Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke's magic night after he claims top award

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke has joined John Watson and Niall McShea as a three-time winner of Northern Ireland's Motorsport Award.

The Citroen World Rally Championship driver from Dungannon was voted No.1 again for his performances in 2015, highlighted by his Rally Argentina victory in April last year.

Meeke became the first British driver since Colin McRae in 2002 to win a WRC round and the first ever from the island of Ireland.

He squeezed in the Association of Northern Ireland Motor Clubs dinner and awards night in Armagh on Saturday between his Monte Carlo Rally heroics and preparation for Rally Sweden next week.

The award is voted on by the member clubs of the ANICC and Meeke was chosen in 2009 and again in 2013.

Receiving the award from ANICC president Robert Harkness, Meeke said: "It means a great deal to me to know that I have such immense support from my home in Northern Ireland and would like to thank everyone for their continuing support and encouragement."

Congratulating Meeke, ANICC chairman Henry Campbell said: "This small country has the ability to produce some exceptional driving talent," and he pointed to the positives of "the number of young competitors on hand to receive trophies including Josh McErlean, winner of Formula 1000 Juniors for 14 to 17 year olds".

A life-time achievement award was presented to veteran timekeeper Pat McAleer and Mark King was named clubman of the year.

The award-winners included: ANICC life-time achievement award Pat McAleer; Clubman of the Year Mark King; NI Autotest champion Paul Blair; NI Stage Rally champions Derek McGarrity and Gerard Conway; NI Sprint champion Seamus Morris; NI Hillclimb champion Graham Thompson; NI Formula Ford champion Jake Byrne; NI Navigation Rally champions Leslie Hawe and Gareth Hawe; NI Junior 1000 Rally Challenge champions Josh and Tommy McErlean.

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