As I write my Mondello review for the CarSport Yearbook, (which should be on your shelves soon,) I always comment on the fact that the year has passed extremely quickly. In recent times, this feeling has become even more pronounced, I can only assume it’s age related!
2016 was good to me in many ways- my business expanded beyond Motorsport and we even managed to revive the famous Fuel Economy run, a project I had been chasing for some time. The 2016 Maxol Fuel Economy Drive was a huge success and promises to be bigger and better in 2017 with more manufacturers already keen to knock Colin Sheridan and Peugeot Ireland off their perch. (They won’t find it easy- the 208 Diesel achieved 150mpg!)
In terms of Motorsport, we had a successful year in terms of getting and keeping commercial backers and achieving National media coverage for the clients, not an easy task in a minority sport like ours.
When Motorsport.ie was announced as the winner of the best Sports Blog at the Blog Awards Ireland evening in September, I was stunned. Thinking back, I suppose, we probably deserved it- David Hall and I have spent countless hours writing, editing, cropping pics and then running the various social media outlets this year. This site is hugely popular but to take the honours ahead of football and GAA sites amongst others is not something we thought was possible. To all those who have helped and supplied content this year- a heartfelt thank you. This Award is yours too.
Only last week, I met Larry Mooney for lunch. When I was a nipper, Larry raced a Golf GTi and regularly harassed far more potent machines en route to his usual <1600cc Production Saloon class win. Larry has a long history in many different disciplines as well as having some great stories from his time in the Motor Trade- initially doing his apprenticeship assembling Beetles in the building which now houses Ballsbridge Motors.Great guy, great lunch, great stories. My favourite part of the wonderful Motorsport magazine (which dad used to reserve a copy of in Carr’s on Dundrum main street and I now buy each month) is the “Lunch with…..” article. Having chatted with Larry last week, and Steve Griffin a week before, I am very tempted to run similar articles with various Irish Motorsport personalities….
Another new concept for us this year was the Motorsport.ie Podcast. Dave and I had spoken about this before and once Aaron (McElroy) our Rally Editor was onboard, we charged on with Podcast number one. Thinking back, we barely had a plan but it got good feedback and spurred us on to do a second one (which you can listen to HERE). This time JK kindly voiced an intro for us and we were lucky enough to grab Niall Murray before he headed off to the Road To Indy shootout and Tommy Byrne, before he also crossed the pond, after a hugely successful few weeks promoting his new Crash And Burn film. I was also honoured to conduct a number of Q&A sessions with Tommy and the film’s director Sean O’Cualáin after some showings, notably in the Light House Cinema in Dublin and a pair of packed showings at the Onmiplex Dundalk. If you have not seen the film, do so immediately- it is absolutely brilliant. Having seen the original press preview, we were particularly happy to see Dave’s “Essential Viewing” quote used on the poster (That’s his Xmas present sorted anyway!)
For 2017, the plans are to continue improving the site and the podcasts, while I will be promoting a few new young drivers also. I have also purchased the domain irishmotorsport.tv and will be offering live streaming of events and promotional/commercial videos for teams/classes and competitors too. I have also decided, sort of, to return to the drivers seat. Obviously, with my commentary commitments, I can’t race or compete in Rallycross so I have purchased a rally car! There were only 1,000 Peugeot 106 Rallye Series 1 models produced in RHD apparently, and its 1300cc engine makes it eligible for the up to 1400cc classes in a variety of disciplines. Having spoken to Ronnie Griffin and a a few others, I may tackle a few Lanes Rally events north of the border to cut my teeth, having been a “roundy roundy” specialist for many years. What’s the worst that can happen?
Anyway, I am sure as soon as I publish this, I will think of far more I should have included, but Dave and I have already made our new year resolutions, to blog more!!
Until the next time, have a wonderful Christmas,