Belfast Telegraph

Legend Moffett set to pop Cork on an historic treble


By Sammy Hamill

Becoming a history maker was never part of Sam Moffett's plan when he began the 2017 Irish rally season. But he only needs to follow his brother Josh over the start ramp in Macroom on Saturday morning to complete an unprecedented triple crown.

When the two Combilift R5 Ford Fiestas roll out towards the first stage of the Cork '20' International, collecting their bonus point for starting the rally, Sam will be Irish Tarmac champion, adding the premier title to the National Tarmac and Forestry Championships he has already secured.

The forklift company director from Clontibret will become the first driver to complete the hat-trick in a single season, but says it has all come about by accident rather than design.

"It was never my intention to try to win the three Championships but after a good start to the season I got sucked into it," he said.

"The priority was always to try to win the Tarmac Championship, I decided to do the early rounds of the national series in our WRC Fiesta to keep sharp."

So sharp, in fact, he dominated the first six rounds, winning all of them to take the Triton Showers national title before the end of July.

It gave him space to turn his attention to the Forestry Championship in which he'd taken two early second places behind brother Josh, the 2015 champion.

And with the younger Moffett committed to European Championship events, Sam returned to the forests, wrapping up that title as well with a sedate sixth place on the Omagh-based Bushwhacker Rally last weekend.

With just a safe finish required, Moffett confessed to being bored as he trundled through the Tyrone forests, a situation he has faced in recent rallies where speed had to be sacrificed for points.

The Ulster International was a classic case in point, the first-stage exit of Alastair Fisher leaving Moffett caught in the dilemma of wanting to compete with the visiting British Championship contenders but knowing a top-six finish would all but guarantee him the Tarmac title.

Good sense won out, and he is champion in all but name.

Once the start ceremony has been completed, the shackles will come off and Moffett can get down to business and try to crown a great season with a win.

But it will be no walkover. Brother Josh won the event last season, and Fisher is still smarting over the engine failure which sidelined his Fiesta in Ulster, stopping him from taking the title chase to the final round.

A win over champion-elect Moffett would be some consolation.

Belfast Telegraph

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