Belfast Telegraph

Circuit of Ireland icons are set to relive their glory days

By Sammy Hamill

Easter and the Circuit of Ireland are synonymous, the rally being held over the holiday weekend for decades. But not this year.

For logistical and financial reasons it has moved back a fortnight to April 7-9 but the link with Easter is to be continued as close to 150 former competitors and friends meet up in Killarney to remember Circuits past.

The brainchild of former winning co-driver Beatty Crawford, Circuit Deja Vu will see many of the rally's heroes, from Paddy Hopkirk and Billy Coleman to Jimmy McRae and Russell Brookes, re-united in Killarney to relive their glory days.

Crawford, who was alongside Adrian Boyd when they won in their Ford Escort back in 1971, said: "With the rally not taking place over Easter this year we saw the opportunity to bring together people to whom the Circuit has been a big part of their lives for so long.

"We have been astonished by the response. The 'entry list' is stellar, including drivers who have won the rally more than 20 times between them.

"We're delighted that record-breakers like Jimmy McRae and Paddy Hopkirk are coming but it's wonderful to see their rivals like Russell Brookes, Billy Coleman, Cahal Curley, David Llewellin and Adrian joining us.

"We have the present owners of some of the winning cars too. It has been a complete sell-out."

Based at the Malton Hotel, which was formerly the famous Great Southern, the rally's base for many years, the three-day re-enactment includes a Sunday Run over the classic Kerry stages.

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