‘Henry wins Ir­ish For­est counter

Motor Sport News - - Btrda Round Three: Somerset Stages - By Brian Pat­ter­son

Or­gan­iser: Mun­ster Car Club When: April 16 Where: Bal­lyvour­ney Co Cork Cham­pi­onship: Valvo­line MI Forestry Cham­pi­onship; Suir­way South East Stages Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: 8 Starters: 82.

Desi Henry and Liam Moyni­han dom­i­nated the Moon­raker For­est Rally through the Sagart and Mul­laghan­ish Moun­tains above Bal­lyvour­ney in their Skoda Fabia R5. Their lead was never in doubt over eight stages.

The rally at­tracted one of the best en­tries for years and, although the 50 two-wheel-drive cars ran first, the stages re­mained in good con­di­tion through­out the day.

Henry was fastest through the open­ing stage, al­beit by just 0.6s from Josh Mof­fett in his for­est-spec Mit­subishi Lancer. But it would be a short-lived chal­lenge. Mof­fett stopped with turbo mal­adies and an off-road ex­cur­sion on stage two put paid to his vic­tory chances. It also robbed the rally of a strong fron­trun­ner.

When the cars got to ser­vice af­ter stage two, it was for­mer forestry cham­pion Pat O’connell who was Henry’s clos­est chal­lenger. Brendan Cu­miskey was third in his Ford Fi­esta R5. Henry’s gap over the sec­ond-placed man was al­ready over 19s.

Rob Dug­gan in his Peu­geot 208 R2 was the fastest two-wheel drive – an­other BRC ex­po­nent – in 13th.

Stages three and four, Der­reenal­ing (3.4 miles) and Knockabro (8.1 miles), were a re­peat of the first two.

Henry pre­dictably in­creased his lead, but there was a de­cent scrap for sec­ond as Ger Lucey chal­lenged Pat O’connell in a sim­i­lar Lancer. Fourth-placed Cu­miskey in his Fi­esta R5 cer­tainly wasn’t out of the pic­ture ei­ther, just a few sec­onds in ar­rears.

Mof­fett had re­joined the rally and set a sec­ond fastest time through the long stage four, but was still 17s off Henry’s time. His car was now suf­fer­ing a leaky ra­di­a­tor and ex­haust dam­age.

Erst­while cham­pi­onship leader Pa­trick O’brien was an­other Lancer in trou­ble as he had early gear se­lec­tion prob­lems and ran it with no anti-lag, but he man­aged to hold fifth and that was de­spite brake dra­mas be­cause of a dam­aged pipe.

Robert Mof­fett, Josh and Sam’s fa­ther, was tak­ing one of the fam­ily Ford Fi­esta WRCS for a run and was up to sixth, although he then dropped a few sec­onds and places in stage six. Don Keat­ing had been ninth but his Subaru Im­preza, which had a re­place­ment en­gine fit­ted be­fore the rally, stopped in stage four.

Through the slightly shorter stages five and six, Henry was again com­fort­ably fastest. Dur­ing those tests, O’connell edged ahead of Lucey and Cu­miskey.

O’brien’s gritty drive came to an end in stage six when the reign­ing Ju­nior Forestry cham­pion’s Lancer cried enough when hold­ing fifth. Fron­trun­ning Ju­nior class driver Derek Mack­erel re­tired in stage five when his Vaux­hall Nova broke a tim­ing belt, and Alan Mo­ran then led in his Peu­geot 206 from Shane Ken­neally (Ford Es­cort).

Stephen Dick­son, hav­ing his first run in his Ford Fi­esta, later came through to sec­ond best Ju­nior.

Adrian Hether­ing­ton was ac­cli­ma­tis­ing him­self to his first run in a Toy­ota Corolla WRC and he came up to 10th on stage six.

The fi­nal two stages were a re­peat of five and six (Glean­n­dav 2.33 miles) and Cur­ragh (4.72 miles). Henry was com­fort­ably fastest to win by 1m27s from O’connell. Cu­miskey in third was just 1s back from O’connell at the end.

Best two-wheel-drive hon­ours went to Dug­gan. He leads the DMACK BRC Ju­nior stand­ings driv­ing a Vaux­hall Adam, with his sis­ter Tara co-driv­ing.

Moon­raker For­est Rally Photos: Martin Walsh

Desi Henry marched to dom­i­nant vic­tory

Dug­gan: Fast in Peu­geot 208

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