Dance to Tipperary to sponsor Irish Tarmac Rally Championship

London based music collective backs Ireland’s elite rally for three years

The Tarmac Rally Organisers Association (TROA) has last evening (Sunday 19 November 2017) confirmed it has reached agreement with Dance To Tipperary as title sponsor for the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (ITRC).

The deal is for an initial three years, – 2018, 2019 and 2020 – with the championship being known henceforth as the Dance To Tipperary Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Dance To Tipperary is a London based predominately Irish music collective founded in 1998. Over the past two decades, it has developed a unique and successful enterprise combining Irish, EDM, Celtic, Rock, Pop, Techno and Trance music to create a flow of Top 30 Hits and No.1 Dance Singles with sales in more than 35 countries.

The ITRC is Ireland’s number one rallying championship combining seven events around the country – north and south.

Dance to Tipperary will be the official title branded partner of the championship as well as the coproduction and distribution partner for its TV and media feeds. You could call it an early stage dynamic new Irish sports version of the hugely successful Red Bull Media House!

The sponsorship agreement gives Dance To Tipperary co-branding and co-title of the championship, on-event signage including decals on all championship entries and co-branding on official championship merchandise.

Dance To Tipperary also intends to appoint select brand ambassadors for the Dance To Tipperary Irish Tarmac Rally Championships TV, Radio, and online media output. These will be selected from drivers and co-drivers, radio and TV personalities, YouTube Stars, musicians and other longtime associates and friends. The main criteria will be that the brand ambassadors represent the core brand values of both Dance To Tipperary and the Championship.

Brand Ambassadors and other details of the sponsorship to be announced at the official launch of the Dance To Tipperary Irish Tarmac Championship on December 9th.

TROA Chairman David Gray said

“We are thrilled to welcome Dance To Tipperary on board. As rallying supporters know, the environment is challenging for sponsors. TROA board members worked carefully over recent months to secure this deal. Dance To Tipperary is a name well known and familiar to many rally fans. We look forward to working with them for the 2018 championship and in the years ahead to further build the ITRC as a championship and event with an even greater experience for participants and supporters alike”.

TROA Director Colman Hegarty said,

“although the past ten days brought some disappointing news for the ITRC, we are immensely happy to have secured a three-year commitment with a brand like Dance To Tipperary that knows and understands the true value, sports and lifestyle exposure the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship brings in a modern digital world and we look forward to making the Championship even more attractive to other brands and media partners with their assistance during that period.

TROA Championship Manager Paddy Flanagan added

“We are delighted to have secured a title sponsor who truly understands Irish rallying, promotion, new media, and shares a mutual love and respect of our sport and its fans”

In response, Tricia Kelly accordion player of Dance To Tipperary and originally from Cape Clear in Co.Cork said,

“it is 20 years next year since we started Dance To Tipperary and the sport of rallying played a big role in our early success. It feels right to begin our celebration of 20 years of Dance To Tipperary by availing of this opportunity and becoming the title sponsor of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. Rallying is an attractive, accessible sport for men, women and youth alike. We already have many fans in common and look forward to reaching many more together. We believe that we can help further build the appeal of the Championship working with TROA to apply the experience and knowledge gained in building our brand to make the most of this wonderful year-round championship and great exciting country-wide events”.

John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally – Antrim beckons amid ERT Inclusion.

The John Mulholland Motor Group has tonight confirmed that as it continues to support the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally, the event will move back to Antrim for 2018. Equally exciting, is the news that the rally will be a counting round of the FIA European Rally Trophy (Celtic Rally Trophy)) and will continue to form part of both the British Rally Champiosnhip and the Irish Tarmac Championship.

Making the announcement, event sponsor John Mulholland said “We’d like to send a personal thank you to all the local councillors from all parties on the Antrim and Newtownabbey council for assisting us in bringing the rally to the historic stages of County Antrim. This is also fantastic news for us with our Randalstown showroom a short hop from all the action”

The rally was last based in Antrim in 2012 before a move to Enniskillen and more recently to the Ebrington facility in Londonderry. The Ulster Rally forms part of the British Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Championship and theFIA European Rally Trophy (Celtic Rally Trophy)) and will next run in August 2018.

John Mulholland went on to say “The economic benefit to the Borough cannot be understated with an anticipated 16,000 visitors generating income in excess of £1 million with local hotels and guesthouses set to profit from an additional 2,500 bed nights alone”

John Mulholland Motor Group in partnership with the Northern Ireland Motor Club are determined to make the 2018 Ulster Rally the most successful in the entire history of the event. We will be attracting some of the biggest names in the sport from UK, Europe and beyond who will compete over some of the most iconic stages in Irish rallying. We have some very exciting plans which will be unveiled in due course.

It is hoped that the Ulster Rally will continue to be staged in Antrim for the subsequent 2019 and 2020 events.

Easter Stages Return for 2018

In their own words, the UAC announced today that the Easter Stages will run in 2018. Press realease follows:

The Ulster Automobile Club are delighted to announce preliminary plans for our Easter Stages Rally on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th April 2018.

The new look exciting two-day closed road rally will cover some of the classic stages in County Antrim and will be a counting round of the 2018 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

The Rally will consist of two events with some entrants competing over two days and others on the Saturday only. We are keen to encourage entries for both events which will be of National status.

Regulations and further details will be released during the next two months.


Thursday nights haven’t quite been the same for rally enthusiast’s in Ireland since RPM departed our TV’s screens a couple of year’s ago, but somewhere deep in the County Down countryside, the RPM production crew have been not been sitting idly by. Instead, RPM’ s Plum Tyndall has put together a brilliant new three volume DVD box set featuring seven of the fastest and exciting Irish drivers not already featured in the RPM “Tarmac Titan” series.

Alan (Plum) Tyndall, who is the Producer and Presenter of ‘A Magnificent Seven’ told us “Our magnificent seven dipped in and out of our sport for various reasons, financial, business, and even perhaps a lack of ambition, but they are all truly great drivers who deserve to be remembered. This production compliments our Tarmac Titan Series which has already covered the rally careers of Billy Coleman, Jimmy McRae, Bertie Fisher, Frank Meagher, Austin MacHale, Kenny McKinstry, Andrew Nesbitt and Eugene Donnelly.”

The featured Drivers are: JOHN LYONS – the Belfast bank official who could have gone professional; JAMES CULLEN – the Donegal driver who fought to win and beat financial burdens; STEPHEN FINLAY – who shone on the stages but shied from publicity; JAMES LECKEY – Down’s sensational short-stay racer; IAN GREER – The quiet and quick Hillsborough driver; LIAM O’CALLAGHAN – Cork’s determined stage star who came from a rallying family; KEVIN LYNCH – the County Derry novice, a winner from the outset.

These epic DVDs can be purchased online in three separate volumes or as a box set.

Vol. I John Lyons & James Cullen £16.99 + P&P
Vol. II Steven Finlay, James Leckey & Ian Greer £16.99 + P&P
Vol. III Liam O’Callaghan & Kevin Lynch £16.99 + P&P

A Magnificent Seven Box Set (all 3 volumes) £40.00 + P&P

Available at from the 29th. September 2017

Clare Stages 2017 – Sample Video & Stage Speed Traces.

The Clare Stages Rally 2017. Clare MC have put together a fine combination stages for the 2017 event. A good mixture of surfaces and roads, from fast and flowing to narrow and technical, it will, without doubt, challenge all the crews in the right way. Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples.

Notes & DVD are now available. Telephone either (ROI) 048 9084411 or (NI) 028 90844111 or order online at – Click Here


Sunset Rally Cancelled-Storm Damage too Severe.

After the devastating storms that swept across the North West of Ireland on Tuesday 22nd August, Magherafelt and District Motor Club issued the following statement regarding the cancellation of this Friday night’s Sunset Stages.


As many of you will be aware parts of the North of Ireland were badly affected by torrential rain last night (23rd). This evening, upon inspection of our Stages for the Sunset Rally, due to the devastation caused, we are left with no choice but to cancel the event. This decision was not taken lightly, however, the Stages are impassable. We apologise unreservedly to our sponsors and competitors, and we thank everyone who was involved in the months of preparation for this event, and all those who volunteered their services on the night. We had great interest and support for the Sunset and our entry list was growing by the day; so we are extremely disappointed that we have had to take this decision.
Yours in rallying,
Magherafelt and District Motor Club.

Moffett Conquers Cork – Jim Walsh Cork Forestry – by Andrew Bushe

Sam’s The Man in Cork!

2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship-Round Four

Sam Moffett and Darragh Kelly in their Ford Fiesta WRC took victory on the Cork Motor Club’s Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally, round four of the 2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship. The Monaghan driver, who’s day was largely drama free. “It’s been a good days rallying, great fast flowing sections here as always. We had a drama on stage three when I hit a large rock and had to drive eleven kilometres with a front wheel puncture, but aside from that we had no problems” said Sam who is now one of the title favourites having already clinched the Irish National tarmac series this year.

David Crossen/Damien Fleming – 3rd Overall – 1st 2WD. Photo by

Moffatt was fastest on stage one, with Adrian Hetherington and Gary Nolan second in their Corolla WRC, but the Tyrone driver was in trouble with a broken gear linkage on the road section to stage two and he was out. As the crews headed for the first Mallow service after two stages, Sam Moffett led from David Crossen and Damien Fleming in their MK2 Escort. The Evo’s of Ger Lucey and Jonny Leonard were starting a day long battle in fourth and fifth overall, with Niall McCullagh and Darren McKelvey joint sixth, despite a crank sensor problem in the McKelvey car. Cathan McCourt led Group N initally, but slid off and burst the intercooler on stage three, whilst class rival Jordan Hone actually took the fastest time in that third test, to move up to fourth overall.

After the second loop, Sam Moffett’s lead was down to twenty seconds following that puncture, and second place was now held by the MK2 Escort of David Crossen who was loving the stages. “We had a big push through those two. On the third one, we were just a couple of seconds behind Jordan, and we were second fastest on stage four eight seconds back from Sam, which we are happy with. We need to make sure and get it home now though” expressed the County Down charger.  Jordan Hone’s Group N lead was now sixteen seconds over seventh placed Niall McCullagh.

In the two wheel race, David Crossen’s advantage was thirty-eight seconds over John Gordon in his four door MK2. John had Aileen Kelly deputising in the co-drivers seat and was holding an excellent eighth place overall despite a small gearbox leak. Mickey Conlon was fourteen seconds further back, feeling he wasn’t quite on the pace, the car feeling a little loose. At the finish, it was a ninth place and 2nd two wheel drive for John giving him a €200 entry voucher for next year’s Jim Walsh event, and €100 for tenth placed Mickey Conlon who was seventeen seconds behind. Owen McMackin was fourth home in his MK2 and Damian McGauran fifth in the unique BMW 320.

At the front of the field, Sam Moffett extended his winning margin to fifty-one seconds over second placed Jonny Leonard and Arthur Kierans who sorted their problems out in the Evo 6 to leap into that position, a fine result for the Enniskillen driver. In third and less than a minute behind the leader was David Crossen whose remarkable run also earned him a free entry to next year’s event for bringing the first MK2 home, winning the 2017 Mark 2 Master of the Woods Prize. Fourth and first in Group N was a just reward for Jordan Hone with his father Paul as ever in the hot-seat. The ever smiling Ger Lucey was a credible fifth in his Evo 8 and continues to lead the championship  going into the final 2 rounds. Enda McCormack’s trip over from the US was rewarded with sixth and less than 20 seconds behind him was Niall McCullagh in seventh, debuting the newly aquired Evo 9 and 2nd in Group N, just ahead of Darren McKelvey. The Top 2 Wheel Drive Award went to John Gordon & Aileen Kelly as David Crossen’s top 3 finish means he forfeits class awards.

The Valvoline Junior Section (Class 16), again provided a nail-biting battle. Just nineteen seconds separated the top three with John O’Sullivan taking victory in his R2 Fiesta. After four tests, John was just 0.3 of a second ahead of Shane Kenneally’s Honda, the Fiesta’s lack of wing mirrors evidence of chicane incidents for O’Sullivan who adjusted his suspension before a final loop charge. Shane Kenneally was happy with second just over three seconds back, after an overshoot on stage three and the loss of the flat-shift gear change during the day. In third was an on form Johnnie Mulholland in another R2 Fiesta, whilst Derek Mackeral was happy to bring the Nova home to finish fourth. Stephen Dickson who led the class in the series ended up fifth and just didn’t have a great day, with steering arm issues amongst the worries.

The M. O’Brien Plant Hire Junior 1000 class for 16-18-year-olds entered its final round and Jason Murphy took the inaugural championship title with another victory in his Peugeot 107, winning him a prize drive in an R2 car on a 2018 Irish Forest round. “It’s brilliant to get that,” said Jason. “Today I started off very cautiously on stage one then speeded up. The stages were mighty and what an experience it’s been thanks to my co-driver Matthew and everyone in the team and the championship. ”Making her Junior 1000 debut eighteen-year-old Aoife Gahan in her Chevrolet Spark took second place, her co-driver Liam Brennan complimenting her for some “fearless” driving at times. Another newcomer Jason Gorham took third place with his Peugeot 107 as interest continues to build for 2018.

Other class winners included: Seamus Heaney (Class 1 – Honda Civic), Cal McCarthy (Class 2 – Citroen C2 R2), Andrew Burke (Class 3 – Citroen DS3 R3), Ruairi Maguire (Class 9 – Vauxhall Corsa), Mike Garahy (Class 10 – MK2 Escort), Stuart McClean (Class 11f – Vauxhall Nova), Ruairi McCaffrey (Class 12 – MK2 Escort), John Reid (Class 15 – Corolla WRC).

2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship-Round 4 Results

1st Sam Moffett/ Darragh Kelly – Ford Fiesta WRC – 36m 47.2s
2nd Jonny Leonard/Arthur Kierans – Mitsubishi Evo 6 – +0:51.4s
3rd David Crossen/Damien Fleming – Ford Escort Mk2 – +0:59.3s
4th Jordan Hone / Paul Hone – Mitsubishi Evo 9 – +1m23.9s
5th Gerard Lucey/JJ Cremin – Mitsubishi Evo 8 – +1m27.8s
6th Enda McCormack/Colin Fitzgerald – Subaru Impreza WRC – +1m28.0s
7th Niall McCullagh/Ryan McCloskey – Mitsubishi Evo 9 – +1m45.5s
8th Darren McKelvey/Aaron Johnston – Mitsubishi Evo 9 – +1m47.1s
9th John Gordon/Aileen Kelly – Ford Escort Mk2 – +1m59.3s
10thMichael Conlon/Ciaran McPhillips – Ford Escort Mk2 – +2m17.2s

2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship- Points After Round 4

1st Ger Lucey 61
2nd Sam Moffett 59
3rd David Crossen 58
4th Jonny Leonard 49
5th Enda McCormack 47
6th Mickey Conlon 45
7th Josh Moffett 42
8th Marty McCormack 38
9th Desi Henry 36
10th Adrian Hetherington 35
=Ian Graham 35

Championship sponsors include – Valvoline, Andrew Fanning Motor Factors, M. O’Brien Plant Hire, Suirway Group Forklifts & Farm Machinery, Jelf Motorsport Insurance, Exact Signs & Graphics, Pottinger Machinery, Ears Motorsport / Kumho Tyres, Colton Pump & Heating Services, Coillte, Concept Fire Services Ltd, Gordon Automotive Services, Barron Pix & SVS Incar Cameras.

Official Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship press release issued by Andrew Bushe
F: Andrew Bushe Promotions t-@andrew_bushe.

Jim Walsh Cork Forestry 2017 – Sample Video & Stage Speed Traces.

The Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally is nearly upon us. The event is now the fourth round of the popular Valvoline backed Irish Forestry Championship. The Cork Forestry is a mainstay of the Championship and remains a very a popular event with competitors due to the good stages and Cork Motor Club Organisation. The event will feature some old mileage, some new mileage and some familiar roads in a very good route comprising of 3 stages done twice. Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples.

Notes & DVD are now available. Telephone either (ROI) 048 9084411 or (NI) 028 90844111 or order online at – Click Here


2017 Down Rally Cancelled – Rathfriland MC Statement.

Rathfriland Motor Club confirm cancellation of the 2017 Down Rally…

It is with regret that Rathfriland Motor Club Ltd announce that the Down Rally, which was due to take place on 14 October 2017 in forests in the Down area, has had to be cancelled.   This event was to have been a round of the ANICC McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship and the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship.

In mid May 2017 the Club were suddenly advised that Tollymore and Castlewellan Forests, which formed the backbone of the rally in terms of stage mileage, were no longer available for Motorsport, even though these Forests have been used in previous Down Rallies.

Despite best efforts, the Club have been unable to identify suitable alternative Forests in the area to allow us to run a stage event to Championship requirements.

Imokilly Mini Stage – Shakedown Video & Stage Data

Imokilly Mini Stage 2017 – Below we have included a full safety video of the Shakedown stage, allowing any competitor the chance to have a good look at the stage in advance of the shakedown on Saturday the 22nd July, just ahead of the full rally on Sunday the 23rd. Also included below is our stage data for the full rally and the latest seeded top 20 entries.

Imokilly Mini Stage – Top 20 Seeded Entries

1 Jonathan Pringle/James Fulton (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
2 Garry Kiernan/Ryan Moore (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
3 Colin Byrne/Stephen Quinn (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
4 Enda O Brien/John Bulter (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
5 Trevor Mulligan/Sean Hayde (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
6 Daniel Cronin/Shane Buckley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) [4]
7 Barry Meade/Eamonn Hayes (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
8 Pat O Connell/Derek Gibbs (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [20]
9 George Condell/Paul Twomey (Toyota Starlet) [13]
10 Ed O Callaghan/Keith McCarthy (Ford Escort MkII) [13]
11 David Guest/Paddy Robinson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
12 Vincent Mc Sweeney/Micheal Kearney (Honda Civic) [13]
14 Mark Dolphin/Coln Ftizgerald (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
15 Tom Flaherty/Martin Flynn (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
16 Mike Quinn/Tony Healy (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
17 Kevin Kelleher/William Walsh (Ford Escort MkII) [14]
19 John Lynch/Thomas Lynch (Darrian T90) [14]
20 Richard Whelan/James Whelan (BMW) [14]