Wednesday 23 January 2019

Naylor named as Motorsport Ireland chief

Second term for Carnew man

Carnew's John Naylor
Carnew's John Naylor

Carnew's John Naylor has been elected Motorsport Ireland President for 2018.

At a meeting of the Motorsport Commission (ruling council) recently, 55-year-old John was elected to the prestigous role for a second time in his long involvement with the sport.

John also served as President from 2004 to 2009 and is a long-time supporter of the sport as a competitor, organiser and sponsor of the Motorsport Ireland Hillclimb Championship through his own business, Naylor Engineering.

John says that it is a huge honour for him and his family to have been elected as Motorsport Ireland President and that he was aware of change being needed in the organisation prior to his election.

"I was approached by a lot of people in the sport who told me that change was needed and it's a big honour to be elected for a second term," he said.

John Naylor has a vast amount of experience in motorsport. The Carnew businessman purchased his first racing car when he was just 18 years old on what just happened to be his first ever trip to Mondello with his father.

"I got my first racing car when I was 18. My father and I went to Mondello, it was my first time there, and we ended up buying a racing car before I left and I've been hooked ever since," he recalled.

On that day, John handed over the princely sum of €1,050 for a Lotus 69 Formula Ford 1600. Now aged 55, he is the proud owner of 12 racing cars and as well as accruing a fine collection of vehicles, the ensuing years have gifted him a wealth of experience and memories and a reputation that has earned him his second stint in the top job.

An experienced hillclimb racer, John is a proud and long-serving member of the Wexford Motor Club, serving as chairman at the club on three different occasions.

The hugely respected motorsport official regularly stewards at events and is a member of the FIA (Federation Internationale De L'Automobile).

So highly thought of in the sport is John Naylor that in 2009 when the renowned Max Mosley was finishing up as President of the FIA, the two candidates to replace him, Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen, were required to select seven vice-presidents to join them if they were successful and Arie Vatanen selected John Naylor to be one of his seven even though he had never met the Carnew man and was only going on his reputation.

Vatanen didn't win the election but John Naylor considers being asked a huge honour in itself.

John recalls his last term as President as "for the most part spectacular".

During his term Ireland hosted World Rallys and John was event director for one rally in Sligo and Enniskillen at the same time as being President.

"The end of my tenure didn't end the best because there was upheaval in the sport at the time. The great thing now is that people who would have been on the opposite side to me then are supporting me now," he added.

The Carnew man says that motorsport in Ireland is in a challenging place at the moment due to rising insurance costs which have trebled in the last three years despite Ireland being one of the safest countries. John puts the problems down to a claims culture in Ireland.

Naylor is looking forward to the challenge of the role of President and he describes his immediate goals in the job are to "steady the ship, decide on a course and put the ship back on course".

Bray People