The Triton Showers National Rally Championship reaches its penultimate phase on Sunday with the Lady Gregory Hotel Galway Summer Rally in Gort.
Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes have enjoyed a near perfect season to date taking five outright wins and a second place (121 points from a maximum of 125) and can become champions with a top eight championship registered finish on the nine stage event. Former champions Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O‘Brien, also in a Ford Fiesta WRC, are their only title rivals.
It is now very much the business end of the Triton Showers season with the Motorsport Safety Team Group N series within the clutches of another Monaghan driver Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi).
Donegal’s Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla) leads the rally.ie category (the top two wheel drive competitor in overall classification) and is thirteen points clear of Monaghan’s David Moffett (Toyota Starlet).
Meanwhile and even though he failed to finish the last round in Sligo, Donegal’s JF Shovelin is very much in control of the Mk. 2 Escort Challenge Trophy and is set to clinch the title in Gort.
Last year’s winner in Galway, Cavan’s Jonny Pringle (Ford Escort) occupies the number one berth with the Triton Showers Championship duo of Josh Moffett and Roy White, both in Fiesta WRC’s seeded at two and three respectively.
Having won the Irish Tarmac title last year along with the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship, Moffett is favourite to complete a notable treble. The only Triton round that he failed to win this year was, somewhat ironically, his home event, the Monaghan Rally. He was leading that event until his Fiesta WRC punctured and although he made a brave bid to reclaim top spot, he had to be content with second behind former champion Donagh Kelly. Interestingly, Josh’s older brother Sam won all three championships in the 2017 season.
Although Moffett doesn’t have to win to clinch the title he is unlikely to slacken the pace he has shown all season long. White knows that the title is very much out of his remit but rallying is fickle and unpredictable.
Welsh driver Hugh Hunter (Ford Focus WRC) makes yet another trip across the Irish Sea and will be intent on securing a strong result as Maynooth’s Ian Barrett in the S12B Subaru WRC is seeded at five and will certainly be amongst the leading pack.
For Donegal’s Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla) a top finish could be enough to secure the rally.ie award where Monaghan’s David Moffett (Toyota Starlet) is his principal rival.
Meanwhile, Cavan’s Gary Kiernan (Ford Escort) will be in the fray for the top two-wheel drive exponent as will Wexford’s James Stafford (Darrian T90), who competed in the earlier rounds of the Triton series. The top ten is completed by Welsh driver Steve Wood (Ford Fiesta WRC) and former triple national champion Monaghan’s Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC).
The Subaru WRC duo of PJ McDermott and Kevin Barrett in the Triton Showers liveried car are seeded just outside the top ten. Other drivers capable of making an impression include Cavan’s Stephen McCann and Waterford’s Andrew Purcell both in Ford Fiesta R5’s.
A septet of Ford Escorts in the hands of Damian Toner, JF Shovelin, Mark Alcorn, Richard Whelan, Tom Flaherty, Frank Kelly and Jack Newman make for some mouth-watering competition.
Other entries include Raymond Conlon (Toyota Corolla), the Escorts of Mark Dolphin and Stephen Greaney along with Colin O’Rourke (Ford Fiesta WRC).
Top Group N contender Monaghan’s Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) has the experienced Conor Foley as his co-driver.
Elsewhere, Maynooth’s Paul Barrett (Ford Fiesta R5) has opposition from Cal McCarthy (Citroen DS3 R5), Keith Lyons (Ford Fiesta R5) and Eugene Meegan (Citroen DS3 R5). Also on the entry are the Subaru WRC of Ian Roche and former Irish Junior rally champion Gary McNamee (Honda Civic).
The Galway entry includes Pat Kelly (Ford Fiesta) and George Cullen (Ford Escort).
The Junior category has Conor Murphy (Honda Civic), David Kelly (Toyota Starlet) and Colin O’Donoghue (Ford Escort) as the top three seeds.