Circuit of Ireland Rally organisers have announced that County Mayo man and well known rally official Tom Walsh, will take over the role of Clerk of Course for the 2015 event. Andy Gilmore, who managed the 2014 rally has had to give up the role due to his work commitments.
Originally from County Limerick, Tom Walsh has been involved in rallying since 1969 when he took on his first marshalling role with a rally – the Circuit of Ireland. During the 1970’s and 1980’s Tom managed rally star Billy Coleman over a 14 year period helping him clinch three Circuit wins. Tom had a five year tenure as Chairman of the Tarmac Rally Organisers Association (TROA) and was Clerk of Course for the first ever Rally Ireland WRC in 2007 and Sporting Director for the 2009 Rally Ireland WRC. Tom is currently a member of the Motorsport Ireland Commission.
“I got hooked on rallying in the 1960’s when as a young lad I first watched the Circuit of Ireland close to my home in Co Limerick and later I became a marshal at the Circuit. Since then I have referred to it as my ‘iconic rally’ so when Bobby called me and asked if I could take on the Clerk of Course position I had no hesitation in accepting!” explained Tom Walsh.`’
Paying tribute to Andy Gilmore’s contribution to the Circuit of Ireland, event director Bobby Willis said, “As a member of the Circuit organising team and event Clerk of Course, Andy played a vital role in the management and development of the Circuit and has helped to make it such a hugely successful event which last year attracted a total of almost 74,000 spectators. On behalf of the committee I would like to thank Andy for all his hard work – it really has been hugely appreciated by competitors, organisers and all our marshals and other volunteers.
“Looking forward to early April we’re delighted to have secured Tom Walsh as our new Clerk of Course. Well-known and respected in the rallying world, Tom has a tremendous range of experience and expertise which he can bring to the Circuit of Ireland enabling us to further enhance the event for both drivers and spectators.”
The Circuit of Ireland Rally takes place from Thursday 2nd April until Saturday 4th April 2015 and will be the third of ten rounds in the 2015 European Rally Championship. The 2015 Circuit of Ireland will also be counting rounds of the 2015 Irish Tarmac Championship and the Northern Ireland Rally Championship.
Tom Walsh was Team Manager for Billy Coleman for 14 year during the 1970’s and 80’s when Billy won three Circuit of Ireland Rally trophies. Tom has also worked with Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis on a range of RAC rally projects during the 1980’s and in recent years has supported Bobby during the Easter week-end with the operational running of the Circuit.
In 2000 Tom Walsh was appointed Chairman of the Tarmac Rally Organisers’ Association (TROA) and held the position for five years. For the past two years he has been a member of the Motorsport Ireland Commission.
Tom Walsh played a key role in the planning and organisation for the island of Ireland’s successful bid to host a round of the World Rally Championship and was Clerk of Course for the first Rally Ireland WRC in 2007. Tom became Sporting Director for the 2009 Rally Ireland WRC working alongside Clerk of Course, Gordon Noble.
The FIA European Rally Championship calendar for 2015 is as follows:
Round 1: Jännerrallye (Austria, asphalt/ice/snow): 4-6 January 2015
Round 2: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel/ice/snow): 6-8 February 2015 (J)
Round 3: Circuit of Ireland Rally (Northern Ireland, asphalt): 2-4 April 2015 (J)
Round 4: SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal, gravel): 4-6 June 2015 (J)
Round 5: Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium, asphalt): 25-27 June 2015 (J)
Round 6: auto24 Rally Estonia (gravel): 17-19 July 2015 (J)*
Round 7: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt): 28-30 August 2015 (J)
Round 8: Cyprus Rally (gravel): 25-27 September 2015
Round 9; Rally of Greece (gravel): 9-11 October 2015*
Round 10: Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France, asphalt): 5-7 November 2015
(J) Indicates FIA ERC Junior Championship round
*Subject to signing of ERC Promoter agreement