MOFFETTS TIE AS SAM TAKES WIN

Lake­land Stages

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Brian Pat­ter­son Re­sults Pho­tos: Roy Demp­ster, Pro-rally Photography

Or­gan­iser: En­niskillen Mo­tor Club When: Septem­ber 3 Where: En­niskillen, Co Fer­managh, North­ern Ire­land Cham­pi­onship: Valvo­line Ir­ish Na­tional For­est Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: 8 Starters: 70

Brotherly love be­tween the Moffetts, Sam and Josh, went tem­po­rar­ily out the win­dow as they fought tooth and nail for vic­tory, fin­ish­ing equal first on times on the Lake­land Stages Rally.

In the event of a tie, ral­lies are usu­ally de­cided on the fastest first stage time, but the Moffetts tied on the first stage too. There­fore it was de­cided on the sec­ond stage, which was topped by Sam, giv­ing him the over­all win.

The rally con­sisted of four stages through the fa­mil­iar Fer­managh forests, each stage re­peated three times.

Mark Don­nelly, in his Sub­aru Im­preza, led af­ter SS1, just one sec­ond ahead of the ty­ing Moffetts. Con­di­tions were damp, but the stages re­mained firm. As the day pro­gressed speeds were high.

Don­nelly in­curred two punc­tures in stage three, Ballintempo, the long­est stage of the rally. He was only car­ry­ing one spare and had to tackle the short but twisty fourth stage (Bel­more) with one de­flat­ing tyre. When he reached ser­vice, he was over 20s in ar­rears and al­though he pushed hard in the af­ter­noon he couldn’t match the Mof­fett broth­ers at the front.

Sam – in the fam­ily Ford Fi­esta WRC, not his usual Fi­esta R5 – and Josh (Fi­esta R5) went to bat­tle through the rest of the day and there was never more than a sec­ond or two be­tween them. Josh got his Fi­esta’s nose in front through SS5 and SS6, but then Sam surged back through the sev­enth and eighth tests to draw level. Mark Don­nelly was 48s be­hind the lead­ing pair at the fin­ish and had no an­swer to their speed.

Desi Henry was an­other driver close to the fron­trun­ning pace, but his Skoda R5’s in­ter­cooler pipe came adrift in stage three, cost­ing over a minute. Henry did well to bat­tle back from 12th to fourth.

Niall Mccul­lough hired a Mckinstry Sub­aru for this rally. It was his first WRC out­ing and he upped his pace to im­prove from 11th to fifth. Martin Cairns was un­happy with the feel from his Ford Fi­esta WRC’S dif­fer­en­tial early on, but he too upped his game to come through to sixth.

There were many hard luck sto­ries among the fron­trun­ners. Adrian Het­her­ing­ton was a heroic fourth in his Toy­ota Corolla WRC un­til caught out on a hair­pin left around a bale and his car got stuck in the ditch. Mark Don­nelly (Fi­esta S2000) – not to be con­fused with his name­sake on the podium in an Im­preza – drove hard through­out the day and was a strong fifth un­til his car suf­fered a dam­aged strut in stage seven. Reign­ing ju­nior cham­pion Pa­trick O’brien was an­other driver go­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well but he re­tired his Lancer on SS4 when ly­ing fifth.

Shane Mcgirr/martin Mcgar­rity in their Toy­ota Star­let were the best two-wheel-drive crew at the fin­ish. Mickey Con­lon beat Shane’s times on sev­eral stages but his Es­cort suf­fered a punc­ture in the fifth test and dropped down the or­der.

Top Group N hon­ours went to Conor Mccourt/caolan Mckenna from David Den­ni­son/gareth Lewth­waite, both crews in Mit­subishi Lancers.

In the Ir­ish forestry se­ries, Ger Lucey moves to the top of the stand­ings ahead of Michael Carbin. Josh Mof­fett scored max­i­mum points but is not con­test­ing the full se­ries. Henry got sec­ond-place points, which moves him into a strong fin­ished eighth ahead of Keith Dowth­waite and Chloe Louise Treeby. Class 2 win­ners Mathew Roberts/ Sarah Hughes com­pleted the top 10 in their Citroen Saxo.

Sam Mof­fett took the win on count­back

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