The Irish Karting Club hosted their annual “C Plate” meeting, also known as the Race of Champions, at Whiteriver Park in Collon, Co. Louth on July 12th.
Over 60 kart racers from all over Ireland competed across eight different classes to take home the prestigious C Plate. Each year at this event the club also present a special prize, the John Brennan Award.
Johnny Brennan, from Shellumsrath, Co. Kilkenny, was involved in karting for over 30 years. As a racer he was winner of many European, British and Irish titles. He then swapped his racing overalls for mechanic’s ones and went on to run one of Ireland’s most successful kart racing teams.
The Brennan name is still strong in Irish karting. Johnny’s wife Eleanor, known to everybody in the paddock as Mrs. Brennan, continues to attend races and sells kart parts from their truck, ably assisted by her dog Oscar. Johnny’s son Noel now runs the family race team and his brother John and sister Irene also work with the team.
Karting was very much in Johnny’s blood and he was so much more than a successful kart racer and team leader. His love of karting showed through in the assistance and expertise he shared with the paddock, even with drivers from competing teams.
The winner of theJohn Brennan Award is chosen by the Irish Karting Club’s timekeepers, Zita and Esther, along with long time race commentator Trevor Williams and is then approved by the Brennan family. The criteria for selecting the winner changes each year, but it is always awarded to a driver who they see as living up to the standard Johnny would have expected from a kart racer. This year they chose Fair Play and Sportsmanship as the basis for presenting the award, and the winner was 11 year old Alyx Coby from Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
Alyx is not the only member of the Coby family to race karts. Her father, Gary, used to race competitively, running with the same number 99 on his kart that Alyx uses today, and now runs the family race team while her uncle Aaron still races in the IAME X30 Senior class. Back when Gary first started out racing, it was Johnny Brennan who took him under his wing and offered guidance.
It is a great tribute to Johnny’s hard work and dedication to the sport that the daughter of a driver he mentored should win this award, given this year to a driver who displays the sportsmanship Johnny would have been proud to see in a driver, both on and off the track.
Speaking about the decision to present Alyx with the award the timekeepers said that in the three years she has been racing they have never heard a report over the radio from marshals or officials about her for bad driving standards or pushing another competitor off track. They felt this year that Alyx best represented Johnny’s ideals for fair play in karting.
Now in her final year in the Cadet class, Alyx has shown that not only is she a very fair driver but that she also has what it takes to be a very successful one. With three wins so far this year in the Motorsport Ireland Karting Championship, only one driver has won more races and Alyx currently sits in third place on the points table with just three rounds remaining. The championship moves on to Athboy in Co. Meath on August 16th.