BY MARTIN WALSH
MEMORIAL awards within rallying are always very special. Since 1995, the Johnny Whyte Memorial Award has been an intrinsic part of the Banna Beach Resort Kerry Winter Rally, previously known as the Banna Rally.
Sadly, in 1994 Reenascreena-born Johnny Whyte lost his life in what was his first-ever rally accident; he is fondly remembered by the rally organisers. At the recent rally in Kerry, the Reenascreena husband and wife crew of Seamus and Aoife Ronan, in the ex-Jason O’Mahony Honda Civic, won the award for the best West Cork crew, the first time that a crew from Johnny Whyte’s birthplace has won it since its inception in 1995.
‘We are absolutely delighted to have won the award and bring it back to Reenascreena,’ Seamus told The Southern Star.
‘I knew Johnny when I was a young fella. We were well aware of the award but we never thought we were going to win it. Conditions were very slippery and we had a few moments alright, especially on the fourth stage, but we got away with them. To finish up with the Johnny Whyte Award was massive.’
The event was just their second outing in the car having finished third in Class 11F and 23rd overall in the National section of the Cork ‘20’ last September.