Thanks to the successful staging of its 50th anniversary Festival of Motorsport held in Belline last weekend, Carrick-on-Suir Motor Club has achieved its target of raising €100,000 for its two named beneficiaries.

The National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire and the Children’s Medical and Research Foundation at Crumlin will each gladly receive €50,000 due to monies raised on both days.

Over 5,000 people filed through the 70-acre South Kilkenny site on both days, and organisers were thrilled with how the festival was received and supported.

“People came from all over the country for the festival,” said Carrick Motor Club’s Trevor McGrath, “and we were very, very happy with how the weekend proceeded.”

He continued: “The helicopter rides proved particularly popular, so much so that they ran out of fuel at one stage. The James Foley Rally Experience also went down a treat with the visitors. I’d go as far as describing it as an unbelievable success; the helicopter and the rally drive combined brought in over €5,000.”

Trevor said the festival’s success had been brought about thanks to a year and a half of hard work, spearheaded by festival chair James Coleman.

“Our own members put in an unbelievable amount of work. In the lead-up to the festival, in ensuring the presence of so many different motorsport disciplines, in marshalling and in traffic control, I can’t speak highly enough of the way everyone waded in and made this such a success,” added Trevor. “Everyone was just fantastic.”

The Iverk Show Committee assisted in parking at the entrances and put their show experiences to positive use and helped the charity event.

On Saturday evening, the 2008 Ravens Rock Rally was launched at the festival’s main arena , where the speakers included James Coleman, Carrick club founding member George Clancy, along with special guests Eugene Donnelly and Rosemary Smith.

Also in attendance were Frank O’Mahony and John Naylor of the Rallies’ Committee Governing Body, while the festival’s charitable beneficiaries were represented by Pat Cribbin (National Rehab Hospital) and Edel O’Malley (Crumlin).

Mayor of Waterford Mary O’Halloran congratulated all involved in making the festival such a success and for the club’s decision to donate all the festival’s proceeds to two such worthy causes.

The one-day rally, composed of eight stages (four stages driven twice) returns to its Carrick-on-Suir home for the first time in 18 years, with the Carraig Hotel acting as the Rally’s HQ.

The rally is the sixth round of the Dunlop National Tarmac Championship, a title currently held by Eugene Donnelly. A centralised service for the rally will be based at the Mill River Industrial Park.

During the rally, a special Slievenamon stage will be dedicated to the late great Tipperary driver Frank Meagher.

At the launch in Belline, James Coleman made a special presentation to George Clancy, who is the club’s only surviving founder member in recognition of his dedication both to the club and to Irish motorsport.

On Sunday, the results of the festival raffle were announced and the winners were:

* Mattie Power of Kilrossanty, who won a Nissan Car

* Walter Bailey, An Grianán, Ballinroad, who won a €1500 holiday voucher, and

* Michael Murphy of Killamery, Ninemilehouse, who won a Stanley Cooker.

One very experienced attendant of open air shows across Ireland and Britain had the following to say about the festival.

“It was absolutely fantastic, a credit to everyone involved in its organisation. There was strong support drawn from right across the 32 counties and it was obvious to me, particularly on the Sunday, that they were taking in money at the gate like madmen. It was just so well organised. The rally driving was terrific, even if it did frighten the gillawn out of a few people!”

Congratulations to all involved in making the festival such a brilliant success.