Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes took a start to finish victory in a round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
Yesterday, they won the Longford based Admore Air Conditioning Corp Midland Moto Rally, finishing a minute and twelve seconds ahead of former champions Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien, also in a Ford Fiesta WRC.
Warrenpoint’s Peadar Hurson and his Monaghan co-driver Damien Connolly, also in a Fiesta WRC were 48.9 seconds further behind in third.
Punching the best times on the opening loop of three stages Moffett led Boyle by 5.2 seconds, interestingly, on the longest stage (S.S. 3 – Keenagh 18.7Km) Moffett was only a tenth of a second quicker. The tyres of both their Fiesta WRC showed severe wear, Moffett declared he just couldn’t get a rhythm through the third stage as Boyle, admitted he braked far too early for the junctions on the second stage, and subsequently softened the suspension for the third stage. An untroubled White was 24 seconds further behind with Stafford, who was third on the opening stage, fourth. McGonigle in fifth was untroubled as Clare’s Padraig Egan, a late entry in a McKinstry hired S14 Subaru WRC, was sixth.
Another late entry, Armagh’s Darren Gass debuting a Skoda Fabia R5 held seventh as he adjusted to his new acquisition. Two spins and a poor tyre choice reflected an eighth-place position for Peadar Hurson (Fiesta WRC) in a top ten that also featured Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla) Hugh Hunter (Ford Focus WRC). In Group N, Michael Boyle (Mitsubishi) led the similar car of Tyrone’s Niall Devine by 3.2 seconds.
The rally took a decisive turn on the fourth stage when Boyle was forced to retire after clipping a bale. That eased the pressure considerably on Moffett, who had already backed off when White spun on S.S. 6 and lost time to leave a minute and second between them at the final service. Stafford slotted into third – 33.1 seconds further back but the selection of second gear gave him some concern. Having chosen the correct tyres Hurson moved to fourth. McGonigle expressed concerns about the head gasket as he held fifth with Gass sixth. Eves, second in the two-wheel drive category had no answer to Stafford’s more powerful Darrian. Egan spun and stalled on S.S. 6 as Armstrong and JF Shovelin rounded out the top ten.
Meanwhile, Strabane’s Niall Devine (Mitsubishi) moved into the lead of the Motorsport Safety Team Group N category when Michael Boyle retired his Mitsubishi with differential woes at the end of S.S. 6. There was little change on the final loop as Moffett took his second Championship win, his only issue was an errant pheasant that ended up in the grill of his Fiesta WRC. Moffett also netted the additional point for fastest on the Power Stage. Stafford topped the two-wheel drive category and Devine won Group N.