For the Irish rally enthusiast, Galway is always the first stop on a jam packed calendar and this year was no different. A bumper entry list with many drivers out in new machinery made for an interesting race to the line over two days on tight, tricky stages.
With the whole day planned out and locations scouted, Dad and I left Dublin early hoping to catch the 3rd stage of the Saturday morning loop. We arrived and the minutes ticked by only to receive the inevitable news that the stage had been cancelled. The days game plan was in the bin. After a quick stop at a manic service park, we headed to stage 4. From a photography perspective it was an utter disaster with zero action to speak of but it was good to see a fantastic field of cars and crews for the first time in 2023.
Thankfully my fortunes turned for the next stage, SS6. A long, fast straight piece of road featured a launchpad of a jump, making for some cool imagery as the top crews got serious air-time thanks to the deceptive nature of the road.
The final stage of the day for us was SS8 and the penultimate stage of day one for the crews. For some, this stage was attack mode, trying to claw vital seconds over their rivals before the end of the day while for others it was simply a case of get it home, re-group and go again on Sunday.
The cars on a charge were very noticeable through the tight, snaking section of road between farm walls and buildings that we had chosen as our vantage point. Some tip-toed through, on and off the throttle, checking and double checking the grip, while others kept it flowing and smooth, undoubtedly faster.
Galway will always be the first event in my calendar and one that's eagerly anticipated for us rally fans. Once again, it provided a great weekends action and set the tone for the season ahead.
Event: 2023 Galway International Rally