Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy members picked up several prestigious awards at the Motorsport Ireland Awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday.
Motorsport’s governing body in Ireland honoured its champions at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Santry where Motorsport Ireland president Aidan Harper announced that 19-year-old Jack Brennan as the Billy Coleman award winner for 2023.
Brennan, who hails from Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny was nominated for his success in this year’s Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series, where he dominated all year in his Renault Clio Rally5, before going on to further success in the later stages of the year with a newly acquired Peugeot 208 Rally4.
Brennan becomes the youngest ever recipient of the Billy Coleman award, beating a record previously held by the late Craig Breen – his hero- since 2009.
As part of the award, Brennan will receive support to the value of €50,000 from Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland for the 2024 season as well and a further €50,000 has been pledged by the Team Ireland Foundation thanks to support from John Coyne.
He will also receive support and guidance from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy for the year ahead.
“ I’m delighted to be able to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Craig Breen. To be the youngest-ever winner of this prestigious award is a huge honour for me. I look forward to next year, getting back to the stages with the backing of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy once more,” he said.
The Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year went to FIA Junior World Champion William Creighton, from Moira, Co. Down. Creighton, who is also a member of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.
He has been competing in the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) for the past three years and this season joined a very exclusive club, becoming one of only a small number of Irish competitors to win an FIA Championship, being crowned Junior World Rally Champion at the final round in Greece in September.
Creighton and his co-driver Liam Regan both received achievement awards in recognition of their result, as a crew, in the Junior World Rally Championship this year.
This year’s awards also saw the introduction of the Motorsport Ireland President’s Awards which celebrate the achievements of motorsport clubs and organisations.
The Rally Academy’s manager Sean McHugh received a Presidential Award in recognition of his contribution to the Academy and the Billy Coleman Award over the years.
The Academy’s press officer, Sean Moriarty, was also recognised for his efforts in the media this season.
Text by Sean Moriarty / Pics by Michael Chester