THE 50th Joules Donegal International Rally finished yesterday evening and was heralded a huge success by the organisers.
The rally was won by Monaghan man Josh Moffett for the first time in his career.
While residents in and around the Letterkenny area were plagued by revving car noises, this was not part of the rally and outside the control of the organising team.
Rally public relations officer Kevin Glendenning told the Donegal News it had been a highly successful event.
“There were tens of thousands of people out there on the stages and everyone was well behaved. We did not lose a stage because of spectator issues. There was one stage that did not go ahead but that was out of respect for a local funeral.
“Everyone at the rally was exceptionally well behaved and there was a fantastic buzz around it. I acknowledge that the traffic has been horrendous. The noise at night has nothing to do with the rally and we would discourage it. I do feel sorry for the residents of Letterkenny and the surrounding areas because of the noise – it is the downside of a great spectacle which comes to the county,” Kevin added.
Garda Inspector Seamus McGonagle told the Donegal News the rally was “highly successful” with the number of cases of dangerous driving well down on other years.
“There were huge crowds as expected and the vast majority were well behaved. While there were a number of public order arrests, taking into account the number of people in town, it was no different to any other weekend. The message got across about dangerous driving and that was reflected in the amount of garda resources,” the inspector added.
Three years ago, the three-time rally champion Manus (Mandy) Kelly lost his life in a tragic accident in the Fanad Head stage.
On Saturday, as competitors took to the corkscrews of Knockalla and Portsalon, a poignant display of beach art reminded all of the legend that commanded this stage. Fanad was a favourite for the formidable Glenswilly man.
Shawn Kelly, John Gregg and Liam Kelly took it upon themselves to craft a sign on the sand to commemorate Manus’ unmatched success in the Donegal International Rally, winning on three consecutive occasions – 2016, 2017 and 2018.