Second forest win in a row for Sam Moffett
Fivemiletown Spring Rally
Organiser: Omagh Motor Club Ltd When: February 27 Where: Eskra, County Tyrone Starters: 59 Stages: 10
After the mid-event service, Sam Moffett took the lead from his brother Josh to add a Fivemiletown Spring Rally win by 48s to his Loughman victory earlier in the month.
The clubman rally was a final chance for the Monaghan duo to prepare their Ford Fiesta R5s for this weekend’s BRC opener. Josh had a 12s lead after SS5 before he retired with a flight to a businessrelated award evening looming.
Josh won the opening 1.6-mile Carrickahenny test from Sam by two seconds. But Mark Donnelly and Barry Mcnulty were fastest on SS2, Doon, to move their S10spec Subaru Impreza to the front by 5s with Kumho tyres at their disposal for the first time. Then, on the first pass of the longest stage, Jenkin, the Omagh-based driver increased the advantage to 18s and 23s on SS4. But a fan belt later snapped and sidelined any winning hopes.
Sam Moffett and Jason Mckenna went on to win each stage in the second half of the event, with 7s on the Jenkin repeat their biggest margin.
Another Mark Donnelly – not to be confused with the Mark Donnelly who retired his Subaru – finished second with Stephen O’hanlon on the notes in their Mitsubishi Lancer E9. The KG Motorsport car punched in four second-place stage times after having finished SS1 in ninth.
With a stage to go, three seconds split four cars with a second between each to leave a climatic 3.2-mile Crocknagrally. And after over half an hour of rallying three of those crews could not be separated on time to cause some confusion as to who would claim the final podium place.
Official results later stated the team with the faster time on SS1 would get the place, favouring Niall Mccullagh and Ryan Mccloskey, 25s from Donnelly.
Frank Kelly and Sean Ferris claimed fourth after another daylong two-wheel-drive battle with friendly rivals Shane Mcgirr and Jackie Elliott, who slipped back from third to sixth.
On only their fourth rally and splitting the two-wheel-drive runners in fifth were Frank and Steven O’brien, brothers of Team Ireland’s Patrick. Set-up changes encouraged the result.
Drive DMACK Trophy driver Jon Armstrong pleased spectators with a flamboyant display in a similar Ford Fiesta R2T to the one he’ll use in the DDT this year. He headed Class 5.