The rise to prominence of the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally as a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship has cranked up another gear with the announcement that next year’s Clonakilty based event will be a three-day event.
There’s always been a desire to improve the event that was first run in 1977 with the support of a local committee. Indeed, that committee had the unique vision that harnessed a sporting event and blended the rally to develop tourism in a town that was still in its infancy in its promotion.
Almost half a century later, few could have predicted the transformation of both.
Progression of the rally that remains a clubman event saw it count as part of the popular Motoring News Rally Championship, the national Championship, and in the last decade, a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. It’s also worth noting that it remains the only Motorsport Ireland event to have been a round of the British Rally Championship.
The decision to run a three-day event followed discussions with the various stakeholders before a recent meeting of the Cork Motor Club where members gave the green light.
Clerk of the course Steve Davis said, “This year’s West Cork Rally is set to be an incredibly exciting event as for the first time in the history of the event it will form part of a three-day festival of motorsport based in Clonakilty. Since its inception, the local West Cork Rally committee has played a pivotal role in its development and while their initial focus was based on providing financial support, their role now intertwines so many other strands. As rally organisers, we are delighted that we have their full support, indeed, their endorsement continues that special synergy.”
Davis also gave an insight into the process. “The decision (three-day event) has been endorsed both by the directors and members of the Cork Motor Club and has also received the overwhelming support of the competitors.”
The local involvement is key as Ed Twomey, chairperson of the Clonakilty West Cork Rally committee commented. “Following discussions with the Cork Motor Club and as a committee, we are very excited to take on the challenge of three days of the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally. We have a long history here in West Cork of being innovative and we are not afraid to try something new. Ever since the rally began we have enjoyed the unstinting support of the local businesses and residents of Clonakilty and the wider West Cork area.”
Where the event (March 15-17) will differ from the Donegal International Rally, the only other three-day rally in the 2024 Irish rally calendar, is that there will be two night stages on the opening leg on the Friday. The plan is to run two stages in mid-afternoon and repeat them in darkness. It's expected the Saturday and Sunday stages will be along traditional lines.Read More