25 October 2023
~4 minutes read
Galway rally driver Aoife Raftery to take part in three events in three countries over three weeks
The season may be drawing to a close for most competitors but Galway’s Aoife Raftery will contest three events, across three different categories in three different countries and in as many weekends.
The first female to be selected to join the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, which she has been part of since 2022, got her busy schedule which got underway in Laois last Saturday.
She contested the Laois Gravel Rallysprint in a new-for-her Ford Fiesta Rally 4.
Raftery made her rally debut on the Nicky Grist Stages in Wales in 2021 and has subsequently driven a range of front-wheel-drive machinery in rallying across Ireland, the UK and further afield, having contested the FIA Junior European Rally Championship this year.
Saturday’s result, aided by co-driver Geraldine McBride, at the wheel of the PM Rally Hire Ford Fiesta Rally 4 – her first time driving that particular machine.
British Rally Championship finale in Wales
It sets her up nicely for the final round of the final round of the British Rally Championship which takes place in Wales on Saturday.
The Llandudno-based The Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally is an all-gravel event and will cover a 90-kilometre event over rally roads previously used in Wales Rally GB.
Iconic forest stages which saw the world’s best drivers thread their top-flight machinery through the rugged landscape throughout the Wales Rally GB era of the World Rally Championship, will also host the BRC’s final chapter of 2023 as the likes of Brenig, Elsi and Cloc Main will be familiar stages to fans and drivers alike.
The British Junior Rally Championship will be decided in North Wales on October 28 and will feature a two-way fight between two Irish drivers, Kyle White (County Down) and Kyle McBride (County Donegal).
Raftery is keen to get experience on the former World Rally Championship stages and to see how her much-improved pace stacks up against the two title contenders.
Raftery has been plying her trade in the FIA Junior European Rally Championship this season but has been competing closer to home since her continental campaign drew to a close in August.
On her last Welsh outing, the all-tarmac Rali Bae Ceredigion – also a round of the British Rally Championship – in September she finished third in class in her Broderick Motorsport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2.
In Wales she will field the same uprated Rally 4 version that she used in Laois last weekend.
“I am looking forward to making a return to the Welsh gravel. It is where it all started for me and now to compete in the Ford Fiesta Rally4,” said Raftery
“We are looking to have a good run and compare the pace with the other lads in our class. It is a great event with some really good stages, I cannot wait for it.”
RX 150 Rallycross debut
Her third event in as many weeks will be marked by her Rallycross and circuit racing debut.
The 22-year-old will contest the final round of the British Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill in Kent in the RX 150 category on November 4 and 5.
She will step into the TSL-backed single-specification RX150 machine just days after competing in the Cambrian Rally and the latest event in Raftery’s busy schedule.
She will add a new string to her bow while posing a threat to both the regular RX150 contenders and other new drivers to the category.
This is the final weekend for the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy support category, which includes a heat race taking place after dark under floodlights on Saturday evening, as she also makes her competitive rallycross and rear-wheel-drive debut.
The RX150 Rallycross Championship delivers some of the fastest and most competitive racing in the 5 Nations BRX package, the single-seater, single-specification RX150 machines weighing 430 kilograms, powered by a 200bhp 1000cc motorcycle engines, driven through the rear wheels by six-speed sequential gearboxes.