This year’s Triton Showers National Rally Championship will begin with the Abbey Court Hotel Nenagh Rally on the last weekend of February and over the following eight months will traverse all four provinces before it concludes in Bantry with the Fastnet Rally at the end of October.
In line with its revolving pattern, last year’s eight events will be replaced by eight different events – each bringing their own element of change and freshness.
Having clinched the Triton Showers National Rally Championship on the Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally last August, Clonmel native Roy White (Ford Fiesta WRC) will begin the defence of his title in the Premier county and is one of five national champions that will line up in Nenagh for what promises to be a very competitive championship.
Speaking at the launch of the series at the Glen Royal Hotel in Maynooth this afternoon (Saturday January 21) Kevin Barrett, M.D. of Triton Showers said, “In what is the third year of our sponsorship of the National Rally Championship, Triton Showers has enjoyed strong exposure in all sections of the media. As a new season begins we are acutely aware that the increased costs associated with the provision of insurance cover will mean that competitors may decide to pick and choose events. However, we are hopeful that the eight events within the Triton Showers National Rally Championship will find favour with competitors.
The organisers of the eight events will endeavour to attract as many entries as possible for their own particular round. In terms of the organising committee and with the departure Richard Talbot to head up the Rallies Committee, Carlow’s Aidan Kelly takes over as chairperson and I would like to wish him and his committee every success and also take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all those involved.”
Last year’s champion Roy White (Ford Fiesta WRC) will begin the defence of his title in his native county. “Yes, I am really looking forward to defending the title. It is shaping up to be a great season as several top drivers have expressed interest. The opening round is always a tough event and usually in difficult conditions.”
Others expected to be at the cutting edge of the series and claim the magnificent Vard Memorial Trophy include double champion Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC), former champions Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC), Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) and Peadar Hurson (Ford Fiesta WRC).
Omagh’s Mark Donnelly (Ford Fiesta WRC) has also set his sights on a national bid along with Donegal’s Manus Kelly, who won the Carlow Rally last year on his debut in a Subaru WRC. Championship sponsor Kevin Barrett (Subaru WRC) will also compete in the series that concludes with the Fastnet Rally in Bantry in late October.
Boyle is determined to make-up for last season where non-finishes in the opening rounds de-railed his title bid. Fellow Donegal driver and the 2015 champion Donagh Kelly has stated his desire to compete in the opening four rounds before he tackles his home International Rally in Donegal.
National Championship regular Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) has three titles under his belt but that fourth crown is proving somewhat elusive. Interestingly, it is twenty-five years since Warrenpoint’s Peadar Hurson won the series in an Opel Ascona, in recent weeks he has acquired a Ford Fiesta WRC that has been converted to right hand drive.
Former champion Declan Boyle (2013 and 2014) will be keen to join Niall Maguire (1999, 2002 and 2004) as a triple national champion. “I cannot believe its that time of year again, yes we are really looking forward to another Triton season, we really like this championship, the format really suits us. From what I hear it will be very competitive and that will keep us all on our toes. We missed out last year, I was annoyed with the earlier rounds but in the end it was great to be able to finish a rally, we enjoyed the second half.” said Boyle.
Speaking at the launch, Trevor Applegate, Sales Director, Triton Showers remarked, “We are delighted to come on board for another year as title sponsors for the National Rally Championship. The past two years has seen the coming together of brands that both share a deep appreciation for the sport and this has resulted in a resounding success. With eight event dates set at different locations across the country the National Rally Championship continuously provides top class rallying and entertainment for all event attendees. As well as the importance of lending support to such an amazing event, it is also a great branding exercise for Triton which yields extensive media coverage each year. We look forward to the success of another great year as partners to the National Rally Championship.”
With Tralee’s Richard Talbot taking over as Chairman of the Rallies Committee, Carlow’s Aidan Kelly takes up the mantle on the Triton Showers Championship Committee. Unfortunately, Aidan was unable to attend due to family reasons.
Commenting in the series, Richard Talbot outlined changes to the Power Stage where just a single point will be awarded to the fastest registered driver.
Vado, a sister company of Triton Showers will underpin the television coverage of the championship. A Senior Cup (for drivers over 50 years) will be awarded to the highest placed non-WRC driver in the series. Meanwhile, in the Triton Showers Junior Rally Championship, and courtesy of Kelly’s Toyota, the overall winner will receive a VIP trip to join the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team at a European round of the 2018 World Rally Championship.
The rounds, venues and dates of the 2017 Triton Showers National Rally Championship are as follows:
1. Nenagh Rally February 26
2. Midland Rally March 26
3. Monaghan Rally April 23
4. Circuit of Munster June 4
5. Raven’s Rock Rally June 25
6. Sligo Rally July 9
7. Galway Summer Rally August 27
8. Fastnet Rally, Bantry October 29