The Petro Systems Irish Forest Rally Championship kicks off with this weekends Sean Conlon Forestry rally. It is hosted once again by the Tipperary M.C. and based in Mitchelstown, with the HQ at the Firgrove Hotel. The event has a new COC in John Ward who has introduced a new stage to the eight stage format. The fifty strong entry includes a mixture of forestry regulars and newcomers. Pat O’Connell, Andrew Purcell, Bob Scanlan, and Sarah Moynihan will be driving Mitsubishi Evo’s and John Reid returns with his Toyota Corolla. The Ford marque is well represented by Seamus O’Connell, Frank Kelly and Oliver Williams in Escort Mk2’s and James Murphy in his Escort WRC. Petro Systems National Forest Rally Junior Champion of 2009 Vincent Mc Aree avails of prize drive in Grp N Impreza.
For 2010, the Petro Systems National Forest Rally Championship has expanded from five rounds to a potential eight. As a result of the cancellation of the Limerick Forest rally- originally planned for April 4th – the Birr MC will run their forest rally on that date. The forestry sub-committee are studying a number of options for Birr’s original date on October 10th.
With championship rounds in Donegal and Down, the rally championship has a wider geographical spread than before, and the Down rally marks the presence of this championship in Northern Ireland for the first time.
Other changes to the format include reduced entry fees thanks to the cooperation of Coillte and Motorsport Ireland. The Forestry junior championship has proven very successful for the past few years and in 2010 the top two juniors will be eligible for the Billy Coleman award. Last year the Billy Coleman award was won by Craig Breen, and he will be driving his Ford Fiesta S2000 in the Irish Tarmac and British Rally Championships.
Petro Systems National Forest Rally Championship 2010.
14 February Tipperary Sean Conlon Forestry Rally
7 March Carrick-on-Suir Wm. Loughman Forestry Rally
4 April Birr Forestry Rally
16 May Munster CC Moonraker Forestry Rally
24 July Donegal Forestry Rally
14 August Cork Jim Walsh Forestry Rally
10 October TBA
23 October Down Forestry Rally