The Tarmac Championship reached new heights in ‘85 thanks to the pioneering RTE/UTV coverage of the Circuit of Ireland when the entry included Michelle Mouton (Audi Quattro) and Billy Coleman and Bernard Beguin (Porsche 911SCs). But the Brookes and McRae Opel Manta 400’s became the story when team orders gave the victory to Jimmy.
Mantas had made the headlines at the opening round in Galway where Austin MacHale’s distinctive Irish Shell backed black 400 finished well ahead of Cyril Bolton’s similar car. Billy Coleman’s Porsche beat MacHale’s Manta by just a second in Donegal and in Ulster Brookes got his revenge to lead McRae in the GM camp, with MacHale scooping up useful points to make it a Manta 1, 2, 3.
The Manx saw Brookes take the British title and MacHale gaining useful Tarmac points and a controversial win in Cork over Coleman sealed the 1985 series in the Dubliner’s favour.