THE economic value of the Quality Hotel West Cork Rally provided the central theme to the launch of the event at the Quality Hotel, Clonakilty on Friday night last.
The event that takes place on March 12/13 next is the second round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship, the opening round of the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship and round one of the new FIA Celtic Trophy Series, that has resulted in the event having international status.
The attendance included Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, deputising for Cllr John Paul O’Shea, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Michael Collins, Mayor of Clonakilty Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, members of the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, the local West Cork Rally Fundraising Committee and the Cork Motor Club.
At the outset, Noel Lawlor of the Chamber of Commerce, while acknowledging he knows little about the sport of rallying, stated that he is very much aware of its value to the award-winning West Cork town.
The general consensus, for what will be the 38th running of the two-day event, is that it will provide the traditional ‘kick-start’ to the tourist season. It is estimated that the rally is worth €2.5million to the Clonakilty region.
Speaking at the launch, John O’Donovan, chairperson of the Clonakilty Fundraising Committee, said: ‘Our committee has been as busy as always and with several months we have been meeting and planning away for this year’s event. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people, who meet weekly with enthusiasm, anticipation and a will to make this work.’
He added: ‘Our advertising collecting (for rally programme) and general fundraising is in full flow and the reaction from the traders and businesses has been fantastic.
‘The town of Clonakilty has endured a torrid time. Shortly after last year’s event, much of the town streets were closed off to the public as sewerage, drainage works and resurfacing commenced. The finished product is only days away and, in my opinion, once completed, it will make the town the envy of West Cork.’
Mr O’Donovan paid tribute to the traders and business people of Clonakilty that have supported the rally and to the event organisers, the Cork Motor Club and Clerk of the Course Greg McCarthy and the continued support of the Quality Hotel.
Meanwhile, the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce will continue with the initiative of offering each competitor a Clonakilty voucher worth €75 that can be spent in almost every business outlet in the town.
The West Cork Rally Fundraising Committee are offering the first 20 overseas entries a €100 Clonakilty voucher.
Clerk of the Course Greg McCarthy stated that the event will follow a similar format to last year’s rally. The ceremonial start takes place in the town centre on Friday night. There will be eight stages on Saturday and six on Sunday with an early afternoon finish in the town centre. The Darrara Agricultural College complex will host the service park location on both days.
Mr McCarthy also announced that Jim Davis & Sons Building Contractors have joined the event as an associate sponsor.