Mavitty pays tribute to Rory Galligan in Killarney

It is not often you see a Talbot Samba glide through a rally stage in Ireland. It’s equally unusual to see William Mavitty driving something other than a Mitsubishi Evo. Well, on Saturday the two combined to pay tribute to one of Ireland’s most missed rally drivers, Rory Galligan.

The last time I interviewed Mavitty at the end of a rally was three years ago when he sealed the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship’s Group N title on the Ulster Rally. Our chat at the end of the Killarney Historic Rally was completely different.

There was no mention of stage-times or class battles – instead, alongside co-driver Andrew Browne, Mavitty had been focused on bringing this little piece of history home in one piece. A year of hard work had got them to Killarney, now it was time to let the spectators enjoy it.

After completing all six stages, Mavitty could finally relax and reflect on not only the rally but the past 12 months and the impact Galligan had on his rally career.

“This was Rory Galligan’s first ever rally car,” Mavitty began. “Rory was very good to me in the early days.

“He started a one-make championship here in Ireland for young fellas that were maybe a bit tight for cash. It was a cheap and cheerful championship, the Peugeot 205 Cup.

“That is how I met Rory and he actually helped me progress a lot in rallying. He moved me to the Peugeot 206 Super Cup in England.

“So this is a tribute to Rory himself. A lot of work has gone into it and a lot of people have helped out.

“We just wanted to get the car put back together to the highest possible standard as a tribute to Rory.

“Hopefully we can keep it alive and get a few more days out in it.”

Mavitty went on to explain how the whole project came together.

“We got a phone call this time last year to see if we would like to take on the car. We went down and took a look at it. It was in about a million boxes, it was stripped, it wasn’t actually a car but more like a jigsaw puzzle.

“We took it home and threw it on the floor to see what we had and hadn’t got. There were a few bits and pieces missing.

“Myself and Andrew said if we can pull this thing together we will do Killarney Historics in her next year.

“We started work from there, there have been so many people that have helped. There were nine men around it on Tuesday night to get things pulled together.

“It is amazing the support and help that we have had. Hopefully that is a good tribute to Rory whenever he saw how many people were there working on it together.”

As for the rally itself, Killarney Historic in a Talbot Samba is completely different to what Mavitty has ever experienced before. But to bring the car home in one piece despite a few teething problems; it is an achievement Mavitty and all his helpers can be very proud of.

“It is totally different to anything I have ever done before. Normally I am racing the clock and racing the other guys.

“This weekend it was all about trying to enjoy the car, let everyone else enjoy the car, and remember Rory as well.

“I think we have actually come away with a class win as well which is a bit of a bonus.

“I am sure Rory would be doing plenty of laughing at us if he was around now.”


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Photos by Adam Hall

Adam Hall

Brought up in the Irish countryside, Adam was never far away from the world of rallying. From following local events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster Rally, Adam now puts the stories from stages all around the world into words through his website Rally Insight.

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