Tyre manufacturer Michelin, the official partner of the FIA World Rally Championship, are to support this year’s Triton National Rally Championship that gets underway with the Mayo Rally in some three weeks time.
Competitors that use Michelin tyres will be awarded prizes at each of the seven Triton events that comprise this year’s series.
Commenting on the award scheme, Tim Hoare of Michelin said, “We are pleased to announce in conjunction with our partners SW Adair Tyres our continued support for Irish rallying. We at Michelin continue to work hard to deliver the best value for money rally tyre on the market. Fast, reliable, predictable performance right down to the last millimetre.”
Meanwhile, Richard Talbot, Chairman of the Rallies Committee remarked, “The Triton Showers National Rally Championship welcomes Michelin’s support for all Irish rallying and especially the Triton series.”
The award scheme is as follows:
Prize tyres for overall rally results at each round of the Triton National Rally Championship awarded to competitors using the Michelin rally tyre range.
1st Overall: Six (6) Michelin Tyres.
2nd Overall: Four (4) Michelin Tyres.
3rd Overall: Two (2) Michelin Tyres.
Top Junior: Two (2) Michelin Tyres.
Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
The Birr Stages Rally 2017. Birr MC have put together a fine combination stages for the 2018 event. A good mixture of surfaces and roads, from fast and flowing to narrow and technical. An additional chicane will be added to SS 2 at 7.1 Km due a small flood that developed over the weekend.
Below is a short sample video along with our usual stage data samples.
The 2018 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship gets underway on St. Patricks weekend, the 17th & 18th March with the Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally. With the traditional season opener, the Galway International Rally not running this year it means the lead up to this year’s series is six weeks longer. This doesn’t appear to have dimmed the enthusiasm of the crews looking to participate though, with strong interest from most of the regular contenders.
Last year’s champion Sam Moffett had a remarkable year, winning championships both on tarmac and forestry surfaces. While not planning as hectic a schedule for 2018, he does nonetheless plan to defend his title starting with West Cork in March. With two outright wins on international rallies last year Sam with co-driver Karl Atkinson will be pushing hard to add to that list for this year. Sam’s younger brother Josh is also looking forward to the forthcoming season after a mixed year last year. He will be hoping for a more consistent run in 2018 and had his best result of the championship in Clonakilty last year when he finished second overall and took his only maximum points score of the year. He had a titanic struggle with Sam on the Cork 20 only to go off the road on the final stage when leading and will be hoping for better luck this year.
Robert Barrable only competed on four rounds last year and finished on two of them. He brought the first Hyundai i20 R5 to Ireland and showcased its enormous potential with some strong performances and very quick times. Rob estimates he is 80% certain to contest this year’s championship but hasn’t disclosed which car it will be at this time.
Desi Henry is another driver who has yet to announce which car he will have for 2018, but has committed to the championship for the coming year. Jonny Greer also plans to be in West Cork having only done two rounds last year as he concentrated on BRC commitments. Jonny has had some very good results in Clonakilty in the past and a repeat of this in March would get his campaign off to a very good start.
Stephen Wright did very little rallying in the latter half of 2017 and in general it was a frustrating season for the Monaghan driver. He is looking forward to committing to a full championship campaign starting in Clonakilty. Brendan Cumiskey is another who is looking to compete again this year while Keith Lyons from Limerick is moving up to a Fiesta R5 for 2018 and also plans to be in Clonakilty.
A lot of attention was focused on Eugene Donnelly’s deal with MRF to drive a Hyundai i20 R5 for the coming year and Eugene is currently working on testing the new car to get it ready for Irish roads and is pleased with progress to date. 2016 champion Keith Cronin and 2017 runner up Alastair Fisher haven’t made any firm commitments for the coming year yet but neither have ruled out competing on the Tarmac series.
The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship is heading into its 40th season having started back in 1978 (the 2001 championship didn’t happen due to Foot & Mouth Disease). Over the years some of the best drivers in Ireland and the UK have taken the title with Eugene Donnelly & Austin McHale leading the roll of honour with five titles each.
Donnelly is the last driver to retain his title (in 2007) which gives an idea of the task facing Sam Moffett this year. Other drivers who have taken the title more than once over the years include the likes of Bertie Fisher, Jimmy McRae, Mark Lovell, Kenny McKinstry, Andrew Nesbitt and Derek McGarrity.
Navigation Rally Challenge by Dungannon Motor Club
This year sees the introduction of a new 3 event navigation challenge aimed at encouraging new competitors to the field of navigation rallying, the three events making up the challenge are.
2nd Mar Enniskillen MC, Erne Safari Rally
9th Mar, Dunganon MC Snowdrop Rally
30th Mar, Cookstown MC Souse Developments Rally.
To prepare beginners for these events Dungannon MC are running a 4 week navigation course beginning Wed 7th February in Dungannon Rugby Club, the course will provide the students with all the knowledge and techniques they need to participate in the events. Traditionally table top rally schools and rally navigation class’s have provided the stepping stone to greater things for some our top competitors.
TRITON SHOWERS & THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN by Martin Walsh
Achill Island, the largest island off the coast of Ireland, will host the opening round of this year’s Triton Showers National Rally Championship. Linked to the mainland by Michael Davitt Bridge – the road network on Achill Island while showcasing some stunning scenery, will provide the ultimate challenge for the competitors in the Óstán Oileán Acla/Connacht Print and Signs Mayo Rally on March 11th. next.
This year’s championship will consist of seven events, the Sligo Rally replaces the ALMC Rally while the Carlow Rally will not be part of the series this year due to a switch of dates. In effect, the series will be based on the best five scores from seven events.
Speaking ahead of the opening round, Kevin Barrett, MD of Tritin Showers said, “Triton Showers have decided to continue its sponsorship of the National Rally Championship. Back in 2015, we agreed to underpin the series for a three-year term. During that time and particularly in the past year Irish motorsport has experienced tough times with rising costs and depleted entry lists. With that in mind, we have agreed to continue our association with the series for 2018.”
“This year, due to a fundraising event, the Carlow Rally has moved from its traditional date and as a consequence, will not form part of the series that will now consist of seven rounds with the best five scores to count.”
The Triton Showers National Rally Championship will get underway with the Mayo Rally in Achill Island on March 11th. and will conclude in County Donegal in early October.” Kevin added, “In our three years to date with the national championship, we have had three different champions, Monaghan’s Sam Moffett last year, Clonmel’s Roy White in 2016 and Donegal’s Donagh Kelly in 2015. Who knows, we may have another new champion in 2018. Time and the seven rounds will reveal the outcome.”
Former champion Declan Boyle is aiming for his third title. He outlined his plans, “Yes, I am going to Birr for a run out and then Mayo to sign up for the Triton and take it from there. I’m looking to do a lot of rallying before Donegal and see how I am getting on with the championship, hopefully better than last year.”
Declan will have a new co-driver this year. “Brian (his cousin) is not sitting with me this year, he has too much on with work and everything. Brian did well for me and I’m sad to see him pack it in but that’s life, nothing lasts for ever.”
“James O Reilly from Monaghan is going to do a few events with me until we see how we get on with each other, I’m sure we will get on fine, he has plenty of experience and has been with Sam Moffett for a few years so we’ll give it a go anyway.” While he will campaign his usual Fiesta R5, he added, “I will get an R5 later in the year, there is more new ones coming out again soon so will have to keep an eye out to see what is the best one to get.”
The Óstán Oileán Acla/Connacht Print and Signs Mayo Rally will feature a loop of three stages repeated three times for a total of 110 kilometres. Service after S.S. 3 and S.S. 6 is at the Keel Sandybanks Caravan & Camping Park in Keel. The ceremonial start takes place on Saturday March 10th in Achill Sound at 8pm. Headquarters is at the Óstán Oileán Acla.
Geographically, the seven counting rounds of the 2018 Triton Showers National Rally Championship are split as follows: the province of Munster host three rounds, Connacht and Ulster will each have two rounds. It’s the first time in several years that the province of Leinster will not feature in the national series. The seven rounds are as follows: