Moffett wins Cork Cliffhanger

Posted: July 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

Sam Moffett & James O’Reilly took overall victory on last weekend’s Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally, Rounds 5 & 6 of the Irish Forestry Rally Championship.

The two day event is the only two day forestry event in the country with each leg counting as a separate round of the championship. It proved to be a big battle between three crews each with Monaghan men on board! Sam Moffett & James O’Reilly came from behind to fend off American-based Monaghan driver Barry McKenna and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes. 3rd overall went to Billy Coleman Award Winner James Wilson with Aghabog’s Arthur Kierans navigating.

McKenna & Hayes were fresh from competing on the New England Forestry Rally the previous weekend set the pace on the opening Mount Hilary stage to take a slender 0.1 second lead from Sam Moffett who was reunited with former navigator James O’Reilly. By the end of the opening loop McKenna/Hayes led by 5.3 seconds from Moffett/O’Reilly. Both crews were in R5 Fiestas. James Wilson/Arthur Kierans were putting in a storming drive in their Hyundai R5 to hold 3rd which was only their second event in the car.

After another blast through those three stages. McKenna/Hayes led at the overnight halt by 3.5 seconds from Moffett/O’Reilly. Wilson/Kierans were 3rd 10.5 seconds off the lead. Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley were making a rare forestry appearance for the first time in several years and held 5th overnight in their Skoda R5. Brendan Cumisky/Liam Moynihan were 7th with championship leaders Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan in 10th. David Condell, navigated by Paul Kelly held the two wheel drive lead. Derek Mackarel/Muireann Hayes were debuting an Opel Adam R2 on this event and clinched Saturday’s Junior class honours by just 2 seconds from the similar car of Jordan Hone.

Day two featured a loop of four stages repeated twice. Moffett/O’Reilly put in a stunning time on the Mountain Barracks stage, 11 seconds faster than anyone else, to snatch the lead from McKenna/Hayes. McKenna/Hayes snatched it back on the very next stage only for Moffett/O’Reilly to squeeze back in front after Stage 10 to lead by 0.5 seconds. Wilson/Kierans were contented in 3rd, 24 seconds off the lead.

Moffett/O’Reilly put the hammer down in afternoon. They pulled 6 seconds out of McKenna/Hayes on Stage 11, 7 seconds on the Stage 13 and 8 seconds on Stage 14 to secure the win. McKenna/Hayes settled for 2nd for the second consecutive weekend after another big battle. Wilson/Kierans finished an impressive 3rd. Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley finished in 5th place. Brendan Cumisky/Liam Moynihan took 7th, Mac Kierans guided Vivian Hamill to 8th place. Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan finished in 9th.

Paul Kelly guided David Condell to victory in the modified section. Derek Mackarel/Muireann Hayes were on course for another Junior category win until dropping five minutes on Stage 13 demoted them to 2nd in class. Mickey Conlon/Martin Byrne had to revert to Rally 2 following their retirement on Saturday but they recovered to 36th overall.

The Irish Forestry Championship concludes with the Lakelands Forestry Rally in September.


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