Mayo and District Motorsport Club got off to a great start for 2019 with a number of junior class members competing and dominating in the opening round of the Valvoline Forestry Rally Championship which took place in Carrick on Suir on Sunday 20th. In the J1000 class, it was a first day out for Ella Conway who has teamed up with co-driver Jared Gill for the 2019 championship. It was a challenging first event for Ella who had an off on stage three and lost some time but she managed to keep her cool and recovered to get back into the competition and successfully finish the rally in an impressive fifth place in class. Ella is the youngest female driver in the country at the moment and has just turned sixteen. The Newport transition year student had her first experience of competitive motorsport last summer when she took part in two rounds of the Mayo and District Motorsport Club Loose Surface Autocross Championship. Ella finished second in her class in both events. In October she ventured further afield where she competed in the Galway Motor Club Autocross and came home with the ‘Ladies Award’ on the day. The future looks bright for Ella who has inherited her interest in motorsport from her mother Deirdre who was event secretary for the Mayo Stages Rally for the last number of years. Other local competitors having a good day in Carrick on Suir were John Burke co-driver for Reece Pollack who took the honours in the J1000 class and Jason Murphy who was competing in the junior class. After two very successful years in the J1000 class, Jason and codriver Matthew Murphy have stepped up to the junior class and they finished this event in third place. It was a very busy weekend for Jason as the previous night he received awards from both the ‘Western People Mayo Sports Stars’ award in Ballina and at the ‘Night of Champions 2018 Autocross prize giving’ in Shannon.
Also at the ‘Night of Champions’ prize giving was Ballaghadereen’s Steven Cafferty who took home two top awards. Steven was the winner of the ‘National Loose Championship’ in class three, and he also took second in class three in the ‘Munster Autocross Championship’. 2018 was a very successful year for Steven in Autocross events as he also took third place overall at the Mayo Motorsport Club Awards in December. With the addition of an extra event this year, Steven is hoping to concentrate on the Mayo Motorsport Club Autocross Championship for 2019.