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2018 Tarmac Rally Championship

Posted: March 16, 2018 2:11 PM - 16284 Hits

Bathshack headline sponsor for Desi Henry

Posted: March 16, 2018 2:11 PM

IRELAND’S leading online bathroom retailer, Bathshack, has announced it is to headline sponsor 28-year-old rally driver, Desi Henry from Portglenone.

2018 will see Derry man, Desi Henry, contest the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, in a new car, Ford Fiesta R5, which he debuted at the Mayo rally recently. A change from the Skoda Fabia, it is the latest high spec rally car built by M Sport in the UK for Ford motorsport and it will be maintained by MacSport the family run motorsport team.

Henry, a building contractor, has opted this year to focus on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and there are high hopes for him with the continued sponsorship of Bathshack and Portglenone men, Peter and Connor Dunlop. Henry won the Irish Forest Championship in 2016 with co-driver Cork native, Liam Moynihan.

Connor Dunlop, Operations Manager at Bathshack, a keen motorsport fan and rally co-driver, commented:
“Desi Henry is a great rally driver who we’ve been involved with for some time now.

“This is a great partnership for Bathshack, one I’m delighted with given my own personal interest. With Desi’s eye on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and with past form I know he and the team will do well in 2018.”

The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship will consist of seven rounds of some of Ireland’s most iconic events including the Donegal international rally and the Ulster Rally held in County Antrim.

Rally driver Desi Henry said,
“I’m absolutely delighted that Bathshack is back on board. Without sponsors, a sport such as this can be difficult. I’m very grateful to both Peter and Connor Dunlop for their support over the years. This year I’ve turned my interest to the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and with the new R5 it is definitely going to be interesting.”

Connor Dunlop concluded,
“This was an easy decision to make. This will be a winning partnership given Bathshack’s growth and continued expansion and no matter what round of the championship someone is going to attend your never far from a Bathshack showroom or you can always get us on-line at bathshack.com”

In addition to the online offering Bathshack now has four stores across Ireland from Cork to Ballymena, with the most recent opening in Dublin last October seeing 5,000 sq feet of the most stylish and contemporary bathroom furnishings in Bluebell Industrial Estate.

Clonakilty Blackpudding and Michelin Commit to 2018 ITRC

Posted: March 15, 2018 3:23 PM

The TROA are delighted to announce the return to the ITRC for 2018 of Clonakilty Blackpudding as associate sponsors of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. They are further delighted to announce that Michelin will also support the championship as an associate sponsor.

Clonakilty Blackpudding had been title sponsor for the past four years and had always intimated they would like to keep an association with the ITRC after the deal for the title sponsorship had ended. Collette and Ed Twomey have been ever present and fantastic supporters over the past four years and continuing as an associate sponsor for 2018 proves their commitment to the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Colette Twomey said,
“We are delighted to continue our proud association with the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. We look forward to seeing you all for the opening round in Clonakilty this St Patrick’s weekend for the West Cork Rally.” Michelin have been associated with the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and indeed all Irish rally championships and its competitors for many years and for them to continue to promote their brand through the medium of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship bears testament to its success.

Tim Hoare, UK and Ireland Marketing Manager stated
“It is great to be able to support the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship which includes some of Irelands most iconic rallies.  Michelin work hard to provide the most cost-effective tyres. For these long international events Michelin tyres offer long lasting consistency with rally winning pace”

The Irish Tarmac Championship is in its 40th season this year and the forthcoming Quality Hotel West Cork Rally is the opening round of the 2018 series. Keep an eye out for more news in the coming days.

TROA Statement 13th March 2018

Posted: March 13, 2018 5:24 AM

The Directors of TROA have announced that the proposed arrangement for delivery of sponsorship Tarmac Rally Championship from 2018 onwards by THL (Tipp Holdings Limited/Dance to Tipperary) will not proceed.

This is unfortunate and comes after intensive discussions between TROA and THL. However, we wish THL the best going forward.

The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship will be unaffected by the change and will proceed fully as planned with the first round set for West Cork on St. Patrick’s weekend in Clonakilty.

Interest and registrations are already very strong, and we look forward to a successful and competitive 2018 Championship. TV coverage has been secured and the Championship will be broadcast in Ireland, the UK, most other European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. Despite some negative comments recently on some social media platforms, West Cork boasts a superb entry and promises to be an exciting beginning to the 2018 ITRC.

TROA will be issuing further press releases over the coming days.

Paddy Flanagan
Championship Manager


Posted: March 13, 2018 5:23 AM

After recently aquiring Joe Connollys Fiesta R5, Limerick rally driver Keith Lyons intends to contest all six rounds of the ITRC. The 36 year old Sales Director at Lyons of Limerick has been in and out of the sport since he competed on his first rally in 2003, due mainly to work committments.

Keith began his career at the age of 21 in a Ford Ka and contested the 2003 Irish Ka championship wirh sister Karen co-driving. In between 2003 and 2012 he had fleeting apparences in an ST Focus, a class 13 Mk2 Escort and for the last two years a Ford Fiesta R2T, winning his class in the 2017 West Coast Championship.

Keith commented, “From a young age I watched my dad Ken and it was always my ambition to go rallying. Having the R2T Fiesta for the last two years was a means to get back after quite a break and it was always my intention to step up to an R5, now seems as good a time as any. This will be a steep learning curve but its also a dream come true”.

Sean Hegarty will co-drive.


Posted: January 11, 2018 5:08 AM

2018 is going to be significant year for five times Irish Tarmac Rally Champion, Eugene Donnelly as he unveils a brand new state of the art Hyundai I-i20 R5 machine on the MRF Tyres stand at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham’s NEC Arena. It’s a dramatic return to Irish rallying for one of the most supported driver’s in its long history.
“I’m so excited it’s just absolutely fantastic” said Eugene known by many fans as “the Genie”. “I have been working on this deal for over a year now with Hyundai Customer Racing and MRF Tyres and to be unveiling the car at the NEC is just amazing. I can’t wait to return to the stages, but this new chapter is not just about me, but a new team, development of the Hyundai R5, and the new MRF Tyres. There’s been a lot of activity behind the scenes to get here, with even the sign-writers CBM Signs flying over from Donegal to put the finishing touches onto the car yesterday.”

After Irish Tarmac titles and not forgetting Irish National, Northern Ireland Rally Championship and an Irish Forestry title, many will be surprised at Eugene’s decision to make a come-back.
“I love rallying, Irish rallying in particular and the Irish Tarmac Championship, and I always had a return in the back of my mind. I hope that in some ways I can help to bring back a bit of life to the Tarmac Championship as I feel it’s been in a real dip lately and needs to get the general public back behind it again. I think the whole focus on social media has brought it to the attention of its existing supporters, not the wider public, and I hope my involvement with these blue-chip companies could help to change that.”

The 2018 Hyundai Customer Racing R5 four-wheel drive weapon, has been built to the latest specification, and with great technical support provided by the Korean car company and tremendous support from MRF Tyres, added to by Eugene’s long-time personal sponsors PPP Group, Sligo Pallets and McGeehan Motorsport, the whole project has come together. “I’m indebted to these companies for their assistance, and it’s superb to be involved with companies such as Hyundai and MRF Tyres. We have an opportunity to develop a new range of tyre products with MRF, as this massive manufacturer moves more into the European market. MRF Tyres already have had championship victories on the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, and have produced a very successful gravel tyre for the Irish and UK forests. There is a lot of expertise in-house to help our development program. My role is to use my previous experience to develop the most competitive rally tyre for Irish tarmac.”

Round one of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship is the West Cork Rally in March, but Eugene is not yet certain whether that will be the team’s debut.
“This is a three-year development program for the team, and if I feel we are not ready for West Cork we will give it a miss. I realistically don’t expect to have the pace of the current drivers such as Sam Moffett who are now winning the rallies, and it’s not my intention to go out and try to win. If i can get the car and tyres up a certain level of competitiveness, and I feel that I can’t achieve any more I’d be more than happy to step out and give a young driver a chance, and further develop the team. This is more about creating a winning team with Hyundai and MRF Tyres and it could be a vehicle to help the next generation of rally-driver to get to the top.”

One thing is for sure the return of Eugene Donnelly to the Irish Tarmac Rally scene in a new R5 Hyundai i-20 R5 will significantly raise the sport’s interest and awareness once again, with the excitement mirroring the NEC Show eleven years ago when he unveiled a shiny silver Subaru S12!

Donnelly’s plans for a full season of Irish rallying in 2018 will continue the growth of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing’s i20 R5 project.
“For a driver with as much experience and pace as Eugene to choose an i20 R5 for his return to competition is a sign of how highly he rates our car,” said Hyundai Motorsport Senior Sales Associate Andrew Johns. “For he and his team to be able to attract support from MRF Tyres shows the high level at which they expect to perform and we are very pleased they have made the i20 R5 part of their team. The unveiling at the Autosport International Show is certain to gather a lot of attention so should be a great start to a fantastic season.”

Championship Rounds

Posted: December 12, 2017 5:50 AM

Tarmac Championship

  1. West Cork Rally - 17-18 Mar 18
  2. UAC Easter Stages Rally - 6-7 Apr 18
  3. Killarney International Rally of Lakes - 5-6 May 18
  4. Donegal International Rally - 15-17 Jun 18
  5. Ulster Rally - 17-18 Aug 18
  6. Cork 20 International Rally - 29-30 Sep 18
Tarmac Historic Championship
  1. Killarney Historic Stages Rally - (Sat) 2 Dec 17
  2. West Cork Rally - 17-18 Mar 18
  3. UAC Easter Stages Rally - 6-7 Apr 18
  4. Killarney International Rally of Lakes - 5-6 May 18
  5. Donegal International Rally - 15-17 Jun 18
  6. Ulster Rally - 17-18 Aug 18
  7. Cork 20 International Rally - 29-30 Sep 18

Championship Website

Posted: November 20, 2017 3:04 AM

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