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Valvoline Title Chase Reaching Crucial Phase in Limerick! Valvoline Irish National Forest Rally Championship Round 6 Preview.

Written on 13th October 2016 by Andrew Bushe

The destiny of the 2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship is reaching a crucial phase as the crews head for the Limerick Forest Rally on Sunday, the penultimate round of the series. Ger Lucey from Ballyvourney, Co.Cork leads the points race in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, and he is looking forward to Sunday’s challenge. “We haven’t really looked the the championship race in too much detail” explained Ger. “I think if Desi Henry can clock up enough to give him five good scores, and Michael Carbin the same, we wont be in the championship hunt. We are enjoying the championship once again though, and I think Sunday could be interesting. There are some narrow sections so we aim to keep to what we have been doing, aim for a good clean run and see what happens around us.” Michael Carbin in his Evo 4 example, Desi Henry with his Skoda Fabia R5 at present are the other key contenders .

The Limerick Motor Club event is set to be a very new challenge, as it returns to the series for the first time since 2013. Clerk of the Course Cathal Mansell and has team has assembled some classic stages such as Glenstal, Mother Mountain and Keeper Hill, which haven’t been used since 2000, ensuring neutral territory for the crews. Indeed it could spring up a surprise winner, and with Josh Moffett in his R5 Fiesta leading the field away, and other contenders such as Patrick O’Brien (Evo 6) and former champion- Dermot Kelly (Evo 9) admist the top ten it’s promising to be an interesting event, as the crews take off from Murroe village on Sunday.

In the two wheel drive section, John Gordon leads the way and also in class 12, with his Pinto engined MK2. However top seed is an on form Shane McGirr, the Fermanagh driver with his trusty Toyota Starlet, and last year’s champion- Mickey Conlan, who seemed to find his form again on the Lakeland Stages will be challenging hard. David Crossen will be hoping for better luck this time in his MK2 Escort, whilst Damien McGuaran is sorting out his new BMW 320 as each event passes.

Leading the Kumho tyres Junior category standings is Stephen Dickson in his Fiesta R2, with Shane Kenneally in his MK2 Escort, and Derek Mackeral in his troublesome Vauxhall Nova also in with a shout of the title, and are entered this weekend. The race to be crowned Junior champion is an enthralling one, and with it a coveted Billy Coleman Award nomination is up for grabs.

The final Glens of Antrim round on November 5th will also have a fresh look once again, as it returns to it’s natural habitat in the forests around the Antrim Glens. Classic stages such as Slieveanorra are immersed in forest rallying folklore, and the Valvoline crews will find out why when they start the Mid- Antrim clubs event. To really finish off the season on a high note the championship awards night is being held at the Bridge House- Tullamore on 26th November with live music from “The Whistling Donkeys”, ticket information on

2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship-Round Six -
Top Ten seeds:

1 Josh Moffett/Emmet Sherry (Ford Fiesta R5) 
2 Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan (Skoda Fabia R5) 
3 Patrick O' Brien/Aine McGuigan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 
4 Michael Carbin/Darragh Kelly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4) 
5 Gerard Lucey/JJ Cremin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 
6 Dermot Kelly/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 
7 Niall Henry/John Rowan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) 
8 Ashley Dickson/Fabian McAleer (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 
9 John Byrnes/Brian Grant (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 
10 Darren McKelvey/Graham Henderson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)

2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship-
Round Six- 2WD- Top Ten

201 Shane McGirr/Aileen Kelly (Toyota Starlet) 
202 Mickey Conlan/Ciaran McPhilips (Ford Escort Mk2) 
203 David Crossen/Chris McSherry (Ford Escort Mk2) 
204 John Gordan/Thomas Wedlock (Ford Escort Mk2) 
205 Damien McGauran/TBA (BMW 320) 
206 Derek Mackeral/Daire Hayes (Vauxhal Nova) 
207 Tom Murphy/John Lynch (Ford Escort Mk2) 
208 Mike Garahy/TBA (Ford Escort Mk2) 
209 Michael Fitzgibbon/Pa Baker (Honda Civic) 
210 Ray Benskin/Peadar Walsh (Ford Escort Mk2)

Points after round five:

1st Gerard Lucey 74
2nd Michael Carbin 68
3rd Desi Henry 62 
4th John Gordon 53
5th Adrian Hetherington 51
5th Micky Conlon 51

2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship Remaining Calendar:

Round 6: 16th October - Limerick Forest Rally 
Round 7: 5th November - Glens of Antrim Forest Rally

For all the latest updates and more information of the Valvoline Irish National Forest Rally Championship please look us up on Facebook or Twitter and even more details are available on our dedicated website; 
Facebook: Irish Forestry Championship
Twitter: @IrlForestchamp

Official Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship press release issued by Andrew Bushe Promotions F: Andrew Bushe Promotions t-@andrew_bushe.

Pictures thanks to Lorcan Barron-

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