National Rally Championship Kicks Off

Posted: March 7, 2023 in Uncategorized

The Triton Showers backed National Rally Championship kicked off last weekend with the Midland Stages Rally, which was based out of the Longford Arms Hotel. Defending national champion Josh Moffett, with his 2022 Irish Tarmac Championship winning co-driver, Andy Hayes sitting in with him for the National Championship as well as the Tarmac Championship this year led the field away seeded number 1.

Sam Moffett with, last year’s National Rally Championship winning co-driver Keith Moriarty were seeded number 2, with Matt Edwards/David Moynihan, and Callum Devine/Noel O’Sullivan seeded number 3 and 4 respectively.

After the opening loop of three stages, Devine/O’Sullivan held a slender lead of just 4s over 2nd placed Moffett/Hayes with Edwards/Moynihan in 3rd place overall. Both the Moffett brothers struggled with the setup of their cars and could not push to the absolute maximum. Despite the setup issues, Josh did manage a stage win on SS2. In fact there was three different stage winners on the opening loop, as Devine took SS1 and Darren Gass/Barry McNulty took the win on SS3.

On the middle loop, there once again was three different stage winners with Devine setting the fastest time on SS4, Gass setting the fastest time on SS5 and Edwards setting the benchmark on SS6. At final service after SS6, Devine had extended his lead over J Moffett to 5.6s. Moffett and Edwards were actually both joint 2nd overall after SS6 as both had a total time of 37:38.7s.

For the final loop of stages, the rain arrived, but not before most the drivers had made their tyre choice and headed back out to the stages. On this loop Devine really stamped his authority on the event. Taking stage wins on both SS7 and SS8. On SS7, Josh dropped 11.4s to Devine and 1.9s to Edwards, most of which was down to having an overshoot on the second last junction on the stage. Edwards also had a spin on this stage, which worked in Josh’s favour as it was still possible to overtake him with just two stages to go. On SS8 Devine extended his lead to 18.2s over Edwards, and Josh went faster than Edwards to reduce the gap to just 0.8s.

With a lead of over 18s Devine took a cautious approach to the final stage to prevent any last minute mishaps. Josh managed to set the stage winning time on SS9, but amazingly, just by 0.1s faster than Edwards, meaning Edwards held onto his 2nd place overall by a slender 0.7s!

Sam Moffett finished the rally in 5th place, after not being able to stick with the pace of Gass over the evening loop. Stephen Write/Ger Conway finished 10th OA and 5th class 5. Richard Moffett/Darragh Kelly finished 13th OA and 4th class 14. Brendan Cumiskey/Martin Connolly finished 16th OA and 8th class 5. Niall Maguire making a return to driving his beloved Impreza s12b finished 18th OA and 1st class 7 with Conor Mohan on the notes. Gary McPhillips/Gary McNern finished 21st OA and 7th class 14. David Moffett/Paul Lennon finished 22nd OA and 8th class 14. Raymond Conlon/Gavin Doherty finished 25th OA and 1st class 13. Shane Maguire/Paul Maguire making their debut in an R5 Fiesta finished 37th OA. Justin Smith/Gregory McQuillan finished 43rd OA and 1st class 12. Mickey Conlon/Damien Fleming finished 45th OA and 2nd class 12. Johno Doogan/Ciaran Marron finished 50th OA and 14th class 14. Arthur Kierans/Shane Farrell finished 51st OA and 6th class 13. Des Lyons/Ashling McArdle finished 66th OA and 4th class 11F. Martin McPhillips/Peter Farrell finished 71st OA and 3rd class 11R. Jack Maguire/Keith McConnon finished 81st OA and 5th class 11F. Dessie Keenan/Jason McKenna made a return under rally2 rules and finished 101st OA. Daniel McKenna/Andrew Grennan also made a return under rally2 and finished 103rd OA. Jack McKenna/Damien Doherty, fresh off their Junior win on the Galway International, won the Junior section here by 50.6s in their Honda Civic.

The final round of both the National and Border navigation championships

takes place this Saturday night with our own club’s March Navigation. First time COC’s Shane and Ciaran Maguire have laid out an 80 mile event based out of Ardaghy hall. Regs and entry are available now.

PRO: Oisín Sherlock  


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