Letterkenny woman, Loretta Kelly, like so many rally enthusiasts, is living the dream this weekend.
Loretta is one of just three women competing in this weekend’s Joule Donegal International Rally as a navigator.
She is co-driver for James Browne, also from Letterkenny, in an Escort Mk2. James and Loretta are competing in Class 13 and are in car number 73.
Loretta is an old hand at the Donegal International Rally and this weekend’s event is her tenth. Her first was back in 2005.
“I have only missed one Donegal rally since I started, that was in 2013,” she said. “ I was in Australia that year.
“My first rally was with Eamon Doherty and I have also competed with Andy Hegarty, Gerard Sharkey and Gerard Callaghan.”
Loretta’s interest in the sport dates back to when she was five and was taken to the finish ramp for the first time by her uncle Vincent Doherty.
“I don’t know what it is but I was bitten by the rally bug and after that day, it was always my ambition growing up to get involved in the sport.”
Loretta is a daughter Glenswilly GAA stalwart, Joe Kelly of County Dry Cleaners.
“Much to the disappointment of my dad, rallying and not GAA became my number one sport,” Loretta added.
The other women competing this weekend are Charolette McDowall from Scotland and Hayley Baskin from Dunkineely.
“It is a tough rally and very demanding. I have only managed to complete the three days once, That has to be the goal this year for myself and James, to make it to the finish ramp on Sunday evening.”