Keep Her Flying - Ireland's Rally Heroes
In Ireland, motorsport doesn’t come any bigger than rallying. On any weekend of the year, rally cars will be in action somewhere on the Emerald Isle, watched by thousands of devoted followers. For them, nothing can touch the sight – or sound – of a Subaru or Ford Focus World Rally Car bounding over the bumps and crests of a country road in Donegal… or Cork… or Killarney. The phenomenon of rallying is the subject of a timely new book for Christmas entitled Keep Her Flying: Ireland’s Rally Heroes written by Richard Young and just published by Appletree Press.
This celebration of Ireland’s ‘unofficial’ national sport looks at the history – and the heroes – of the sport in Ireland, and tells the stories of the big names, many of whom went on to make a mark on the World Stage, including Paddy Hopkirk, Bertie Fisher, Ronnie and Dessie McCartney, Austin McHale, Andrew Nesbitt, Eugene Donnelly, Kris Meeke, Kevin Lynch and many more. The book is also crammed with high-speed photographs of the cars and drivers in action – many previously unpublished.
Author Richard Young is no stranger to the skill of driving speeding cars having been a three-time Irish Hill Climb Champion himself! So if anyone is qualified to tell the story of this very special group of racing heroes and their machines it is certainly Richard. He explains:
“Irish rallying is full of heroes and some of the stories about both cars and drivers defy belief. One of the most unlikely success stories involves the 1951 Monte Carlo Rally when it was undoubtedly one of the toughest motoring challenges available anywhere. Hundreds of crews set off for the event from all over Europe. One of these crews consisted of four Dubliners in a well-used Jaguar which actually ended up in third place. It was a remarkable achievement, even more so when you consider that their day jobs were furrier, garage owner, insurance broker and doctor and that the car itself was actually used by one of their mother-in-laws for her day-to-day driving in and around Dublin! An unbelievable achievement…”
“Another of my favourite stories involves Cahal Curley and his co-driver Peter Scott. At that time Scott had a ‘day job’ as a bank official with his weekends devoted to co-driving. Trouble was ‘his’ bank became fed up with ‘their’ boy taking Fridays off and the bank manager insisted that he be in work on the Friday of the Donegal Rally or else. This didn’t appeal to our hero so in time-honoured fashion he developed a bad dose of flu and phoned in sick. All might have been well had he and Curley not won the rally, making the headlines and appearing in a large picture on the back of the Belfast Telegraph! It has been said that Scott’s interview with his boss was a painful one and that a change of career followed shortly afterwards!”
Irish rallying is full of amazing stories of speed, luck, and simply good old-fashioned driving skill. This fascinating book lifts the lid on the driving teams, their cars, and their sport.
Despite what the on-line checkout will state, you will only be charged €8.50 for postage of this book within Ireland and €11.75 for UK addresses.