Special Stage Rallying is the most popular form of Motorsport in Ireland and it continues to grow in popularity all the time. There are many reasons for this, one being the fact that events can last from eight hours for a single day, to as long as twenty-four hours of competition on a three day event. This form of Motorsport evolved back in the 1950's from what we nowadays call Navigation Rallying. Since then, it has rapidly become an Irish favourite and large crowds of spectators attend many events.
Special Stage Rallies take place on sections of open road with a 30-mph speed limit and "special stages" which are closed to the public. Events are decided by the time taken to travel a particular route. It is generally over the "stages" that events are won and lost, when competitors have to drive over the closed roads as fast as they can in order to produce the quickest time. The less time you take, the fewer penalties you incur.
There are two types of Special Stage Rallies: forestry events which are held on forest (dirt) roads and tarmac events which are held on tarmac roads.
Click on the image above to see Rallying in action
Type of Vehicles
Modified rally cars are based on ordinary family saloon cars. They are much tougher though and have extra strong chassis and many mechanical parts upgraded. They are fitted with special competition tyres to suit the varying road conditions.
When and Where
Special Stage Rallies take place all around the country, with approximately 30 events being held throughout the year.
Licence Requirement and Starting Age
To drive in Special Stage Rallies, a rally category "National B" grade licence or higher is required. The minimum age is 17 years and applicants must hold a full Road Traffic Act driving licence. A Medical certificate is also required and this is part of the licence application form.
Applicants for a first time Stage Rally Driver licence must first purchase an "Introduction to Motorsport" Starter Pack at a cost of €10, which is available from the Motorsport Ireland Office. In addition, applicants must also complete a licence form and successfully complete a Motorsport Ireland "Introduction to Motorsport Course" (IMC). Full details are available from the Motorsport Ireland Office and on this website.
All beginner Rally drivers are restricted to driving vehicles up to 1650cc. When you gain some experience and obtain 4 event finishes you can upgrade your licence to a "National A" where there is no engine size limit. The "Introduction to Motorsport Course" will count as one event finish for upgrading.
All Drivers in Stage Rallies must also be in possession of an IRDS (Irish Rally Drivers Scheme) Insurance Letter. This compulsory insurance provides Third Party Insurance Cover during the course of the event. To join the scheme, competitors must complete a proposal form, which is available from Motorsport Ireland on request. It is important to note that completed proposal forms must be received by Motorsport Ireland a minimum of 14 days before cover is required in order that a "Letter of Acceptance" may be issued by the Brokers direct to the applicant. The standard rate of cost for this insurance is €20 per event and organisers often include this in the entry fee.
To navigate in Special Stage Rallies, a rally category "Navigator" grade licence or higher is required. The minimum age is 16 years. A Road Traffic Act driving licence is not required, nor is a Medical Certificate.
In both cases, competitors under 18 years of age require written permission from parents or guardians. A first time licence costs as little as €40 if you are a member of one of our Affiliated Motor Clubs - non-members pay €80.
How to get Started
If you are interested in becoming involved then the first step is to contact Motorsport Ireland, the governing body of the sport, at phone 01-677 5628. Motorsport Ireland issue competition licences and we annually publish a "Yearbook" containing all the rules and regulations for Irish Motorsport. The "Yearbook", in DVD format, is issued free with every competition licence or alternatively you may buy a hard copy costing €25. A calendar of events is also published on this web site and you can download a Licence Application Form here.
Special Equipment Required
Fire fighting system. Full crash protection cage and safety harnesses. Exact specifications and requirements published in the current Motorsport Ireland Yearbook.
Flame proof overalls, crash helmet with intercom system, fireproof gloves, balaclave, socks and boots must all be worn while competing in Rally events.
See "Scrutiny requirements" Appendix S 23.1.
Clothing/ Equipment Outlets
CSE Motorsport, Provincial House, Abbeyfeale, Co.Limerick (068) 32599
EARS Motorsport, Muddy Hill, Mallow, Co.Cork (022) 42050
Marks Models, 14 Hawkins Street, Dublin 2. (01) 6715809
Murray Motorsport, Unit 20, Beechlawn Industrial Complex, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 (01) 4500555
PR Reilly Ltd., 221 Howth Road, Killester, Dublin 5 (01) 8336924
Motoring News Classifieds
Carsport Magazine Classifieds
Average Cost of Entry Fee
€410 one day event
€550 two day event
Officials / Marshalling
One of the best ways to learn all about a particular division of Motorsport is to get involved in the day to day organisation. So if you do not feel ready to compete, or simply would like a sociable friendly attachment to Special Stage Rallying, your invaluable help would be more than appreciated. Contact anyone involved from the motor clubs around the country and get activated. It could change your whole life and at the same time help others enjoy a great exciting sport held in a responsible controlled environment. Safety and rescue are paramount in this fast developing branch of motorsport. If you feel you have greater dedication and enthusiasm and time we have a number of Marshalling Clubs and Rescue Units who are always on the look out for new members..