CORK crews hold three of the top four places in the Motorsport Ireland National Navigation Trial Championship, following the second round of the series, the Drumlin navigation trial in Monaghan over the weekend.
Mogeely’s James Fitzgerald (Subaru) and his Ballincollig navigator, Ken Carmody, who won the opening round, the Cork Startrek navigation trial, last month, were third in Monaghan. That extended their championship advantage.
They were one of four Cork crews to compete in the Farney countryside. The others were Mayfield’s Trevor O’Callaghan and Donoughmore’s Patrick O’Leary (Subaru Impreza), who finished ninth; Ovens driver Owen Murphy and Togher’s Daire Hayes (Subaru), who were tenth, and the Mallow/Drinagh combination of Derek Butler/Denis O’Donovan, also in a Subaru, who were eighteenth.
The event was won by the Expert crew of Monaghan’s Martin Tynan/Fintan Clerkin (Subaru), who finished just four marks in front of the novice duo of Monaghan’s Emmet Sherry and his Sligo navigator, Patrick Corcoran (Subaru).
Fitzgerald/Carmody incurred penalties early in the event, with a wrong approach, but it didn’t upset their rhythm and they were third, with 28 marks. Along with O’Callaghan/O’Leary, they got through a very intricate series of farmyard lanes near the finish that were part of the ‘plot and bash’ section.
That location proved difficult for Murphy/ Hayes (Subaru). They lost 33 of their 40 marks at that spot and had to be content with tenth overall, a place and a mark behind O’Callaghan/O’Leary, while Butler and O’Donovan were also in trouble on the same section, finishing with 117 marks. In terms of the championship, Fitzgerald/Carmody lead on 33 points, eleven ahead of Murphy/Hayes. Monaghan’s Derek Mackarel/Conor Boylan are two points further adrift, in third, and two ahead of Butler/O’Donovan.
Recently crowned Triton Showers National Rally champions, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his Wexford co-driver, Andy Hayes, won the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, which is back on the Scottish rally calendar after a five-year absence.
Campaigning the M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 Mk. 2, they amassed a 41.7-second winning margin over the Mk. 2 Ford Escort of Scotland’s David Bogie and co-driver, Kevin Rae. Third place, and 6.1 seconds further adrift, went to the Ford Fiesta R5 of another Scottish crew, Dale Robertson/Stuart Loudon.
Just one of the three Friday night stages was held, due to a swollen river crossing. Bogie took a 5.1-second lead over Moffett, who was competing on the Scottish tarmac for the first time, as the M-Sport car suffered brake problems. Prior to the second leg, the brake discs and calipers were replaced.
The day’s opening stage, at Abbey St. Bathan’s, was very icy and Moffett was cautious, but was quicker than Bogie by a fraction of a second. A stage later, a fraction of a second separated the leading duo, as Moffett went into a lead he was never to relinquish. Courtesy of four more fastest stage times, he took the laurels. Bogie, who dropped to fourth around midday, recovered to finish second, reeling in Robertson on the final stage. Irish national championship regular, Welsh driver Hugh Hunter (Ford Focus WRC), was fourth.
Elsewhere, Derry’s Callum Devine and his Fermanagh co-driver, Brian Hoy (Hyundai i20 R5), finished third in Rally Hungary, the final round of the European Rally Championship. Devine, a member of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, campaigned the PCRS-run car with support from Motorsport Ireland. Devine set a string of top three stage times and was quickest on the final stage.
The event saw Chris Ingram (Skoda Fabia R5) become the first Briton to lift the ERC title in over fifty years. A final stage puncture looked as if it had cost him the title to outgoing champion, Russian Alexey Lukyanuk (Citroen C3 R5). However, he, too, punctured and finished second. Ingram finished fourth and claimed sufficient points to secure the series.