Belfast Telegraph

McKenna going extra mile in Irish title bid

 

By Sammy Hamill

Barry McKenna has become a frequent flyer as he battles to be crowned Ireland's forestry rally champion.

Based in New York, he has been making regular trips back home to challenge for a title which was won last year by fellow Monaghan man Sam Moffett.

And the journeys have been worthwhile as McKenna leads the Valvoline-sponsored Irish series as it comes north of the border for the Lakeland Stages Rally.

But while he won't have to face champion Sam on Saturday, McKenna will be renewing his battle for the title with another Moffett, Josh, who is trying to emulate his elder brother by winning all three major Irish Championships in a single season.

Winner of the previous round, the Jim Walsh Memorial rally in Cork, McKenna is combining American events with his flying visits to Ireland.

He will line up at No.2 in the starting list in Enniskillen on Saturday behind Moffett, the Lakeland winner last year, with another Championship contender, Andrew Purcell, at No.3, all driving R5-type Ford Fiestas.

The Fermanagh rally is also a round of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Championship and Derek McGarrity is the highest seeded Ulster driver at No.4 in a WRC Ford Focus.

McGarrity is well on his way to an eighth title with a massive 26-point lead over nearest rival Alan Carmichael (Mini WRC).

The first crew will leave the start ramp at the former Grosvenor Barracks site in Enniskillen shortly after 10.30am on Saturday. Competitors will tackle three tests before returning to service from around 12.40pm.

Another three stages will be completed in the afternoon and the leading crews will return to the rally base shortly before 4pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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