Group pictured at the presentation ceremony following the rally.
Having built up a comfortable lead Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) overcame late drama to win the Fanning Motor Factors Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally, round four of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
At the finish of the nine-stage event in Clonmel, Moffett and his Limerick co-driver Keith Moriarty netted a winning margin of 7.8 seconds over the similar car of Donegal’s Declan Boyle and his Monaghan co-driver James O’Reilly.
Pictured above are -John Ward, Clerk of the Course, Cllr. Martin Lonergan, Deputy Mayor of Clonmel, Keith Moriarty, winning co-driver, Andrew Fanning, Fanning Motor Factors - title sponsor of the event, Josh Moffett, winning driver, Des Cooney, Chairperson Tipperary Light Car & Motorcycle Club and David Stames, Clonmel Park Hotel. Photo: Martin Walsh.
Former Triton Showers National Rally champions, Clonmel’s Roy White (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien were third - a minute and 10.5 seconds further behind.
Clonmel's Roy White (Ford Fiesta WRC) finished third on the Fanning Motor Factors Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally, he was involved in a sporting incident on the penultimate stage. Photo: Martin Walsh.
Stuart Darcy (Darrian T90) took a final stage win in the two-wheel drive category after Cavan’s Chris Armstrong (Ford Escort) punctured. In the Motorsport Safety Group N category, Waterford’s Brian O’Keeffe (Mitsubishi EvoIX) finished 24.9 seconds in front of the Mitsubishi EvoX of Maynooth’s Paul Barrett.
Aside from White, Cahir’s Andrew Fanning (Proton Satria S2000) was the next best local driver, he finished 18th. overall and second in Class 5, he was co-driven by Wexford’s Andy Hayes and they were untroubled throughout the event.
Meanwhile, other locals that enjoyed success included Cahir’s Paul Manton/Adam Coffey (Citroen DS3 R3), who won Class 3; Clonmel driver Andrew Sheehan (Honda Civic) with Lisa Knox calling the pacenotes (Honda Civic) took the laurels in Class 2.
Elsewhere, Clonmel’s Kieran O’Sullivan/Paddy O’Gorman (Honda Civic) finished third in Class1; Clonmel driver Michael Ormond with Paddy King took their Honda Civic) to third in Class 2 and Fethard’s Kieran Hayes co-driven by Sean Ward (Peugeot 205) finished third in Class 12.
SPLASH OF COLOUR: Sponsor of the Fanning Motor Factors Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally, Andrew Fanning and his co-driver Andy Hayes (Proton Satria S2000) finished second in Class 5 and 18th. overall. Photo: Martin Walsh.
Moffett was best on the opening stage near Cahir where he extricated a lead of 11.8 seconds over Boyle with White 1.8 seconds further back in third followed by Donegal’s Hoe McGonigle and Cork’s Daragh O’Riordan (Fiesta WRC), who was a late entry. Boyle was marginally quicker on the remaining two stages of the loop and arrived at the Powerstown Racecourse service park 10.4 seconds behind rally leader Moffett.
Boyle commented that the suspension was too soft on the opening stage and he tweaked it prior to the start of the next stage. Rally leader Moffett was far from content and reckoned S.S. 3 was the only stage that he could draw solace from his driving. White, 32.3 seconds behind Boyle was even more dissatisfied, he opined that he had no confidence in his ability and struggled as a result.
McGonigle was only a fraction adrift in fourth, stating he needed a harder compound tyre. O’Riordan just a second behind McGonigle was untroubled.
Stuart Darcy (Darrian) led the two-wheel drive category and was sixth in general classification. Daniel Cronin occupied seventh but was concerned about a noise emanating from his Fiesta R5 on the road back to service. Chris Armstrong (Escort), Johnny Jordan (Toyota Starlet) and Adrian Hetherington (Escort) rounded out the top ten. Daniel Barry (Citroen DS3 R5) seventh after S.S. 2 slipped down to 40th when he was of the road on a right-hander on S.S. 3 and the altercation damaged the steering.
Out on the second loop Moffett got into the groove and kept a good pace and at the final service he led Boyle by 22 seconds. For his part Boyle lost time when he clouted a bank on S.S. 4 and overshot on a square right on S.S. 5. Third placed White - 50.2 seconds further behind remarked that his driving was much improved, helped by an improved set-up. McGonigle occupied fourth followed by the Fiesta WRC of an untroubled O’Riordan. Cronin was sixth, the earlier noise transpired to be a broken anti-roll bar and with no spare, the service crew customised a replacement.
In the modified section, Chris Armstrong (Ford Escort) went ahead after he increased his pace, his plight also helped by Darcy’s spin on S.S. 4 and a misfire on S.S. 5 - he fell some 16 seconds behind his Cavan rival. The top ten was completed by the Toyota Starlet of Johnny Jordan and the Escort of Adrian Hetherington.
In Group N, Waterford’s Brian O’Keeffe (Mitsubishi EvoIX) led Paul Barrett’s EvoX version by some twenty seconds
Out on the closing loop Boyle whittled the margin down to 3.4 seconds with one stage remaining after Moffett’s Fiesta lapsed on to three cylinders. However, Moffett was back on full power to win the final stage and took the spoils by a margin of 7.8 seconds. Moffett also netted the point from the Power Stage to claim the maximum 21 points available and with three rounds remaining, he is certainly Boyle’s main rival for the Vard Memorial Trophy. White stopped on S.S. 8 as he thought Boyle had gone off the road, his time was later amended and he retained his third place.
Armstrong punctured on the final stage and Darcy claimed the two-wheel drive honours. On what was his first rally in quite a while, Kevin Barrett (Subaru WRC) finished ninth.
The Triton Showers Drive of the Day went to Galway’s Des Lyons/Des Sherlock (Honda Civic) and the Junior category was won by Armagh’s Jason Black/Jack McKenna (Toyota Starlet).
1. J. Moffett/K. Moriarty (Ford Fiesta WRC) 55m. 19.7s; 2. D. Boyle/J. O'Reilly (Ford Fiesta WRC) 55m. 27.5s; 3. R. White/J. O’Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC) 56m. 38.0s; 4. J. McGonigle/C. Geaney (Mini WRC) 57m. 01.2s; 5. D. O'Riordan/M. Walsh (Ford Fiesta WRC) 57m. 54.0s; 6. D. Cronin/S. Buckley (Ford Fiesta R5) 58m. 22.8s; 7. S. Darcy/P. Brides (Darrian T90) 58m. 57.1s; 8. J. Jordan/P. McCrudden (Toyota Starlet) 59m. 39.5s; 9. K. Barrett/S. Mullally (Subaru WRC) 59m. 44.0s; 10. A. Hetherington/G. Nolan (Ford Escort) 59m. 49.3s.
Triton Showers National Rally Championship (Provisional Positions after Round 4): 1. D. Boyle 77pts; 2. J. McGonigle 60pts; 3. J. Moffett 59pts; 4. S. Darcy 47pts; =5. D. Kelly & R. White 42 pts.