Chair hosts reception for Junior World Rally Champion Co-Driver and Runner-up Driver
24th March 2023
As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all here to The Townhall, Enniskillen for this reception in honour of Junior World Champion Co-Driver, Brian Hoy and Junior World Champion Runner Up, Jon Armstrong.
Brian, I understand your rally career started in 2010 when you called pace notes for Darren McGrath in the Peugeot 205 on Enniskillen Motor Club’s Clubman Stages Rally in Lough Navar. From this moment on you never looked back.
Later you navigated for rising star Callum Devine at the Galway International Rally. This ended in an unfortunate early retirement, however, you later paired up to contest Rally Finland and the European Rally Championship.
You were also Co-Driver for Cathan McCourt before you received a phone call from Jon to Co-Drive for him in the Junior World Rally Championship. This was one of your dreams and too good of an opportunity to turn down.
The first rally in the Junior World Rally Championship was in early March 2022 when you travelled to a snowy Sweden. At the end of day one you were 7.7 seconds behind and after day two you had a 3.5 second lead. The lead went backwards and forwards between you and the team from Finland, however, you emerged the eventual winners.
I understand that this was a challenging rally which was difficult for you, however, it was one of the highlights of the Championship for you as it was the first win.
Next up was Croatia in April 2022 and this proved to be the ultimate test with fog, rain and mud to contend with as well as the challenging circuit. Unfortunately three punctures and an off-road spin ended the hopes of a second Workd Rally Championship victory. Despite a 4th place finish you gained 5 stage winning bonus points to hold onto the lead in the Championship.
In May 2022 you competed in the Portugal Rally. You took an early lead and, despite a mechanical fault, you successfully gained 8 valuable championship points to secure 4th place and stay in contention for the Championship title.
In July 2022, it was a trip to Estonia and this proved to be another testing round as you experienced some car issues and an excellent performance on home soil by your closest competitor. However, you both still had the Championship title in sight and achieved a credible third place.
The final rally of the Championship was in Greece and on the opening day you encountered a puncture and dropped 2 points. Once again, with great teamwork and determination, you produced an emphatic comeback to reduce the gap to 17.5 seconds.
You both displayed excellent skill and a desire to win throughout the Championships and this was rewarded when you won the title of World Rally Champion Co-Driver. Overall, Jon and yourself finished a highly commendable Runner Up overall. The Junior World Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying for those under 30 and you are a deserved winner of the Co-Driver Championship as well as your Runner-Up position overall.
Rally driving is certainly a partnership sport as the driver is in control of the car, however, as Co-Driver you play a key role. You are responsible for knowing the rules, doing the administration, preparing and reading the notes, knowing the route and the hazards ahead and keeping time to name but a few.
Being a Co-Driver requires great skill, communication, commitment and focus, and no fear, and you demonstrated these qualities throughout the Championships and cemented your name as a top Co-Driver on the rally circuit.
On behalf of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and on my own behalf, I would like to congratulate you and Jon on your outstanding achievements. You have done yourself, your family and friends and your District proud. I would like to wish you every success for the future, wherever the roads may take you.