The sixth and final round of the 2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, gets underway at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh on Saturday, for the Omagh Motor Club’s Bushwhacker Rally. “The Omagh Grand Prix” as it’s nicknamed has attracted a bulging entry of over one hundred and twenty cars, showing the increasing upwards trend in forestry rallying. Forty stage miles lie in store with the famous Killeter test now nine miles long, Lough Braden over six miles added to the Carrickaholten stage, which is all done twice.
Championship leader going into this final round is Sam Moffett, and the Monaghan man is looking to complete a unique treble in Irish Motorsport. Already crowned National Tarmac Champion, he could add the National Forest series to that this weekend, and the Irish Tarmac Championship to that next weekend in Cork. It’s been quite a season for Sam, and he needs a solid finish on the Bushwhacker to wrap up the series. No doubt Sam will be looking for overall rally honours and with the N.I Rally Championship contenders also in town, it will be a real tight battle. Other Valvoline championship battlers in four-wheel drive machinery include Adrian Hetherington who is hoping for more miles this time in the R5 Fiesta, Martin Cairns- WRC Fiesta, David Condell- Focus WRC, Jonny Leonard- Evo 6, Niall Henry- Evo 10 and Ger Lucey in his Evo 8 who is currently joint second in the points standings.
The Group N title still has to be decided and Jordan Hone in his Evo 9 leads the contenders into the final round. Conor McCourt, Ashley Dickson and Cathan McCourt would all have a chance at the title. In the Valvoline two-wheel drive race, newly crowned champion-David Crossen wheels out his trusty MK2 Escort, and the County Down driver is in for a real challenge on Saturday. Frank Kelly is making a foray back into the forests, and with Vivian Hamill, Mickey Conlon and Owen McMackin all also in MK2’s the Escort’s will be flying through the forests. But they will all have to watch out for the Starlet of former 2wd champion Shane McGirr returning to the Omagh forests. Sadly not competing this weekend is championship supporter John Gordon who had a big accident in his MK2 in Wexford. We wish John a speedy recovery.
The Valvoline Junior Section is always dramatic, and Stephen Dickson in his R2 Fiesta has an eight-point lead heading into his home stages where it will all be decided. Mallow’s John O’Sullivan is second in his Fiesta R2, with Johnnie Mulholland also Fiesta mounted in third just one point ahead of Shane Kenneally in the Honda Civic. Derek Mackeral who took a maximum score on the Lakeland is hoping that the good fortune continues in the Nova.
Again we would like to give special thanks to all our championship sponsors – Valvoline, Andrew Fanning Motor Factors, M. O’Brien Plant Hire, Suirway Group Forklifts & Farm Machinery, Jelf Motorsport Insurance, Exact Signs & Graphics,
Pottinger Machinery, Ears Motorsport / Kumho Tyres, Colton Pump & Heating Services, Coillte, Concept Fire Services Ltd, Gordon Automotive Services, Barron Pix & SVS Incar Cameras.
2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship- Points After Round 5
1st Sam Moffett 78 pts
2ndGerard Lucey 74
=David Crossen 74
4thJosh Moffett 63
5thJonny Leonard 51
6thEnda McCormack 49
=Jordan Hone 49
8th Mickey Conlon 45
9thMarty McCormack 38
=Cathan McCourt 38
2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship- Remaining Round Round 6 – 23rd September- Bushwhacker Rally- Omagh
For all the latest updates and more information of the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Irish National Forest Rally Championship please look us up on Facebook or Twitter and even more details are available on our dedicated website:
www.irishforestrally.com F: Irish Forestry Championship T:@IrlForestchamp.
Official Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship press release issued by Andrew Bushe F: Andrew Bushe Promotions t-@andrew_bushe.