Waterford rally star, Craig Breen, was awarded the Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year at the Motorsport Ireland Awards this week.
Waterford rally star, Craig Breen, was honoured for a great 2016 this week at the Motorsport Ireland Awards Ceremony held in Dublin.
John Treacy, CEO of Sport Ireland joined Motorsport Ireland and guests as the best of Irish Motorsport were recognised for their outstanding achievements throughout 2016.
Craig was awarded the Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year after he became the first driver from the Republic of Ireland to secure a works drive with Citroen in the World Rally Championship.
The winner of this award is selected by the motor sport media and is presented to an Irish competitor from the 32 counties who has not only proven to be a success in competition but also has acted as a positive role model and ambassador for the sport.
Breen, who came to prominence this season for the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team, and his co-driver Scott Martin, have been added to the Citroën WRC team for 2017. He has driven for Citroën in a DS 3 in four WRC rounds this year achieving top 10 finishes in each. The season highlights included claiming a maiden podium with third place in Finland and finishing fifth in Corsica.
Craig said: “The last twelve months have been fantastic in terms of my career to date. Securing a first ever WRC works drive is phenomenal and receiving this award tops my year off completely. I have worked very hard, remained focused and am very driven to achieving my goals. I hope that I have shown the young drivers around the country, that whether they are just starting out or are part of the Motorsport Team Ireland set up that if you can keep focusing on your dream that one day it might just happen.
“This award carries with it a great responsibility and is as big an incentive as I have ever had to continue to strive to win more in the future. It is an honour to be recognised amongst some of the greats of Irish Motorsport and I intend to acknowledge this by continuing to be the best I can. I can’t wait for the next season to start and the opportunity to represent my country on the biggest stage of all.
“I would like to thank my family, friends, and management that have given this fantastic chance for a childhood dream to be achieved.”
Craig joins a long list of previous winners that includes luminaries in the motorsport world such as Matt Griffin, Austin MacHale, Eddie Irvine and Derek Tohill to name but a few.
The Billy Coleman Award for the Young Rally Driver of the Year was won by 24-year-old Josh Moffett, from Monaghan, who narrowly beat runners up Gary McNamee (Oldcastle, Co Meath) and Callum Devine (Claudy Co Derry) to the title. As part of the award, Josh will receive support to the value of €50,000 for the 2017 season.
The Sexton Trophy for Young Racing Driver of the Year was awarded to 22 year old Cian Carey, from Ratoath Co Meath, ahead of two other finalists, 16-year-old Jordan Dempsey (Mullingar Co Westmeath), and 23 year old Andy O’Brien (Templeogue Dublin).
The Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy went to Se Og Martin as National Junior Kart Champion. Se Og is from Dunloy, Co. Antrim and is just 13 years of age.
The Inaugural FIA Celtic Trophy was won overall by Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin.
The Ivan Webb Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport went to Kevin Barrett, from Maynooth, Co Kildare, who has been an integral part of the Irish motorsport community for many years and a huge supporter of the National Rally Championship both as a competitor and sponsor of the championship through the Triton Showers brand.
The JC Millard Memorial Award for Clubman of the Year went to James O’Brien from Co Cork, for his contribution to the sport both as an organiser and competitor.