Fisher Extends Lead in Irish Tarmac Rally Championship
Third place on the Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally, the second round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship was enough to extend Alastair Fishers lead in the series.
With rally winner Donagh Kelly not registered for the series the battle was on behind him for supremacy and for much of the event it looked like Sam Moffett was on course to take maximum points. He had been the top R5 runner from the start and had set several fastest times along the way, but a puncture three stages from the end cost him over three minutes and dropped him back to fourth overall but took enough points to stay second in the championship. Robert Barrable was extremely impressive in the new Hyundai i20 R5 and was looking good for a nice haul of points until he picked up a puncture at the same place as Moffett. For Barrable though the problem proved to be more terminal as a cracked brake disk was diagnosed forcing his retirement before the penultimate stage. Stephen Wright also was a late retirement on the same stage with mechanical problems having held a strong sixth place for most of the event.
All of this late movement propelled Josh Moffett to second overall which was enough to give him full Tarmac Championship points and move into third overall in the series. Alastair Fisher was delighted to finish third on an event he crashed out on last year and where he was unable to get on the pace on the first day, all of which moves him into a five point lead in the championship following his maximum points in Galway. Joe McGonigle took fifth overall on the rally despite finding the greasy conditions difficult which affected his confidence. Tomas Davies took his best result to date since switching to the R5 class with sixth overall as he continues to get used to the 4WD car. Brendan Cumiskey, Aaron McHale and Padraic Duffy all finished in the top ten overall to gain valuable championship points. William Mavitty was top points scorer in Group N despite a difficult rally where he had some mechanical problems on the opening day, while Andrew Burke and James Wilson gained valuable points in the smaller classes.
Provisional Points after Round 2;
1 – Alastair Fisher 31, 2 – Sam Moffett 26, 3 – Josh Moffett 25, 4 – Joe McGonigle 17, 5 – Robert Barrable 12
The Modified Championship had a terrific battle at the top and eventually it was the Toyota Corolla of Kevin Eves which prevailed as his rivals all fell by the wayside. Damien Tourish had retired on the opening day when he hit a bank while Frank Kelly was forced into Rally 2 when he had differential problems, and later pulled out when manifold issues couldn’t be solved. On Sunday Brian Brogan and Gary Kiernan put extensive pressure on Eves but Brogan had a bearing collapse on the days third stage and Kiernans engine expired on the final loop to leave Eves untroubled out in front. Patrick McHugh was another to retire close to the finish having held a very strong top five position. Eugene Meegan overcame niggly problems to take third on the National Rally and second place points for the championship. John Bonner and Vivian Hamill were others to score well as the conditions and toughness of the event took its toll on the second day.
Provisional Modified Points after Round 2;
1 – Kevin Eves 29, 2 – Eugene Meegan 22, 3 – Gary Kiernan 17
The Historic Rally was won by Barry Jones after two previous events beset by mechanical woes, and it was a case of third time lucky after an outstanding performance over the weekend. Jones had over 40 seconds to spare over the Escort of Ernie Graham while Owen Murphy brought his Avenger back in third place. This leaves Ernie Graham leading the series from Owen Murphy after three rounds. The Junior Rally was one of attrition with championship leader John McCabe retiring having lad the event early on. Eric Calnan and Noel Murphy were also sidelined over the course of the day which saw Jenna McCann pick up maximum points after a fantastic driver on her first trip to West Cork. Last years championship runner up Justin Ryan had a difficult day but managed to get to the finish to score valuable championship points in the series which is provisionally being led by McCann.