Donegal MC crews look to challenge for honours in Monaghan

Photo Brian McDaid Cristeph Studio

Having won the opening two rounds of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship, Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) is on home ground for Sunday’s third round – the Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Rally.

Aside from protecting his lead in the series, he also renews the great family rivalry with his brother Josh, who is the top seed courtesy of his victory in last year’s rally where he finished forty seconds ahead of Sam. Between them, the Moffett’s have won their home rally since 2013. Sam won in 2013 and 2014 while Josh has won for the last two years.

On Sunday, Josh will drive his own Fiesta R5 while Sam will campaign the Fiesta WRC he has driven on the opening Triton rounds in Nenagh and Longford and indeed on the recent Munster Moonraker Rally where he finished third – 4.3 seconds behind Josh, who actually campaigned Sam’s Fiesta R5 on that event. Interestingly, Sam has stated his preference for the R5 car as he reckons it’s a nicer car to drive as opposed to the World Car.

Former champion Declan Boyle (Fiesta WRC) needs to get back to winning ways if he has designs on a third national victory. He crashed out of the last round in Longford and really needs to secure a strong haul of points from the nine stages around Monaghan town.

Reigning champion Roy White (Fiesta WRC) is nine points behind Moffett in the current campaign as he chases that elusive event win, however, he is also very aware that consistency is the hallmark of any championship win.

Meanwhile, having missed the last round in Longford due to business commitments, Donegal’s Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) returns to the series as he eyes up a second National crown - he won the series in 2015. His battle with Sam Moffett should be intense.

Former triple champion and local hero, Niall Maguire is seeded at number six in his S12B Subaru WRC. Fourth last time out in Longford, Niall is third in the Triton series and is a multi winner of his home event that he last won in 2010.

For 1992 National champion Peadar Hurson, the rally will mark his first appearance in the current series where he will drive a Ford Fiesta WRC, he will have local co-driver Damien Connolly calling the pacenotes.

In the past two years Monaghan’s Stephen Wright (Ford Fiesta R5) has finished fifth on both occasions, given the quality of the opposition, he could find it difficult to achieve a better result.

Title sponsor Kevin Barrett in the Triton Showers liveried Subaru WRC makes his first appearance in the present series, on the recent non-championship Circuit of Kerry he finished third overall. Dundalk’s Brendan Cumiskey (Skoda Fabia R5) completes the top ten.

The Modified entry features a plethora the Escorts in the hands of Gary McPhillips, Jonathan Pringle, Gary Kiernan, Brian Brogan, Adrian Hetherington, Damien Toner and Damien Gallagher along with local hero David Moffett (Toyota Starlet). That should be a fascinating contest, Hetherington leads the Triton Mk. 2 Challenge Trophy and the rally.ie series.

Current leader of the Motorsport Safety Group N series David Guest (Mitsubishi) has opposition from the Mitsubishi trio of Shane Maguire, Aidan Wray and Neil Tohill along with Paul Barrett (Subaru).

Aside from the aforementioned, other locals include Ballinode’s Maurice Moffett (Toyota Starlet), Micky Conlon (Escort) from Castleblayney, Tydavnet’s Jim McKenna (Escort) and Raymond Conlon from Clones in a Ford Escort – all of whom will be seeking to impress.

In the Junior category, Scotstown’s Johnny Treanor (Honda Civic) will be aiming to build on his success on the last round where he beat current series leader Donegal’s Michael Boyle (Honda Civic).
The organisers, the Monaghan Motor Club have seeded 124 crews in the main event and nine in the Junior category.