by John Kenny - R.T.E

I knew Neil Shanahan. I’m glad I knew him.

Motorsport is a dangerous sport and it was doing what he loved that ultimately cost him his life. Neil Shanahan was destined for big things. Last Monday his passion and spirit were snuffed out, the candle of the best prospect in Irish motor-racing since Eddie Irvine flickered and died.

This year his first season with the Van Diemen works team in the British Formula Ford championship, the 19-year-old Dubliner was playing catch up.

Most of the other drivers had a season or two behind them in the series, Neil was still learning the tracks and it was taking time in an uncompetitive car.

A 4th place in the 4th round at Brands Hatch was a sign that he was getting on the pace. It didn’t follow on the 5th round at Oulton Park in Cheshire last Monday., the Van Diemen just wasn’t up to the speed of the faster Rays and Mygales.

He was 10th on the grid for the Bank Holiday race, there was work to be done. It happened on lap 2, a tangle and a crash. Most drivers walk away, bruised, battered egos, recriminations in the bar.

Neil never climbed from the wreckage. The sport that he adored took his life and for those of us who knew him it has robbed us of one of the best drivers ever to leave these shores.

I was glad to call him my friend. I met him for the first time at the Formula Ford Festival and world cup at Brands Hatch in 1997. He was with Mick Merrigan who was to become his manager, all the positivity of youth, smiling happy, mouth full of braces, taking it all in, looking to get on the next rung of the motorsport ladder.

He started racing in Ireland in 1993 in junior karting and by 1996 had risen to Formula A where he was second overall in the National Championship. In 1997 Shanahan, helped in no small way by his adoring parents, decided that Neil had the talent to go further and he raced in the Stars of Tomorrow Formula Ford 1600 championship.

It wasn’t the most competitive of classes further down the field but he had some memorable races at the head of affairs with Michael Keohane. His championship success also gave Shanahan the distinction of being chosen as the 1997 Dunlop Driver of the Year. In 1998 he raced in the Irish Formula Ford Zetec series with the Mick Merrigan Motorsport outfit. A season-long battle with the likes of Chris Paul, Philip Kehoe, George McAlpin and Mark O’Connor meant the series went down to the wire; the last round of the championship. There, before the RTE live TV cameras, Neil stamped his authority on the ’98 season with a win to cement a brilliant year and to earn him yet again the Dunlop Driver of the Year accolade.

Neil then competed in the Formula Ford Festival and World Cup at Brands Hatch last October where he made the semi-finals only to suffer a blown fuel pump at the end of the opening lap, which possibly cost him a place on the podium, if not an outright win.

However, he had done enough to convince Van Diemen that this was a driver to be taken seriously, and was offered the ’99 drive in the works car in the British Championship – Neil was on his way. Five races in the dream came to an end in a tangled wreckage at Oulton Park. Neil Shanahan is no longer with us and the world is a sadder place. Neil Shanahan R.I.P.

From a personal point of view there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think of Neil. Even after all these years the memory hasn’t faded. It’s as if I saw him last month. It’s strange.

He still gives me strength in my lowest moments. He and I had the same taste in many things, including our love of music. Rock music – only good and heavy, low slung guitars, and our women blonde and called Debbie.

The girls loved him. I had him out in the car in the 1998 2CV race in Mondello Park and he was great. I was crap but he encouraged me all the way, and when we went to dinner after the race the young ones (including my daughter Danielle) were drooling over him. No surprise there. A good looking chap, cool, and a racing driver as well. How could they resist?

His funeral was a hard one. I touched his racing helmet in the car as it left for the grave. I was devastated. When Neil died part of my life went with him. He was a smart ass, cool as you like, and my abiding memory of him looking up at me when he was sitting on the bank after his oil pump blew at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands. A shrug of the shoulders, I knew he was disappointed but he caught my eye and started to laugh.

‘Neil you old messer’ I thought. Upwards and onwards. It didn’t last long as we all know.

Neil Shanahan may be gone but from my point most certainly not forgotten.



by Declan Quigley - Sportswrite - July 1999

Neil Shanahan who died in a tragic accident at Oulton Park, Cheshire, at the start of June, will be remembered as one of the most promising, unfulfilled talents in a long line of great Irish racers.

In just two and a half seasons racing cars the 19 year old form Churchtown had managed to win just about every conceivable award in Irish racing.

After four seasons as a top karter Neil made the step up to Formula Ford 1600 in 1997 look easy when he took ten victories in his Michael Merrigan Motorsport Van Diemen in an almost unopposed run to the Star of Tomorrow title.

Clearly a driver going places, that led to him being honoured with the most prestigious award in the sport, the Walter Sexton Trophy, as the RIAC Dunlop Driver of the Year.

Last season he stepped up to the premier class, the Ford of Ireland Formula Ford Zetec championship, which he impressively managed to win at his first attempt. A fifty percent record of six wins left no one in any doubt who the star driver was in a strong year for the category and once again the awards followed.

Once again he was chosen as the RIAC Dunlop Driver of the year and that status was rubberstamped by the motorsport press who selected him to be the recipient of the Barney Manley Trophy.

A trip to the British Formula Festival gave him the chance to shine on the international stage for the first time and he wowed the establishment by challenging for a place on the front row of the final until a mechanical problem intervened.

The offers from the top British works team soon followed and he was selected for the world famous Van Diemen works team which had in the past been the springboard for the careers of Ayrton Senna and Eddie Irvine.

Personnel and chassis problems at Van Diemen meant results for the factory squad were thin on the ground in the early races but Neil had marked himself out as a top driver with two fourth places from the first four rounds.

Improvements in the car meant his morale was high as the Oulton Park event approached but, sadly, freak circumstances and the cruel unforgiving nature of the Cheshire circuit claimed his life. He was the first Irish racer to die in competition since Peter O’Reilly died in the Phoenix Park in 1978.

His status in the sport not just as the hugely talented driver but also as a fine popular young man can be gauged by the stream of eulogies that is helping to sustain his family through this difficult time.

This correspondent was always impressed with his composure, manners, and total commitment to his chosen goal, as well as his smooth, precise style on track.

As a racer he was without peer in Irish Formula Ford racing, regularly finding gaps where others could not see them and then completing the manoeuvre without drama or the need for dubious tactics.

As a man he displayed maturity beyond his years. His confidence and easy affability made him a role model in the paddocks, as did his willingness to treat his sport as a job and the resultant work ethic he brought to every task.

Friend and fellow competitor Philip Kehoe was close to Neil both on and off the track and his sentiments echo those expressed by racers throughout the land over the last few days.

“The sport here has been hit more by this than by the death of Ayrton Senna,” says Kehoe, a fellow Irish Formula ford competitor of Neil’s last season.

“Irish motorsport can’t honour him enough. Some people can live to 80 and don’t make as big an impression on the world as Neil did in 19. He was the driving force behind my career and I know that’s true also of a number of other Irish racers. The reason I got up for training in the morning is because I knew Neil did. He was 100% committed to the sport and that helped spur me on to try harder.

“But he was also the driver that I got on best with. We used to compare times and swap set-ups from the Playstation F1 game. I remember beating his time for one of the tracks a couple of days before the Leinster Trophy races last September. I kidded him about it and we had a laugh. But he went away and came back the following morning having beaten it. I couldn’t believe it. He was so competitive. Then he went out and beat us all to win the Irish Championship that day.”

Neil’s manager and mentor Michael Merrigan, whose race team Neil drove for in Ireland, was at Oulton Park when the accident occurred. He was, naturally, devastated. “We were preparing to rebuild the car for the restart. We just couldn’t believe it. Neil was the best driver I have ever been associated with. He was the complete package: blindingly quick and dedicated too. He was definitely going places. What he achieved in Ireland and England in such a short time was proof of that. Neil had a great sense of humour and just loved to be joking and kidding around. The Shanahan’s, father Liam, mother Mary and his sister Clare, are lovely people. My thoughts are with them.”

Neil’s press agent Oisin O’Briain has, likewise, been badly affected by the tragic loss of his great friend. “We had a dream to make F1 together and neither of us had any doubt it would happen,” he says. “I owe him a lot. We were a good team and he meant so much to me. He inspired me and was my reason to get up in the morning. I’ve lost a brilliant friend.”

Former F1 driver David Kennedy, a former British Formula Ford champion and now RTE’s Grand Prix pundit viewed Shanahan’s career with interest and was impressed with the way he approached his racing as well as his speed.

“Neil had marked out a career for himself in the most authoritative fashion by his exceptional success at such a young age,” says Kennedy. “What was so impressive was his commitment and professionalism but, more importantly, he had great charm and warmth for one so young.”



Posted In Media,Tributes

by Mark Gallagher - The Examiner - 7th July 1999

Neil Shanahan was 13, a tall lad for his age, when he positioned himself comfortably into the first motor he ever owned. Two years he had waited for this moment. Two years of setting aside all pocket money for this day. The occasional evening helping in the bar and the hours spent wondering if he would ever have enough. All of this for one moment behind the wheel.

Dad had promised as dusk fell on that first trip to Mondello. Watching each kart lap the track was a glimpse into Neil’s own future. Everything he wanted to do was crystallised in a single afternoon.

Liam agreed with his son. A kart could be his provided he came up with half the money. It takes determination to follow dreams. This took two years. Sometimes he felt like giving up, but the dream sustained him. The pennies began to stack. Into pound after pound. Two years, almost there. His father impressed by his son’s will, put up the rest of the price. At last, Neil was karting.

He stepped slowly at first. Learning is the most important part. Other drivers oozed experience, understood the rigours of competition. It was all something fantastic to Neil. Glimmers of potential did flicker sporadically, but the education curve was long.

All of a sudden 1996 was the year. Third year in a kart, second place in the overall rankings. Most improved driver award. People were beginning to notice. Time for a further step forward. Bigger vehicles. Bigger stage.

Neil always knew he was meant for cars. Karts were fun, a bit of craic, but when he moved into real motors then things would evolve. Someone had mentioned the name Mick Merrigan to Liam as a possible mentor. Father and son sought him out.

Mick, taken aback by the determination and professionalism of the young driver, accepted the role immediately. Neil knew he would come of age in the car. And how right he was. Into Formula Ford Neil ventured, his parents and Mick Merrigan by his side.

Not even in the wild delirium of insomnia could Neil imagine the success that awaited him. Only once in the eleven races of his rookie season, did he fail to take the chequered flag. The jaw of the racing community plunged. Cynics dismissed the results. No one could be that good, that much beyond their years.

Others questioned the legality of the engine. There is always a need to dissect raw talent. Most were in no doubt, though. This was the best driver currently on Irish tracks and he was awarded the very top prize accordingly.

The Sexton Trophy tells you that you are the best. It told Neil Shanahan at only 18. And again, the following year, when he did to Formula Ford Zetec what he had done to Formula Ford.

Neil was maturing so fast, more challenges had to be found. “There was nothing left for Neil to do in Irish motor racing. Keeping him in Ireland for another year would have only held him back,” said Mick Merrigan.

Van Diemen and the British Formula Ford championships were mooted. There was already a Van Diemen engine on his Zetec, but at his age to drive for Van Diemen. An unsurpassed feat.

Van Diemen are the Ferrari for Formula Ford. In his youth, Eddie Irvine began his long road to F1 there.

More significantly, so did Ayrton Senna. The God. The greatest there ever will be. Neil Shanahan was to become the latest to join that lineage. In three short years. Mick Merrigan hasn’t the words to describe his rate of progress.

“His progress was beyond excellent. What ever comes after excellent, that was what Neil achieved. To progress so far in so short a period of time was absolutely astonishing,” says his mentor. And there is a tendency to agree.

He made his British debut in Donington, back in April. Qualifying third on the grid, by the second lap, he was in front. However after being forced off the track, he had to settle for fourth. An impressive debut in British Formula Ford and people were beginning to notice more and more.

The number of watchful eyes continued to grow until five weeks ago in Oulton Park where the dream tragically ended.

The phone calls haven’t stopped. Unknown voices of empathy. Derek Warwick took time out to ring. To offer condolences, proffer advice. He stayed on for over half an hour, explaining how the same thing had happened to his brother, Paul. How he got through it.

Each day the computer mailbox is emptied. Thousands and thousands of sympathetic words from all over the globe. Each morning they arrive through technology. Tributes flow from every coast. Monza held a minute’s silence. Tracks all over the island did the same.

Michael Keohane, rival and good friend, wore Neil’s name on his helmet for some races. They will continue to flow, as the memory of that terrible Sunday in Oulton Park become blunter.

It makes a little difference though. In this time of only questions, it is too hard to understand. You may never truly understand.

For now, it is all shaken heads and stunned silences. Life is clothed in the surreal sense of a continuous nightmare, as if you are going to wake up one morning and Neil will be there, home from Norfolk for a few days, waiting for opportunity to see his pals.

“Maybe someday we will know why Neil was taken from us,” his mother Mary says. Until that day, though Mary and Liam will have to keep wondering. Wishing. Small consolation is derived from the memories each one as golden as the other.

But that is all there is now. Memories. In the room which houses the many prizes of Neil’s short career. In his bedroom, where the colour of the wall is distinguishable because of his love of motor racing.

The gold of Jordan lies against a blackened backdrop. Pictures of Senna, Berger and Irvine decorate the wall. Images of Neil’s aspirations. A future that will never be fulfilled.

Beside the Play Station where Neil would pass hours between races, sits a can of Red Bull. After each race, Neil’s parents would present him with the energising drink to quell exhaustion. This particular can was what Liam held inside his pocket, the day of the tragedy.

The room will always remain the same. A reminder of what Neil was. What he could have been. Neil can now only ever been seen through the prism of memory, but what a clear vision that is. Like the holidays in Wexford, when Neil first drove.

“We used to stay in this farmhouse in Wexford, when Neil was small,” Liam recalls. “There was a long drive up to the place, but when Neil was around seven or eight years of age, he used to drive the car up, and through the two tight pillars in the drive.” From an earnest start in a farmhouse in Wexford, the seeds of a dream germinated.

Neil had always an avid interest in cars. On family holidays to Scotland in his early youth, about the only thing he would pack was miniature model cars. His entire life revolved around the whizz of an engine, the traction of the rubber. Everything else paled.

“Even when he was very young, he was able to tell the difference in the feel of a car. If I ever changed a car, Neil would always tell the differences between the two, as a passenger,” Liam relates.

So, he really couldn’t have been anything else other than a racing driver. Presently, that is hard to accept, only distance will show it. Before that first day out in Mondello, the plot of his life circled around four wheels.

Mondello just consummated the drive. The years in the karts only stimulated the appetite.

He was fifteen when he sat in his first real racing car. An unforgettable experience.

“Alan Ring was on the circuit and he asked Neil would he like to sit in his car,” remembers Oisin O’Brian, a good friend and the man who controlled all of Neil’s publicity. “Neil sat in the car and that was it. He was in his element.”

Ring also played an unwitting role in Mick Merrigan’s discovery of how true Shanahan’s talent was. It was a soaked Mondello and one of Neil’s first practice runs.

“We were going the wrong way around Mondello,” Merrigan tells. “And we were looking at Neil’s lap-times, and he was going two seconds faster than anyone else on the track. Alan Ring, who had raced the circuits for years, was ahead of him, and Neil was clocking two to three seconds faster lap times than him. I asked some of the other fellas what times their watches were showing. It was the same time as mine. That’s when I first knew Neil had something special.”

“He had everything. That is the terrible tragedy of this whole thing.” Merrigan continues. “He had a fully professional team behind him, promoting him. He had great support from him family. Everything. Without Liam and Mary Neil would have never made it. Because a kid could have all the talent in the world, but without the financial support to back it up, he won’t get very far. And those two gave him all the support in the world.”

Shanahan’s parents allowed him to pursue his dream as far as it took him. Neil was never interested in school. His parents didn’t mind. As long as he did the leaving certificate, he could concentrate on the motorsport world. If his promise failed to deliver, there would be the qualifications of the leaving certificate to break the fall. Ensure he could go to college.

“I was left to fill in his CAO form on the last night before it was due in. So I was sitting at the table in the kitchen, filling in the form when Neil came in. I asked him what courses he wanted to do. He said he didn’t care,” Mary smiles as she recants the story.

For Shanahan school was St. Mary’s in Rathmines. A rugby school where every other sport is considered minority and motor racing is not even considered.

Because he sprouted early, Neil was involved in the rugby sides for a couple of years. By Junior Cert, he was single-minded in his sport. The ruck and maul was murked by cars. Nothing but cars.

Transition year provided him with another outlet to nurture the goal. Placement in a local garage, where each evening, it was Shanahan’s duty to park cars in the forecourt as darkness fell. The placement developed into summer work. Neil’s life was focused on cars.

“He used to come home every evening and tell us all the different types of cars he was driving during the day, he loved the job there, and was only too pleased to use the garage’s name when he started to race seriously,” Mary recollects.

Once across the channel, the serious intent began to build in Shanahan. Settled with a Tipperary family in Hunstanton, Neil was in a home from home. Every need catered for, he would relax each evening in front of South Park. The illustrations of Cartman on the nose cone of his car reminding everyone of his love for that show.

Unlike his first days in karting, the sheer awe of it all no longer frightened him. Two laps into the latest stage of his career and he was leading the field. The promise shown at Donington had English tongues wagging. This Irish kid was good.

Although driving in the next two races, Shanahan found the course difficult, they were deemed aberrations at Brands Hatch, Neil was recognised as Motoring News race ace, after finishing fourth from a starting place of 10th on the grid. There was a palpable buzz around the name.

America was mentioned. But, Mick Merrigan says that only one of the options open to Neil. Van Diemen had a team in the States, and there was some talk of Neil trying a season or two over there. Somewhere down the line, he could have been in Indycar rather than Formula One. Of course, Formula One was always the dream. Now, because of a freak accident on Oulton Park, we will never know.

“This is like a book opening,” Merrigan says. “The next page just seems to be getting better and better and then, this happens. Neil had everything, that’s the truly tragic thing. And if you are to ask anyone about Neil Shanahan, they would say the same thing.”

For Neil’s family, the only sustenance comes in memories, portrayed images on the walls and the trophies. The roomful of trophies.

As a tall 13-year-old, Neil stepped into a kart, with only a handful of dreams and the assurance this was what he wanted to do. In under seven years, he became the shining light in domestic racing. His star could have shined brightly and long. Alas we will never know.


by Andrew Murphy - Carsport - July 1999

The Irish Motorsport fraternity were devastated at the news of Neil Shanahan’s death. The 19-year-old Churchtown driver was doing what he most loved when he died in a racing accident at Oulton Park. Ireland’s brightest motor racing star was snuffed out in an instant.

His interest in racing began when he and his father Liam attended a kart race meeting at Mondello Park six years ago. By the time he got home he convinced his father he had to have a kart for racing. Liam was prepared to put up 50 percent of the outlay but neil had to find the other half. And that he did very quickly.

The time spent in karts were learning years and in ’96 he was runner-up in the National and Munster championships; finished third in the IKC club championship and was awarded the Philips trophy as the most improved kart driver.

At the end of the season he told his parents, Liam and Mary, he wanted to be a professional racing driver. They wholeheartedly supported him but he had to combine schooling at St. Mary’s College, Rathmines’ with his racing programme. On Michael Cullen’s recommendation they teamed up with Mick Merrigan in Formula Ford 1600 for the ’97 season. Driver and mentor gelled immediately and Neil won his first face at Kirkistown. He went on to win 10 races out of 11 starts and take the DHL Star of Tomorrow FF1600 championship as well as being awarded the RIAC Dunlop Driver of the Year award. While he raced he worked in his father’s pub, the Bachelor Inn, and at Michael Tynan’s garage to pay his way in racing.

His record in Formula Ford Zetec last year was equally as good as winning six of the twelve races he contested in Ireland, three times as many as his nearest rival to win the Formula Ford Zetec championship and be awarded the RIAC Dunlop Driver of the Year award for a second time. The next step in his career was to move to Britain as a professional driver this year.

With wonderfully supportive parents and mentor Mick Merrigan Neil got a coveted seat with the Van Diemen factory team for this season. “I’m very excited about the coming year and looking forward to the whole British racing scene. It’ll be so different to the home scene.” he said in an interview last January. ” I will be a full time professional driver for the first time and based in England for the whole season. There will be no part-time jobs for me this year so I can devote more time to my fitness programme.”

He was thrilled when Red Bull invited him to join their “sports family” alongside Jean Alesi, Eddie Irvine and Carlos Sainz among others. He was an instant hit with the “family” and was promised test drives with the Red Bull F3000 and Sauber F1 teams at the end of the season.

This year was a catch-up year for him in Britain, learning every circuit he raced and a different racing culture while his main rivals had a season or two under their belts, but he loved the challenge. He made an immediate impression at his first race at Donington Park at Easter, qualifying third and, despite being forced onto the grass, he finished fourth just 0.2 second off the podium. The next two rounds were frustrating for him, finishing ninth at Silverstone and being pushed off the track into retirement at the first corner at Thruxton by his team-mate James Courtney who selected second gear instead of fourth.

However, his next round at Brands Hatch was a blinder and made up for the previous disappointments. He stormed from 10th on the grid to finish fourth. In a brilliant drive he drove around the outside of Mark Taylor at Druids before stunning the 25000 crowd by overtaking Tom Sisley around the outside of Paddock Bend.

Intelligent, focused and articulate he blossomed under the guidance of Mick Merrigan and Oisin O’Briain and loved talking about the sport with anybody. He also enjoyed playing pranks on anyone, but especially Mick Merrigan.

Neil had a charismatic personality, equally at ease talking about racing with young people as he was in front of a TV camera. In the time I have known him I never once heard him speak an unkind word against a rival or club official.

Although still a teenager he was an inspiration to and influence on many, young and old alike. The huge number of messages received from all parts of the world, many from people who never met him but regarded him as a friend through his prowess on the track, was a clear indication of Neil’s popularity.

Accolade upon accolade was heaped on Neil and justifiably so for he was the best prospect to emerge from the Republic since the late ’70s-early ’80s when this country produced drivers of the calibre of Derek Daly, David Kennedy, Tommy Byrne who all raced in F1 and Can-am champion Michael Roe.

His achievements were widely acknowledged and only weeks before his untimely death Irish motor sport journalists voted him Ireland’s most outstanding driver of the year. His name is engraved on the Barney Manley Memorial Trophy alongside such racing luminaries as Eddie Irvine, Martin Donnelly, Kenny Acheson and Jonny kane, rally stars Austin McHale and Bertie Fisher, and rallycross champion Dermot Carnegie, who helped him in his career.

I have lost a friend and so have many more. Hugh Durkin of Kilkenny, one of the many who never met him: best summed up Neil when he wrote. “You were destined for F1. You were talented, charismatic, funny and I got this impression even though i never had the pleasure of meeting you. A very down-to-earth person, you now join the greats in your final resting place. You now join Senna, Clark, Fangio, and all that have been talented enough to make it in motor sport. You are a champion. No one will ever forget that.”

The high esteem young fellow rivals held you in showed at the funeral service when Michael Keohane, John O’Hara, Philip Kehoe, Stephen Drury and Peter Dempsey among others carried your coffin either at the church or at the cemetery. Michael Keohane withdrew from the EFDA Euroseries race at Spa to attend the funeral.

Thank you Neil for your friendship and for the pleasure you brought to so many in your short life.

Our thoughts and prayers are with your parents Liam and Mary, sister Clare, mentor Mick Merrigan and Oisin O’Briain who shared your goal to get into F1 from the beginning. God Bless!


RIAC MOTOR SPORT - Motorsport - 1999

At the age of 19, a future of sporting achievement, excitement and recognition at international level beckoned invitingly and appealing for Neil Shanahan who even at that tender age had already established himself in the sport to which he was devoted so passionately. Unquestionably he had an exceptional talent and was perhaps destined to become not alone one of Ireland’s top drivers but to develop a talent on a much wider stage.

Then in one tragic unbelievable moment, at Oulton Park in Cheshire on 31st May, that future was taken from him. His totally unexpected death, made all the more poignant by his short 19 years in the world, left his parents to mourn a beloved son in whom they took so much pride, his sister Clare to grieve for a cherished brother. A wonderful friend was taken from all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him so well… and Ireland lost the young man who would, without a doubt, have graduated to the exclusive heights of Formula One in the coming Millennium.

Neil’s outstanding talent for driving became evident at a very young age and he was just into his teens when he started racing in the Junior Karts in 1993. His early sequence of wins was inevitably to lead to graduation to Formula Ford 1600 in 1997.

And that year, which was an outstanding one for him, was to bring him his first national awards – the RIAC Dunlop Sexton Driver the Year award and also the DHL Star of Tomorrow award.

The following year was to be an even more rewarding one for young Neil. A winner of six of his 12 races, he was again the recipient of the RIAC Dunlop Sexton Driver of the Year award and was also the Formula Ford Zetec – Ford of Ireland Champion.

Neil was awarded the Barney Manley Memorial Trophy recently. The trophy is awarded annually by the Irish motor sports journalists to a competitor from the 32 countries whose performance in any branch of motor sport is considered to be the year’s outstanding achievement. He was a worthy recipient.

Our hearts go out to Neil’s family, his mentor Mick Merrigan and to his many friends as we share in their grief and their loss.

May he rest in peace.

(a tribute reprinted from the RIAC Motor Sport Bulletin)


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