The 2017 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship got under way with the Galway International Rally last weekend. Monaghan crews again featured strongly in the R5 category and filled five of the top ten overall places. It was Sam Moffett & Karl Atkinson who led the Monaghan charge. They began an early battle with Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble over the opening loop with just 1.1 seconds between them after stage three. Josh Moffett/James Fulton were just six seconds back. All three were competing in R5 Fiestas.
Fisher/Noble steadily pulled away over the remaining stages on day 1, ending with a 29 seconds lead over Moffett/Atkinson. A stage five puncture dropped Josh Moffett/James Fulton outside the top 10 but they recovered to 8th overnight. Damien Connolly joined forces with Dublin’s Robert Barrable on their first rally in two years. They spent the day acclimatising to the car which wasn’t easy given the slippery nature of the stages. By the end of the day they were 5th overall and 3rd R5. Hot on their heels were Stephen Wright/Arthur Kierans in 6th place. Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane in another R5 Fiesta rounded out the top 10.
Not so lucky were Dublin’s Aaron McHale with Ballinode’s Darragh Kelly on the notes as their event came to an end on stage 8. Andrew Grennan was sitting with Vivian Hamill in the National Rally. They were putting in a steady drive to hold 9th place. Barry McKenna/Leon Jordan & Darren O’Brien/Kaine Treanor were both forced to enter Rally 2 after retiring.
The final day featured six further stages. Moffett/Atkinson could make no further impression on Fisher/Noble on day two. They finished 30 seconds adrift to take 4th overall and secured 2nd place championship points. Barrable/Connolly were two minutes further back in 5th overall while Wright/Kierans and Moffett/Fulton followed home in 6th and 7th. Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane finished 10th overall.
In the National Rally, Vivian Hamill/Andrew Grennan took 9th overall, Barry McKenna/Leon Jordan 32nd overall and 2nd in class 13 with Darren O’Brien/Kaine Treanor 34th overall.
GALWAY INTERNATIONAL RALLY TOP TEN:
1 Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 40m 35s,
2 Roy White/James O’Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1h 41m 34s,
3 Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (Ford Fiesta R5) 1h 41m 43s,
4 Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R5) 1h 42m 13s,
5 Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly (Ford Fiesta R5) 1h 44m 23s,
6 Stephen Wright/Arthur Kierans (Ford Fiesta R5) 1h 44m 37s,
7 Josh Moffett/James Fulton (Ford Fiesta R5) 1h 45m 20s,
8 Joe McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Skoda Fabia R5) 1h 45m 21s,
9 Stephen McCann/Damien Fleming (Ford Fiesta R5) 1h 48m 05s,
10 Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane (Skoda Fabia R5) 1h 51m 16s.
The annual Monaghan Motor Club Autotest takes place this weekend at Wright’s Quarry, Swans Cross. The event will have a class for club members as well as the Autotest regulars. COC Brendan Flynn requires a number of marshals for the day and anyone available to marshal should contact him.
Midland Navigation Trial
The National & Border Navigation Championships continue with the Midland Navigation Trial this Saturday night. The Stag’s Head in Ballinalee is the venue for the event which is being run by Pakie Duffy & Evin Hughes. The event begins at 9.00pm.