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Bushwhacker Rally: Moffett tops the bill as McGarrity aims for record seventh Northern Ireland title

By Sammy Hamill

Published 22/09/2016

Top man: Josh Moffett heads the Bushwhacker Rally line-up
Top man: Josh Moffett heads the Bushwhacker Rally line-up

Reigning Irish forestry champion Josh Moffett heads the entry list for Saturday's Bushwhacker Rally but it is Derek McGarrity who can clinch a record seventh Northern Ireland title on the Omagh-based event.

Moffett is not a contender in the McGrady Insurance NI series - his focus this season has been on the Irish Tarmac and British Championships - but the Monaghan driver has been a consistent frontrunner in forest events over the past two seasons, just missing out on victory on the Lakeland Stages a fortnight ago after tying for first place with his brother Sam.

With the elder Moffett sitting this one out as he prepares for the final round of the Tarmac series in Cork, Josh starts at No.1 in his R5 Ford Fiesta.

McGarrity, a two-time winner of the Bushwhacker, is seeded second in his WRC Fiesta and already has a clear lead in the NI Championship as he bids for an unprecedented seventh success.

The opposition also includes two other past Bushwhacker winners - Martin Cairns in another WRC Fiesta and triple NI champion Kenny McKinstry in his S14 Subaru.

Niall McCullagh, who finished an impressive fifth on his debut in another of the McKinstry Motorsport S14 Imprezas on the Lakeland round, is seeded fourth, one place ahead of team boss Kenny.

In the top 10, too, are Adrian Hetherington (Toyota), Liam Regan (Peugeot), the Mitsubishis of Pat O'Connell and Paddy O'Brien and top production runner Paul Britton (Subaru).

Vivian Hamill is the highest seeded two-wheel-drive contender in his Ford Escort but the line-up includes up and coming youngsters Callum Devine and Kyle White in their front-wheel-drive R2 cars.

The McKelvey Asbestos Removal-sponsored event starts from the Silverbirch Hotel at 9.30am and covers 11 forest stages with service based at Aiken's Caravan Park, Castlederg.

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