2018 Billy Coleman Award

Posted: December 7, 2018 9:26 AM - 3032 Hits

James Wilson Rallying- James Receives Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Award 2018!

Posted: December 7, 2018 9:26 AM

For 24 year old James Wilson from Keady, County Armagh, 2018 has been a year to remember, and on Tuesday 4th December at the Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards in Dublin, James was announced as the winner of the Billy Coleman Award for the Young Rally Driver of the Year, with part of the award, support to the value of €50,000 for the 2019 season.

“There was quite a build up to it with the interviews, selection process and when we made it into the final three, it got really exciting! At the awards in the Mansion House in Dublin, seeing all the faces there and awaiting the announcement it started to dawn just how prestigious the award is. When I was announced as the winner, it felt like the blood just drained from me, I was stunned, and was just ecstatic!” said James.

James faced stiff competition during the selection process for the award as he fended off a number of other great young drivers in what has been described as one of the closest decisions for the judges. Indeed the final three featured another County Armagh driver- Jason Black and R2 class rival Jordan Hone from Claudy. “They were very worthy nominees and at least with the Motorsport Ireland awards it’s not all about the winner, as they benefit from entry incentives and support which they deserve.”

James now joins a list of illustrious winners of the Billy Coleman Award, which includes World Rally Championship driver, Craig Breen, and record breaking four-time British Rally champion Keith Cronin. James was nominated for his performances in January and February of this year and went on to further successes throughout the season. James was the 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Junior Rally Champion and also secured a podium finish in the Junior British Rally Championship on the Ypres Rally in Belgium.

Speaking at the awards, Motorsport Ireland President John Naylor said: “Congratulations are due to all the winners at this year’s Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards. The standards that they, and the other nominees, set during the course of this year show that the future of motorsport in Ireland is very bright indeed. The depth of talent among our young drivers is continuously growing and, alongside our partners in Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland is committed to supporting and developing drivers and providing them with every opportunity to succeed at the highest level.”

2019 is going to be an exciting year for the Wilson team, the car of choice again being a Peugeot 208R2. An assault on the Motorsport UK British Junior British Rally Championship, as well as another attack at the Valvoline Irish Forest Championship to defend the Junior title has been planned. For 2020, the team are planning to compete in France in the Peugeot 208 Rally Cup which has been beneficial to others climbing the motorsport ladder.

“It’s been a tremendous year, and not without it’s ups and downs of course. The team has been superb. My co-driver Gavin Doherty has done a superb job, and now he’s been accepted into the Motorsport UK Academy, which shows just how determined Gavin has been to succeed also. Of course I’ve had great support from my dad- Trevor, and indeed support from all the family from day one. The service crew that have kept me in the rally at times have been invaluable as indeed have a few sponsors including Road Tankers-Armagh, Philip White Tyres, James Wilson Garage Services, TEC Industrial and MVT Transport.”

Now the hard work begins again as preparations and planning are in full swing for the fast approaching season which begins in January with the first round of the Irish Forestry Championship.

Winner: James Wilson

Posted: December 4, 2018 9:41 AM



Northern lights shone brightest at the Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards today when young drivers from Belfast and Co Armagh landed two of the sport’s most prestigious honours.

James Wilson (24) was named Young Rally Driver of the Year, while 23-year-old Charlie Eastwood, a runner up in 2017, went one better this year by winning the Young Racing Driver of the Year award, at a ceremony in the Mansion House in Dublin. Both drivers will receive €50,000 in funding and support for the development of their careers during the 2019 season.

The International Driver of the Year award went to Jordan Dempsey, from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

The event, to celebrate the success of the most talented drivers in Irish Motorsport in 2018, was attended by Mr. Ronnie McBrien, Sport Ireland, Mr. John Naylor, President of Motorsport Ireland, members of the media, award recipients and their guests.

More than 30 trophies were presented at the Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards to Irish drivers competing both domestically and internationally. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the prestigious Billy Coleman Award, the Sexton Trophy and the International Driver of the Year award.

The Billy Coleman Award for the Young Rally Driver of the Year was won by 24-year-old James Wilson, from Co Armagh. He was nominated for his performances in January and February of this year and went on to further successes throughout the season. James was the 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Junior Rally Champion and also secured a podium finish in the Junior British Rally Championship on the Ypres Rally in Belgium.

James faced stiff competition during the selection process for the award as he fended off a number of other great young drivers to take top spot in what has been described as one of the closest decisions in recent years.

James now joins a list of illustrious winners of the Billy Coleman Award, which includes World Rally Championship driver, Craig Breen, and record breaking four-time British Rally champion Keith Cronin.

As part of the award, James will receive support to the value of €50,000 for the 2019 season.

The Sexton Trophy for Young Racing Driver of the Year was awarded to 23-year-old Charlie Eastwood, from Belfast. Charlie was a previous runner up and has shown a focus and determination that has seen him rise to the top this year.

Charlie is competing in the GTE Am class of the FIA World Endurance Championship driving an Aston Martin. He has impressively achieved three second places from three races in his debut year and is on track to add to his World Karting and Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship titles by the time the series finishes at the Le Mans 24hour in June 2019.

As part of the award, Charlie will also receive support to the value of €50,000 for the 2019 season.

The Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year went to Jordan Dempsey, from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

Jordan, who won the Sexton Trophy in 2017, has lived up to the expectations that the sport has of a recipient of the award. Competing at a top international level for the first time he has joined a very exclusive club, becoming one of only a small number of Irish competitors to win an FIA Championship, having secured outright honours in the FIA F4 Chinese Championship in his debut year.

Throughout the 2018 season he was rarely off the front row of the grid or the podium and despite missing out on the opening race his phenomenal talent saw him securing the championship with a race to spare.

The winner of this award is selected by the motor sport media and is presented to an Irish competitor from the 32 counties who has not only proven to be a success in competition but also has acted as a positive role model and ambassador for the sport.

Jordan joins luminaries such as Craig Breen, four-time British Rally Champion Keith Cronin, Le Mans series driver Matt Griffin, Rallying legend Austin MacHale, Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine, and multiple European Rallycross class champion Derek Tohill as a winner of the Manley Memorial Trophy.

The Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy was awarded to the 13-year-old Karl O’Brien, from Robertstown, Co Kildare, who was crowned 2018 Motorsport Ireland National Junior Karting Champion. Karl won four races and finished second three times on his way to winning the Iame X30 Junior title.

The FIA Celtic Trophy was won overall by Josh Moffett/ Andy Hayes. Josh’s brother Sam won the trophy last year with Karl Atkinson. The competition is spread over five International rallies in the UK and Ireland. Moffett had a win and two second places to take the trophy ahead of nearest rival Matt Edwards.

The Ivan Webb Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport went to Gerry O’Brien, of Ennis, Co Clare, who has been an integral part of the Irish motorsport community for many years and a huge supporter of rallying as an organiser, club official and committee member.

The JC Millard Memorial Award for Clubman of the Year went to Kevin Barrett, from Maynooth, Co Kildare, for his contribution to the sport both as an organiser and competitor.

Speaking at the awards, Motorsport Ireland President John Naylor said: “Congratulations are due to all the winners at this year’s Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards. The standards that they, and the other nominees, set during the course of this year show that the future of motorsport in Ireland is very bright indeed.

“The judging panel faced a particularly difficult task selecting the winners this year because of the terrific competition there was in every category.

“The depth of talent among our young drivers is continuously growing and, alongside our partners in Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland is committed to supporting and developing drivers and providing them with every opportunity to succeed at the highest level.”

Young Rally Driver of the Year 2018 Finalists Announced

Posted: November 14, 2018 12:53 PM

The finalists for Motorsport Ireland’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award have been announced – with Armagh’s Jason Black and James Wilson as well as Jordan Hone from Co. Derry 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):

    Jason Black (age 21) Co. Armagh

    Jason claimed six overall junior rally wins this season to become the 2018 Sligo Pallets Border Junior Rally Champion and Triton Showers National Junior Rally Champion.

    Jordan Hone (age 23) Co. Derry

    Jordan won the Junior section of the 2018 Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally. He was also the winner of the R2 Class at the Ulster Rally gaining the Philip White Tyres Young Achievers prize in the process and won his class on the 2018 Lakeland Stages Rally.

    James Wilson (age 24) Co. Armagh

    James was the 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Junior Rally Champion and secured a podium finish in the Junior British Rally Championship on the Ypres Rally in Belgium.
Other candidates that narrowly missed out this year included, Marty Gallagher and Darragh McNern from Co. Donegal, Michael Hamilton from Co. Clare, Derek Mackarel from Co. Monaghan and Colin O’Donoghue from Co. Kerry.

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 honour 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 Callum Devine, who came fourth in his first attempt at the Junior World Rally Championship this season.

A spokesman for the Motorsport Ireland judging panel said that selection of the three finalists was a very difficult task.
“For the first time in many years we had a full panel of first time nominees. Each candidate can be proud of not only their driving achievements but also for their performance in front of the judging panel which can be quite intimidating.

“Each of the nominees deserved to be there and choosing the three finalists from this very talented group was very difficult,” the spokesman said. “We expect that many of the candidates that were not successful this year will undoubtedly be in front of the judging panel again.

“The winner, who will be announced at the Beta Irish Motorsport awards ceremony in early December, will carry a lot of responsibility on their young shoulders. As representatives of Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland they will be a role model for the sport that we hope will inspire young and aspiring rally drivers across the country to fulfil their potential. Each of the three finalists has demonstrated the traits necessary to make them great exponents of our sport. In time we hope that they will join the ranks of previous winners like Craig Breen competing on the world stage.”

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 2018 award will be announced at the Beta Irish Motorsport Awards ceremony which will take place on Tuesday, December 4th 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.

Eight drivers in the running for Young Rally Driver of the Year Award

Posted: November 8, 2018 4:09 PM

Next Tuesday, 13 November, eight of Ireland’s most promising young rally drivers will make their cases to be selected as the Young Rally Driver of the Year and be declared the winner of the prestigious Billy Coleman Award.

Five of these hopefuls were nominated during the year for their performances in rallies between January and October, with three additional names added in the form of the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, as well as a wildcard selection.

Joining the five already chosen are Darragh McNern (Bruckless, Co Donegal), who finished 2nd in the Triton Showers National Junior class in his Toyota Corolla, and Peugeot 208 driver Marty Gallagher (Letterkenny), who is the highest placed eligible Junior in the Valvoline Championship.

The final place on the interview list, the wildcard selection, goes to Colin O’Donoghue (Killarney), for his Junior wins on the Rally of the Lakes and the Skibbereen Fastnet, as well as runner up position in the West Cork Rally. Colin drove both a Ford Escort and a Honda Civic during the year.

The five bi-monthly selections were:

    James Wilson (Armagh)
    Derek Mackarel (Stone Bridge, Co Monaghan)
    Jason Black (Armagh)
    Jordan Hone (Claudy, Co Derry)
    Michael Hamilton (Miltown Malbay, Co Clare)
The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.

Hamilton gains Young Rally Driver of the Year nomination

Posted: November 3, 2018 3:08 AM

Michael Hamilton has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in September and October.

The 23 year-old from Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, drove his Honda Civic to class victories in the Sligo and Clare Stages Rallies, finishing in a tremendous 12th place overall in Sligo and 15th in Clare, despite lateness penalties in his home rally which dropped him from a possible 13th position, incurred while having to change a driveshaft in the service area. Earlier in the day, Michael and his co-driver Dylan Donoghue held tenth overall after the fourth of nine stages, matching the times set by much more powerful cars.

He only contested four rallies during the year, but problems forced him to retire from both the Circuit of Kerry and the recent Donegal Harvest events.

Michael intends modifying his car to contest the Junior section of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship next year, in line with recently announced technical regulations for the Junior class.

He began rallying in September 2016 in the Clare Stages Rally and immediately showed his pace, taking a comfortable class win, almost twelve minutes ahead of his closest rival.

Michael works as car sales manager with Dermot Cleary Motors of Ennis, who are also one of his sponsors, along with Charlie McEnery Motor Services, Efone, Egan Haulage & Agri, and Powertune Motorsport.

He joins with the four other bi-monthly winners selected from January-February, through to July-August, along with the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.

Hone gains Young Rally Driver of the Year nomination

Posted: October 17, 2018 12:09 PM

Jordan Hone has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in July and August.

The 22 year-old from Claudy, Co Derry, drove his Opel Adam to victory in the Junior class of the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally, taking 13th place overall. He also scored a class win in the Ulster International Rally three weeks later.

Earlier in the year, Jordan finished as runner up in the Junior section of the Donegal International Rally, less than two seconds behind the eventual winner after swapping places all day. He also took a Junior win in the Carlow Mini Stages Rally.

Jordan began rallying in 2013 at the age of 17, scoring a class win in his first ever event, and going on to take his class in the Northern Ireland Rally Championship. He was NI Junior Rally champion the following year, and won the Group N Production class in the Valvoline National Forestry series in 2017. He hopes to contest the British Rally Championship next year, as well as possibly some European events.

Jordan is in the final year of a Masters’ degree in Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University, Belfast.

His sponsors are Premier Car Parts (Derry), Rallyhire (Belfast) and TOC Utilities (Dungiven). He paid tribute to all the support he has had from his family and friends, particularly from his father and co-driver Paul Hone, Raymond and Matthew Mason of Rallyhire for their car preparation, and Aileen Kelly, who co-drove him in the Donegal International.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, along with the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.

Black is nominated for Young Rally Driver of the Year

Posted: August 3, 2018 12:58 PM

Jason Black has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in May and June.

The 20 year-old from Armagh drove his Toyota Starlet to victory in the Junior class of the Donegal International and Cavan Rallies, adding these to his victories in Mayo and Monaghan earlier in the year, and his second place in Kerry. He currently leads the Junior sections of both the Triton Showers National Championship and the Sligo Pallets Border series.

Aged 18, Jason won the Cavan Junior Autocross title in 2016, and he also began rallying that year, driving his father’s car in the Cavan Rally. He switched to his own newly built Starlet early last year, giving it a winning debut in Mayo. Jason finished 2017 as third placed Junior in both the National and Border Championships.

The highlight of his career to date has undoubtedly been his class win in his first attempt at June’s Donegal International, where he swapped places with a rival all through the final day, triumphing by less than two seconds after a ferocious duel all the way.

Jason will complete the remaining events in the Triton Showers and Sligo Pallets Championships, and must be one of the favourites to take the double, based on his performances so far. He also hopes to contest the Cork 20 International in late September, the final round of the Irish Tarmac series.

He works as a site supervisor in the family construction business, and his principal sponsors are Hilmark Homes, Bribar Construction, Cross Group, Digital Fire & Security, and Barry McKenna Agri. Jason is very grateful for the support of his father Brian and all of his family, as well as Gerry Buckley and MS Motorsport for car preparation and his regular co-drivers Jack McKenna and Karl Egan.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, along with the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.

Mackarel is nominated for Young Rally Driver of the Year

Posted: May 31, 2018 3:46 AM

Derek Mackarel has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in March and April.

The 22 year-old from Stone Bridge, near Clones, Co Monaghan, drove his Vauxhall Nova to victory in the Junior class of the Munster Moonraker Forestry Rally in Cork, finishing 16th

overall in a field packed with four wheel drive cars. Derek backed this up by his runner up position in the Limerick Forestry Junior section, taking 14th overall on that occasion.

Derek began his motorsport career at the age of fourteen, and already has two national titles under his belt. In 2014, he won the National Autocross series, aged eighteen, and earlier this year, he was the winning driver in the Navigation Trial Championship, along with his regular navigator Muireann Hayes.

He plans on contesting the remaining Forestry Championship rallies this year, and would also like to tackle the Autocross series, as he has already won the opening round a few weeks ago.

His most memorable performances to date have been his two National titles, and also his and Muireann’s win in the 2016/17 Munster Navigation Trial Championship.

Derek is in the third year of four, as an apprentice toolmaker. He is sponsored by DMRR, Gordon Automotive, Kegs Direct Ireland, Mackarel Garden Products, and Conlon Travel.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, along with the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally & internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.

Wilson is nominated for Young Rally Driver of the Year

Posted: May 31, 2018 3:44 AM

James Wilson has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in January and February.

The 23 year-old from Armagh drove his Peugeot 208 to a clear win in the Junior class of the opening round of the Valvoline National Forestry Rally Championship, run by Carrick-on-Suir MC.

James drove in his first rally in 2013 at the wheel of a Peugeot 106, but only began competing regularly two years ago. He won the Northern Ireland Junior title that year, progressing to the Irish Tarmac series in 2017, where he scored a class win in his 208.

This was the highlight of his career to date, as it continued a fine tradition which makes him the third generation member of his family to win a class in the Irish Tarmac Championship – his grandparents, James and Hilary, achieved this in 1981, and his father Trevor repeated the success ten years later.

James plans on continuing in the Valvoline Forestry events for the rest of the year, as well as tackling the British Championship, which gets under way this weekend with the Pirelli Rally in the North of England. With a busy year of driving on gravel surfaces under his belt, he then hopes to launch a serious assault on the British title in 2019.

He works as an engineer in the family business, Road Tankers Armagh, who are also one of his sponsors, along with Philip White Tyres, James Wilson Garage Services, and TEC Industrial of Dublin.

Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, along with the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.

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