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The return of Irish rally highlights could involve you

The quality of rallying in Ireland this year has trumped any of its preceding seasons. Famous names, iconic stages, and top-of-the-range rally cars – Ireland has had it all in 2022.

Or has it?

There has been one evident omission from recent rally weeks – a highlights programme.

Irish rallying has never been further from the fever-pitched RPM productions that simply became unmissable. Those glory days of coverage in the noughties not only entertained the rally fan but helped events, drivers, and sponsors become household names.

The fact is, rally coverage has lacked the secret ingredients ever since. The harder truth to accept is that it will never happen again, at least in that same prime-time TV format, it’s simply unattainable.

Still, there is plenty of scope to provide edge-of-your-seat highlights that can be pencilled into one’s calendar the week after a rally.

Thankfully it looks like moves are being made to ensure Ireland’s leading rally championships have some form of highlights package in 2023.

One man keen to build a path back to top-quality rally coverage will be familiar to most fans who have followed events from home. Killian Duffy’s Onthepacenote Facebook Live interviews have offered a lifeline to rally fans unable to attend events in person.

Duffy and fellow stage-end interviewer, Andy Walsh, have built an extensive viewing audience since their first event back in 2017.

Onthepacenote has captured some classic stage-end snippets through 2022 thanks to the simplicity of grabbing crews’ emotions straight after fighting for tenths of seconds over some of the world’s best stages.

The coverage has the tension, the atmosphere, and the traditional Irish entertainment – it just works.

For 2023, Duffy aims to provide a 30-minute highlights package for at least the National and Forest Rally Championships. The show will be published on YouTube less than a week after each rally has taken place and aims to provide content that emphasises the best of our sport.

Duffy has lined up an editor, voiceover, and script writer for the broadcast that is designed to show off and document the brilliant on-stage battles that will last a lifetime.

The storylines will be able to utilise the best stage-end comments that, when published, could well produce scenes that hark back to rallying’s glory days.

Now, this is when the fun begins and where you can glance back to this story’s title. How does this involve you?

The Irish rallying community is like no other. Whether it’s the crews embroiled in competition but still stopping to help a rival overcome mechanical despair; the organisers, volunteers, and supporters who rock up to events spanning the Emerald Isle; or media men and women who give their all to capture the best photos and videos to post on personal pages.

Next year’s highlights package will benefit from contributions by each of the above. But it’s the videographers that can put their own touch to rally highlights in 2023.

Duffy is on the lookout for videographers. Professional or amateur, it doesn’t matter. These video clips will make the highlights programme a production created by the Irish rallying community.

The extensive variety of locations will also improve the interest, action, and spectacle from each event.

Contributions will be paid for and, in turn, rewards those willing to help promote the sport we think so much of.

It is a new approach but one that offers an action-packed highlights programme that can be sustained and developed in years to come.

If you are interested in helping, just send Killian Duffy or Onthepacenote a message to find out more.

Rallying has a long way to go to provide coverage that matches the quality of competition enjoyed on the stages but sometimes a step back has to be taken to make several steps forward.

Personally, I am looking forward to the beginning of a weekly YouTube addiction.

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Action photos by Roger Dawson

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