Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien clinched the Triton Showers National Rally Championship with a second placed championship finish on yesterday’s sixth round, the Sepam Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally in Clonmel.
The event was won by Donegal cousins, Declan Boyle and Brian Boyle (Fiesta WRC) – they finished 34.7 seconds ahead of the Fiesta R5 of Ulster duo Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble. Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his Antrim co-driver John Rowan (Fiesta R5) were third, 16.9 seconds further behind.
Former national champion Peadar Hurson (Subaru WRC) set the initial pace. On the first stage close to Ballymacarbery he led the Fiesta WRC of Declan Boyle by 1.5 seconds with Alastair Fisher (Fiesta R5) a mere nine-tenths of a second back. Stephen Wright (Fiesta R5) occupied fourth as Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5) and Triton Showers championship leader Roy White (Fiesta WRC) rounding out the top six.
Boyle dominated the remaining two stages of the opening loop and arrived at Powerstown Service Park with a lead of 2.2 seconds. Fisher, who reckoned his brakes had gone soft, was second. Moffett was third followed by White, who was firmly focussed on his championship battle
Having tweaked the suspension of his Fiesta WRC, Boyle took control of the rally on the repeat loop of stages, pushing his lead out to 22 seconds, as Fisher remained his closest rival. Josh Moffett lost some precious seconds when his Fiesta R5 mounted a back on S.S. 6, causing handling issues.
White had trouble on S.S. 6, losing time when he spun and stalled. Top seed Sam Moffett was next followed by Hurson.
Alan Ring’s rally ended abruptly on S.S. 4 when his Fiesta hit a wall, the Castleisland driver and his Newcestown co-driver Adrian Deasy were removed to hospital where their injuries are being treated. Elsewhere, Enda O’Brien (Escort) led the Modified category 17.8 seconds in front of the Escort of Trevor Mulligan.
On the third and final loop, White kept his composure and took the championship spoils and the Vard Memorial Trophy to join fellow Tipperary drivers Donie Keating (1981 & 1991) and Frank Meagher (1986) as National Rally Champion. Rally winner Boyle spun on the final stage where Hurson was quickest to gain the three extra points, but it was incidental as White’s finishing position ended the title quest.
Kilkenny’s Enda O’Brien (Escort) won the Modified section and Maynooth’s Paul Barrett (Subaru) won Group N. The Junior section was won by Donegal’s Michael Boyle (Honda Civic).
At the finish, White said, “We have had a great season and one that was very consistent, Tom Gahan prepared a beautiful car for us. It is also a fantastic achievement for James O’Brien (co-driver – to have won all four Irish rally titles) as well, he kept us on the straight and narrow. It’s a great team effort and it is extra special to win it here in my home-town of Clonmel.”
Meanwhile, Alan McGeehan (Mini WRC) won the Dogleap Rally in County Derry finishing 41.1 seconds ahead of the similar car of Alan Carmichael.
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