Birthday Boy Murphy Survives Moonraker Moment

Andy Walsh



Round two of the 2017 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, the Moonraker Forest Rally, took place on Saturday last. The event run by the Munster Motor Club saw a magnificent seventy seven cars start from a sun kissed Ballyvourney, for this eight stage event. It was an event very much enjoyed by the crews, with the fast, flowing stages in fabulous shape.

Local interest focused on young South Mayo driver, Jason Murphy who turned 17 on the eve of the event and had his uncle Matthew in the navigator seat. Fresh from their victory in the new J1000 section at Round 1 recently in Carrick On Suir, the pair are concentrating on the forest trails with the overall end of season Championship prize of a drive in a R2 Rally car on a 2018 Irish Forest Rally round, a fabulous incentive for a young rally driver to gain a real head start for their future rallying careers.

From the outset, the Presentation College Headford fifth year student laid down his intentions creating a lead of three minutes to his nearest challenger after two stages, but stage three was to witness a change in fortune. After a flawless run, as the pair approached the end of the stage, disaster struck; a front strut, the main part of the special adapted gravel suspension in their little one litre Peugeot 107 broke, forcing them to a halt, Jason’s challenge looked in doubt, his three minute lead was soon swallowed up by Alex Byrne from Tipperary in a similar spec car.

Refusing to throw in the towel so early in the event, Jason and Matthew worked on their stricken rally car and after getting back to service park were able to carry out repairs with the help of their C-Sport service team and were able to rejoin the event under Rally 2 rules that with the addition of a time penalty enabled them to score championship points.

With suspension mended the pair rejoined and with a spirited drive which showed the commitment of Jason the pair brought their Westtyre backed Peugeot 107 home in a super second place of the 16 to 18 year old J1000 section, not only adding valuable championship points but proving the ‘never give up’ attitude prevailed!!

Next up for the pair is Round three the Abbey Hotel Donegal Forestry Rally which takes place on the 13th of May.

The event was won by Cork’s Keith Cronin who had Mikie Galvin on the notes; they topped a Ford Fiesta podium lock out ahead of Monaghan’s Josh and Sam Moffett who finished second and third.