Motorsport: Sam Moffett completes clean sweep in Cork

Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (Fiesta R5) and his Bandon co-driver Karl Atkinson won the Acesigns Cork “20” International Rally following a pulsating battle with Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarty (Fiesta R5).

Monaghan's Sam Moffett, right, and his Bandon co-driver Karl Atkinson. Pic: Martin Walsh

It was a historic season where he has won all three Irish championships along with the FIA Celtic Trophy.

Having lost over two and a half minutes on Saturday, Ulster pair Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (Fiesta R5) came through to clinch a late second place (after Moffett/Moriarty crashed out) almost five minutes behind and just ahead of the Skoda Fabia R5 of Donegal’s Joe McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney. Donegal’s Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla) and co-driver William Lynch won the Modified category.

While Stephen Wright (Fiesta R5) failed to start the opening stage, the rally quickly developed into a pattern as the Moffett brothers and Fisher were on an ultra quick pace in comparison to their rivals. Overnight rain made for difficult conditions as Sam Moffett took the early lead - 4.6 seconds ahead of Josh with Fisher debuting his new Fiesta R5 - 9.2 seconds behind. Only three others - Joe McGonigle (Skoda Fabia R5), Kevin Kelleher (Subaru WRC) and Pauric Duffy (Fiesta R5) completed the stage as Aaron MacHale crashed his Citroen DS3R5 into a pole forcing the organisers to cancel the remainder of the stage.

Lacking commitment for the majority of the second stage Sam Moffett saw his lead cut to just seven-tenths of a second by Josh; brake fade meant Fisher was slightly curtailed, he was 9.7 seconds off top spot. There was little between the top two on S.S. 3 with Sam leading by 1.3 seconds, Fisher in third stated he wasn’t taking any risks given the conditions.

Due to oil deposits on the road, the fourth stage was cancelled. The battle for success was reduced to a twin challenge as Fisher’s Fiesta stopped for over two and a half minutes on the Kilnamartyra stage. He was one of several crews subsequently stopped at the scene of Stephen McCann’s accident that required the emergency services.

On S.S. 6, Lough Allua, Sam Moffett increased his advantage to 13.3 seconds with brother Josh reckoning he just couldn’t get into the groove. However, he ended the day with a pair of fastest times and trimmed Sam’s lead to 10.8 seconds. McGonigle, who clipped a rock earlier in the afternoon, was third followed by Owen Murphy and Kevin Kelleher. The organisers gave Fisher an amended time for S.S. 5 that resulted in the Fermanagh man holding sixth at the Macroom overnight halt.

On yesterday’s opening pair of stages Josh was the better of the family duo and cut his brother’s lead to just eighth-tenths of a second. On the repeat of the stages Sam, moved back into an 8.4 seconds lead.

The opening pair of stages in the afternoon saw the pendulum swing in favour of Josh, who moved 2.3 seconds ahead after S.S. 14. That margin was unchanged when they posted identical times on the penultimate stage. However, a mile into the final stage Josh’s bid for glory ended when he crashed out leaving Sam take the laurels. Fisher’s tenacity paid off when he secured the runner-up spot – albeit almost five minutes adrift but a fraction of a second ahead of McGonigle. Owen Murphy and Daniel Cronin completed the top five.

More in this Section

Hot hand Dan James breaks Warriors hearts

Naomi Carroll goal earns heroic win for Harlequins

Phil Healy: ‘I take the whole thing, put it back into my sessions and go out there and not give up until the very end’

Time for Irish athletics to feel the need for speed


Breaking Stories

Pep Guardiola loses cool with opposition manager as Man City exit FA Cup

Will Grigg strikes again as Wigan stun Man City in thrilling FA Cup tie

Cork star Aidan Walsh out for up to 12 weeks with shoulder injury

Toulon president charged with misconduct

Lifestyle

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner