Backboned by six champions, the Triton Showers National Rally Championship gets underway on Sunday with the TF Royal Hotel/Casey’s and Mulroy’s Londis Mayo Rally that returns to Castlebar for the first time in 11 years.
Triton champion Monaghan’s Josh Moffett aboard his Hyundai i20 R5 spearheads the 100 plus entry. Although listed to drive his championship-winning Ford Fiesta WRC, he has decided to use the R5 in order to refine some settings and make the car even more adaptable to Irish terrain.
In addition, it will offer an interesting comparison with the Fiesta WRC of Clonmel’s Roy White, who has his own target of winning a round of the series. Consistency has been the hallmark of his national outings including his title win four years ago. Like Moffett, Donegal’s Donagh Kelly is also in R5 mode with the VW Polo GTi he drove to victory in last year’s Fastnet Rally in Bantry. Also in the top ten is Warrenpoint’s Peadar Hurson (Ford Fiesta WRC), he remains ultra competitive but his outings always seem to be blighted by reliability issues. Monaghan’s Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) a triple national champion and late entry Derry’s Eugene Donnelly (Proton Iriz R5) are the other national champions in action.
The two-wheel drive category has Armagh’s Damien Toner up against the equally highly-rated Scottish driver David Bogie and Cavan’s Gary Kiernan, all in Ford Escorts. Another Scottish driver Euan Thorburn (Ford Focus WRC) is also sampling the Mayo terrain as is former event winner Kevin Barrett (Subaru WRC).
Other entries are Limerick’s Ian Roche (Subaru WRC), Maynooth’s Paul Barrett (Ford Fiesta R5) and the Mitsubishi’s of Neil Tohill, Trevor Bustard, Niall Devine, Colin Flanagan and late entry Tomas O’Rourke, who will contest the Group N category. The first of the day’s nine stages starts at 9.38am.
Meanwhile, Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity (Skoda Fabia R5) is the top seed for tomorrow’s second round of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship at Bishopscourt.
Clonakilty’s Kevin Kelleher makes his first appearance since the 2017 Cork “20” International Rally, he will drive the McKinstry Motorsport hired Subaru S14 WRC as a shakedown for next week’s West Cork Rally.
On Sunday, the Cork Motorcycle Racing and Vintage Club are expecting over 10,000 people to visit the Monster Motorcycle Show at the Fota Retail Park in Carrigtwohill. The entry for next week’s Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally was released earlier this week and the top five is certainly the most impressive in recent times. It’s a mix of the best of Irish and British drivers as the event counts towards the Irish Tarmac and British Rally Championships.
The top 10 is: 1. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 R5), 2 Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Ford Fiesta R5); 3. Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (Ford Fiesta R5); 4. Tom Cave/Dale Furniss (Hyundai i20 R5); 5. Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley (VW Polo GTi R5).