Manus Kelly, Donegal Rally crash victim, known ‘across all of Ireland’

Manus Kelly (left) celebrates success with navigator Donal Barrett at a previous Donegal International Rally
Manus Kelly (left) celebrates success with navigator Donal Barrett at a previous Donegal International Rally
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The president of Motorsport Ireland has said there are “no borders” in the motorsport community following the death of a champion driver at the Donegal Rally on Sunday.

Manus Kelly, a three-time winner of the Donegal International rally competition, died following a crash shortly after noon on the third and final day of the rally, at the Fanad Head loop.

Navigator Donal Barrett was also injured and was taken to hospital, but his injuries are not thought to life-threatening.

Mr Kelly was a recently elected councillor for the Letterkenny area of Donegal, a father of five, a respected businessman and a rally driver who was known in “every corner of Ireland” having competed in multiple events on both sides of the border.

John Naylor, president of Motorsport Ireland, was amongst those to pay tribute.

“The man was a legend in his own time as you can see by everything that has been said about him,” he told the News Letter.

“He was quite a driver and an absolute gentleman as well. He was very active in his community, a great family man and an all-round good competitor.”

Mr Naylor added: “A local councillor for the Letterkenny area, only shortly before the event he was promoting road safety.

“He was an all-round good ambassador for the sport.

“This is an absolute tragedy for the motorsport community, north and south. In motorsport, this island has no borders. The whole community is touched. Manus would have competed in events, north and south, east and west.

“He would have been known in every corner of Ireland.”

Earlier this year, Mr Kelly competed in the UAC Easter Stages Run in Co Antrim, a round of the Irish Tarmac Championships. He also competed in the Eakin Brothers Brian James Trailer Stages, held in Strabane, Co Tyrone.

He had also competed in various Circuit of Ireland events held on this side of the border.

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