Keelan Grogan has been named as the first nominee for the 2023 Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award for the opening period of January to May.
The 22-year-old from Leitrim has been contesting the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship in a Peugeot 208 Rally4 alongside his long-time navigator Ayrton Sherlock. As a previous Class 2 National Champion, Grogan has impressed this year with three class wins in the Midlands Stages, West Cork, and Cavan with the West Cork result being a particular highlight as it was his first class victory in an International event. Grogan hopes to build on his success with the remaining rounds of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship with eyes on the coveted Coleman Award at the end of the year.
Away from the stages, Grogan, a member of Midland Motor Club, works in the heart of the family business; Grogan & Currid Ltd. From their Carrick-on-Shannon factory they produce PVC windows, doors and conservatories as well as aluminium windows and doors. Grogan started competing in 2019 in a Skoda Fabia R2 before progressing on to Peugeot 208 R2 which in turn was replaced early this season by a new generation Peugeot 208 Rally4.
This year’s Billy Coleman Award will see two qualifiers selected from the following monthly groupings: January-May, June-October. These nominees will be joined by the highest placed eligible drivers from the Junior sections in the Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship and the Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Championship, the highest placed eligible drivers in the dual surface Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series J1600, Rally4/R2 and Rally5 categories as well as a wildcard selection, meaning that up to eight drivers may be nominated for the award in 2023.
The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award will receive €100,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally and internationally in 2024. Coupled with Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland’s €50,000 investment, a further €50,000 has been pledged by the Team Ireland Foundation.
The award winner will also receive assistance from Billy Coleman co-ordinator Sean McHugh. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to progress the winners’ career will also be available, and the winner may apply for funding for a second year of support upon satisfactory performances in their award-winning year. Both award runners up will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each