The finalists for Motorsport Ireland’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award have been announced – with Jonny Treanor, from Scotstown, Co Monaghan; Callum Devine, from Claudy, Co Derry; and Kevin Eves, from Pettigo, Co Donegal, in the running to take home Irish rallying’s most prestigious awards.
The three drivers were chosen from a shortlist of eight candidates from throughout Ireland who were nominated for the award on the merits of their performances during the year. All the finalists faced a rigorous selection process which included interviews from a panel of judges comprising members of the media, an official from Sport Ireland, and representatives from the club and rallying world.
The three finalists for the Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year are (listed alphabetically):
Callum Devine (age 23) Claudy, Co Derry
Winner Junior British Rally Championship and Winner of the Junior section of the Ypres Rally, Belgium
Kevin Eves (age 26) Pettigo, Co Donegal
Irish Tarmac Rally Modified Champion.
Jonny Treanor (age 23) Scotstown, Co Monaghan
2nd overall Junior National Rally Championship, 2nd overall Junior National Border Championship.
Other candidates that narrowly missed out this year included, Jenna McCann, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, Brian Brady, Kells, Co.Meath, Michael Boyle, Lettermacaward, Co. Donegal, Gary Kiernan, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, John O’Sullivan, Mallow, co. Cork
Past winners of the Billy Coleman Award have gone on to compete at the highest level both at home and internationally, with drivers winning international championships as well as flying the flag at European and World Rally Championship level. Included on this honor roll are the first ever driver from the Republic of Ireland to secure a WRC works seat, Craig Breen, record breaking four-time British Rally champion Keith Cronin, and the current award holder Josh Moffett, who is competing in the ERC Junior Championship.
A spokesman for the Motorsport Ireland judging panel said that selection of the three finalists was a very difficult task. “All those interviewed deserved to be there and separating the drivers into a final three from such a pool of young talent was not an easy task,” the spokesman said. “One thing that is certain is that some of those that narrowly missed out this year will be in front of the judging panel again.
“The eventual winner will be an ambassador for Motorsport and, like their predecessors, we hope will go on to inspire more people in Ireland to engage with our sport. They have some very strong role models like Craig Breen and Keith Cronin to lean on for help and inspiration as their careers progress both domestically and internationally. We have no doubt that any of the finalists can fill this role and we look forward to announcing the winner at our Beta Irish Motorsport awards ceremony in early December.”
The internationally-recognised Billy Coleman Award is one of the most prestigious accolades that any young driver on the island of Ireland can aspire to. It comes with a prize valued at €50,000 in support to help the winner develop their career.
The overall winner of the 2017 award will be announced at the Beta Irish Motorsport Awards ceremony which will take place on Tuesday, December 5th in The Round Room at The Mansion House, Dublin. The Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award is presented annually and is supported by Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland and its affiliated clubs.