The 2018 Michael O’Brien Plant Hire J1000 series for 15-19 year olds will be decided next weekend when the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship roars back into life after a break of three months, with the two day Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally on Saturday and Sunday. Cork Motorclub have devised a two day event that will count as a double round of the championship (Rounds 4 & 5) with points being awarded for each day. The event will consist of six stages on each day, with the first day’s action to the east of Mallow and the second day to the west of Mallow. Five of the stages are classics of the Cork Forest Rally, while one, a 13km test never used by Cork Motor Club before, but well known in Forestry Rallying will be used on the first day.
18 year old Jason Murphy is favourite to claim back-to-back titles, a feat that would see him rewrite the history books after becoming the inaugural J1000 champion in 2017.
With a hat-trick of wins on the opening three Rounds of the 2018 Championship, kicked off with the Willie Loughman Memorial Forest Rally in February and followed up with a master class display at the Limerick Motorclub Forest Rally based over the Silvermines Mountains in March, before coming from behind and surviving clutch failure at Munster Motor Club’s Moonraker Rally in April, when asked about the possibility of retaining the title next weekend Jason said “I’m going to concentrate on finishing and trying to stay ahead of Peter Beaton, Aoife Gahan and Ryan Byrne, they have all proven during the season that they don't hang about, we've been lucky and as we seen at Round 1, it’s not all about the fastest, you must be there at the end of the round collecting the points. We have a 14 point lead at the top of the championship but with a combined 22 points on offer next weekend for the fastest and when dropped rounds come into play we're taking nothing for granted".
“The 1 litre Peugeot 107 has all been checked over at C-Sport, where Mairt Cunningham and his team have done a superb job all season and have got all the little problems from the Moonraker sorted and hopefully it will not let us down, my uncle and navigator Matthew has the pacenotes from Killian Duffy and is studying intensely." Jason added.
Barring a disaster his points advantage should be enough to see him take the title by just getting a finish on the opening day. Securing another national title would be nice as the South Mayo driver awaits his Leaving Cert results in August!