Top Part West Coast Rally Championship 2022 review
After a three year layoff with the Covid shutdown, the 2022 Top Part West Coast Rally Championship proved to be very competitive with 85 crews signing up for the series.
Reducing the championship to five rounds for 2022 also helped to take the fight for the championship title down to the final round in Tralee (the home of sponsors, Top Part) where just one point separated the top two drivers.
In order to qualify for championship awards competitors had to start a minimum of three rounds with their best three scores to count, which included all start points as well as bonus points, which could be earned on the opening and closing rounds.
The opening round saw the Mayo Stages Rally make its championship debut back in early March and was based in Claremorris.
For Round 2, the Birr Stages Rally replaced the Circuit of Kerry in early April while Round 3 saw Limerick Motor Club retain its usual date on the June bank holiday weekend for the Circuit of Munster, which was based in Rathkeale.
After the summer break the series moved to Athenry for the penultimate round, the Galway Summer Rally. The final round took place in Tralee in Co. Kerry where the Championship was formed back in 1993.
Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5) and his Limerick co-driver Keith Moriarty lead the Top Part West Coast Rally Championship after four rounds. The pair took a start to finish victory on the first three rounds which took place in Mayo, Birr and Limerick.
The Hyundai crew did not compete in Round 4 in Athenry so it was all to play for on the final round in Kerry for the Drivers Title as Josh was just two points ahead of Monaghan’s Michael Carbin / Dean O’Sullivan ( Mitsubishi Evo 8).
Consistency on the first four rounds of the series had helped Tyrone’s Gareth Sayers / Gareth Gilchrist (Ford Fiesta) to climb to third overall position, on equal points to Carbin.
Depending on whether Josh or Michael would enter the final round would decide the destiny of the Michael Farrell Perpetual Cup for the winning driver.
Limerick’s Keith Moriarty, co-driver to championship leader Josh Moffett, had already secured the 2022 Top Part Overall Co-Drivers Award before the final round having secured a total of 65 points and claimed the Trophyworld Perpetual Cup.
Leading driver Josh Moffett did not enter the final round in Kerry but it was Monaghan’s Richard Moffett (Toyota Starlet) and his Killarney co-driver Ger Conway who took the overall win on the Kerry Winter Stages Rally ,which was based at Banna near Tralee, finishing 24.8 seconds ahead of the Ford Escort of Tyrone’s Ryan Loughran and his co-driver Tony Healy.
There was a late third place for the Donegal/Sligo crew of Stuart Darcy/Darragh Mullen (Proton Satria), who were a further 5.5 seconds behind.
Clare’s Padraig Egan / Tomas Ryan (Ford Escort) finished fourth, having steering issues after hitting a chicane. Egan took the Top Part Drive of the Day Award along with the Class 14 win. The Clare crew also won the 2022 Overall Top Part Two Wheel Drive Award along with the Top Part Drive of the Championship.
Michael Carbin finished fifth and lost his bid to win the Top Part series and finished second to Josh Moffett / Keith Moriarty who took the overall win in the 2022 series. Stuart Darcy also took the third overall Award in the 2022 Top Part Championship.
The Top Part Group N champions for 2022 were the Wexford crew of Thomas O’Rourke / Tomas Scanlon ( Mitsubishi Evo 9).
Tipperary crew Eoghan and Cian Fogerty were crowned the 2022 Top Part Historic champions having secured the Overall Historic Championship in their Toyota Corolla Twin Cam.
The 2022 Junior Champion was Tipperary’s Joe Browne (Honda Civic).
The 2022 Overall Top Part Ladies Cup was awarded to Limerick’s Hazel O’Callaghan (Ford Escort) and Aishling McArdle while the Woman in Motorsport Award was also presented to Hazel O’Callaghan and Sara McFadden.
A new award for the 2022 Championship was the Overall R5 Award and this was presented to Gareth Sayers who had a very impressive year in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Saturday, 11th March sees the launch of the 2023 Top Part West Coast Rally Championship and will take place at the Limerick Racecourse near Patrickswell.
The event will also mark the launch of 30 years of sponsorship of the championship by the Top Part Group which has to be a first in Motorsport in the world.
There will be lots of cars on display on the day and the championship officials and organisers from the various rounds of the 2023 championship will be available to answer any questions. The event will start at 2pm sharp with a photoshoot.
The 2023 Championship will include Six Rounds with the best four scores to count. Competitors must start three events to qualify. In addition all starters points from all events can be counted.
1. Circuit Of Kerry Stages Rally April 2nd, Club Kerry MC. HQ Rose Hotel Tralee
2. Laois Mini Stages Rally June 4th Club Laois Rally Sport Club. Base Portlaois Town
3. Connacht Stages Rally July 16th Club Connacht MC . HQ Sligo Park Hotel
4. ALMC Stages Rally August 13th Club ALMC . Base Oldcastle Co Meath.
5. Clare Stages Rally September 24th Club Clare. Base Ennis Co Clare.
6. Skibbereen Fastnet Stages Rally October 29th Club SDCC. Base Bantry Co Cork.