The competitors headed to Mayo for round six of the 2015 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Championship, for the Mayo & District Motorsport Club's- Mayo Mini Stages- Forest Rally.
The overall title race was the talk at the Ballina start, for the four stage event with championship leader Mick O’Brien holding the advantage in his Focus WRC. Evo 9 mounted challenger Josh Moffett was fresh from a third overall finish on the Cambrian Rally in Wales the previous day using his WRC Fiesta. There was no doubt he was match fit- as he stripped twenty-four seconds off everyone on stage one! “We knew we had to do it all in stage one” said Josh. “We were off at the second corner though, probably not used to the Evo after the Fiesta the day before which is more nimble, but the rest of the stage was a mega-run and I knew and I felt that there wasn’t much more we could do.”
By stage two Mick O’Brien had equalled his time, moving up to second overall ahead of Martin Cairns in his S14 Impreza, but Mick had a scare on stage one, clouting a chicane as he struggled to get the car back onto four wheels after a big jump and then on the brakes. It was a close call, with little damage, except however to the stage time.
John Gordon led the two-wheel drive brigade in his MK2 Escort, as two-wheel drive champion Mickey Conlon had a light roll on stage two and Patrick O’Brien led the Junior’s in the C2 R2. However only just as Derek Mackarel was having a scorching run in his Vauxhall Nova, whilst championship leader Alan Moran in the 206 was keeping them both honest just fourteen seconds further back.
There was little change on the second loop. Despite a stage three puncture Josh extended his lead to thirty-six seconds, from Mick O’Brien with Martin Cairns third, and Frank O’Brien in an Evo 6 fourth. John Gordon had fought his way up to fifth overall in the MK2 Escort. “I really enjoyed the event, and the run today would leave me second in the two wheel championship at present and confirmed first in class so I’m very happy. The 4 door has done us proud!” said John. In sixth was John Reid in his Corolla WRC, making a welcome return to the forests. Seventh was a good result for Ashley Dickson, with Damian McGauran eighth in his Corolla RWD.
Gerard Lucey had retired from his early fifth place, and Andrew Fanning’s Valvoline Evo had suffered a puncture on the final loop. In the Junior category the battle was intense and Derek Mackarel took the win and two Kumho Tyres from Ears Motorsport in ninth place overall, just six seconds ahead of Patrick O’Brien, and Alan Moran third of the Juniors. “It was a very enjoyable day” said Derek. “It suited me today, and the car was working well, especially after our troubles earlier in the season with the engine blow up in Cork. It’s all up to the final round now- it’s more Patrick’s championship to lose, and we would have to win or be in the top three if he didn’t finish.”
It all sets it up for the season finale in November on the Glens of Antrim event. “This was great to get the result today and it’s going to be a very interesting final round. By my reckoning I would need to finish in the top two to be in with a chance, but that won’t be easy in Antrim” says Josh Moffett.
2015 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Rally Championship-
Round Six Results:
1 Josh Moffett/Jason McKenna Mitsubishi Evo 9 23:40.8
2 Michael O'Brien/James O'Brien Ford Focus WRC +0:36.6
3 Martin Cairns/Gary McElhinney Subaru Impreza WRC S14 +0:37.0
4 Frank O'Brien/Stephen O'Brien Mitsubishi Evo 6 +0:43.2
5 John Gordon/Thomas Wedlock Ford Escort +0:49.4
6 John Reid/E. Shiels Toyota Corolla WRC +2:10.3
7 Ashley Dickson/Fabian McAleer Mitsubishi Evo 9 +2:16.9
8 Damien McGauran/Michela McGinn Toyota Corolla +2:52.3
9 Derek Mackarel/Daire Hayes Vauxhall Nova +3:00.2
10 Patrick O'Brien/Aine McGuigan Citroen C2R2 Max +3:06.4
Provisional Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Rally Championship
Points after Round Six:
1 Michael O'Brien 101pts
2 Josh Moffett 81
3 Michael Conlon 79
4 John Gordon 78
5 Gerard Lucey 65
For more information including registration details for the series visit- www.irishforestrally.com
Facebook: Irish Forestry Championship
Official Press Release issued by Andrew Bushe Promotions-
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