MOFFETT ON HOME TERRITORY FOR MONAGHAN RALLY
By Martin Walsh
It’s a home event for Triton Showers-backed Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship leader Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5) on Sunday’s third round of the series as he seeks his third straight win in the eight-round series. Gleaming forty points from start to finish victories in both Mayo and Birr, Moffett has opened up a nine point advantage over Armagh’s Darren Gass (Citroen C3 R5) with Monaghan’s Stephen Wright (Ford Fiesta R5) a further two points in arrears in third.
Just a few Kerry co-drivers are involved in the event.
36 Peter Wilson/John McCarthy (Ford Fiesta R5) 
41 Raymond Conlon/Damien Fleming (Toyota Corolla Twincam) 
61 Alan Nesbitt/Elaine NI She (Ford Escort Mk2) 
100 Andrew Gillespie/Declan Casey (Ford Escort) 
Noel O’Sullivan will not be co-droving for number three seed Darren Gass as he is away on British Championship duties with Osian Pryce.
Tenth seed Paul Barrett has Kerry family connections.
Mark Murphy is 27th on reserve in his Toyota Starlet so getting a run is in the hands of other drivers who wont start.
Moffett, the reigning Triton champion, is currently in a rich vein of form and it will take something special to beat him on his home patch over the loop of three stages around the Scotstown, Newbliss and Stranoodan areas.
An added interest to the event is that Sam Moffett, Josh’s older brother, has decided to compete in a Ford Fiesta WRC. He too, is a former Triton champion and winner of the event.
Competitively, neither will hold back but Sam will not be registering for championship points even though he has competed in a previous round in a Class 13 Toyota Starlet, an outing he described as “time for having a bit of fun”
On Sunday, Josh’s championship rivals include Armagh’s Gass, Donegal’s Declan Boyle (VW Polo GTi R5) and Monaghan’s Stephen Wright, who are seeded at three, four and five respectively.
Gass in his Citroen C3 is constantly improving, last time out, he was third overall and was the quickest driver on the “Power Stage” where he annexed an additional championship point. Boyle, who has won the series on three occasions, finished runner-up in Birr on what was his first appearance of the current campaign, on that occasion, he drove his trusty Ford Fiesta WRC, but in Monaghan, is set to campaign a VW Polo GTi R5.
Local driver Wright will be aiming to secure as many points as possible on home ground.
Another local hero, Niall Maguire, the first driver to win three national titles, continues his acclimatisation in his right hand drive Ford Fiesta R5. The top ten also features Tyrone’s Seamus Leonard, Meath’s Tim McNulty, Donegal’s Joe McGonigle and Maynooth’s Barrett in a quartet of Ford Fiesta R5s. Barrett, who looked set to finish fourth in the opening round before his Fiesta R5 lost brakes and crashed into a fence, used the Birr event to regain some of his confidence and is looking forward to a good performance in Monaghan.
Another of the many Triton registered competitors, Tyrone’s Aidan Wray is also in a Fiesta R5 and will be followed by the Mitsubishi EvoVIII of Monaghan’s Michael Carbin, who is currently fourth overall in the series.
Meanwhile, Dubliner Robert Barrable (VW Polo GTi R5), who was second in Mayo and had to skip the last round due to a family commitment, is fourth on a reserve list of some thirty drivers and anxiously awaiting a call-up.
The entry in the two-wheel drive category is ultra-competitive with Cavan’s Gary Kiernan (Escort) leading the way followed by the equally competitive Armagh ace Jason Black (Toyota Starlet). Monaghan’s Gary McPhillips (Escort) is another contender along with Donegal’s Stuart Darcy in his Millington engine Proton, Donegal’s Kevin Gallagher (Darrian T90) along with Cavan’s Jonny Pringle, Donegal’s Damien Tourish and Monaghan’s Richard Moffett, all in in Ford Escorts.
Interspersed amongst the two-wheel drive exponents are the Ford Fiesta R5 of Tyrone ace Gareth Sayers and fellow countyman Declan McRory (Fiesta WRC) as Armagh duo Damian Toner (Ford Escort), Martin Toner (BMW 1 Series) and Monaghan’s Dessie Keenan (Ford Escort) are also amongst the capacity entry.
The Mk. 2 Escort contingent also includes Derry’s Conor Curley, local aces Johnno Doogan and David Moffett, Limerick’s Chris O’Callaghan and Tyrone’s Frank Kelly. The leading Group N driver is Monaghan’s Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi EvoIX), who makes his first appearance of the season.
Top 10 Seeded List
1. Josh Moffett/Jason McKenna (Hyundai i20 R5)
2. Sam Moffett/Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta WRC
3. Darren Gass/Noel O’Sullivan (Citroen C3 Rally2)
4. Declan Boyle/James O’Reilly (Ford Fiesta WRC)
5. Stephen Wright/Dee Connolly (Ford Fiesta R5)
6. Niall Maguire/Conor Foley (Ford Fiesta R5)
7. Seamus Leonard/John McCaffrey (Ford Fiesta R5)
8. Tim McNulty/Paul Kiely (Ford Fiesta R5)
9. Joe McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Ford Fiesta r5)
10. Paul Barrett/Kevin Reilly (Ford Fiesta R5)
Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan.
McElvaney Motors (Saturday) 15.00 – 20.00.
Event Schedule (Sunday):
First Car Away: 09.50.
S.S. 1, 4 & 7 (Scotstown – 11.78km ): 10.33, 13.07 & 15.41.
S.S. 2, 5 & 8 (Killevan – 9.04km): 11.10, 13.44 & 16.18.
S.S. 3, 6 & 9 (Stranoodan – 13.96km): 11.34, 14.11 & 16.45.
Service (Upper and Lower Courthouse car parks) Monaghan Town: 10.00, 12.16 & 14.50.
Finish Ramp (Four Seasons Hotel): 17.28.
Ritchie’s Mints and Projob Workwear are associate sponsors of the Triton Showers-backed Motorsport Ireland Rally Championship.
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