President of Motorsport Ireland John Naylor has described Ireland as ‘bloody good at rallying‘ after he explained that he was approached by a member of the public and asked why Irish rally drivers do so well.
Speaking to Paddock Eye at Autosport International on Saturday as Motorsport Ireland unveiled the new Hyundai rally car that will be used this season, Naylor described their relationship with Hyundai as ‘a two-way street’, as both parties working together to help each other.
Naylor spoke about John Coyne who has been instrumental in helping to fund the new Motorsport Ireland rally academy that has been wheeled out with the support of John Campion.
Naylor described John Campion and John Coyne as ‘trailblazers for motorsport in Ireland and young Irish drivers such as James Roe Jr who is currently competing in the US in the F3 Americas championship where he has been very successful.
Roe Jr is the current Motorsport Ireland Young Irish Driver of the year. Paddock Eye asked Naylor whether or not he would like to see the WRC return to Ireland to which he replied: absolutely, he would love to see it return to Ireland however he feels that Motorsport Ireland to need to focus on getting their own house in order first before exploring other options like bringing the WRC back to Ireland.
Naylor explained that Irish motorsport was deeply affected by the tragic death of Manus Kelly as the Irish motorsport is like a big family and it was devasting for Manus’ own family and that Irish motorsport will continue to support his five children in any way they can.
Speaking about John Campion, who has a fantastic collection of racing cars, Naylor said he was impressed with how Campion brings young drivers over to the US and allows them to drive his cars and that they are not just locked away in a garage somewhere.
Campion recently brought the Guinness liveried March Formula One car to Mondello Park where drivers including James Roe Jr were given the opportunity to put the car through its paces.
On the topic of Mondello Park, Naylor explained that Motorsport Ireland have a great relationship with the Birrane family who own the circuit and that he hopes that they can find the funding to make upgrades to the circuit that will help to entice top level track racing back to the track.
Naylor explained that through the work of the new rally academy, Motorsport Ireland aim to use it as a road map to bring young drivers up through the ranks of junior motorsport which would allow them to follow their dreams of becoming top level racing drivers.
Naylor cited the example of Callum Devine who is now making a name for himself in the ERC (European Rally Championship) thanks to the grassroots racing programmes in Ireland which have been made possible as a result of support from benefactors such as John Campion and John Coyne.
Naylor spoke about the work that Aidan Harper has done with the FIA through different workshops and talks he has given relating to safety in motorsport which Ireland is now at the forefront of ensuring that all of their venues are up to FIA standards.
For further information on the work that Motorsport Ireland do visit – http://www.motorsportireland.com/