Held in Galway, Ireland, the Galway International Rally is an annual international rally event that brings professional rally drivers across the world to compete on one of the toughest tracks in the world. Organized by Galway Motor Club, the first rally event took place in 1971. Furthermore, it has become Ireland’s oldest rally event and has continued to entertain the world since then.
The Galway International Rally has hosted the European Rally Championship as well every year between 1975 and 1982. Since it is one of the most important motorsports events taking place on a yearly basis in Ireland, it is only important that we discuss it. Let’s begin.
Since the introduction of the rally in 1971, the Galway International Rally has been held consistently over the year, however, there were a few exceptions along the way. For instance, in 2002 it was held under the name West International Rally. Furthermore, due to several reasons, the event was not able to take place in 1983, 1987, 2003, and 2018.
In 1971, the Galway International Rally boasted that it had held the very first rally event in Ireland. Then, the European Rally Championship ran in 1975. Moreover, there were several other achievements stated by the management as well. For instance, it introduced the first computer-generated result system in 1975, followed by the new Irish Tarmac Rally Championship’s first round in 1978.
The 2017 Galway Rally Event was planned like the previous regular events but efforts were made to stop it. A local resident claimed that neither the road closures were done properly nor the application was dealt with professionally. In order to hold the rally event, the local management has to provide very strict temporary road closing permissions. Following the complaint, the local politicians along with the management sat to discuss and made sure that all the protocols were met. Once it was finalized, the event was given the green signal.
In February 2018, the event was scheduled to take place but all of a sudden it was canceled in November 2017. The management cited the reason ‘lack of necessary financial certainty that is required at this time’. Moreover, the Galway Motor Club event organizers had stated that issues related to logistics mainly contributed to cancellation.
Initially, the 2019 Galway International Rally event was planned to be a two-day event, however, soon it was reduced to one day. The event consisted of 10 stages after thorough consultation with the participants. In addition to that, the rally was able to host round 1 of 2019 ITRC and round 2 of 2019 ITRC Historic Championships. The winner of both events was Craig Breen who beat Alastair Fisher by 14.4 seconds.
The 2020 event was scheduled to launch on 17 January but due to low entries, the launch was canceled. Moreover, there was a bigger risk related to the event not going ahead. Then, on 20 January, an announcement was made that the 2020 Corrib Oil Galway International Rally event would be taking place on Sunday 2 February. This time the race format was the same as of the previous year as well. The total distance of the event was 104.6 km with 9 stages. It was also the opening round for the 2020 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The event was held a week earlier so that it did not clash with the opening round of the British Rally Championship.
The entrance fee remained the same as of the previous year. Overall, 65 entries were made while 47 were able to reach the finish. This time, Alastair Fisher was the winner. Since the COVID epidemic brought a halt to every event in the world, the 2020 championship round was the only event to take place before the pandemic.
The road safety guide of the Galway International Rally is based on the ‘Keep the Race in its Place’ motto. All racing cars are supposed to carry the logo as well to promote as much road safety as possible. Since fans tend to get over-excited pre and post-event, the aim of the message is particularly pointed towards young motorsport fans to wear a seat belt at all times and never drink and drive.
To ensure that the event goes smoothly, temporary road closures are done and traffic diversions are clearly marshaled and posted to prevent confusion and traffic jams. Furthermore, the road closures and traffic diversions are conveyed thoroughly to the residents and even advertised by Galway County Council. The spectators and tourists are asked to follow the rules pertaining to keeping a safe distance. Crossing the roads or throwing anything that might result in an accident could lead to serious consequences.
Concluding, this article aimed to discover the Galway International Rally event. Today, it has become some sort of tradition in Galway. Tourists and rally fans from all over the world visit this place to get a chance to witness rally drivers at their best. With the fans eager to attend the next Galway International Rally event, only time will tell when the announcement is made.