Kelly first nomination for 2022 Billy Coleman Award
Eamonn Kelly has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for the opening period of January to May.
The 23-year-old has been contesting the Junior British Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta Rally4 for the last two years while supplementing his campaign with selected domestic outings in a Volkswagen Polo GTi R5. From his first class win at the 2017 Donegal Harvest Rally to winning the 2022 Junior British Rally Championship with two rounds to spare, the Donegal native has shown a consistent record of strong performances. It seems only fitting that his impressive results during the early part of this year have netted him a nomination for the prestigious MI award.
Away from the stages, Kelly works in sales and marketing. His programme is primarily sponsored by Northgate Vehicle Hire, Laois/HSS hire, TrailerStuff, Donnelly Group and GMG. He credits his team, VSM, as well as his co-driver Conor Mohan for their top-class talents and expertise, while also acknowledging the dozen years of support that his father has put towards his rallying efforts.
This year’s Billy Coleman Award will see 2 qualifiers selected from the following monthly groupings; January-May, June-October. These nominees will be joined by the highest placed eligible drivers from the Junior sections in the Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship and the Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Championship, the highest placed eligible drivers in the dual surface Motorsport Ireland J1600 and JR2 Junior Rally Series as well as a wildcard selection, meaning that up to 7 drivers may be nominated for the award in 2022.
The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award will receive €100,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally and internationally in 2023. Coupled with Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland’s €50,000 investment, a further €50,000 has been pledged by the Team Ireland Foundation.
The award winner will also receive assistance from Billy Coleman co-ordinator Sean McHugh. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to progress the winners’ career will also be available, and the winner may apply for funding for a second year of support upon satisfactory performances in their award-winning year. Both award runners up will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each.