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Brakes put rallying off road but Insight annual keeps it in focus



Cover shot: Rally Insight annual

Cover shot: Rally Insight annual

Cover shot: Rally Insight annual

The vast majority of rally cars in Ireland have barely turned a wheel this year, their drivers frustratingly kept from the stages by the coronavirus.

Apart from the likes of Craig Breen, Callum Devine and Josh McErlean who have been able to compete abroad, the rest have been confined to home as both Motorsport Ireland and Motorsport UK imposed strict lockdown conditions.

However, it hasn't stopped authors and editors producing books in time for Christmas with rally blogger Adam Hall leading the way with the second edition of his Rally Insight annual.

Queen's University graduate and a former member of their Formula Student team, Hall has combined his work as a design engineer with running his own rally website and self-publishing a book which turns the spotlight on a host of Irish competitors from Andrew Nesbitt to Aaron Johnston, Barry McKenna to Rory Kennedy.

Alastair Fisher, whose promising season was cut short by the virus soon after his Galway International victory back in February, and Devine, Ireland's International Driver of the Year in 2019, are among those featured along with Marty McCormack, one of the drivers who comfortably switches from modern R5 cars to achieve success in historic rallies.

Paul Nagle recalls his long career at World Championship level alongside Breen and Kris Meeke while at the other end of the scale rising co-driver, Aaron Johnston, talks about his partnership with Norwegian protégé Oliver Solberg.

There's lots more including tributes to people such as Esler Crawford, Brian Patterson and John Campion who contributed enormously to Irish rallying, but are no longer with us.

The hardback book, costing £13.95, can be purchased by emailing Adam at rallyinsight@gmail.com.

The popular Déjà Vu series of retro rallies run for charities by Plum Tyndall and Beatty Crawford is heading for Galway next May and to highlight the glory days of the Galway International, Tyndall has compiled another of his history books, The Western Warriors.

It includes all the top Irish names as well as international stars who came to call including John Taylor, Tapio Laukkanen, Saeed Al-Kajri and Marcus Gronholm. Costing £14.99, it can be ordered from the RPM website.

Sadly, Carsport and Pacenotes monthly magazines are missing from newsagent shelves these difficult days but Carsport's annual Yearbook has been published again this Christmas.

As well as picking the bones of a lean rally season, it puts the spotlight on the exploits of our successful racers like Wayne Boyd, Colin Turkington and Charlie Eastwood.

It also looks back at the remarkable career of John Lyons who so nearly died in a road accident just before Christmas exactly 50 years ago but recovered to become perhaps the greatest of all our great autotest drivers.

Michael O'Mahoney has drawn on his long love of motorsport to publish a book entitled Icons of Irish Rallying. To obtain a limited-edition copy, €25, contact O'Mahoney directly.

Belfast Telegraph