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Fantastic Foray Into The Fermanagh Forests for Valvoline Crews! 2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Na

Written on 31st August 2017 by Andrew Bushe

This Saturday the 2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, heads for its penultimate round in the Fermanagh forests, for the Enniskillen Motor Club’s Lakeland Stages Rally. Over sixty special stage kilometers lie in wait over famous stages such as Ballintempo, Big Dog, and Lough Navar, and with the gravel tracks reported to be in fine fettle, the entry assembled is truly mouthwatering!

Championship leader Ger Lucey armed with his Mitsubishi Evo 8 will make the long trip up from Ballyvourney, but his slender two point advantage is over an 'on form' Sam Moffett in his Fiesta WRC. “We were in a very similar position at this stage last year,” said Ger. “It was my first time on the Lakeland Stages, and I really enjoyed the rally, and hopefully that experience will help for Saturday. All we can do is do our best and see what happens around us.”

Sam Moffett now crowned the Irish National Tarmac Rally Champion, also looks set to clinch the Irish Tarmac Championship in Cork, and the Forest series would complete an extraordinary treble for the Monaghan driver. Winner of the last round in Cork, one of Sam’s main rivals on Saturday will be brother Josh who lost out to Sam in a dead heat on this rally last year. Josh will be in his R5 Fiesta, whilst new to an R5 Fiesta this weekend is Adrian Hetherington, as he samples the more modern four wheel drive machine, after a frustrating event in Cork with the Corolla WRC.

With Northern Ireland Championship crews, such as Derek McGarrity in an R5 Fabia mixed in, the four-wheel drive contingent is serious and one to watch on his home rally will be Jonny Leonard in his Evo 6 fresh from his second place in Cork, whilst Jon Armstrong after a fine R5 showing on Rally Germany also wheels out an Evo. Regular championship contender Enda McCormack from New York is entered in a Fiesta and Patsy Keenan also travels from the USA to pilot his Evo 9. Indeed the Mitsubishi's are in their droves with Niall McCullagh, Niall Henry, Ian Graham, Liam Regan, Darren McKelvey all entered, whilst the Group N Championship race is hotting up with the leader Jordan Hone and Conor McCourt just one point apart. 

In the two wheel race, David Crossen’s impressive season sees him hold an incredible third place in the series, after finishing in that overall position on the last round. Mickey Conlon is the closest challenger, with John Gordon also always in contention, but the return of former champion Shane McGirr on his home event will put a cat amongst the pigeons, whilst David Condell in his potent MK2 also returns to the woods in what promises to be an exciting battle.

The Valvoline Junior Section (Class 16), and Mallow’s John O’Sullivan in his R2 Fiesta is very much on form after a win last time out. Waterford’s Shane Kenneally too has shown great speed in his Honda Civic and County Antrim’s Johnnie Mulholland (second in the championship) is getting faster by the mile in another R2 Fiesta. Derek Mackeral is always rapid but can the little Nova hold together, whilst championship leader Stephen Dickson is not yet on the entry list, which could leave the door wide open for that coveted title, and the Billy Coleman Award nomination.

The M. O’Brien Plant Hire Junior 1000 class for 16-18-year-olds was decided in Cork and Jason Murphy took the title on this first exciting season of Junior competition. Now a media / demonstration day is being planned by the organisers and with interest from crews from Scotland and afar, the class for the youngest forest chargers could take off in 2018, an important step for the future of rallying.

Again we would like to give special thanks to all our championship sponsors – Valvoline, Andrew Fanning Motor Factors, M. O'Brien Plant Hire, Suirway Group Forklifts & Farm Machinery, Jelf Motorsport Insurance, Exact Signs & Graphics, Pottinger Machinery, Ears Motorsport / Kumho Tyres, Colton Pump & Heating Services, Coillte, Concept Fire Services Ltd, Gordon Automotive Services, Barron Pix & SVS Incar Cameras.

2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship-
Points After Round 4

1st Ger Lucey 61
2nd Sam Moffett 59
3rd David Crossen 58
4th Jonny Leonard 49
5th Enda McCormack 47
6th Mickey Conlon 45
7th Josh Moffett 42
8th Marty McCormack 38
9th Desi Henry 36
10th Adrian Hetherington 35
=Ian Graham 35

2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship-
Remaining Rounds

Round 5 - 2nd September - Enniskillen Lakeland Stages Rally 
Round 6 – 23rd September - Bushwhacker Rally- Omagh

For all the latest updates and more information of the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland 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 F: Andrew Bushe Promotions t-@andrew_bushe.

More News from 2017


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