Cork Motor Club
Cork Motor Club came into existence in 1976. That was the year a group of enthusiasts got together in Blarney, Co Cork to give birth to what was then, Irelands newest motor club. Unlike most newly formed motor clubs of the time, Cork Motor Club was founded, not by a group of enthusiastic beginners, but by a band of highly experienced people who saw the need for a club with a fresh outlook on motorsport in the Cork area. Within a short space of just six months, Cork Motor Club boasted a membership of some 140 eager members.
The majority of these have been and in some cases still are, members of other motor clubs in the country. During the this first year of 1976 Cork Motor Club did not run any major events but club members were nonetheless kept busy through organising social functions and marshalling on other club's events throughout the country. Indeed it was through marshalling that Cork Motor Club first made its existence known to the rallying public. On the 1976 Circuit of Ireland Rally, Cork Motor Club members set up and marshalled two of that events Special Stages, one at Borlin and the other at Gortnagane. Banners and Cork Motor Club stickers proclaimed the presence of the "Cork Mob" and a trophy was presented by the club to the competitor who set the fastest time on the Borlin stage.
It was indeed fitting that it was a Cork Motor Club member, one Billy Coleman, who was presented with the trophy before the Monday start from Killarney. It was proud moment for all concerned - Cork Motor Club had arrived. The first Annual General Meeting of Cork Motor Club took place in 1976. A board of directors was elected and included Dick O'Brien, Chairman, Declan Mullally, Brian Mattsson, Michael 'Bones' O'Connor, Chris O'Mahony, Dick O'Rourke, Dave Bogan (RIP) and Billy Ryan. Almost immediately plans were set in train for the running of Cork Motor Club's first major event, the West Cork Rally. An organising committee was set up under the direction of Clerk of the Course, Declan Mullally, to whom the job presented nothing new, Declan having run the "Cork 20" for the previous few years. Declan was ably assisted by 'Bones' O'Connor (Assistant COC), who had clerked the Moonraker Rally since 1975; Dick O'Brien, another former "Cork 20" Clerk of the Course; Dick O'Rourke, Clerk of the Course of the 1976 Circuit of Munster Rally and Dermot Locke, who was described at the time as the next best thing to a computer as far as results were concerned.
The 1977 West Cork Rally was the competition beginning of what we feel is Ireland's best motor club. Club Meetings are held on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of Every Month at the Kingsley Hotel, Cork. More info can be found at www.corkmotorclub.com
The West Cork Committee
2023 will mark the 43rd running of the West Cork Rally. The Rally has been based out of the tourist town of Clonakilty since its first event in 1977 and has been always held on St Patrick’s Weekend.
The rally brainchild was born out of the then highly successful Festival of West Cork, which was also based in Clonakilty and was mainly run by local business people and volunteers. A subcommittee was setup from the festival committee to setup and finance a winter event or festival, hence the formation of the West Cork Rally.
The birth of the West Cork Rally corresponded with the awakening of the tourist potential of West Cork and has helped in no small way to the making the area into the holiday destination it is today.
The rally has been run by the Cork Motor Club since its inception and is recognised as been one of the best run and supported rallies in the British Isles. The rally boosts the largest overseas entry of any rally in the country, with a significant number of those being from Wales.
The rally is a 2-day event run over 14 stages incorporating some of the most spectacular stages on the Wild Atlantic Way. In 2014 the rally was invited to become part of the prestigious Irish Tarmac Championship and quickly established itself as one of the favourite events on the rallying calendar for competitor and spectator alike.
It was the popularity and professionalism of the rally that brought it to the attention of the British Rally Championship organisers. They were looking to having a counting round in the Republic of Ireland and so invited the West Cork to be part of the 2019 Championship. It was the first time that a Republic of Ireland based rally has been part of the BRC, the Circuit of Ireland being the only other however that was based out of Belfast.
We have already had great support from our main sponsor Clonakilty Park Hotel, local businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce who have jointly set up a voucher initiative which has warmly received by the competitors and by traders who have signed up for it. It has indeed been copied by a number of other events.