Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally, round three of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship
25-year-old Sam Moffett heads an impressive entry for the weekend’s Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally, round three of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship and round two of the Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship.
Moffett, the winner in Monaghan for the past two seasons will be keen to make it a hat-trick of wins on his home event but the current leader of the Irish Tarmac Championship won’t have it easy this weekend. Seeded second on the road is the current leader of the Trition series, Donagh Kelly. Kelly is on an unbeaten streak of five rallies stretching back to December in his Ford Focus World Rally Car and will be hoping his rich vein of form will continue into this weekend. Reigning champions, Declan and Brian Boyle are third on the road in their recently rebuilt Subaru. The Donegal cousins have had a frustrating season to date riddled with non-finishes and punctures and a change of fortune will be needed this weekend as the pair already find themselves twenty six points of championship leader Kelly.
Niall Maguire, a former multiple champion and Monaghan winner, will be looking to built on a strong start to his season in his Subaru and will start fourth on the road but it is the number five seed that many believe could spring a surprise. Josh Moffett, younger brother of Sam, has adapted to his Ford Fiesta World Rally car sooner than many expected, culminating in a sparkling performance on the recent Circuit of Ireland Rally and with this weekend’s stages taking place on Josh’s doorstep another strong finish looks likely. Jason McKenna will call the notes for Moffett this weekend. The top ten is rounded out by Peadar Hurson, former Billy Coleman Award winner Stephen Wright, championship sponsor Kevin Barrett, recent Circuit of Kerry winner Alan Ring and UK driver Steve Wood.
Gary McPhillips and Paul Sheridan are the top two wheel drive seeds at fourteen and will face stiff competition from Chris Armstrong, Frank Kelly, Jonathan Pringle, Pat Donegan, Declan Gallagher and Dessie Keenan to name but a few while Strabane driver Aidan Wray leads away the Group N contenders. The leading cars will leave the Hillgrove Hotel at 10am this Sunday before tackling three stages repeated three times the Ballybay/Clontibret area with the winning crew arriving back in Monaghan shortly after 5pm. More information can be found by visiting www.monaghanmotorclub.net