Austin MacHale & Christy Farrell
Bertie Fisher & Rory Kennedy
Eugene Donnelly & Paul Kiely
Irish Tarmac Championship History
The Tarmac Rally Organisers Association was formed in late 1977 when the organisers of the five Irish International Rallies as well as the Manx Rally organisers came together with the idea of forming a championship. The six events to be included in the inaugural championship in 1978 were the Galway International Rally, Circuit of Ireland Rally, Donegal International Rally, Ulster Rally, Cork 20 International Rally & the Manx International Rally.
The first change to this occurred in 1983 when the Galway rally did not run that year, and the Rally of the Lakes joined the championship which made it a seven round series from 1984 and beyond. Due to the cancellation of the Galway, Ulster and Circuit of Ireland Rounds in 2000, a single venue rally called the Summit 2000 Rally was organised on the Fermanagh / Cavan border for that year only to count for championship points.
The Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak was the first year that the championship failed to run since its inception, and in 2002 a new event was added to the calendar with the Jim Clark Rally becoming the fourth MSA event and first Scottish round of the series. This continued until 2010 when the downturn in the economy had an effect and the championship was reduced to six counting rounds as the Jim Clark and Manx International were dropped temporarily although they remained members of the T.R.O.A.
In 2009 a championship called the Modified Challenge was created and in late 2010 the decision was taken to add the Killarney Historic Stages to the Historic Championship and begin that championship in December. The most recent change involved the West Cork Rally joining as part of the Modified Championship for 2014 and it ran as a full round for the first time in 2015 and did so again in 2016 as the championship reverted back to seven rounds.
The championship is currently sponsored by Clonakilty Blackpudding which is in its fourth year, while the reigning Tarmac Champion is Ballylickey native Keith Cronin. Austin McHale & Eugene Donnelly currently hold the record of the most titles with five. The 2016 format will continue for 2017 where World Rally Cars will not be eligible to score points in the overall championship, with the R5 category now the premier category to win the championship.