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It is one of the more remarkable success stories of the 2014 East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship, the success of Irishman Richie Dalton in securing the National 4WD series in just his second year in the sport.

“It’s great, a very successful two years since I started rallying and I honestly couldn’t have asked for more,” said an extremely humbled Dalton at the final Round in Victoria where he saw off the challenge of his Championship rivals.
The event marked just Dalton’s tenth time competing, having only taken up rallying in 2012. For veteran co-driver John Allen it’s a fact that he still struggles to comprehend.
“I can’t believe it’s ten rallies, it’s like he’s got ten years experience, it’s absolutely amazing,” explained Allen, the Queensland navigator full of praise for his driver. “My policy is if I’m not scared then he’s not driving fast enough. He did scare me in a couple of places there, but all under control.”
To make the challenge even tougher Dalton had sat out three Rounds of this year’s series after a rocky start at the opening event in Canberra and then starting a family with the birth of his first child.
“It’s been an incredible year after missing the second, third and fourth Rounds. I’d saved my own money to do the fifth Round at Coffs Harbour, and I really just went there for a bit of fun.”
“So to come away from that event in the lead of the 4WD points, well I knew I had to find a way to get to the final event of the year, no way did I want to miss it,” Richie continued.
But the roller coaster ride didn’t stop there. Having sustained significant damage to his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 in taking the win in Coffs, there were times right up to the close of entries for Victoria that Dalton didn’t think he’d make it.
“It was a huge undertaking to get us here, we really struggled. I’d never planned to come here (Victoria), I had no idea what I was going to do because I had no money.”
“All the Irish community got behind me, it’s really that way because we all know each other. They’ve been more than good to me. For me to pay them back (with the Championship win), I’m really happy and proud of that,” Dalton said.
In the end Dalton brought his Lancer home with the event victory and the title. “So chuffed, especially to be able to beat Justin Dowel, 2011 Australian Rally Champion!”

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