CLONAKILTY’S Aidan Hennessy had never sat in a rally car until Wednesday of this week, and that was at a karting track in Tynagh, County Galway where he was familiarising himself with the Ford Fiesta he will drive on this weekend’s Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally. He told The Southern Star why he wanted to compete in the rally.
‘It’s something I always wanted to do since I was a child watching the event,’ he explained. In some ways Aidan was practically bred on motorsport – an old family photograph of the Hennessy homestead revealed a kart track, now the location of the family home with his wife Norma and their children Patrick and Ronan.
Aidan and his youngest son are regular competitors in the Irish karting scene, and Ronan has raced in Le Mans. Aidan continued, ‘We were meant to compete in the rally in 2020 but then Covid-19 put a stop to that, so we are having another go at it this year. I suppose finishing is the ultimate target. After that, everything else is a plus.’
He added: ‘Cars were actually a bit scarce when I began to look at what was out there. It was only in the last few weeks that I decided to commit to the rally, so the options were limited. Some of my friends thought that the Fiesta would be a good option in terms of reliability. I have hired a R2 Fiesta from C-Sport in Galway. It's front-wheel drive, more akin to a road car than say a rear wheel drive Mk. 2 Escort.’
One of the stage locations has a particular resonance for the Clonakilty driver whose company, Hennessy Outdoors, won the ‘Best Customer Service Award’ at the recent Southern Star West Cork Business and Tourism awards.
‘I’m looking forward to the Ardfield stage. My mam (Joan) is from there and I know some of the roads’.
Well-known Clonakilty auctioneer Andy O’Donoghue will call the pacenotes. ‘Yes, I’m very fortunate to have Andy as my co-driver, he has a lot of experience. I will be looking to him for guidance. My bit is behind the wheel and I will be looking to him to do everything else really.’
Hopefully, on this occasion there will be no need for the hammer.