2017 winners Sam Moffett and Darragh Kelly in their Ford Fiesta WRC. (Pic: Ger Leahy)

With less than three weeks to go until the Cork Motor Club’s annual Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally which will be held in Mallow and outside Mitchelstown on July 28 and 29, this year, in particular, has all the makings of being a special event with the return to a two-day format after a ten year spell as a single day event.

Mallow welcomed the event with open arms in 2010 and the rally gave a huge economic boost to the region.

For a fourth straight year, the main event sponsor is Crafted Fitted Furniture, a local Mallow-based firm which has grown into an industry leader nationwide in the supply and design of furniture and kitchens.

Cork Motor Club are also really delighted to welcome J&M Breen Distributors on board as an associate sponsor of the event.

The Kanturk-based firm are a leading supplier of goods to the motor trade including lubricants and towbars, and they are no strangers to the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally as they have regularly supported the event as stage sponsors down the years.

The support received from local businesses right across a large spectrum is testament to the quality of the event, as firms can see real benefit in being associated with the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally.

The stages themselves, based close to Mitchelstown on Saturday and near Mallow on Sunday, have been undergoing all necessary work to get them in prime shape for the high-speed rally machines with much of this groundwork being helped by the financial contributions of the stage sponsors.

The fast, flowing tests this year are sponsored by Mallow Motor Factors, Eamonn Tarrant & Son Skoda Banteer, Irish Roll Forming Ltd, Greenhall Motors Buttevant, Healy Motorsport, R&R Tyres Ballincollig, Exact Signs Kildorrery, our 2018 Rally HQ The Hibernian Hotel Mallow, and the Mallow Chamber.

Alongside those that support the event financially, CMC relies heavily on other businesses for logistical support in the running of the event, and these deserve special thanks.

Bringing over 100 crews to a region can have its headaches, but the willingness of these organisations to help out makes sure the event runs smoothly.

EARS Motorsport in the heart of Mallow have provided use of their facility for pre-event scrutiny on Friday and Saturday morning (a perfect opportunity to get up close to the rally machines!), while Cork County Council’s Annabella complex will be used for Parc Ferme.

The Sunday service area has been provided by Dairygold, again another great opportunity for the public to see the cars and drivers close up.

Lastly, of course, a rally like the Cork Forest requires the use of stages, and a huge thanks to both Boggeragh Wind Farm and Coillte for the use of their roads and lands respectively.

The official launch of the 2018 Crafted Fitted Furniture Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally will take place this Thursday, July 12 at 7.30pm in the grounds of Mallow Castle followed by a formal press launch with refreshments in the Rally HQ, the Hibernian Hotel Mallow. All are welcome.