To the victors the spoils Declan and Brian Boyle .... Photo Matt Britton.
The Martin Howley Memorial Donegal Harvest Rally was a resounding success, both competitively and commercially. Some people reckon it was possibly the biggest event ever in Killybegs.
Congratulations to all involved in organising such a complex event, especially the local team of Declan McBrearty, rally manager, ably supported by Barry O'Hara, Jim Gillespie, Declan McShane and Paul Lyons.
The team at the Bay View Hotel and leisure centre did trojan work, day and night, which was greatly appreciated by all.
Behind the scenes, the organisers have been working since last October, firstly to secure the event for Killybegs, and then to make all the necessary arrangements.
"It's been flat-out for the last eight months", said Declan, "picking stages, doing time tests and organising schedules."
A very important but time-consuming part of the behind-the-scenes work was the public relations exercise of contacting residents in the competition areas and getting their agreement for the necessary disruption.
Quay-side as a service area
A unique element in Killybegs was the availability of the quay-side as a service area and the auction hall for scrutiny of the vehicles. Much thanks to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Harbour Master, Martin Connell, and the KFO. Donegal County Council also made the car park adjacent to the Blackrock Pier available as a "parc ferme" - closed parking - and the rally organisers were very grateful to the licensed traders for their co-operation. Arctic Fish provided a suitable area for parking the many large trailers.
The organisers also expressed their thanks to Sgt Tom Mitchell and his Garda team, who were exceptionally good, and to the Coast Guard, Donegal Sub Aqua Club and the Fire Brigade and Ambulance services.
A total of 161 competitors took part in the various competitions for which in excess of 200 officials were required, including marshals, time-keepers, stewards and others, including six safety cars.
The organisers expressed their particular thanks to the stage sponsors, Atlantic Dawn, KER Group, POD-Trak, GO, Trojan Tech, BII/KFO, Swan Net-Gundry Ltd., KFE. along with service sponsor, EK Marine, trailer park sponsor, Trailerstuff.ie and Parc Ferme sponsor, Mooney Boats. Said Barry O'Hara: "People were coming into the area from the Thursday before the event and many didn't leave until Sunday. We are delighted everything went so well and our thanks to everyone for their co-operation."
See Matt Britton's Diary in Thursday's Donegal Democrat.