Motorsport Ireland announce Billy Coleman Award Finalists
November 19, 2012 by Paul Phelan
Motorsport Ireland has announced the three finalists for the Billy Coleman Award for Ireland’s Young Rally Driver of the Year.
The drivers who will go forward to the Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards on the 11th December are Dean Raftery, Daniel McKenna and Stephen Wright, where one will receive the Billy Coleman award for Young Rally Driver of the Year.
Dean Raftery from Galway was selected as a wildcard in the process for his impressive performances in 2012 as a relative newcomer to rallying. The 21-year-old only began rallying in 2011 and this year he won the Bushwhacker Rally and also became the Irish Junior Forest Champion in his first full season.
The second finalist is Daniel McKenna, a runner up for the award in 2011. The Monaghan driver won the Monaghan Stages Rally this year and also put in an impressive performance at the Galway International Rally among others across the season in his Mark 2 Ford Escort.
Stephen Wright from Monaghan is the final contender for this year’s Billy Coleman Award. The 23-year-old finished first in class in the Valvoline Irish Forest Championship and fourth overall to cap an impressive year.
The winner of the Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year will receive €50,000 worth of support to compete in stage rallies nationally and internationally in 2013 along with mentoring from Billy Coleman coordinator Tom Walsh. The two runners up will also be mentored by Tom Walsh for the year while receiving free entry into a number of MI permitted events in 2013.
Some of the previous winners of the Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award include Gareth McHale, Keith Cronin and Craig Breen. Cronin became only the fourth person in history to win three British Rally Championships earlier this year, while Craig Breen recently won the Super 2000 category in the World Rally Championship, following up his WRC Academy win in 2011.
The Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards will take place on Tuesday 11th December at the Hilton Hotel, Malahide Road, Dublin. For more information log on to www.motorsportireland.com/news/Billy-Coleman-Award