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2019 Billy Coleman Award

Posted: November 21, 2019 6:46 AM - 1491 Hits

Young Rally Driver of the Year

MOTORSPORT IRELAND NAMES THREE FINALISTS FOR YOUNG RALLY DRIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Posted: November 21, 2019 6:46 AM

The finalists for Motorsport Ireland’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award have been announced. David Kelly (24), from Donegal Town, has been named alongside Derek Mackarel (23), from Clones, Co Monaghan, and Josh McErlean (20), from Kilrea, Co Derry.

All three drivers are in the running for the prestigious Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award, which has a prize fund of €100,000.

The three drivers were drawn from nine candidates who were nominated on the back of their performances this year. All the finalists faced a rigorous selection process which included interviews from a panel of judges comprising representatives from Irish motorsport, Sport Ireland and the media.

Kelly’s standout achievements during 2019 include winning the junior category of the Fastnet Rally. He also had wins on the Cavan and Midland Stages rally events, as well as claiming 2nd overall in the junior section of the Killarney Rally of the Lakes. The Donegal driver, who works as a purchasing manager in his family’s construction business, also competed outside Ireland, taking part in four rounds of the BTRDA Fiesta ST Trophy.

Mackarel won the 16A class in the 2019 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Rally Championship. In doing so, the 23-year-old claimed a hat-trick of wins, including when switching from his Vauxhall Nova to an Opel Adam R2 for the final round of the championship in Cork. Mackarel is also a multiple National Navigation Champion.

McErlean won the Junior British Rally Championship in his Peugeot 208 R2 following maximum scores on the West Cork, Pirelli International and Ulster Rallies. The 20-year-old Co Derry driver also took a class win on the opening round of the Valvoline National Forestry Championship in January in Carrick-On-Suir. Josh is in his second year studying Mechanical Engineering at Ulster University.

John Naylor, President of Motorsport Ireland, said: “All the nominees for the Billy Coleman Award were of an outstanding calibre this year – and David, Derek, and Josh are thoroughly deserving finalists.

“Importantly, all nine nominees will get the opportunity to further develop their talent as part of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, which bodes well for the future of Irish rallying on domestic and international fronts.”

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award will receive €100,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally and internationally in 2020. Coupled with Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland’s €50,000 investment, a further €50,000 has been pledged by the Team Ireland Foundation.

The award winner will also receive assistance from Billy Coleman co-ordinator Sean McHugh. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to progress the winners’ career will also be available, and the winner may apply for funding for a second year of support upon satisfactory performances in their award-winning year. Both award runners up will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each.

All nine nominees who completed the selection process for this year’s Billy Coleman Award will be included in the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy programme to nurture and support young drivers.

Last year’s Billy Coleman Award winner James Wilson won the opening round of the 2019 Junior British Rally Championship on the Cambrian Rally before making the step up to R5 machinery. He took a top 10 finish on the Rally of the Lakes on his first drive in a Hyundai i20 R5 before going on to secure a podium finish on the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally and a fourth place on the final round of the British Rally Championship (BRC) in Scotland.

The overall winner of the 2019 award will be announced at the MIS Motorsport Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards ceremony, which takes place on Tuesday, 10th December at the City West Hotel, Dublin. The award is presented annually and is supported by Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland.

KELLY GAINS YOUNG RALLY DRIVER OF THE YEAR NOMINATION

Posted: November 9, 2019 3:52 AM

24-year-old David Kelly has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in the period August to October. Kelly, from Donegal Town, took the overall junior win on the recent Fastnet Rally, adding to previous junior wins which he scored this year on the Cavan and Midland Stages events. Kelly also claimed 2nd overall in the junior section of Killarney Rally of the Lakes, as well as sampling competition outside Ireland where he took part in four rounds of the BTRDA Fiesta ST Trophy.

David started his motorsport career in the co-driver’s seat in 2011 before making the switch to the driving seat in 2013. Starting out in a Peugeot 205, Kelly moved up through the ranks progressing into a Honda Civic and then a Citroen C2 R2 before stepping into a Toyota Starlet. With the 2019 season all but finished, Kelly has purchased the latest specification R2T Ford Fiesta from M-Sport and ahead of using the car in anger next year, he has a number of testing days planned and he aims to compete in some navigation trials in a left hand drive car to get used to the switch. Indeed Kelly finished as top novice on the recent Monaghan Navigation Trial.

When he isn’t competing, Kelly works in the family business as the purchasing manager. They run a contracting firm and work throughout the country building commercial properties for a number of clients and private developers. David’s long term sporting ambition is to compete in the British Rally Championship in an R5 car. Having competed on a number of British events this year, it has made Kelly want to go back and do more. He would love to do the Junior World Rally Championship but admits that the costs involved are substantial.

Over the past two seasons, Kelly has started over twenty events and he acknowledges that only for his sponsors, none of it would have been possible, especially the support from local companies in Donegal including Glebe Builders, Gortlee Tool Hire, Bonars Quarry, Donegal Hardware and Sweeney Scaffolding.

Kelly’s nomination means he is the eighth driver to be nominated for this year’s Billy Coleman Award as he joins other monthly qualifiers Josh McErlean and William Creighton as well as automatic championship winning nominees; Brian Brady, Derek Mackarel, Shane Kenneally, Nigel Roche and Stephen Reynolds. A wildcard selection will be made in the coming days by a separate judging panel, meaning that nine drivers will be in contention for the award in 2019.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award will now receive €100,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2020. Coupled with Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland’s €50,000 investment, a further €50,000 has been pledged by the Team Ireland Foundation. The award winner will also receive the assistance of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to further the winners’ career will also be available and the winner may apply for funding for a second year of support upon satisfactory performances in their award winning year. Both of the award runners up will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each.

JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS CONFIRMED AS YOUNG RALLY DRIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD ENTERS CLOSING STAGES

Posted: October 28, 2019 4:41 AM

Four junior rally champions have secured automatic nominations for the 2019 Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award. One more will be decided in Bantry this weekend as a trio of drivers will fight it out for Class 16A honours at the final round of the Triton Showers Irish National Rally Championship.

Brian Brady secured his nomination by virtue of winning the inaugural Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series, a dual surface championship for class 16 cars only. Partnered by Gary McNamee, Brady took four wins on his way to the crown. This will be the second time the 24 year-old driver from Kells in Co Meath has been nominated for the award, having won the junior section of the Irish National Rally Championship in 2017.

Another driver to be nominated for the second time is Monaghan’s Derek Mackarel who took class 16A honours in the 2019 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship. 23 year-old Mackarel took a hat-trick of wins, switching from his Vauxhall Nova to an Opel Adam R2 for the final round of the championship in Cork. Mackarel is also a member of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and has taken part in their three development days this year, which afforded him the opportunity to test an R5 car.

Class 16 in the forestry series was eventually claimed by Shane Kenneally. The Honda mounted driver, who narrowly lost out to Brian Brady in the Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series, triumphed on the final round of the forestry championship in Fermanagh to wrap up the class. Partnered by Jer Connors, Kenneally, aged 23 from Dungarvan in Co Waterford, has been competing since 2014 when he started out in a 1300 cc Mark 2 Ford Escort.

A regular Border Rally Championship competitor, Leitrim’s Stephen Reynolds stepped up to the Triton Showers Irish National Rally Championship for 2019, and even with the final round of the series still to play out, he has claimed the class 16 crown with four maximum scores throughout the season in his distinctive orange Honda Civic. Reynolds is the first nominee from Connacht since Dean Raftery and Cormac Phelan were nominated for the award in 2014.

These nominees join the January-April nominee, Josh McErlean and the May-July nominee, William Creighton, with this weekend’s Fastnet Rally to decide the 16A winner of the Irish National Rally Championship as Colin O’Donoghue, Nigel Roche and David Kelly fight it out for the final automatic nomination. There is also the opportunity of a single wildcard selection, which means that along with the August-October nominee, up to nine drivers may be nominated for the award in 2019.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award will now receive €100,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2020. Coupled with Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland’s €50,000 investment, a further €50,000 has been pledged by the Team Ireland Foundation. The award winner will also receive the assistance of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to further the winner’s career will also be available and the winner may apply for funding for a second year of support upon satisfactory performances in their award winning year. Both of the award runners up will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each.

Creighton is nominated for Young Rally Driver of the Year

Posted: September 2, 2019 8:47 AM

21 year old William Creighton has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in the period May to July.

William, from Moira in Co. Down currently sits second in the Junior British Rally Championship in his Peugeot 208 R2, is leading the ITRC3 category in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and has already secured the class 2 title in the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship.

William started his motorsport career in karts, becoming Ulster Karting Champion in 2008. In 2013 he moved into J1000 rallying, securing the Northern Irish and British titles in 2014. Following those triumphs, William moved up to the R2 category, starting in a Ford Fiesta before moving to a Peugeot 208 which he has been campaigning since mid-2015. He has also forged a long term partnership with respected co-driver Liam Regan with the pair having contest over 50 events together.

Creighton is aiming to complete the 2019 season by tackling the final round of the Junior British Rally Championship in Scotland and the final round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship in Cork before looking ahead to 2020 and in the future, he would like to fulfil his potential and wishes to represent Ireland at the highest level of rallying.

A final year Business Management Student in Edinburgh, William also works in the family filling station, garage and vehicle recovery business when he is not studying or competing. His primary sponsor is Creighton Group and William would like to express special thanks to his family and all the team at David Greer Motorsport who prepare and run his car.

This year’s Billy Coleman Award will see 3 qualifiers selected from the following monthly groupings; January-April, May-July and August-October. These nominees will be joined by the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior sections in the Triton Showers National series and the Valvoline National Forestry Championship in both class 16 and 16A, the highest placed eligible driver in the dual surface Motorsport Ireland J1600 Junior Rally Series and a wildcard selection, meaning that up to 9 drivers may be nominated for the award in 2019.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award will now receive €100,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2020. Coupled with Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland’s €50,000 investment, a further €50,000 has been pledged by the Team Ireland Foundation. The award winner will also receive the assistance of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to further the winners’ career will also be available and the winner may apply for funding for a second year of support upon satisfactory performances in their award winning year. Both of the award runners up will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each.

McErlean is nominated for Young Rally Driver of the Year

Posted: July 10, 2019 1:25 PM

Josh McErlean has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in the period January to April.

19 year old Josh from Kilrea, Co Derry currently leads the Junior British Rally Championship in his Peugeot 208 R2 following maximum scores on the West Cork and Pirelli International Rallies. McErlean also took a class win on the opening round of the Valvoline National Forestry Championship in January in Carrick-on-Suir.

Josh, who will turn 20 next week, has been competing for the past 4 years and is a former Northern Irish and British J1000 Rally Champion. Following those successes, which he ranks among his best achievements to date, he stepped up to the R2 class, starting in a Citroen C2 before moving to a Ford Fiesta and now, a Peugeot 208.

With an 8 point lead in the Junior British Rally Championship, McErlean plans on seeing out the remaining 2 rounds of the series and realising his ambition of becoming champion, emulating the previous successes of former Billy Coleman Award winners, Robert Duggan and Callum Devine, who are both previous winners of the Championship.

Josh is a Mechanical Engineering student in Jordanstown University, and has just completed his first year of studies. His principal sponsors are Woodland NI, SDC Trailers, Truck-Lite and Revolve Ireland. Josh is particularly grateful for the support of his family and friends, especially all the Macsport team who prepare the car and his co-drivers who have partnered him in 2019, Gerard Conway, Liam Moynihan and Keaton Williams.

This year’s Billy Coleman Award will see 3 qualifiers selected from the following monthly groupings; January-April, May-July and August-October. These nominees will be joined by the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior sections in the Triton Showers National series and the Valvoline National Forestry Championship in both class 16 and 16A, the highest placed eligible driver in the dual surface Motorsport Ireland J1600 Junior Rally Series and a wildcard selection, meaning that up to 9 drivers may be nominated for the award in 2019.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2020 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to further the winner’s career will also be available and the winner may apply for funding for a second year of support upon satisfactory performances in their award winning year. Both of the runners up will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each.

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