HISTORY OF CASTLE AUTOMOBILE CLUB

The Castle Automobile Club was formed in 1985 by five people Tommy Curran, John Wood R.I.P,  Breen McNamee, Maureen Curran and John Smith.

Their aim was to provide the rally enthusiasts of Oldcastle and it locality with local events. All had been actively involved in the sport either through administration, competition or both. Many meetings took place to discuss the proposed formation and how best it would function. Rallying  was always popular in Oldcastle having played host initially to the Baileborough and then the Co. Cavan Motor Club for more than a decade. Most disciplines from multi-stage tarmac rallies, forestry stages events, grass surface autocross, night navigation, sprints and hill climbs had been promoted successfully over this period.

        

Regionally the club would concentrate on promotions in the counties of Meath and Westmeath. Affiliation to the Royal Irish Automobile Club and the FIA followed with the Club directed to focus its attention to off road events. The Club ran a Forestry Single Stage Rally from The Naper Arms Hotel in 1986 with the infamous Mullaghmeen forest the test. Sean Curran and Alan Johnson were among the ones to watch as was a young and up and coming driver called Stephen Finlay. Melvin’s Autocross continued under the Castle banner for many years and remains in many competitors minds to this day. It’s fair to say that Castle promoted some different events, from an Autotest at Loughcrew, the Loose Surface Autocross at Killinkere Complex to quarry events in Floods, Kilnaleck and Gormanstown. The Castle Club also ran the first MI event at the Rally School Ireland facility in Monaghan many years ago. Unfortunatlly, Mullaghmene became unavailable for rallying and is now a preserved complex for other activities.

Tarmac was most people’s first choice and eventually through much persuasion, the Club were granted a permit to co-promote its first Tarmac Stage event. This hailed a turning point for the Club and one from which is has never looked back. I992 saw the first Castle Single Stage held from it’s base at the Bloomfield House Hotel. John Carter took on the task of C.O.C and he and his team ran a very successful event. Ken Colbert and Gerry McVeigh took victory in their Stanley Cookers backed Metro 6R4.

 

The Castle Single Stage became an event of distiction with many of the country’s best rally drivers targeting this event as a must. Past winners include Charlie Donnelly and Niall Maguire among the list. The only two locals to clinch victory to date are Connie Smith, Pat Donegan and Andrew Browne.

 

Over the years, many volunteered to act as Clerk of the Course, and the role of these names included John Carter, Paddy Egan, Finbarr Mangan, Tommy Curran, Declan Tansey, Breen Mcnamee and Joe Curran. Through the work of these people and the working committee and members, the event remains popular and is now a  Mini Stage event.

 

At present, the Club host four events throughout the year. A Tarmac Sprint, a Grass Surface Autocross, the Mini Stages Rally and a Loose Surface Autocross. Our updated web site can keep you informed of the Club’s activities.

 

           
In 1995 the rally Fraternity in Ireland and the castle AC mourned the death of Robert Masterson. Who died while competing in his rwd 205.As a mark of respect to Robert and his Family the winner of the castle single stage receives the Robert Masterson Memorial award.

The greatest name to come out of the Castle AC stable has to be Rory Galligan. Who has recognition in rallying throughout the world for his great ability to drive. Rory has achieved great feats in rallying having been a works driver for Peugeot sport and Mitsubishi.

2002 would see the reintroduction of the name hellfire into Irish Rallying. With the Castle Hellfire Rally. Tim McNulty was victorious in his ex Bertie Fisher Subaru.
 
The Castle Hellfire Rally has been ran ever since and is a favourite with  the competitors. Last years hellfire celebrated 21 years of the Castle Automobile Club.

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Single stage roll of honour

1992 - Ken Colbert/Gerry McViegh..............Metro 6R4

1993 - Ian Greer/Dave Beckitt.................Manta 400

1994 - James Leckey/George Millar.........Subaru Legacy

1995 - Connie Smith/Scan Murtagh............Ford Escort

1996 - Charlie Donnelly/Podge Newe............Manta 400

1997 - Niall Maguire/Sean Walsh...........Subaru Legacy

1998 - Charlie Donnelly/Gerry McViegh.....Toyota Celica

1999 - David and Norman Armstrong...Escort Cosworth

2000 - Tim McNulty/Eugene O'Donnell.......Toyota Celica

2001 - NO RALLY due to foot and mouth.....

2002 - Tim McNulty/Anthony Nestor........Subaru Impreza

2003 - Pat Donegan/D.L Garvey...............Ford Escort

2004 - Sean and Claire Gallagher........Escort Cosworth

2005 - Andrew Browne/Keefe Kilcoyne.......Toyota Celica

2006 - Dessie Keenan/Paraic McCara........Ford Escort

2007 - Dessie Keenan........Ford Escort

2008 - Pat Donegan/Sean Hyde........Ford Escort

2009 -

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