Raftery needs to master the Manx in British Championship finale

Galway rally ace Dean Raftery will head across the Irish Sea this week to contest the final round of the MSA British Rally Championship, Rally Isle of Man. Offering two points scoring opportunities, the fondly named “Manx” will be the most important event in the Irishman’s rallying career as he aims to secure the RallyTwo, FiestaSport Trophy and BRC2 championship honours.  With three long days of closed public road rallying ahead, Raftery and regular co-driver Aileen Kelly need to master the unique roads around the small island from the very first stage if they are to take the silverware back to Galway. 

The 23 year old Ford Fiesta R2 pilot currently has a hat trick of wins in the RallyTwo category and will aim to build that tally up to five as the event offers the chance to add to the point’s tables after the first full day and then again at the rally finish. With just one point separating Raftery from rival Gus Greensmith, he will need to keep a weather eye on the horizon if he is to the best chance of taking the championship win. “I think the biggest unknown for all of us is the weather on the Isle of Man” he explains. “It certainly has its very own microclimate and trying to predict what will happen is rather pointless on the island. You just have to go with it and do your best to battle through if you make a wrong tyre choice. It will be the same for everyone so it’s how you handle the situation that will make the difference”.

No stranger to closed road rallying, Raftery is confident the Manx roads will suit his driving style. But rather wisely perhaps, the Bluebird Care backed driver thinks a cautious approach could be favourable.

“Of course there is a lot of pressure on us on this event, much more than normal” he explains.  “It’s my first time on the island, aside from when I was here as a spectator when I was three months old but we can’t count that. I will need to learn as I go as its totally different to any event I’ve done before, you can’t really compare it to the roads back home so I`ll just have to take it one stage at a time and see where we are.”

But it’s not just the RallyTwo title that is up for grabs on the Manx roads.  Raftery is just outside a podium position in the BRC title chase, just one point away from third. Just four points separate him from the top of the FiestaSport Trophy standings and he heads the BRC2 class with six points to spare. But Rally Isle of Man is famous for its unpredictability and Raftery simply cannot afford to relax if he is to end his dream inaugural season in the British Championship.

Rally Isle of Man kicks off on Thursday 11th September, with four stages planned during the evening including a unique spectator stage in Douglas promenade. The bulk of the event competitive mileage is on Friday with stages running well into the night. A final seven stages await on day three, Saturday 13th where the winners will celebrate at the event finish which is hosted by famous TT Grandstand.

Raftery is sponsored by the nationwide home and care service provider Bluebird Care has continued support from Craughwell Tyre Services, King Car Parts and Black Hawk Fuels.
For more information on Dean and his rallying career, visit


Bluebird Care Galway Support Dean Raftery in Rally Championship

Bluebird Care Galway are proudly supporting Galway man Dean Raftery in the Toddsleap Ulster Rally in Northern Ireland. Read the press release below on what Dean has to say about the upcoming race.

Raftery seeks repeat of last year’s winning ways in Ulster Rally showdown

MSA British Rally Championship contender Dean Raftery will head to Northern Ireland this weekend as he bids to keep his RallyTwo championship hopes alive and contests the Toddsleap Ulster Rally. The 23 year from Galway is currently second in the RallyTwo fights and leads the BRC2 class going into the fifth round of the series and will need to call on his previous experience of the challenging Fermanagh and South Tyrone roads if he is to move into the lead of the most hotly contested category in the championship.

The Irishman will certainly be hoping to repeat his success of last year where he won the BRC Challenge section of the event in his Honda Civic and with regular co-driver Aileen Kelly alongside once again, the duo are certainly favorites to take the category win. Using his new-for-2014 Ford Fiesta R2, it will be the first time Raftery has contested a British Championship event on asphalt in the car, being forced to skip the Jim Clark Rally earlier in the year, but is confident he has the measure of the nimble 1600cc machine. “I’m really looking forward to contesting the Ulster Rally again and hopefully we can be right on the pace from the very first stage” he says.   “We have proved this year that we can get some impressive results in the Fiesta so it will be interesting to see how our times compare with the other RallyTwo contenders”.

Ensuring he wasn’t at a disadvantage by missing out on valuable seat time on asphalt, the two-time Irish Junior Champion contested the ALMC Stages in July and duly returned back to Galway with a R2 win under his belt. His impressive outing going some way to make up for lost ground on his British Championship rivals.  “The ALMC result was an important victory this year” said Raftery.  “We used the event mostly to set the car up on asphalt and to find a comfortable pace, but we settled in much quicker than I thought we would and it was a great confidence booster.  I learnt so much about the car during that rally so I really need to put it all into practise now. It’s going to be a tough battle but we are ready for it”.

The Ulster Rally provides a fantastic backdrop for Raftery to showcase the Fiesta across Northern Ireland and has secured the backing of leading care home business, Bluebird Care. “I have to say a huge thank you to Bluebird Care for supporting me during the 2014 season. Hopefully we can look forward to some winning ways together” says Raftery.  Joining the nationwide home and care service provider is continued support from Craughwell Tyre Services, King Car Parts and Black Hawk Fuels.

The Toddsleap Ulster Rally is a two day event and provides competitors with over 120 miles of competitive stages around the rally base of Enniskillen. The action kicks off on Friday 15th August at around midday with around half of the event mileage ahead of the 140 crews taking part. The remaining 60 miles will be tackled during Saturday, before the finish ceremony in the town centre during the evening. For more information on Dean and his rallying career, visit