IT WAS RATHER appropriate that the 2016 Bayview Hotel Martin Howley Memorial Harvest Stages Rally launch took place at Killybegs Pier, in the shadows of the MFV Atlantic Challenge.
The super trawler was skippered by the late Mr Howley, who passed away in August 2015.
Docked in Killybegs this evening, Atlantic Challenge provided the backdrop for the launch of the event, which takes place in the Killybegs area on Saturday, October 8th.
Picture caption: Members of the Howley family with organisers of the 2016 Bayview Hotel Martin Howley Memorial Harvest Stages Rally outside the MFV Atlantic Challenge in Killybegs.
Around 120km of stages (there will be four stages, each done twice) will be tackled by the crews and will include parts of stages running through the villages of Kilcar and Glencolmcille after Motorsport Ireland gave the green light.
“There’s huge excitement about the event and the people here are so enthusiastic about rallying,” Clerk of the Course, Karl Reid, told Donegal Sport Hub at the launch.
“Motorsport Ireland steer clubs away from built-up area. We looked for stages here that were different and we put a proposal to Motorsport Ireland for Kilcar and Glencolmcille.
“They did a small inspection and said they’d work with us. They rubber-stamped it last weekend.”
The late Mr Howley was a rallying enthusiast and organisers are keen for his memory to be honoured with an exciting event, which has over 50 entries already confirmed.
Reid said: “Events down the country are struggling for entries. The next round of the Championship only had 80 entries and another one has 97. We have 50 in a week and it’s great to see. It just shows the enthusiasm that there is for Donegal.
“The route we’ve chosen varies from the Wild Atlantic Way coastline to fast, twisty, inland stages.
“Some of it was last used over 30 years ago. It’s fantastic. It will be the ideal test of car and crew on new terrain. We can’t wait to get it started.”
The event is the final round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship, the Sligo Pallets Border Championship and the Donegal Commercials DMC Rally Championship.
The rally will be based at the Bayview Hotel in Killybegs. While the full house signs are up already, staff at the Bayview are taking names for those still on the look out for accomodation and competitors will be put up in B&Bs and houses in the area.
Organisers are appealing for assistance with stewarding and those interested are asked to contact via the Bayview at email@example.com or via the rally secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to the full interview below …