MEETING HEROES: Dermot Healy of Killarney and District Motor Club with rally legend Paddy Hopkirk and Cormac Casey of KDMC and KC Print.


The Killarney Advertiser’s parent firm KC Print, which is based in Lissivigeen, was one of the prime movers behind Motorsport Ireland’s (MI) debut appearance at Autosport International last weekend.


The Irish governing body broke new ground by exhibiting at Europe’s biggest motor racing trade fair in Birmingham.


MI’S attendance at the show was made possible by support from a number of motor clubs across the country including Killarney and District Motor Club (KDMC).


Over the four days, MI and KDMC officials met with thousands of visitors as they promoted Irish events to international drivers and fans.


The visually impressive stand was designed in-house by KC Print’s design team while designers and journalists from Ireland’s biggest trade printers and the Killarney Advertiser were responsible for producing all of the promotional material that was made available to the thousands of fans who visited the show over the four days.


“It was a great opportunity for KC Print to show off its capability to an international audience,” KC Print Managing Director, Cormac Casey, who is also a self-confessed motorsport enthusiast, said. “Our print business knows motorsport and we know what motor clubs and organisers are trying to achieve so we are the number one choice when it comes to motorsport promotional material in Ireland. The fact that Motorsport Ireland chose KC Print from its initial design concept to delivering everything to the NEC in Birmingham last weekend proves this.”


The purpose of the visit was to encourage more UK and European drivers and fans to attend Irish events over the coming season with both the Rally of the Lakes and The Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic Rally set to be two of the main beneficiaries.


The late Russell Brookes was the last overseas driver to win the Rally of the Lakes in 1989.

The same year he became the last foreign driver to win the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship title. This is a statistic that Irish organisers are keen to address.


“We came here not knowing what the reaction would be,” said outgoing Rally of the Lakes clerk of the course Dermot Healy. “The reaction has been overwhelming and we have met people from all over Europe. In my opinion, this should become an annual event. We learned a lot.”


Visitors to the Motorsport Ireland stand over the four days included rally legend and 1981 World Champion Ari Vatanen, and also 1964 Monte Carlo Rally winner Paddy Hopkirk who revealed that he has a holiday home in South Kerry and often visites the county.


Killarney-based World Rally Championship co-driver Paul Nagle attended on Friday, and London Irish Motor Club secretary John F O’Mahony from Muckross visited on Saturday.