Sam Moffett & James Fulton put in a dominant display on the Nenagh-based Birr Stages Rally on Sunday last 26th February. The event was the opening round of the 2017 Triton National Rally Championship. Despite stiff competition from the previous three National Champions on the day, Moffett/Fulton controlled the event from the word go to finish almost a minute clear of pre-event favourite Declan Boyle.
The writing was on the wall from the opening stage where Sam was a full 11 seconds clear of the field despite stalling on the start line. 2015 National & Tarmac Champion, Donagh Kelly with Ballinode’s Conor Foley on the notes held 2nd place. The 2013 and 2014 Champion, Declan Boyle went fastest on stage 2 to climb to 2nd place but further fastest times from Sam on stages 3 and 4 left him 30 seconds clear at the half way mark. Kelly/Foley had dropped to 4th place over a minute down and were in a close battle with reigning National Champions, Roy White & James O’Brien.
Conditions were extremely tricky with strong winds and rain but it had no affect on Moffett & Fulton. Another brace of fastest times on stage five and six stretched their lead to almost a minute. Sam admitted to having a moment on stage 6 where the car almost got away from him. Another fastest time came on stage 7 before they eased slightly on the final test to secure a stunning win. The Boyles were 2nd with Kelly/Foley completing the podium in 3rd. They held off Roy White/James O’Brien by three seconds.
Niall Maguire & Enda Sherry finished in a steady 6th place despite a misted-up windscreen hampering them on the opening stages. They weren’t the only Monaghan crews who were successful as Gary McPhillips was the top two wheel drive finisher and Emmet Sherry navigated David Guest to Group N honours.
McPhillips, who had Donegal man James McNulty, in the passenger seat was embroiled in a day-long battle with Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O’Neill for the best two wheel drive car. Hetherington had led early on but McPhillips reigned him in and came out on top by just 2.4 seconds. They were also 8th overall.
In Group N, Emmet Sherry joined forces with Cork’s David Guest in his Lancer. The pair gelled quickly and were in the Group N lead throughout the day. Their main challenger was Shane Maguire with Donegal’s Paul McLoughlin navigating. After eight stages 17.1 seconds separated them.
Andrew Grennan was in the hotseat for Tyrone’s Vivian Hamill. The pair were caught out on the opening stages where they lost several minutes. They made up ground to finish the day 33rd overall and 6th in class 14.
The National Rally Championship continues with the Longford-based Midland Stages Rally on March 26th.
Birr Stages Rally Results
1 Sam Moffett/James Fulton (Fiesta WRC) 60m 27s,
2 Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Fiesta WRC) 61m 26s,
3 Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley (Focus WRC) 62m 02s,
4 Roy White/James O’Brien (Fiesta WRC) 62m 06s,
5 Mark Donnelly/Barry McNulty (Fiesta WRC) 62m 57s,
6 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Impreza WRC) 63m 37s,
7 Stephen McCann/Damien Fleming (Fiesta S2000) 64m 54s,
8 Gary McPhillips/James McNulty (Escort) 65m 13s,
9 Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O’Neill (Escort) 65m 15s,
10 David Guest/Emmet Sherry (Lancer Evo 9) 67m 53s.
Tynan Family Affair on Clones Navigation Trial
It was an all-round success for the Tynan family on last weekend’s Monaghan Navigation Trial. The event was the opening round of the Gary Nesbitt Club Navigation Championship. COC Eoghan Corr laid out a challenging 100 mile route based out of Clones. The Creighton Hotel served as an excellent HQ. At the end of the night both Martin Tynan/Fintan Clerkin and Michael Tynan/Ciaran Tynan finished on identical scores of two penalties each to tie for the win.
A tricky opening section included a clockface herringbone tulip which caught many crews out. The event moved towards Smithborough before a SRS section near Newbliss and some challenging lanes in the Stone Bridge/Kileevan areas. Already Martin Tynan & Fintan Clerkin and Michael Tynan/Ciaran Tynan were clear in the lead on clean sheets with Brendan Treanor/Gary Farrelly a fine 3rd on 1 penalty.
TP23 was not cleaned by any crew with the joint leaders each dropping two penalties here to remain equal first. A broken driveshaft would put an end to Richard Cassidy/Paul Phelan’s hopes of a good result around this section which included some very slippy grass lanes. By the petrol halt in Scotshouse, it was Tynan/Clerkin and Tynan/Tynan on two penalties each, with Ashley McAdoo/Laurence Keenan (6 penalties), Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes (6 penalties) and Mark Deery/David McCrudden (7 penalties) completing the top five.
Further challenging lanes between Scotshouse and Clones were on the cards including some new lanes. One trick used was that crews needed to plot the ITC location to avoid a double visit on plot & bash. More challenging grassy lanes saw crews loop their way back via Stonebridge to Clones. Both Tynan/Clerkin and Tynan/Tynan cleaned the second half to take a joint win on two penalties apiece. Ashley McAdoo/Laurence Keenan secured 3rd place on 7 penalties with Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes 4th on 9 penalties. Mark Deery/David McCrudden took victory in the Semi-Expert class taking 5th overall on 11 penalties. Mac Kierans/Conor Boylan (61 penalties) and Jack McKenna/Andrew Wedlock (152 penalties) completing the top three in this class.
Caolan & Ryan Treanor (47 penalties) put in a superb display to take 7th overall and victory in the Novice class. Aiden Sherry/Oisin Sherlock (98 penalties) and Shane Dalton/Seamus McTigue (99 penalties) completed the top three. Aaron Dixon/Dylan Lennon picked up a convincing win in the Beginner’s class. Their total of 88 penalties was also good enough for 10th overall. Michael Carbin/Mark Mohan also impressed to take 2nd in class on 101 penalties. Emmet McCooey/Christopher McMahon finished in 3rd on 181 penalties and could have won the class but for two 50 penalty infringements.
Well done to COC Eoghan Corr and ACOC Ruadhri Nash on a tough but well run event. Eoghan would like to thank all the residents and landowners along the route and the many marshals who turned up on the night. This weekend’s Cavan Navigation Trial is not running so the next scheduled event is the March Navigation Trial which is being run by Sean McCaffrey. The event will be a counting round of the National & Border Championships.
1 (tie) Martin Tynan/Fintan Clerkin (Subaru Impreza) and Mickey Tynan/Ciaran
Tynan (Subaru Impreza) 2m,
3 Ashley McAdoo/Laurence Keenan (Subaru Impreza) 7m,
4 Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes (Subaru Impreza) 9m,
5 Mark Deery/David McCrudden (Subaru Impreza) 11m,
6 Brendan Treanor/Garry Farrelly (Subaru Impreza) 32m,
7 Caolan Treanor/Ryan Treanor (Subaru Legacy) 47m,
8 Keith McConnon/Micheal McCluskey (Subaru Impreza) 49m,
9 Mac Kierans/Conor Boylan (Subaru Impreza) 61m,
10 Aaron Dixon/Dylan Lennon (Subaru Impreza) 88m,
11 Aidan Sherry/Oisin Sherlock (Subaru Impreza) 98m,
12 Shane Dalton/Seamus McTigue (Subaru Impreza) 99m.
Semi-experts: 1 Kevin McCormack/David McCrudden, 2 Mac Kierans/Conor Boylan,
3 Jack McKenna/Andrew Wedlock (Subaru Impreza) 152m.
Novices: 1 Caolan Treanor/Ryan Treanor, 2 Aidan Sherry/Oisin Sherlock, 3
Shane Dalton/Seamus McTigue.
Beginners: 1 Aaron Dixon/Dylan Lennon, 2 Mickey Carbin/Mark Mohan (Subaru
Impreza) 101m, 3 Emmet McCooey/Christopher McMahon (Subaru Impreza) 181m.