Rally Amerca’s Brenton Kelly and Billy Irvin Expand into Irish Rally
In the beginning of January, Super Production driver Brenten Kelly and co-driver Billy Irvin were challenged by fellow Rally America co-driver and Ireland native, Paddy Robinson, to expand their experience at the West Cork Rally in Clonakilty over St. Patrick’s weekend.
It didn’t take much convincing to kick-start Kelly and Irvin to securing a drive and the necessary licenses to realize this sudden dream.
The West Cork Rally is the second round of the Irish Tarmac Championship. It will be the first tarmac rally for Kelly and Irvin, yet the team expects to be competitive even though this event attracts an incredible level of rally talent and is known for its plentiful narrow, twisty and dirty tarmac sections.
The team will compete the West Cork Rally in a Class 9 right-hand drive Ford Ka that was secured with the help of another Rally America co-driver, Stephen Quin.
“This class attracts newer competitors, so we expect to be competitive even though we need to learn the roads and how to race on tarmac,” said Irvin. “The other factor in choosing this class was keeping the power down. We are coming all this way, we want to finish.”
Preparing for an overseas rally event is a daunting task, especially having never been in the country. So Kelly and Irvin are reviewing previous West Cork Rally television programs and in-car videos from every stage to gain insight on road characteristics.
“We have been told that the stages change about 20% from year-to-year, as in new junctions or sections of roads used,” added Kelly. “Our class currently has 11 cars and five different makes. We don’t know much about the competition, but we would love to be at least mid-pack.”
The team will commence three recce passes over seven stages on March 13 -14. The West Cork Rally takes place on March 15-16 and Brenton Kelly and Billy Irvin will be starting 116th out of over 160 cars that have entered the rally.
You can follow the journey on Instagram:
A special thank you goes out to Stephen Quin, Paddy Robinson, and James O’Brien for making this race possible, for answering a million questions, and for being true ambassadors of rally.
Photo: Rally Through A Lens