KELLY AND ‘BABY BLUE’ ESCORT HEAD OUT TO NEW ZEALAND
Irishman Kelly is taking famous Ford to the Otago Rally
Frank Kelly will take his infamous ‘baby blue’ Ford Escort Mk2 to New Zealand for the Otago Rally in April.
The 2008 BTRDA Silver Star champion has completely rebuilt the car – which is powered by a Vauxhall engine – and has already shipped it to New Zealand.
“I’ve always followed the Silver Fern Rally and Otago has always popped up too,” said Kelly. “I’ve always thought some day I will go there. As we well know, some day often never comes. The way rallying is going in the UK and Ireland it’s tough to know the way things are going to go. Over Christmas I thought 2017 is the year to do something. Otago had been in touch in September last year and asked if I’d consider doing the event.
“I made a few calls to verify the emails were legit and it snowballed from there. I had to get the Escort into a decent state and it went out two weeks ago.”
Kelly has become well known on social media channels after videos of his flamboyant driving style and distinctive turquoise car have received over 400,000 views on Youtube.
“A lot of people don’t know that we have two ‘baby blues’, the Millington one is the one I use on Tarmac rallies here and the gravel car is a 2.5-litre Vauxhallpowered car,” explained Kelly. “I haven’t done a gravel rally since February last year, I’ve stripped it down and it’s had a nose-to-tail rebuild down to sandblasting the ’shell. It’s done 10 years of rallying.
“It was a white-knuckle ride getting it into the container ready to go. I’ve never been happier to wave goodbye to a car in my life.”
Kelly is also in talks to compete on other events in New Zealand and Australia, although nothing is confirmed. The car will be in South Asia until just before Christmas this year.
Closer to home, Kelly’s Irish campaign will start with the West Cork Rally, the second round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.