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Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship

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Round five of the 2014 Valvoline National Forest Rally Championship takes place in
Omagh this Saturday September 27th. The championship returns to co. Tyrone for the
annual “Omagh Grand Prix” which is also a counting round of the Northern
Championship. Organized by Omagh Motor Club the rally is renowned for its’ short
snappy but very fast and technical stages. Despite the small stage mileage (just 33
competitive miles) over 11 stages (6 locations) this is event always sees epic
battles for supremacy throughout the field.

CoC Ronnie McAleer and his team have everything in place for what should be a
spectacular day through the Lough Bradon, Carrigaholten, Slievedoo and Killeter
Forests. Scrutiny and Documentation take place at the Old Nestle Factory on the
Derry Road, Omagh on Friday evening. The event starts from the Car Park at rally HQ
the Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh with first car away at 09:01 Saturday morning. There
are two service halts at Aikens Caravan Yard near Castlederg. The first after stage
two at 10:17 and the final service after stage seven at 13:30. Both man and machine
need to survive a challenging 5 stage loop between the service halts and survive the
final four stages unscathed to make the finish ramp at rally HQ. The first
competing cars are due back at the Silver Birch Hotel at 16:45 for a champagne
reception.

Championship leaders Josh Moffett/ Jason McKenna (Evo 9) were unlucky not to win the
recent Lakelands rally. The Monaghan crew will be even more determined to score
their maiden win here. Owen Murphy/ James O’Brien (Evo 9) led after the opening
stage last year but retired with transmission failure on stage two. The Cork pair
have unfinished business to in Omagh. Pat O’Connell/ Mark Wiley (Evo 9) make the
long trip from Cashel and on current form will be a serious front runner. O’Connell
was fourth here in 2013 and is well on the pace this year.

Desi Nenry/ Liam Moynihan finally have their Evo 9 sorted and have high hopes to
revive their championship. Niall Henry/ John Rowan (Evo 9) are a very consistent
crew and should score well this weekend. The Subaru’s of Martin Cairns and Enda
McNulty will be a fly in the Evo ointment. Cairns is on home soil and tends to be
untouchable here. McNulty is always a hard charger and even more so now armed with
a sequential gearbox. A dark horse could be Liam Regan, his unusual 4WD 206 tends
to be ultra-competitive on these stages. Marty McKenna (Impreza WRC) is hoping for
a better run following his retirement in Cork. The “Valvoline” contenders have the
additional challenge to mix it with the Northern Championship regulars with the
likes of Derek McGarrity, Donagh Kelly, James Gillen, Frank Kelly and Adrian
Hetherington all set to wheel out for the “Whacker” as they affectionately call it.

There’s a strong Valvoline 2WD line up with Shane McGirr/ Jackie Elliott back in
action with their Starlet’s engine rebuilt. The Escorts of Micky Conlon and David
Crossen hope to make amends following their retirements in Cork. Damien McGauran
(Corolla) currently leads class 5A and should be in the hunt. Alan Actheson missed
Cork and looks set for a good haul of point s as it appears his class 4 opponents
have opted to miss this round. Conor McCarthy/ Dan O’Donovan (Civic) and Shane
Kenneally/ Jer Connors (Mk2) travel from West Cork and West Waterford respectively
in their quest for the Valvoline Junior title. County Cork rivals Tim/ DJ Howard
(Nova) and Tom Murphy/ Colin Moynihan (Mk2) are after class two points. Murphy has
won the previous two rounds but the Howard’s have been to Omagh last year and could
hold the edge.

The Seeded Entry List is due to be published Wednesday 24th September on
www.omaghmotorclub.com. Further information including time & distance schedule,
final instructions & live results during the rally are also available from the club
website.

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