Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his Limerick co-driver Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta WRC) claimed the Hotel Kilmore Cavan Rally yesterday.
They finished with a winning margin of 34.6 seconds over the Fiesta WRC of Donegal’s Declan Boyle and his Monaghan co-driver James O’Reilly. Armagh’s Darren Gass and Monaghan’s Enda Sherry (Subaru WRC) were 46.4 seconds behind in third.
Courtesy of a strong pace Moffett led at the end of the opening stage, Lough Gowna where he traversed the bumpy and narrow terrain 5.6 seconds faster than Boyle while Clonmel’s Roy White (Fiesta WRC) was back in third. Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings (Subaru) was next on the leaderboard in a top six that also featured Donegal’s Joe McGonigle (Mini WRC) and Warrenpoint’s Peadar Hurson (Fiesta WRC).
Donegal’s Stuart Darcy (Darrian T90) and his Macroom co-driver William Lynch led the two-wheel drive category and were seventh overall.
Unfortunately, the times for the second stage were scrubbed as the start and finish clocks were not synchronised. Although Moffett had a slight spin on the third stage near Cross Keys, he still managed to extend his lead over Boyle to 8.8 seconds. White lost a few seconds with a spin and was 10.6 seconds further adrift in third.
Jennings continued in fourth, he admitted hat the stages really didn’t suit his car. For fifth placed Hurson, the lack of a digital read out of his gear selection took its toll and dented his confidence. McGonigle (Mini WRC) was next followed by an untroubled Darren Gass in the McKinstry hired Subaru WRC.
Despite his Darrian bottoming out on several occasions Darcy continued to dictate the pace in the Modified category while Donagh Kelly’s first appearance in a Fiesta WRC yielded ninth. Kevin Barrett (Subaru WRC) was tenth.
In Group N Willie Fannin (Subaru) took over after Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi) retired with a damaged exhaust. Another to retire was Maynooth’s Paul Barrett (Mitsubishi EvoX), a blown turbo brought an opening stage exit.
There was glimmer of hope for Boyle as he took a second from Moffett on S.S. 4 only for the latter to sail through S.S. 5 and into a lead of 15.6 seconds, Boyle then lost second spot due to a front right wheel puncture on S.S. 6 where White, punched in the best time to move into second 24.1 seconds behind Moffett and 12.2 seconds ahead of Boyle.
Jennings continued in fourth with Gass fifth and McGonigle, who dropped at least 20 seconds when he slid of the road on S.S. 5. Kelly slotted into seventh as he grew accustomed to his new surroundings. A broken rear differential ended Hurson’s rally. Darcy was the top two-wheel drive competitor and he led local hero Gary Kiernan (Ford Escort) by 8.3 seconds although the latter punctured. Fannin (Subaru) continued to lead Group N.
Out on S.S. 7 White’s hopes of second place were thwarted when his Fiesta punctured - he eventually finished twelfth. Moffett went on to claim victory and the twenty Triton Showers National Rally Championship points while Boyle was quickest through the Power stage and claimed an additional bonus point for a total of 19 points.
Gass was third with McGonigle, Kelly and Jennings rounding out the top six. Darcy/Lynch won the two-wheel drive category; Down’s Cathan McCourt and Cork co-driver Grace O’Brien won Group N, Fannin was a final stage retirement.
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