Belfast Telegraph

Josh triumphs as brother Sam closes in on the treble

 

By Sammy Hamill

While Josh Moffett dominated the Lakeland Stages, his brother Sam took another significant step towards an unprecedented Irish rally title treble. And the TrailerPartsandSpares.com event also saw Jonny Greer continue to put pressure on Derek McGarrity in the race for the Northern Ireland Championship.

The younger Moffett, just back from a battling performance on the European Championship Barum Rally in the Czech Republic, quickly switched to gravel mode to lead from start to finish in the Fermanagh forests, setting fastest times on all six stages in his R5 Ford Fiesta.

In the past two years he has finished second behind his brother but on Saturday he and co-driver Stephen Thornton turned the tables to take their first victory by over half a minute from Greer and Kirsty Riddick in their R5 Citroen DS3.

The elder Moffett, co-driven by James Fulton, was a further 25 seconds back in third place in another of the Clontibret team's R5 Fiestas.

But third place for Sam was enough to take him into the lead in the forestry series as he bids to become the first driver to win all three of the top Irish Championships in the same season.

He's already Irish national champion and needs only to start the final round of the Tarmac Championship in Cork next month to take the international title as well.

First on the road, Sam had the worst of the loose gravel on the top surface but admitted he was focusing on points rather than getting into a race with his brother and Greer.

But having moved clear of Gerard Lucey at the top of the standings, he now has Josh, the 2015 forest champion, to contend with as the series moves to the Bushwhacker Rally in Tyrone later this month.

Greer, meanwhile, produced another top performance to claim second place and close within six points of McGarrity in the McGrady Insurance NI Championship.

It was the fourth time this season he has beaten seven-time champion McGarrity, who abandoned his regular WRC cars to drive an R5 Skoda Fabia in the Lakelands.

He made it four R5s in the top four, holding off the leading WRC Subaru of Kenny McKinstry, who almost fell into the grasp of Martin Cairns' WRC Fiesta with a puncture on the final stage.

Derek McGeehan (Mini WRC) and David Condell (Focus WRC) finished seventh and eighth ahead of the Ford Escort of Derek Crossan, leader of the two-wheel-drive division, with Alan Smyth's Mitsubishi completing the top 10.

Young Jordan Hone won the production category in 11th in his Mitsubishi.

The Omagh Club's Bushwhacker Rally scheduled for September 23 is again a round of both Championships.

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