Belfast Telegraph

Family fortunes as Josh aims to succeed brother Sam as premier Irish champion

 

By Sammy Hamill

There is nothing like keeping it in the family and the plan is for Josh Moffett to emulate his brother Sam and win the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

And he is making a good job of it so far with maximum points from the first two rounds, the West Cork and Easter Stages rallies. Trouble is, Josh has elder sibling Sam breathing down his neck as they head into round three, the Rally of the Lakes in Killarney this weekend.

It was Sam who swept all before him in 2017, winning the Tarmac, Irish National and Irish Forestry titles. With history made, he says he intends to take it a lot easier this year, picking and choosing his rallies and not chasing Championships.

He's leaving that to Josh, who, apart from leading the Tarmac series, is also among the frontrunners in the National and Forestry Championships.

But primarily it is the premier Tarmac title he wants.

Indeed, only his brother in his matching R5 Ford Fiesta has proved a serious threat so far with just 13 seconds in total separating them after four days of rallying in the first two rounds.

Now it is the classic Killarney stages like Moll's Gap and Ballaghbeama where Sam has ruled twice in the past four years and Josh has a less than impressive record. Will the senior Moffett be prepared to push his brother to the limit and possibly derail his Championship challenge?

Much will depend on whether Robert Barrable, Desi Henry, Jonny Greer, Eugene Donnelly or the fast-improving Daniel Cronin are able to raise their game.

The entry list includes former Tarmac champions Declan Boyle and Derek McGarrity, as well as Donegal International winner Manus Kelly, who may be in contention for victory but with their WRC cars ineligible for Championship points they won't play a part in the title chase.

Meanwhile, the big beasts of the British Hillclimb Championship are in Belfast this weekend for the historic Craigantlet event.

As powerful as a Formula One car, these specialist machines will sprint up the 1,500-yard climb in - weather permitting - under 40 seconds.

Indeed, the record set in 2016 by Scott Moran is 39.12 seconds but slippery conditions last year meant winner Trevor Willis had to settle for a fractionally slower time.

Moran is absent this year but Willis is back in his V8-powered OMS 28.

The Ulster Automobile Club event starts with practice at 9am tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph

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