Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Championship poised for grandstand finish
This weekend’s Fastnet Rally marks the end of a long and hard-fought Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship campaign.
The championship’s main protagonists, defending champion Josh Moffett and newcomer Callum Devine arrive in Bantry knowing that nothing short of a victory will decide the outcome of this year’s title race.
Both drivers and their respective co-drivers Keith Moriarty and Noel O’Sullivan are highly motivated but for two very different reasons.
It is the first time since Declan Boyle’s third championship win in 2018 the Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship will be decided in the final round.
For Moffett, he stands the chance of equalling Boyle and Niall Maguire on three consecutive championship wins.
Devine, already the Irish Tarmac Rally champion would love to do the double and win the National title too – but his Monaghan-based rival is an outgoing double-champion and will be doing his best to prevent the Derry man from reaching that target.
If that is not enough, there are two bonus points on offer for the rally win, there is an additional point for a Powerstage win and dropped scores may well come into the final equation.
Local crew Daniel Cronin and Donnchadh Burke will be hoping to take their first win in their Volkswagen Polo on home ground. Their best result on this year’s National Campaign came in July when they finished third on the Raven’s Rock Rally.
The main championship contenders will be joined by two Motorsport Ireland Academy-entered drivers.
Last year’s National Forestry champion Patrick O’Brien and his co-driving brother Stephen have entered in their Skoda Fabia Rally 2.
It will be their first domestic asphalt rally since the Galway International Rally last February when they finished sixth.
Eamonn Kelly will finish his year as the Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year with his first Irish outing of the season.
Aside from the Limerick Rallysprint, Kelly and his co-driver Conor Mohan have spent most of 2023 on foreign shores.
They contested 11 different rallies and 10 different countries, mainly following the Junior World Rally Championship where they placed 4th and 3rd in the drivers and co-drivers championships. They are on the Fastnet Rally entry list in the same Volkswagen Polo Rally 2 they drove to seventh on the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March.
Another local driver Cal McCarthy and his co-driver Eric Calnan start at six in their Citroen C3 Rally2).
Enda O’Brien and John Butler compete in a Volkswagen Polo Rally and start ahead of yet another local team, Jason McSweeney, and Liam Brennan in a Ford Fiesta R5.
The top ten is completed by Gareth Sayers and Gareth Gilchrist in a Ford Fiesta Rally 2 and Eddie Doherty and Tom Murphy who will drive a recently acquired Skoda Fabia.
Keith Lyons and his local co-driver JJ Cremin start at 11 and he returns to Ford Fiesta Rally 2 power after a few events in a Polo R5.
A strong modified entry is led by the Kerry crew of Conor Murphy and Sean Collins in their Ford Escort Mk2.
They face Donegal’s Declan Gallagher and Gavin Doherty in their Toyota Starlet and Chris Armstrong and Darren Curran in a Ford Escort Mk2.
Barry Morris and local co-driver Dylan Doonan will drive their familiar Darrian T90 GTR.