World Rally Championship star Paul Nagle will auction a very special piece of WRC memorabilia for two local organisations this weekend, which is expected to raise in excess of €15,000.
One of the side events for the much-anticipated Déjà Vu Tralee Charity Road Run on Saturday is a charity auction, and Nagle has come up with a once-off idea that will raise funds for Recovery Haven in Tralee and Fossa GAA club in Killarney.
Nagle has just returned from Rally de Portugal where he was competing for the M-Sport World Rally Team alongside Craig Breen. The World Rally Championship celebrated its 50th anniversary over the weekend and many former world champions and rally stars of the past were present in Porto.
The Aghadoe man got several of the sport’s heroes to sign one of his world-standard helmets and this helmet will be the main auction item on Saturday night.
Signatories include multiple world champions like Sebastien Loeb, Sebastien Ogier and Carlos Sainz. Irish world championship heroes Chris Meeke and Breen have also put their names to the helmet. In total over 20 current or former World Championship drivers have signed the helmet.
“I already have a very good offer on the helmet of €15,000 which will go to Recovery Haven Kerry,” Nagle said. “Anything more and I would like to give to Fossa GAA club. They are building dressing rooms for their female footballers and my two kids have just started to play with the club. I would like to give back something to the community. This is something from rallying back to the community, I have been very privileged to do what I do, and this is something for two local organisations that deserve support."
The Déjà Vu Tralee Charity Road Run event itself will see over 160 cars from the 1950s up the present day take part in the 180km run along the Dingle Peninsula on Saturday,
After a ceremonial start on The Mall in Tralee at 9am, the drivers will head west and visit some of the most historical motorsport locations in the county. Venues include Ballyfinnane, the scene of the 1903 hill climb won by Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame. They will also visit old Circuit of Kerry and Circuit of Ireland stages like Slea Head and Conor Pass.
Drivers confirmed include WRC star Kris Meeke, multiple Belgian rally champion Patrick Snijers, and 1974 Circuit of Ireland Rally winner Cahal Curley.
There are plenty of local drivers taking part too including former Circuit of Kerry winner Thomas Fitzmaurice who will drive the same Subaru Impreza he drove to victory ten years ago.
The event is part of Kerry Motor Club’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration, and the road run is also raising funds for Tralee-based charity Recovery Haven.
As well as the road event, a gala dinner will take place in The Rose Hotel in Tralee on Saturday night when several items of interest to motorsport fans are up for grabs in an auction that includes the signed helmet Nagle has put up. Bidding on the helmet will take place during the gala dinner but phone bids and silent bids are also welcome.
Paul Nagle and Craig Breen finished eighth in Rally de Portugal, the fourth round of the WRC, last weekend after their rally was blighted by punctures, a hybrid fault and brake problems over the four days.
“Obviously, we didn’t have the best of weekends here in Portugal,” Breen said. “Our good start on Friday unfortunately was hampered by our puncture on the same afternoon. We made some progress with the car during the weekend, and I was gaining more confidence, but unfortunately a brake problem put us out of the fight for any power stage points. We now focus on Sardinia, where we will try to do the best job possible to get our championship back on track.”
The pair have a dropped from third position to sixth in the WRC’s standing but are only three points off the podium, and they will have a more favourable road position for Sardinia’s dusty roads.