With the National Championship in his back pocket, a hand on the Tarmac Championship and an eye on the Forestry, Sam Moffett can be forgiven for taking a weekend away from the steering wheel and opting instead to support his younger brother Josh in the European Rally Championship. And he had no reason to line out in Galway for the Summer Stages; having dedicated his year to winning titles and spent almost every weekend in a Fiesta rally car, there was nothing more he could do this weekend after he lifted the Vard Memorial Trophy in Sligo with his sixth successive victory in the series.
It is the fashion in which Sam took his victories in the National Championship that was the most impressive. If you spoke to him during any round of the 2017 championship, he never boasted about leading. Even at the finish of the final stage in Sligo where he was presented with the series win, Sam acknowledged the competition behind him and calibre of drivers that tried to knock him from his perch and take a win. Take a look at the numbers surrounding the first six rounds of the championship and they paint a picture that despite his humble attitude of total domination, Sam was pretty much unbeatable.
And Sam was right to tip his hat to Kelly, Boyle, White and everyone else that pushed him on the stages; there was no shortage of talent in the National Championship this year with the top seeded entries often being made up of previous championship winners who were all keen to add to their own tallies.
The signs were clear from the opening round of the championship in Birr, when Sam won all but two stages to come home just shy of a full minute ahead of Declan Boyle. Be as sceptical as you want but even then you knew it wasn’t going to be a flash in the pan. And if Birr was a statement of intent from the Monaghan man, winning every stage of the Midland Stages and coming home over a minute ahead of the pack was a message that he was on a mission.
Obviously he did not have it all his own way during the year, he was kept on a much shorter lead by Donagh Kelly on the Monaghan Stages; and in Sligo he was on the back foot to Declan Boyle but there was a consistency to his performance and Sam was able to turn up the wick and make sure he came out on top. He was always on the pace.
However the unstoppable force of the Combilift Fiesta WRC was too much for the experienced field over the course of the year and he achieved what he set out to do; and doing so in a nature that is a carbon-copy of his competitive and focused personality both in and out of the car was a testament to the dedication of devoting himself to achieving unrivalled dominance against his counterparts.