A decade after initial approaches were made to have the West Cork Rally included as a counting round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the Cork Motor Club, organisers of the event, now have full status within the ITRC following an EGM of the Tarmac Rally Organisers Association (TROA) that was held late last week.
There is no doubt that the Clonakilty based event is a great addition to the ITRC, indeed, long before those 2012 soundings, The Southern Star suggested the rally merited inclusion in the ITRC, even back then, its qualities were obvious and with the Tarmac series struggling in some sectors, the inclusion of the West Cork was a win win situation for all.
However, sometimes the wheels of change turn slowly; it wasn't until 2014 that the first sign of inclusion unfolded when the Modified and Historic sections of the 2014 Clonakilty based rally gained ITRC status.
In 2015, the rally was run as a full counting round of the ITRC series - under the guise of a ‘guest round’ - a sort of provisional licence.
Since then, it has become one of the most successful rounds of the series where the other counting rounds are the Galway International, the Circuit of Ireland, the Rally of the Lakes, the Donegal International Rally, the Ulster Rally and the Cork ‘20’ International Rally.
Each event within the series has its own particular flavour. The quality of the stages, how the locals embrace the event and how those attending the event are made welcome are the hallmarks of the West Cork Rally.
Indeed, such is its rise to prominence within the ITRC, that the ITRC now benefits more from its inclusion rather than the other way around.
All through - up to last week that is - the event was still only a guest round and the Cork Motor Club did not have a vote at the ITRC table.
But that situation no longer exists as the EGM formalised the proposal (full membership) that was sanctioned at the AGM of the TROA earlier this year.
It means that the Cork Motor Club now has full voting rights at all TROA meetings.
Colman Hegarty, TROA chairman said, ‘Since its introduction in 2014, West Cork has established itself as an integral part of the championship. It’s a very popular round with our registered competitors and spectators alike. I would like to welcome the Cork Motor Club, West Cork International Rally and their appointed TROA director, Greg McCarthy, as full members of TROA Ltd. I look forward to working closely with all involved to promote their event and the championship long into the future.’
Meanwhile, Greg McCarthy of the Cork Motor Club commented, ‘Cork Motor Club is delighted to be full members of TROA and looks forward to working together with the board long into the future. The championship has been hugely beneficial to the West Cork Rally whilst we were guest members. We hope the rally will be equally as beneficial to the championship in the future too.’