Duggan And Galvin Take National Title Back To The Kingdom

Duggan And Galvin Take National Title Back To The Kingdom
By Art McCarrick Updated

As Kerry were suffering defeat to Dublin in Croke Park last week, a pair Kerrymen were enjoying a very successful day on the opposite side of the country. Killarney men Rob Duggan and Mikie Galvin wrapped up the Irish National Junior Rally Championship last weekend on the Galway Summer Rally and it marked the culmination of a meteoric rise for the pairing who have only been rallying for a year and a half.

Duggan and Galvin on their way to clinching the junior championship in Galway last weekend (pic Art McCarrick)

“I never thought I would win the championship to be honest, it’s a massive achievement for me and Mikie to do it,” said Robert speaking from Killarney this week. “I’m delighted to have come out on top because it was a hard year. There was a lot of long nights preparing the car and every lad put it up to us along the way but to get the end result is amazing.” The result was indeed amazing given that this was his first attempt at tackling a full championship. “We just tipped around at different rallies last year but we said we’d try a championship this season and see how we’d get on. We started off well, decided to keep at it and now we’ve achieved our goal.”

Rob and Mikie both started rallying last year but they’ve been around the sport for as long as they care to remember. Mikie takes up the story. “Rob and myself have known each other for years and we’d always dreamed of going rallying. We’d been watching the sport for so long and then to be suddenly taking part was almost surreal. Rob had already done one event before I called the notes for the first time on our home rally in Killarney last year. It was a brilliant feeling competing on your home event but it almost felt like it was our first day at school. Then people we had watched for years came up taking to us and checking out our times and it put us at ease.”

And ease is a good word when it comes to describing Duggan. His laid back manner belies the speed at which he can pilot his Honda Civic. “He changes completely when he puts the helmet on but it seems to come to him so naturally,” explained Galvin. The commanding manner in which the pair took championship victory has made many sit up and take notice and Duggan, who only turned 20 in May, now goes forward as a nominee for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award. The winner of the award receives €50,000 worth of support and even if he doesn’t scoop the prize this year, Duggan still has ambitions to progress in the sport.

Rob and Mikie have made quite an impact in 18 months (pic Johnny Hickey)

The British Rally Championship (BRC) has proved a happy hunting ground for young Irish talent recently with Cork’s Keith Cronin having taken 3 of the last 4 British titles. Last year’s Billy Coleman Award winner, Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna, has also impressed the BRC this year and Duggan is keen to get in on the action. “The dream would be to do the BRC and see if we can progress more there. It’s a long shot but the Billy Coleman Award would be a massive help to me obviously. It’s something that I really want to do and I’ll do anything that I can to compete in Britain or further afield to try and prove myself.” Gravel rallies form a major component of the BRC and with one eye on that Duggan has recently competed on the loose for the first time. He explains: “Everyone has been on to me about the gravel rounds in the BRC so if we are ever going to get there we said we should try it now instead of going across the water and making a show of ourselves. It worked out really well and I can’t wait to get back on the gravel again.”

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Rallying of course, comes at a cost and Rob acknowledged that his rapid rise to success could not have happened without the backing, both personal and financial, that he has received to date. “I can’t thank all my friends enough, especially those who have helped with the car. My father has given me massive support over the last 18 months and has kept pushing me to get to where I am now, I’m not sure he realises just how much I appreciate it all. Eagers Newsagents and O’Sullivan Cycles have been a great support too and Mikie obviously.”

Duggan plans to compete on the Cork 20 Rally at the start of October to wrap up his season and having triumphed on the junior section on that event a year ago, he hopes to enter the main field this time. Indeed competing in the main field isn't something that fazes him having put in a stunning performance on the Killarney Rally of the Lakes earlier this year. After 2 stages, Duggan and Galvin lay second overall in the national section of the rally, leading dozens of much more expensive and powerful machines. And if you want to see what all the fuss is about, watch the video below where the Killarney duo set a blistering time of 9 minutes up the famous Moll's Gap stage. Watch the commitment, the speed he carries, the lines he takes and listen to the delivery of the pacenotes. These boys will go places.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ncwGYYkvCc

You can keep up to speed with Rob and Mikie by following them on Twitter at @DugganRobert and @GalvinMikie.

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