MAJOR CHANGES ANNOUNCED FOR GALWAY RALLY CALENDAR
Galway Motor Club is pleased to announce major changes in motor sport dates for the Millennium Year - 2000. Galway MC will host a round of the Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship in March, a Retro rally for Historic cars in April, and the West International 2000 - a round of the Toshiba Equium Tarmac Championship in July.
The major change in the calendar is the West International 2000, due to take place over the weekend of July 22nd/23rd, 2000. The new International will be very different in character with a radically different format. It will have no fixed HQ, and will not be held in Galway City or Salthill. The new event will build on the success of almost three decades of International car rallying in Co. Galway. Lately this has seen upwards of 25,000 spectators travel to the west and bring in the region of 5 million Irish Pounds to the locality in a major tourism boost. The event will continue to attract the top International cars and crews to the West of Ireland being a counting round of the Toshiba Equium Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
Galway Motor Club President Gerry Murphy paid tribute to Statoil Ireland which has been the title sponsor of the Galway International rally for the past six years. During that period the event has grown in stature and doubled the numbers of spectators attending, in no small way due to Statoil's active promotion of the event. Statoil has indicated that it will not be the title sponsor of the new format event. A spokesperson for Statoil wished Galway Motor Club best wishes for its new and exciting plan, and thanked the Club for its co-operation with them over the past six years.
The National Championship round for the Vard Memorial Trophy, previously run as the Galway Summer Stages Rally, will kick-off the rally season in the West of Ireland on a new date, the weekend of March 25th/26th 2000. The rally has proven very popular among 'clubmen' rally competitors, and in early September 1999 attracted an entry interest of over 260 crews. Ray Bent has been appointed as Clerk of the Course.
Historic rallying is gaining popularity in Ireland especially among many who enjoyed their sport when car speeds were slower. This new event in the calendar is scheduled for April 15th/16th 2000. The 'Retro' Classic car rally caters for cars which are at least 25 years old. Their drivers continue to enjoy a branch of motorsport best suited to these conditions - and to keep the 'fun' aspect of motorsport whilst still embodying competition.
Galway Motor Club is 40 years in existence next year. It is pleased to be associated with such a major tourism benefit during so many years. It has given great thought to the revised format, and the changed dates for the Millennium commemorative year. Galway Motor Club extends is gratitude to Motorsport Ireland for its support, and to other motor clubs in Ireland, notably Midland and Clare Motor Clubs for their assistance in accommodating these date changes in a busy motorsport calendar.