Last year, he took a class victory in the Border series and was class runner-up in the National points table.

He plans to contest the remainder of this year’s Border championship rounds and is considering hiring a Skoda Fabia for some Forestry Rallies with a view to driving one of these cars in 2017.

Gary has a degree in Agricultural Science from Dundalk Institute of Technology and works in the family farming business. His principal sponsors are Kiernan Milling, Failte Bar (Bailieborough), Fire Protection Ireland, Buddy Kiernan’s Pub (Granard), SMH Rallybitz (Keady), Gordon Automotive, IDS (Port Laoise), Westenra Arms Hotel/Spy Nightclub, CMC Motorsport, Hoosier Racing Tyres, Paul and Vincent Feeds (Edgeworthstown), Sean Brady Construction & Engineering (Cavan) and X Trax Shocks.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2017 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Tom Walsh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2017, along with co-ordinator support.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, joined by the winner of the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series, the winner of the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

Devine gains Young Rally Driver of the Year nomination

Posted: April 22, 2016 5:03 AM

Callum Devine has been nominated for this year's Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in January and February.

The 21 year-old from Claudy, Co Derry, drove his Opel Adam to a class win and 16th place overall in the Donegal Stages Rally in January, and went on to take another class victory and 14th position against much stronger opposition in the Galway International Rally, the opening round of the Irish Tarmac Championship, one week later.

Callum began rallying in 2011, driving a Citroen C2 in the Junior section of the Donegal International Rally. Two years later, he scored a class win in the same event, followed by overall victory in the Junior section of the Cork 20 International in October 2013.

Last year, Callum changed to the Opel Adam and took class wins in the Killarney Rally of the Lakes and Ulster Internationals, finishing in the top ten overall each time.

He is contesting the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship this year, and has also registered for the British series, planning on tackling one or two gravel rounds. He also hopes to contest an event in continental Europe, possibly Belgium's Ypres Rally. He would like to progress as far as possible in his rallying career, with the intention of targeting the European Rally Championship.

Callum works in his father's building business. His principal sponsors are Premier Car Parts (Dungiven), FYTH (Derry), Springhill Springs (Newry) and A. Daly Groundwork (Dungiven).

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives ?50,000 worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2017 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Tom Walsh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2017, along with co- ordinator support.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, joined by the winner of the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series, the winner of the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

Motorsport Ireland

Posted: April 22, 2016 5:01 AM






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