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Aoife Raftery visits her former National School in Craughwell

Schoolchildren from Craughwell National School got a treat this week when Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Aoife Raftery paid them a surprise visit.

Raftery, who is contesting the Junior FIA European Rally Championship for the second time this season is a past pupil at Craughwell National School.

On the invitation of principal Claire Urquhart the only female driver within the ranks of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy introduced the school’s pupils to rallying and road safety.

“It was s fantastic day to be able to return to my local National School. The school was great to host me as I explained all about what I do in rallying and the amazing opportunities I have got as a member of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy,” said Raftery

She is currently fifth in the Junior FIA European Rally Championship after three of six rounds and after delivering strong results in Sweeden, The Canary Islands and a career-best fourth-place finish in Hungary so far this season.

Their day started with a morning assembly where the Craughwell native was able to explain her roles in the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and as a Motorsport Ireland Road Safety Ambassador.

“We started off the day with an assembly of all the school from Junior infants up to sixth class where I explained what's involved in rallying and the preparation involved including pacenotes, the safety gear we wear, how the events run and about the tyres we use on events and how all the Juniors run on Hankook Tires,” added Raftery who attended the school from the age of four to 13.

“As the Motorsport Ireland Road Safety Ambassador I also talked about how important it is to be safe on the roads and 'Keep the Race in its Place'.”

During the assembly, the children displayed 'Keep the Race in its Place' posters that they made specially for the visit.

Later in the day, a Peugeot 208 Rally4 car was driven into the school yard where pupils and staff were able to get up close to a rally car for the first time.

“The pupils got a real-life experience of sitting in the car and I showed them what we carry in the car with us during stages,” added Raftery.

“We had the jack out of the car and the kids were taking turns jacking up the car from the ground. We also ran through some things about the mechanics of the car and how it is different from a road car.”

It was a huge occasion too for principal Urquhart, a close neighbour of the Raftery family in Craughwell.

“The children were so excited to listen to past pupil Aoife tell us all about her career as a female rally driver in a male-dominated sport,” she said

“We got to take a look at a rally car and some of us were lucky enough to get into the driver’s seat. Thank you so much to Aoife, she is such an inspiration to us all.”

Raftery is currently preparing for Rally Estonia, the fourth round of the Junior FIA European Rally Championship that runs from July 5 to 7.

Aoife Raftery is supported by Des Lyons Plant | Kenny (Peugeot) Galway | O’Neill O’Malley Architects and Project Managers | Loughrea Auto Parts | Craughwell Tyre Centre | Sean Fleming Motors | Quinn Hardware | Kerry Motorsport News

Text By Sean Moriarty



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