MOFFETT GRABS VICTORY IN BALTINGLASS RALLY
October 14, 2013 by Padraig Reddington
It is said that a good start is half the battle, and for Monaghan driver, Richard Moffett, and navigator, Martin Connolly, it was certainly true when they were fastest by ten seconds on the opening stage of the Garda Siochana Motor Club’s 2013 Germaines of Baltinglass Mini Stages Rally, an event they went on to win in their rear wheel drive Toyota Starlet. When the times were totted at the end of the last stage, the clocks said that Moffett and Connolly had taken a three second victory. Remarkably, having held the initial advantage, they then lost the lead after the second stage, and only regained it on that final stage. In what was even more remarkable, the event had seen four changes of leader over its six stages, and four drivers in all had their turns at the top of the timesheets.
Behind Moffett, Kerry’s Mike Quinn (Ford Escort RS) and Stephen McCann (Mitsubishi Lancer) shared second place after the opening test, with Pat Donegan (Escort RS) a further second down in fourth, and Trevor Culbert in fifth, seventeen seconds behind the early leader. Culbert went quickest on the second test, to vault into joint second place with Moffett, and while Donegan’s time was two seconds slower than Culbert on the stage, it was still enough to take the lead after Moffett’s time was off the pace of his rivals. Quinn also lost out over the Three Bridges stage, his time eleven seconds down on Culbert, and he dropped to fourth.
McCann retired his Mitsubishi Lancer with mechanical maladies at the Service following the opening loop. Ashford’s Lloyd Hutchinson also encountered mechanical trouble on the opening stage, and crawled through that and the following stage in his Mini. Having attended to the problem at Service, the car was brought back up to speed, but ran well down the field thereafter.
Barry Ryan (Escort RS) was fifth after the opening stage, but fell down the order after stage two, behind Shay Power (Escort RS), George Condell (Escort RS) and Graham Scallan (Subaru Impreza N14).
Culbert overtook Donegan for the lead on stage three, the second run over Keadeen, with Moffett and Quinn also moving ahead of Donegan into the top three positions. Culbert’s tenure in the lead was short lived however, as his Escort broke a track control arm on the very next stage. He and co-driver, Ray Fitzpatrick, pulled off the road into a farmer’s yard, expecting to retire, only for the farmer to produce a welder and assist with some running repairs. They crept through the rest of stage four, and made it to service in Baltinglass. They comfortably recorded the fastest time on both of the final two stages, and were left to rue what might have been.
Moffett and Quinn set equal times on stage three, so the gap between them remained at four seconds in Moffett’s favour, but Quinn was faster by eight seconds on stage four, turning his four second deficit into a four second advantage. With Culbert’s problems, Quinn had taken the lead. Donegan, now in third place, was only two further seconds behind Moffett in the overall standings.
Power was fourth in his Escort RS, eighteen seconds down on the leading trio while Condell and Scallan completed the top six. Barry Ryan stopped on the second run over Three Bridges test, when his Escort’s gearbox broke.
The penultimate stage saw Moffett close to within one second of Quinn, and Moffett was then three seconds faster on the final test, to seal the win in the closest of finishes. It marked Moffett’s first overall rally victory.
Donegan picked up 15 seconds of road penalties between the final service and the penultimate stage. His advantage over Power was reduced to four seconds ahead of the final stage, and Power was then seven seconds faster over the closing kilometres, enough to claim third place in the final reckoning. Again, the eventual margin between the drivers was merely three seconds. Behind Donegan, Condell, Scallan, John Hendy (BMW M3), Tom Relihan (Escort RS), Thomas Lynch (Honda Civic) and John Lynch (Escort RS) completed the top ten.
Germaines of Baltinglass GSMC Mini Stages Rally 2013
1: Richard Moffett/Martin Connolly (Clontibret, Co. Monaghan) Toyota Starlet, 56 mins, 41 secs
2: Mike Quinn/Tony Healy (Listowel, Co. Kerry), Ford Escort RS, 56:44
3: Shay Power/Paul Collins (Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary), Ford Escort RS, 57:00
4: Pat Donegan/Alan Keenan (Kells, Co. Meath) Ford Escort RS, 57:03
5: George Condell/Paul Twomey (Carlow) Ford Escort RS, 57:12
6: Graham Scallan/Tom Scallan (Wexford) Subaru Impreza N14, 58:05