By Martin Walsh
THE names Harrison and Bell wouldn’t be out of place in the music industry. However, for readers of The Southern Star, Jim Harrison and Harvey Bell were a familiar rally crew in the 1990s and the early years of this millennium.
The Manchester/London pair campaigned cars from the McKinstry Motorsport stables. They finished third in the 2002 West Cork Rally and became the first overseas crew to win the Marine Hotel Fastnet Rally in 2004.
In two weeks’ time, Harvey’s son, Ruairi (19), will compete in the West Cork Rally that forms part of the Junior British Rally Championship (JBRC). He will be co-driven by Darren Garrod.
Amongst one of his backers in the EDSL Sport run Fiesta R2 is Jim Harrison’s company, Protec. Incidentally Jim, who really liked West Cork in his earlier visits, has a holiday home near Skibbereen. Ruairi is also competing in the Peugeot Rally Iberica Cup Championship (a six-round championship in Spain and Portugal including two rounds of the WRC) where he drives a Peugeot 208. A strong Bell family contingent are eagerly awaiting their trip to Clonakilty.
Meanwhile, as the excitement builds towards the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally in two weeks’ time, The Southern Star, a media partner of the event that dovetails as rounds of the Irish Tarmac and British Rally Championships, understands that the entry is close to capacity.
Record five-time winner Donagh Kelly, who missed the opening ITRC round in Galway, told The Southern Star on Tuesday that his Skoda Fabia R5 is being repaired but he is still not one hundred per cent sure if it will be ready.
However, the winner of the Galway International Rally, out-of-contract World Rally ace Craig Breen is already amongst the entry as are reigning British champion Matt Edwards and his M-Sport team mate Alex Laffey along with other BRC regulars like Marty McCormack, Tom Cave and David Bogie, who are all set for Clonakilty. The local contingent already includes David Guest, Cal McCarthy, Jason McSweeney and Vincent McSweeney.
Event PRO, Kevin O’Driscoll confirmed that Saturday’s itinerary includes the Clonakilty ‘town’ stage that takes place after the completion of the 4x2 stage format. Service is after stages two, four and six while the cars return to parc ferme straight after Clonakilty ‘town’ stage that is set to start at 5.55pm. Service precedes Sunday’s opening stage (SS 10) with the final service after the day’s opening loop of three stages. The finish ramp is at Emmet Square.