2015 Triton Showers National Rally Championship
Irish rallying began a new chapter with the launch of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. The new series will consist of eight rounds with the best six scores to count. It will begin from the heritage town of Abbeyleix in County Laois in February and conclude at the maritime town of Bantry in West Cork in late October. In between, the Triton Showers journey will cascade throughout county towns of Roscommon and Monaghan, the medieval town of Kilmallock, Waterford City, Sligo town and the penultimate round in Ballinasloe. The series will herald a new era for the Midland Motor Club, who join the national series for the very first time. Next year’s eight rounds will include the return of the Dublin based ALMC Rally to the championship.
The overall winner of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship will receive the Vard Memorial Trophy, one of the most prestigious pieces of silverware in Irish motorsport. The winning co-driver will be presented with the Noel Smith Perpetual Trophy.
Speaking at the launch, Kevin Barrett, Managing Director of Triton Showers said, “Although Triton Showers have been involved in rallying for several years through the support of events such as the renowned Circuit of Ireland and the Lurgan Park Rally along with a regional championship, our sponsorship of the National Rally Championship adds a new and important dimension.”
“We look forward to encompassing the unique variety of the eight events that will unite under the umbrella of Triton Showers to showcase Irish motorsport at its very best. The fact that eight different organising clubs and locations are gearing up for the 2016 Triton Showers series is another illustration of the diversity of the National series.”
Kevin added, “The Triton Showers livery will also continue on our own car and those of Niall Maguire and Shane Maguire as we begin an exciting era in Irish motorsport and together with underpinning the National campaign, Triton Showers is set to become an even more familiar name in motorsport. “
Triton Showers takes up the mantle previously held by Dunlop, who were title sponsors since the Millennium. Dunlop, who are no longer involved in the production of tyres for tarmac rallying, were very keen that the National Championship would attract another blue chip company prior to their departure. Indeed, the initial announcement of Triton Showers as sponsors of the National series was publicly endorsed by Steve Lynch, the Marketing & Public Relations Manager of Irish Dunlop at the presentation of awards for the 2014 series last November.
The Triton Showers series will come under the umbrella of the National Rally Championship Sub-Committee led by Richard Talbot, who has overseen the national series for almost a decade.
Commenting at the launch, Richard said, “We look forward to the beginning of a new era in Irish motorsport where Triton Showers will be central to the core of our principles of ensuring that the National Rally Championship will continue to retain its place as the best supported series in Irish motorsport.”
He added, “One of the principal elements within the series is the constant tweaking of various aspects of the championship and we are delighted to announce that each round of the 2015 Triton Showers National Rally Championship will have a “Power Stage” akin to the World Rally Championship with the addition of extra championship points – three (3) for posting the fastest stage time, two (2) for second and one (1)for third. We believe that this will generate even more interest and as organisers of the Triton Showers series we are possibly the first national series to introduce this element.”
The Motorsport Safety Group N award along with the rally.ie award (highest placed two-wheel drive competitor in overall standings) will also form part of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship as will the Triton Showers Mk. 2 Ford Escort Challenge and the Triton Showers National Historic Rally Championship.
In response to the increasing number of Group R Cars in rallying, the championship organisers have also introduced a Group R Cup for the 2015 series.
Meanwhile, the Junior National Rally Championship will feature a major make-over that includes the introduction of a tyre deal for the overall winner courtesy of Triton Showers to the value of €2,000. In addition, the Triton Showers Junior Champion will receive a Test Drive in a Toyota GT86 R3 Rally Car courtesy of Brendan Kelly, Kelly’s Toyota, Donegal. The Triton Showers Junior National Rally Champion will also receive automatic qualification for the prestigious Billy Coleman Award.
The Triton Showers National Rally Championship will also be quite unique insofar as that the eight events this year will be replaced by eight different events in 2016 and although they will all embrace Triton Showers as the championship’s title sponsor, each event will also have its own flavour in promoting all that is best about its location.”
The counting rounds of the 2015 Triton Showers National Rally Championship are as follows:
1. Birr Rally: February 22.
2. Midland Rally, Roscommon: March 29.
3. Monaghan Rally: April 26.
4. Circuit of Munster Rally, Kilmallock: May 31
5. Raven’s Rock Rally, Waterford: June 28;
6. Sligo Rally: July 12.
7. Galway Summer Rally, Ballinasloe: August 30.
8. Fastnet Rally, Bantry: October 25.