Sam Moffett edges out brother Josh to clinch Tuffmac Trailers Lakeland Stages after tight tussle
The Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh, work together and rally together but on the Tuffmac Trailers Lakeland Stages on Saturday they were inseparable. Eight stages and 38 minutes of flat-out driving through the Fermanagh forests couldn't split them.
Amazingly they tied on exactly the same 10th of a second, in round five of the Irish forestry championship and it took two tie-breaks before elder sibling Sam was declared the winner.
After Mark Donnelly had led initially in his S9 Subaru, Sam Moffett took over at the front in his WRC Ford Fiesta but he was closely followed by brother Josh, the reigning forest champion, in his R5 Fiesta. Indeed, by the time they reached stage six, Josh had edged ahead by a second.
But on the penultimate stage, along the 11 miles of Ballintempo 2, where he had lost three seconds to his brother on the first run, Josh was again outgunned by the WRC Fiesta, this time dropping five seconds.
With just the short Belmore stage remaining, it looked all over but Josh stormed through, four seconds faster than brother Sam, leaving them tied on exactly the same total, 38 minutes, 09.0 seconds, the result then decided on a second stage tie break.
Donnelly dropped back to finish third ahead of Desi Henry, the one driver who might have challenged the Moffetts but his Skoda Fabia broke a turbo boost pipe on stage three, costing him one minute 16 seconds.
Niall McCullagh finished in fifth place on his first outing in a McKinstry Motorsport S14 Subaru and Martin Cairns took sixth spot in his WRC Fiesta.