Four Seasons Hotel Stages Rally Ready For Off The country roads of Monaghan are set
to roar with the sounds of Rally Cars as the Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally
gets underway this Sunday. After eight months of hard work, it’s time for the 2018
Monaghan Stages Rally to take off. The rally is regarded as one of the most popular
and competitive events in the Irish Motorsport Calendar. Following a successful rally
last year, The Four Seasons Hotel returns as main sponsor and event HQ. We thank
Frank McKenna & his team for taking us on board once again. This year the event is
a counting round of the Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship. The event gets under
way on Saturday as competitors check their pacenotes and complete mechanical scrutiny
at McElvaney’s garage on the Dublin Road. The first car will leave the Four Seasons
Hotel at 10.00am on Sunday Morning en route to the first of nine stages. The opening
test is in the Tyholland/Castleshane area followed by stages in the Clontibret and
Ardaghy areas before the cars return to Monaghan for service in the Courthouse Car
Park. This loop will be repeated twice more before competitors arrive back at the
Four Seasons Hotel about 5.00pm where the winners of the 2018 Four Seasons Monaghan
Stages Rally will be crowned! The event has attracted a superb entry of over 120 cars,
a fine achievement given the current challenges facing Irish rallying. Victory on
the past five events have been shared between the Moffett brothers, Sam & Josh. Sam
is the defending champion having also tasted success in 2013 and 2014. Josh will
be looking to regain his crown after wins in 2015 and 2016. Sam swept all before
him in 2017 with an incredible treble of championship wins, the Irish Tarmac, Irish
National and Irish Forestry championships, with the Celtic Trophy also added for
good measure. Josh has taken the fight to him this year and currently leads the Irish
Tarmac Championship after two rounds and is also well placed in the Irish Forestry
Championship. Sam will lead the field away in his R5 specification Fiesta. Karl Atkinson
joines him in the passenger seat. They will have their work cut out if they are to
defend their crown as they face tough opposition from a number of WRC cars. Donagh
Kelly & Conor Foley start at No.2 int their Focus WRC. This pair have already recorded
wins on the West Cork and Circuit of Kerry rallies this year and they would dearly
like to add Monaghan to their bulging cabinent. Another Donegal/Monaghan pairing
start at No.3 with James O'Reilly teaming up with Declan Boyle. Like Kelly, Boyle
is a former National & Tarmac Champion and since teaming up with O''Reilly they have
won in Mayo. Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarty start at 4 and will drive the WRC Fiesta
that Sam used to win last year. 7 times Monaghan winner, Niall Maguire & Enda Sherry
start at 5 in their Subaru WRC and will be aiming to impress on their home event.
Antrim's Derek McGarrity& Paddy Robinson are at No.6 having recently led the Easter
Stages. Stephen Wright/Arthur Kierans (Fiesta R5), Kevin Barrett/Declan Tumilty (Subaru
WRC), John O'Donnell/Joe Friel (Subaru WRC) and Stuart Darcy (Darrian) complete the
top 10 seeds. The two wheel drive category is one of the most hotly contested of the
year and features the likes of Chris Armstrong, Gary McPhillips, Damien Toner, Frank
Kelly, Adrian Hetherington & Richard Moffett. Shane Maguire/Darragh Kelly head the
Group N entry while Jonathan Treanor & Jason Black will be the favourties in the
Junior class. Throughout the classes, there will be huge battles for honours as nothing
can bear rhe feeling of a class win in Monaghan!
Safety Message Clerk of the Course Brendan Flynn has made a special appeal to all
concerned to think safety at all times. The Event Safety Plan has been compiled meticulously.
Marshals, Stage Commanders and Officials have been trained accordingly. What is required
is that spectators play their part to ensure the safe running of the event. All are
asked to ‘keep the race in its place’ and drive with care to and from the stages.
Take time to read the Spectator Safety notice in the rally programme, which provides
a guide to safer spectating. Safety is everybody’s business and there is one common
ingredient that is essential: common sense. Spectators are asked to please follow
the instructions of the marshals and officials, who are working for your safety.
Please also respect private property where you assemble and bring your litter home.
Monaghan Motor Club wishes all competitors and spectators a safe and enjoyable rally.
Early Error Costs Moffett in Cork Josh Moffett was left to rue an early error which
cost him a chance of overall honours on last weekend’s Munster Forestry Rally. The
Ballyvourney-based event consisted of eight stages and was the third round of the
Irish Forestry Championship. Moffett was joined by stand-in navigator Ger Conway
for this event. The pair were fastest on the short opening stage but disaster struck
on the second stage as a spin and a stall cost them over a minute dropping them to
34th overall. The pair would mount a spectacular charge back through the field for
the remainder of the day. After another brace of fastest times, Moffett/Conway incredibly
had gained 31 places and were now 3rd overall! They were unable to catch the leading
pair of Martin McCormick/David Moynihan and Barry McKenna/Leon Jordan who secured
the top two places. American based Monaghan man, McKenna, leads the championship
after three rounds. Kaine Treanor guided Stephen McCann to a solid 5th place finish.
Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan brought their Lancer home in 8th overall. Michael Conlon/Ciaran
McPhillips brought their Escort to 15th overall and 3rd two wheel drive. One of the
drives of the rally went to Derek Mackarel/Muireann Hayes who brought their Nova
to an incredible 16th overall and victory in the Junior class beating a host of more
powerful R2 cars. Such was their pace they were the 4th two wheel drive finisher.
Emmet Sherry guided Tommy O’Connell to 18th overall and 3rd in class. Jody McManus/Martin
Connolly failed to finish.