Bangor’s Allan Harryman has been there and seen it all in his three decades as a professional co-driver. A European Rally Championship event winner and World Rally Championship points scorer, he even led the famed 2006 Donegal International Rally alongside Kevin Lynch.
There was just one thing missing, well that was until the last weekend in February. After 20 years of trying, Harryman took his first victory in Italy.
Harryman and his Greek driver Ioannis Papadimitriou, or as Allan calls him – John Paps, won the Rally della Val d’Orcia by 33 seconds in their Skoda Fabia R5.
The pair’s first event together was also in Italy when they competed in a Peugeot 206 WRC on the 2001 Rally della Lana.
“Winning my first rally in Italy was a real high point,” explained Harryman. “Especially after so many years of being denied through mechanical issues.
“John Paps has been my longest-standing driver. We are still friends and some have said the relationship has been better than a marriage.”
Harryman had to wait to taste Italian success and he’ll always remember this year’s Rally della Val d’Orcia as his Tuscan triumph. Despite the wait, Italy has always been a home from home for Harryman as he lived out his motorsport dream.
“I don’t know why, but I always wanted to do a rally in Italy.
“I’d been there a couple of times to do gravel notes and things like that.
“When I did the first rally in Italy with John Paps it ticked one of my boxes, but little did I know that I’d be back doing 30 more events there.
“The rallying in Italy is quite similar to that In Ireland with its fan base and the passion they have for it. It’s quite remarkable.
“They’re also blessed with slightly better weather than home, so everything looks that little bit cooler – not the temperature – but the sunglasses, clothes, and cars.”
Living in his Father’s footsteps, Allan’s achievements in Europe, the Middle East, indeed, across the world are a long way from writing down Terry Harryman’s dictated pacenotes as a child.
It’s a special co-driving story that has passed through a generation and another chapter was written in February as Allan eventually accomplished the Italian job.
Photos by Luca Barsali
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