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Rally Day 2017

Moffett Masters Monaghan Once Again

Sam Moffett claimed his third Monaghan Stages Rally win after a start to finish victory on the Four Seasons Hotel-backed event in his Focus WRC. Ably guided by the experienced Karl Atkinson, Moffett took the lead on stage one and never looked back coming home 26 seconds clear of the similar Focus of Donagh Kelly & Conor Foley. Donegal’s Declan & Brian Boyle completed the podium places in another Focus. This was Sam’s third win in a row in the 2017 Triton National Rally Championship, putting him in a commanding position in the series.

There was a little rain in the air as competitors left the Four Seasons Hotel for the opening 14.9km Stranooden test. Moffett/Atkinson immediately set the pace, stunning the opposition with a time 8.3 seconds quicker than anyone else. Declan & Brian Boyle slotted into 2nd with Donagh Kelly a further second in arrears. Sam again set the pace on stages 2 and 3 and arrived at first service with a 21.5 second lead over Kelly/Foley. Declan Boyle was in 3rd despite reporting to be down on power with Stephen Wright/Arthur Kierans getting the best out of their R5 Fiesta to hold 4th. There was major disappointment for last year’s winner Josh Moffett who crashed out on stage two. Luckily there was no major injury to either Josh or co-driver Stephen Thornton. Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane were another early retirement on stage 1 after hitting a chicane.
Gary Kiernan/Ryan Moore led the modified crews from Jonathan Pringle/Paul Sheridan who was competing for the first time in eight months. Gary McPhillips/James McNulty dropped out on stage two with a broken half-shaft while Brian Brogan/Damien McGettigan didn’t even make stage 1 with a gearbox issue. David Guest led Group N by less than a second from Shane Maguire.
Conditions brightened somewhat for the second loop before the clouds closed in as competitors made their way through stage six. Moffett was fastest again on stage four before Kelly set fastest times on stages 5 and 6 but trailed by 24.4 seconds at service. Boyle was still just 6.1 seconds further back in 3rd. Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry had climbed to 4th ahead of Wright/Kierans in 5th. Reigning National Champions Roy White/James O’Brien were in 6th in their Fiesta despite an intercom issue on stage five.
Gary Kiernan was sidelined with an oil leak which allowed Pringle/Sheridan to hit the front of the modified field. Damien Gallagher/Mac Walsh from Donegal were pushing him hard just 7.2 seconds behind with Damien Toner/Denver Rafferty in 3rd place. It couldn’t be closer in Group N as Guest/Robinson and Maguire/Kelly were tied on time with three stages remaining.
As the weather closed in on the final loop Moffett/Atkinson kept their cool to cement a solid victory. In the end they were 26.8 seconds clear and got an additional bonus point for fastest time on the final stage. Kelly/Foley were 2nd in their Focus but couldn’t match the pace of Moffett during the day. The Boyle’s came home 3rd and secured some useful championship points. Maguire/Sherry pipped Wright/Kierans to 4th place on the final test by just 0.9 of a second.
Roy White/James O’Brien came home 6th with Jonathan Pringle/Paul Sheridan taking modified honours in 7th. Damien Gallagher/Mac Walsh, Damien Toner/Denver Rafferty and Raymond Conlon/Darren McCague in a hired Escort completed the top 10. Shane Maguire/Darragh Kelly snatched the Group N win and 11th overall overhauling the Cork/Donegal team of David Guest/Paddy Robinson on the final stage. Neil & Gerard Tohill were a distant 3rd in Group N.

 

Local Crews Successful
Andrew Grennan guided Vivian Hamill to 12th overall in their Escort. David Moffett/Martin Connolly took class 13 honour sand 16th overall after a day long battle with Michael Conlon/Ciaran McPhillips who were 17th and 2nd in class 13. David’s father Maurice Moffett & Jason McKenna came home 19th overall. Anthony Hand/Peter Deery finished 21st overall and 2nd in class 11R. Carrickmacross pair Johno Doogan/Ciaran Marron finished 23rd overall. Emmet Sherry guided Tommy O’Connell to 29th overall. Martin McPhillips/Ciaran Tynan took 31st overall and 3rd in class 11R.
Kaine Treanor navigated Jason Roche to 32nd overall with reigning club champion Martin Tynan and his cousin Declan 35th overall and 1st in class 15. Class 10 was one of the most exciting on the day with four crews nose to tail throughout. Mickey & Ryan Brennan came out on top by just 4.5 seconds taking 46th overall to boot. John & Niall Kelly had to settle for 2nd with Cathal Sheridan/Shane Farrell 3rd in their Nova.

David Smyth/Carmel Tuite came home 58th overall with Gerard McGivney/Ciaran McGorman just behind. Wayne Feeley/Peter Farrell were 61st with Gary McPhillips/James McNulty in 73rd after finishing the event under Rally 2 rules. Brendan Keenan/Sean Lynch, Donal Crossan/Paul Lennon, Christopher Brennan/Martin Hughes, Damien Treanor/David Treanor, Gerard Corey/Kevin Treanor and Cian Curley/Emmet McCooey completed the list of Monaghan finishers.

 

Retirements:

The following Monaghan crews failed to make the finish. Josh Moffett/Stephen Thornton, Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane, Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan, Jim McKenna/Damien McKenna, Seamus Connolly/Gary McCrudden, James McCarville/Paddy McCrudden, Gary Cassidy/Paul Kelly, Shane Cassidy/Calum Maguire, Paddy O’Reilly/David Fitzsimons, Sean McCaul/Frank Clerkin, Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes, Mark Deery/Nigel Brennan, Conor Hagan/Darren McCaffrey, Jonathan Treanor/Adrian Foley & Jason Black/Jack McKenna.

 

Acknowledgments:

At the well-attended prizegiving in the Four Seasons Hotel on Sunday evening, Clerk of the Course Thomas Treanor thanked all who helped make the event such a success. He thanked the residents along the route for their welcome, co-operation and support. Over 200 marshals lined the rally route during the course of the day and they received a special word of thanks, a well as the Civil Defence personnel who worked long hours during the event.

He had special mention for Monaghan County Council and Monaghan Municipal District who have helped the club to promote and facilitate the rally, which continues to grow in stature. He thanked An Garda Siochana for their help and assistance over the course of the weekend. Their presence was very evident in ensuring that traffic continued to flow despite the heavy volume.

Sean McCaffrey received special mention for his live broadcasts throughout the day, which can still be accessed on the Monaghan Motor Club Facebook page. There was a final word of thanks to Frank McKenna and his team at the Four Seasons Hotel for their support. Once again thanks to all involved, the Monaghan Stages Rally was another resounding success.

 

Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally Top 10

1 Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson (Fiesta WRC) 61m 52s,

2 Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley (Focus WRC) 62m 19s,

3 Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Fiesta WRC) 62m 34s,

4 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Impreza WRC) 64m 57s,

5 Stephen Wright/Arthur Kierans (Ford Fiesta R5) 64m 58s,

6 Roy White/James O’Brien (Fiesta WRC) 65m 05s,

7 Jonathan Pringle/Paul Sheridan (Escort) 67m 07s,

8 Damien Gallagher/Mac Walsh (Escort) 67m 16s,

9 Damien Toner/Denver Rafferty (Escort) 67m 32s,

10 Raymond Conlon/Darren McCague (Escort) 67m 55s.

Group N Award: Shane Maguire/Darragh Kelly (Lancer

Evo 9) 68m 13s.

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Photos by Declan McMahon