Sam Moffett comes up short by less than a sec­ond as Josh takes the win

Motor Sport News - - Rally Report - By Brian Pat­ter­son

Or­gan­iser: Car­rick on Suir Mo­tor Club When: Fe­bru­ary 12 Where: Car­rick on Suir Cham­pi­onships: Ir­ish For­est Rally Cham­pi­onship, South East Cham­pi­onship Stages: 6 Starters 70.

For­mer Ir­ish For­est Rally cham­pion Josh Moffett just kept his brother Sam at bay to take a nar­row vic­tory on the Wil­lie Lough­man rally.

It was a day of R5 bat­tles at the front. Sam Moffett led for the first four stages, but Josh nosed in front when it mat­tered.

Keith Cronin spent the day set­tling into his new Ford Fi­esta R5 and was even­tu­ally third. Af­ter the Cambrian Rally was can­celled, Desi Henry put a late en­try into the event and took fourth ahead of fel­low Skoda Fabia R5 man Marty Mccor­mack.

The rally started with a very short stage, Ahenny, where Sam Moffett was fastest by 4s from his brother Josh, with Mccor­mack a fur­ther 2s back. The sec­ond stage, Slieve­n­a­mon, was 8.78 miles but fairly non-tech­ni­cal, and there were only a few sec­onds be­tween the top three.

The cars then headed into ser­vice in Car­rick-on-suir and Sam Moffett held a 5s lead over Mccor­mack, with Josh less than 1s in ar­rears. Cronin was fourth and stated that he was bed­ding him­self into his R5, con­cen­trat­ing on get­ting a feel for the brakes, and wasn’t con­cerned with any­body else’s times.

Henry was fifth and said that his Skoda seemed to be lack­ing trac­tion.

Adrian Hether­ing­ton was sixth and re­ported no prob­lems, but it was no­tice­able how his Toy­ota Corolla WRC sim­ply wasn’t as sharp as the new R5 ma­chin­ery out front.

Much the same could be said about Pat O’connell in sev­enth, a fine driver and for­mer forestry cham­pion. His Mit­subishi Lancer seemed no match in the race of the R5s.

Through the mid­dle loop, a re­peat of the first two stages, Sam and Josh Moffett both set a fastest time, so that they were first and sec­ond re­spec­tively at the next ser­vice.

Mccor­mack dropped some time in stage four, cit­ing an is­sue with tyres, but still held third.

Cronin was grad­u­ally up­ping his pace in fourth, but closer to the pace of the lead­ing three de­spite hav­ing to run over a rock on the line in stage four.

For many the meat of the rally was stages five and six, two runs over the long 13.6-mile tough and bumpy Gur­teen stage.

Josh Moffett made a real charge through SS5, 11s up on his brother Sam, with both Cronin and Henry just a cou­ple of sec­onds down on Josh. Sam Moffett reck­oned he was too wild through some of the junc­tions.

Mccor­mack lost mo­men­tum on this one and he reck­oned he was asleep, and dropped from third to fifth.

Henry’s time was all the more re­mark­able as his Skoda in­curred a punc­ture well be­fore the end of the stage.

As it turned out, the fi­nal stage was short­ened and Sam Moffett took fastest time, 7s quicker than Josh, but the lat­ter took the win by 0.6s. Cronin was a solid third.

David Crossen was fastest two-wheel-drive car on the fi­nal stage and won the cat­e­gory from fel­low Es­cort man Mickey Con­lon. John Gor­don had been sec­ond but re­tired his Es­cort. Shane Mcgirr – reign­ing two-wheeldrive cham­pion – re­tired with a bro­ken ‘diff ear­lier in the day.

Pho­tos: Lor­can Bar­ron – Bar­ron Pix, Martin Walsh, Kevin Money

Josh Moffett beat brother Sam

Reign­ing cham­pion Desi Henry strug­gled for trac­tion in Fabia

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