The seeds of iRally.com were sewn back in February 1998 under the guise of the ‘Rally Information Service’ by 16-year-old Bangor (Co. Down, Northern Ireland) teenager Jonathan MacDonald.

While providing news and results from Irish, British and World Championship events, the original Rally Information Service was also one of the first websites in the world to host video clips from stage rallies.

The World Wide Web was a very different place back then. It was seven years before the eventual launch of YouTube, which changed the ease of which everyone could upload and share videos across the world.

Back in 1998, Jonathan was armed with a camcorder and an unlikely piece of software called VisualMail. The software was designed to record personal video messages and email them to friends and family across the world…but Jonathan found another use. He used it to share his rally video clips, which he made available through his website as downloadable executable (.exe) files.

As the popularity of the Rally Information Service grew, eventually it left AOL’s free servers where it was first hosted and started to run under its own steam. Jonathan acquired a number of domains, including rallying.biz, worldrallying.info and the British and Irish equivalents. Later, he also secured www.ral.ly.

The website was relaunched around 2002 with a new design. Essentially, it was five different sites under one roof, with separate sections for World, British, Irish and Northern Ireland rallying.

That same year, Jonathan also created RallyForums.com, a site which continues to be popular amongst many rally fans today. He also swapped his video camera for a stills camera, and won the 2002 Renault MSA Young Motor Sport Photographer of the Year award.

Later, with university studies taking priority over his internet venture, he was forced to call time on his Rally Information Service website. Instead, he concentrated on growing RallyForums, which now boasts in having more than 12,000 members.

After university, Jonathan joined the Pacenotes Rally Magazine team and worked his way through the ranks to eventually become Editor. He also secured the role of Regional Development Officer (Northern Ireland) for the Motor Sports Association’s Go Motorsport initiative, and has published a number of rally programmes for the likes of the world famous Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Jonathan also competes at clubman level in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1 and prior to his venture into the driving seat, he spent a number of years navigating for a variety of drivers. In fact, he registered the iRally.com domain in 2005 with the intention of recording his rallying exploits online.

However, it was only in 2012 that iRally.com was finally brought to life. And now it has become the latest incarnation of the original Rally Information Service, now under the guise of iRally.com.

The aim of iRally.com is to bring some of the latest news from the rally world direct to your desktop, with a healthy helping of results, photos, videos and special features too. Make sure you add the site to your bookmarks and check back daily for the latest rally news!