Top Titles to be decided as Rally Season draws to a close
This weekend will see the deciding round of the 2015 Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship as the competing crews head north of the border for the Glens of Antrim Rally. On paper, Cork native Mick O’Brien looks to be the favourite heading to the deciding round with a 20 point lead but with dropped scores taken into account, it his nearest points rival Josh Moffett, who looks to be the slight favourite. A top 2 finish could seal an impressive championship win for the young Monaghan driver who has excelled in the second half of the season in his Mitsubishi Lancer.
And while the championship race will rage between Moffett and O’Brien, the battle for overall honours is far from certain with a strong entry including a brace of Super 2000 Skoda Fabia’s driven by Desi Henry and Marty McCormack as well as 4 Subaru Impreza World Cars piloted by Kenny McKinstry, Niall Henry, Martin Cairns and recent Bushwhacker Rally winner, Mark Donnelly. The junior section of the forestry series will also come to conclusion this weekend with a trio of drivers in with a chance of the title. Mayo’s Alan Moran (Peugeot 206), Tyrone’s Patrick O’Brien (Citroen C2) and Monaghan’s Derek Mackarel in his Vauxhall Nova are embroiled in a 3 way battle for the title made all the more important by the fact the junior champion gets an automatic nomination for the prestigious Billy Coleman Award. The Glens of Antrim Rally takes place this Saturday and the 38 mile event includes the fabled stages in Cam and Springwell Forest.
On Sunday, the Banna Beach Hotel near Adfert will be the venue for the Kerry Mini Stages Rally. The event, the final round of the Top Part West Coast Championship has drawn an impressive entry including last year’s winner Daniel Cronin, with co-drive Shane Buckley alongside. The pair will lead the field away in the same Subaru Impreza World Rally Car they took to victory last year. Behind Cronin though, is a gaggle of competitors looking to finish their season on a high note including the rapid Ed O’Callaghan, Barry Ryan, Trevor Mulligan, Stephen McCann, Paul Purtill and local man Fergus O’Meara. The first cars will leave the Banna Beach Hotel at 8.30am before tacking 6 stages totalling 90 stage kilometres with the winners arriving back at the hotel at 4.30pm.