McCormacks give delighted Amy chance to reignite her career
At 17-years-old, Amy Cox was a rising star of rallying. Still at college in Omagh, she was the first driver - boy or girl - to win the All-Trak junior series three years in a row and by the time she was 18 she had already graduated to senior events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster Rally.
And she demonstrated she could mix it with the men. But shortly afterwards, her promising career ground to a virtual halt. She made occasional appearances, usually on her home Bushwhacker Rally, but a combination of university studies, Gaelic football and, crucially, a lack of funding kept her out of rally cars for much of the last four years.
On Saturday, however, she is back, thanks to the generosity of one of Ulster's British Championship contenders, Marty McCormack, and his brother Greg.
They are loaning her the S2000 Skoda Fabia McCormack drove before he moved up to his current R5 Fabia and Amy will line up in it for the final round of the Northern Ireland Championship, the McGeehan Motorsport Sunset Rally at Nutts Corner. Greg's daughter Maria will co-drive.
"I've really missed rallying but it is an expensive sport and without sufficient funding plus my studies it hasn't been possible for me to race much in the past few years," explained Amy, who also plays football for Drumragh Sarsfields senior women's team.
"But sometimes your dreams do come true and I could hardly believe it when the McCormacks offered me the chance to drive the Skoda. It is so generous of them and I couldn't be more grateful. I'm super excited."
It will be a big step up from the little R2 Ford Fiesta she drove on last year's Bushwhacker and her first time steering a four-wheel-drive car. With that in mind, the McCormacks laid on a test session for Amy at Aghadowey on Tuesday.
"The Skoda is different from anything I've driven before and a massive upgrade for me," she said. "But I loved it! I can't wait for Saturday."
Marty McCormack oversaw the test and was impressed.
"She jumped into the car and was on it almost immediately," he said. "I take my hat off to her. She's talented and we're happy to give her this chance to show it."