This week’s RIAC - Motorsport Ireland classic video upload is coverage of the 1980 Galway International Rally which originally aired on RTÉ.
Following a strong European Rally Championship campaign in 1979, Billy Coleman was among the favourites as the 1980 season got underway in Galway. With a specially developed lightweight, wider Ford Escort RS1800 now at his disposal, Coleman headed a strong field which included Roger Clark, Jimmy McRae, Bertie Fisher and Ger Buckley. However, it was the husband and wife team of Mick and Anne O’Connell who made the early running, taking the lead before succumbing to transmission difficulties. Coleman fell away with mechanical woes, and as Bertie Fisher battered the banks and dry-stone walls, it was Jimmy McRae who hit the front in his 2.3 litre Vauxhall Chevette HS. McRae held on to take his first international win, setting up an incredible season which was to also see him win three more Irish international events on his way to winning the 1980 Irish Tarmac Championship.
This programme will be available to stream below from 7pm on Thursday, September 10th.
Next week’s upload will be feature length coverage of the 1988 Circuit of Ireland. Truncated down to a three-day event by the end of the decade, the 1988 Circuit provided an interesting array of early Group A machinery as the field tried to stop Jimmy McRae from winning the event for a sixth time.
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