Josh Moffett and Jason McKenna claimed the bragging rights after resisting Sam Moffett and Keith Moriarty’s World Rally Car challenge on Sunday’s Monaghan Stages Rally.
The Hyundai crew, who hadn’t competed together since 2016, held a 12-second lead over Moffett and Moriarty’s Ford Fiesta WRC heading into Monaghan’s final stage which was subsequently cancelled due to timing issues.
The Monaghan brothers finished first and second on every one of their home event’s stages, Josh winning seven of the eight tests tackled. Sam was less than eight seconds behind his younger brother before the last two stages but a 4.2-second stage win for Josh on Stage 8, Killeevan, sealed the latter’s third win in Monaghan. A win that equals Sam’s home winning record, leaving it as a race for four on Monaghan’s next event.
2022 was the first time an R5 car has won the Monaghan Stages Rally. Sam Moffett was pointing out how late his brother was braking into junctions in comparison to his own WRC. It was Josh’s fifth win of the year as he continues his clean sweep in the National Rally Championship.
Darren Gass held onto third in his Citroen C3 Rally2, over a minute behind the winning battle, to grab his second podium of the year. Robert Barrable and Paddy Robinson finished 8.8 seconds behind Gass and had hoped to push for the position before Monaghan’s finale was cancelled.
A string of top-three times put Barrable into third on Stage 4 which he held until a puncture on Stage 6 cost him 20 seconds and third position.
Seamus Leonard and Brendan Cumiskey completed Monaghan’s top six. A spin over a crest on Stage 7 dropped Leonard further behind Barrable while Cumiskey overshot a junction on Stage 8 to fall within 0.4 seconds of Paul Barrett in seventh.
Damien Tourish and Domhnall McAlaney were victorious in two-wheel-drive, finishing ninth overall. They pipped local heroes Dessie Keenan and Enda Sherry by 9.4 seconds.
Keenan led two-wheel-drive after Stage 3 but was left speechless at the end of the next stage when Tourish went 8.9 seconds faster. That moved Tourish and McAlaney into a Class 14 and two-wheel-drive lead they would only strengthen throughout the second half of the rally.
It turned out that a switch of tyres upset Keenan’s rhythm through the middle loop of stages. His reversion back to a familiar compound for the last pass rejuvenated his performance again.
Jason Black and Karl Egan settled for third in two-wheel-drive after a brush against a bank on Monaghan’s opener upset their rhythm. Suspension tweaks improved their pace and confidence with the Class 13 Toyota.
A fastest two-wheel-drive time on Stage 6 highlighted Black’s ever-threatening pace behind the wheel of his 2.0-litre Starlet.
Richard Moffett set a high early two-wheel-drive benchmark in his Class 14 Starlet. Moffett led his modified rivals by 3.2 seconds after the opening two tests before an overshoot and stall dropped him down the field.
Moffett ended up fifth in two-wheel-drive, sandwiched between the Ford Escort Mk2s of Frank Kelly and Damian Toner.
2022 Monaghan Stages Rally results (Top 10)
1 Josh Moffett – Jason McKenna (Hyundai i20 R5), 50:59.5s
2 Sam Moffett – Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta WRC), +12.0s
3 Darren Gass – Barry McNulty (Citroen C3 Rally2), +1:23.5
4 Robert Barrable – Paddy Robinson (Volkswagen Polo R5), +1:32.3
5 Seamus Leonard – John McCaffrey (Fiesta Rally2), +2:17.1
6 Brendan Cumiskey – Darragh Mullen (Polo R5), +2:40.6
7 Paul Barrett – Kevin Reilly (Fiesta R5), +2:41.0
8 Tim McNulty – Paul Kiely (Fiesta Rally2), +2:47.0
9 Damien Tourish – Domhnall McAlaney (Ford Escort Mk2), +2:47.5
10 Dessie Keenan – Enda Sherry (Escort), +2:56.9
Photos by Roger Dawson