Declan Boyle secures championship after eighth in Ballybofey

In trying circumstances Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC) captured the Triton Showers National Rally Championship with his eighth place finish on the Ballybofey based Jackson’s Hotel Donegal Harvest Rally.

Declan Boyle secures championship after eighth in Ballybofey

By Martin Walsh

In trying circumstances Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC) captured the Triton Showers National Rally Championship with his eighth place finish on the Ballybofey based Jackson’s Hotel Donegal Harvest Rally.

Co-driven by Monaghan’s James O’Reilly, Boyle fought off the effects of a severe stomach bug to claim 14 points to put the Vard Memorial Trophy beyond the reach of title rivals Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) and Donegal’s Joe McGonigle (Mini WRC).

Event victory went to Monaghan’s Sam Moffett and his Bandon co-driver Karl Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R5), who finished 7.9 seconds ahead of the Fiesta WRC of the Monaghan/Limerick pairing combination of Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarty, who took runner-up spot in the Triton campaign.

The Donegal/Monaghan crew of Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley (Ford Focus WRC) were a minute further behind in third.

Heavy rain made conditions slippery as Sam Moffett set the pace and led his younger brother and title contender Josh by 3.6 seconds. Another to revel in the wet was Donegal’s Declan Gallagher (Toyota Starlet), who was third overall, 11.9 seconds further behind. Boyle ended the opening stage down in 20th place.

By the end of the loop of three stages Sam Moffett, who was lucky to survive unscathed when his Fiesta mounted a bank led by 29.7 seconds.

Josh Moffett continued in second place but lost time when he had to traverse most of the third stage with just two-wheel drive after a driveshaft snapped. Kelly slotted into third. McGonigle, the third title contender, was next in classification followed by Gallagher and Cavan’s Chris Armstrong (Escort).

The top 10 also featured Jonathan Pringle (Ford Escort), Gareth MacHale (Ford Fiesta R5), Gary McPhillips (Ford Escort) and Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi). David Bogie (Ford Escort) and Donegal’s Damien Tourish (Escort) were two casulties. Boyle slotted into 12th and was within the range of title success.

Josh Moffett powered through the second loop of stages and duly cut the deficit to his brother Sam to 17.7 seconds with the latter remarking that several parts of S.S. 6 had copious amounts of both standing water and shiny tar. With his best drive of the season McGonigle edged out Kelly for third. Gallagher in fifth had throttle problems as Boyle continued his upward curve to hold sixth, however, he still felt unwell.

As Sam Moffett went to win, Josh overshot on the penultimate stage, his real goal, the Triton series also eluded him though Boyle endured a torrid final stage as the windscreen of his Ford Focus WRC misted over two miles into the stage.

However, Boyle hung on and claimed his third national win to equal the record held by Niall Maguire. Declan Gallagher (Toyota Starlet) was the top two-wheel drive exponent; Armstrong won the rally.ie award after Darcy crashed on the penultimate stage. Wray won the Motorsport Safety Team Group N award.

Meanwhile, third place for Derry’s Eunan McGlinchy (Kawasaki) in Saturday’s penultimate round of the Dickies Junior Supersport in Brands Hatch was enough for the Cork based motorcycle race team, Team #109 Kawasaki to claim their inaugural British Championship title.

The Cork Startrek Navigation Trial was won by the Mogeely/Ballincollig pairing of James Fitzgerald/Ken Carmody (Subaru).

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