Three-time, and current, British Rally Champion Matt Edwards is bidding to embark on an Irish Tarmac Rally Championship assault on February’s Galway International Rally.
Edwards clinched his third BRC title with a stellar performance on last year’s Ulster Rally. His third rally win of 2021 was secured when title rival Osian Pryce crashed out of second place on Ulster Rally’s penultimate stage. Edwards went on to win the season finale by two-and-a-half minutes.
As he explains, Edwards is battling hard to broker a deal that would allow him compete across the Irish Sea this year.
“2022 is a blank sheet of paper for me,” Edwards told Rally Insight. “I’m trying to do something different.
“Working with people outside the mainland to try to generate an Irish Tarmac budget is proving difficult. I know quite a lot of people from the work I have done over the years but it is a difficult task approaching people.
“The opportunity has arisen as partners have moved on with a different tact to their marketing schemes. I’m really grateful for the support they have given me and the success we have had but these things don’t last forever.
“It now presents an opportunity because I am not restricted by where the budget has to be spent.
“The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship is the main reason why I want to try something a bit different. I have received a lot of interest and the idea has been given a lot of support anytime it has been mentioned.
“It is something that I would love to happen based on the events, longer mileage, different competition, and new stages that I’ve never done before.
“The reputation and history of the events is something I’d really like to be involved in.”
With a strong mix of ITRC contenders expected to tackle Galway’s two-day rally, the addition of Edwards has thrilling potential.
He may lack experience of most Irish Tarmac rounds but his two Ulster Rally wins since 2018 prove he is more than capable of mixing with Ireland’s revered locals.
“The short term aim is to get to Galway. I think we have about a week to actually make that happen. We basically need £20,000 of support to get to Galway which will get the ball rolling and give us more time to plan for the next one.
“I have still got a lot to offer as a driver and a brand ambassador. My enthusiasm for the sport is as high as it has ever been.
“I tend to get involved in conversations with partners to understand where they are at. There is nothing I can’t really make happen with the various contacts and facilities we have.
“The aim is for them to get something out of it that is of value to them. That is the most important thing rather than offering a single product in particular. Some people want social media, some want trips to the events, some want tuition.
“There is a lot of variation to what we can do. The opportunities are endless.
“Whether it is for somebody that is enthusiastic about motorsport and wants to get involved; or a company that sees the profile of the Irish Tarmac Championship and a bit of extra spice that I can provide coming over from the mainland as an opportunity to exploit.”
Edwards has created a brand awareness document which outlines what he can offer partners in 2022.
Rally Insight understands Edwards hopes to continue using a Volkswagen Polo R5 prepared by Melvyn Evans Motorsport.
The Galway International Rally opens the 2022 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship on 5-6 February with 15 stages covering 240 competitive kilometres.
Photos courtesy of British Rally Championship