Billy Coleman Award for Young Rally Drivers launched

Mayo and District Motorsport Club are extremely pleased that their initiative to nurture the talents of young rally drivers has been recognized by Motorsport Ireland, the sports governing body. The recently launched Billy Coleman Award named...

Mayo and District Motorsport Club are extremely pleased that their initiative to nurture the talents of young rally drivers has been recognized by Motorsport Ireland, the sports governing body. The recently launched Billy Coleman Award named after Irish rallying's favourite son, provides a financial backing and trade support towards the progress of young and talented drivers to international level.

The £20,000 award is being funded by Motorsport Ireland and each of the Clubs currently organising a round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship. Included in the award will be a free competition licence, free entry fees and free road insurance for a year.

Sean McHugh, Vice-Chairman, Mayo & District Motorsport Club expressed the delight of his fellow clubmen that the project has come to fruition exactly a year after it was conceived. "Yes, our main concern was that there was no young talent emerging from the Irish scene with enough backing to move up to international level and beyond. Conscious of this, we put forward a Young Rally Drivers Scheme to Motorsport Ireland, the bones of which feature in the newly established Billy Coleman Award."

The winner will be selected from a shortlist drawn up by a panel under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the Motorsport Commission. Also on the judging panel will be Registrars of the National Stage and Forestry Rally Championship, a representative of the motorsport media and a representative of Motorsport Ireland's public relations consultancy. Mayo & District's Sean McHugh will act as co-ordinator of the scheme.

The panel will not alone consider the candidate's competition results but will also look at the candidate's interpersonal skills, their commitment to the sport and their suitability as an ambassador for Irish motorsport.

Speaking about the award, Billy Coleman said he was honoured to be recognised in such a way. He said it would have been wonderful to have had such an award available when he was competing. "Competitors need the assistance when they are starting out. I can see this award being exactly the kind of boost needed to keep a talented youngster in the sport, where previously lack of finance might have meant that person giving up".

In order to help the clubs Motorsport Ireland has agreed that they can take an extra entry in the round of the National Rally Championship they are organising.

Eligibility

Any driver wishing to be considered for the award must -

a.. be under 27 years on the 1st January in the year in which the award is being made.

b.. be the holder of a competition licence issued by Motorsport Ireland.

c.. finish twice in the top three in class 1-8, or four times in the top six in class 9-12 of any Special Stage Rally, including Forestry, run under a National permit in the previous 15 months, i.e. 1st October of previous year.

d.. provide adequate proof that the applicant is competing in stage rallies at a level no lower than National Championship in the next twelve months following the announcement of the award.

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